sum•mer (n): the existential struggle between wanting to be in shape and wanting to shove ALL THE FOOD INTO YOUR FACE
You know the feeling. Summertime finally hits, and you’re ready to hit the beach and show off that bod you’ve been working on. But two weeks in, you’ve had a few too many margs and entirely too many s’mores and then you realize you haven’t even hit the vacation part of your summer vacation yet and you’re like “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN” and then you end up eating more s’mores and it’s all just kind of a mess.
I know this feeling well. A week ago, I got back from spending over two weeks in San Francisco (um, hi, TONS of amazing food) at the American Bach Soloists Academy. It was a wonderful experience, but I definitely ate WAY too much. As in, I literally ate ice cream every day. And I mean literally, literally.
Raise your hand if you’re from the Northeast and have officially turned into a human prune!!! *both hands up*
Did YOU know it was possible to feel both dehydrated AND saturated at the same time? Heat and humidity are the latest power couple, and it is getting rough out there. I just got back from an incredible week in Connecticut at the Amherst Early Music Baroque Academy, but it wasn’t always fun and games for my fiddle… Let’s just say when working with a period instrument with gut strings in 95% humidity, the name of the game is “What The F#*! Just Came Out of My Instrument?!” 5 points every time a string goes a whole step out of tune. 10 points when two consecutive strings go out of tune in opposite directions. 15 points when you play a note and nothing comes out… You don’t really want to win.
In this heat, my second love (cooking) also becomes not-so-lovely. When the mere thought of turning on an oven drowns me in my own sweat, I often resort to “un-cooking.” Luckily, the summer season offers us a huge selection of delicious produce, so filling up on raw fruits and veggies is hardly boring. And, not to diss salad, but there are plenty of creative ways to enjoy your raw produce, which was precisely our challenge at The Recipe ReDux this month.
This month’s theme, “Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape,” challenged us to transform summer produce using creative cuts. My spiralizer is one of my FAVORITE tools in the kitchen for this, and summer rolls are a go-to meal for me during the warmer months – oven-free, fresh, crunchy, light, healthy, and filling! What could be better than combining the two?!
While making this recipe, I was pleased with how quick and SAFE spiralizing was as an alternative. Julienning veggies with a knife or special peeler is fine, but it takes forever… Plus, I will take any chance I can get to keep my fingers away from blades.
To “wrap up” this delicious dish (hehe) I made an easy miso sesame ginger dipping sauce. Miso is a relatively recent addition to my repertoire of ingredients, but I am in love with it. It automatically lends an explosion of flavor to whatever it’s in, and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate it. This was a home run as far as I’m concerned – miso obsessed with this recipe, and I hope you will be too 😉
- 12-24 sheets rice paper
- Warm water
- 1 large carrot
- 2 large (or 3 medium) cucumbers
- 1/2 purple cabbage
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 mango, thickly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro or Thai basil leaves
- 3 Tbs. light miso
- 4 Tbs. seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2-inch knob ginger, grated (about 1/2 tsp)
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- Spiralize carrots using the "spaghetti" blade, or thinnest blade possible. Set aside.
- Spiralize cucumbers using the "spaghetti" blade. I like to drain my cucumber noodles after spiralizing by squeezing them through a cheesecloth or a stack of paper towels. Set aside.
- Spiralize purple cabbage on the "ribbon" blade, or thickest blade possible. Set aside.
- Prepare your avocado, mango, and cilantro and arrange them alongside your other prepared veggies for easy assembly.
- Submerge a sheet of rice paper in a bowl of warm water for 5 seconds. Immediately lay the wet sheet on a cutting board or large plate.
- Fill your roll (careful not to overfill!) with veggies. I like to start with cilantro so you can see the leaves laying flat through the roll, and then add the veggies from thinnest to thickest. I also like to add more cilantro on top before rolling.
- Roll each summer roll delicately while keeping it as compact as possible.
- Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
- Work as quickly as possible to prevent your rice paper from sticking to your surface!
- If necessary after rolling, double up with another sheet of rice paper.
“I received a credit to try Stitch Fix as a result of this promotion. By posting this review I am entering a contest sponsored by Stitch Fix and am eligible to win a prize. I was not compensated for my time. This post contains affiliate links.”
I have a confession: I’m addicted to clothes, and have been ever since I learned how to pick them out for myself.
There’s something about stepping out in a new outfit that is just so satisfying. I don’t have expensive taste, but I do have a constant itch to change up my wardrobe, so discovering Stitch Fix last year has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. That’s why, when I heard they’d be hosting a sponsored contest with The Recipe Redux…
For those unfamiliar, Stitch Fix sends you clothing personally hand-picked for you by a stylist. Now, I love a good trip to the mall (and like to think I can dress myself halfway decently), but I’m the kind of girl who finds a good pair of pants and then buys them in six colors. So, having an expert pick out styles for me allows me to go outside my comfort zone and incorporate unique, adorable pieces I probably wouldn’t try on otherwise!
Another great thing about Stitch Fix is that your stylist tailors each “fix” to your needs and budget. For example, I wrote in my “Style Profile” that I’m a musician, and am always looking for cute (yet conservative) black blouses for concerts. And whenever I have an event or recital coming up, my stylist is always there to help me find the perfect dress. I also connect my stylist to a Pinterest board where I can share all of the latest trends I’ve been loving. I DON’T love to spend a fortune, though, so my stylist makes sure the pieces I’m sent are within my budget.
Every time you request a “fix,” your stylist sends you five pieces. Whatever you don’t absolutely love, you can send back for free! This month, my pieces were:
Gaura Back Detail Knit Top
This is an adorable top! I was skeptical of the horizontal stripes at first, but they didn’t end up being unflattering. What WAS a little unflattering was actually the detail on the back which, although very cute, pulled a bit with my arms relaxed. I really liked the shirt on (especially with these sage green pants and wedges) but decided after lots of thought that I wasn’t in love with it enough to keep it. However, it has TOTALLY renewed my faith in horizontal stripes! 😉
Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top -and- Arden Printed Maxi Skirt
I loved the fit of this skirt when I first unboxed it. It hugged my curves in all the right places! Unfortunately, the faux wrap look (which I usually love) did not flatter my figure in this particular style. My stylist knows I lo0o0ove floral prints too, but I felt the large, chunky print was overwhelming for my height (or lack thereof). I paired the fitted skirt with the looser dolman top, which was super soft and comfy but not my favorite style. Though I loved the wide neckline, I’m not a fan of sleeves that are purposefully baggy under the arms – they make me feel like a bat! 😛
Lisbon Stud Detail Blouse
This piece and the next were sent to me as options for concert blouses. The length, neckline, and overall cut of this blouse were SO flattering, but in my opinion, the stud detail would be a bit too loud for a concert or gig. I also didn’t love that the sleeves cut off and went in at the elbows.
Nevis Embroidery Detail Blouse
We have a WINNER! I have been looking for a light, sheer black concert blouse for ages and have been having a surprisingly hard time finding a cute one. The embroidery on the front is understated but decorative. The length is not too long, which is hard to come by with a loose tunic-like top, especially when you’re fun-sized 😉 Paired with my favorite go-to concert pants, this blouse was just perfect! I can’t wait to wear it to my next concert or gig.
Curious about trying Stitch Fix? See for yourself! 🙂
Raise your hand if you are READY FOR SUMMER VACATION. *lots of girls-with-raised-hands emojis*
In the eight (ack!) weeks since we last spoke over crepes, a lot has happened. I played a master’s recital, made my first ever wedding cake for my best friend’s wedding, performed some more, graduated with a master’s degree (with a former New York Yankee)… Oh. And another thing:
I GOT INTO JUILLIARD!!!!
This is probably not real life. Actually, I’m positive it’s not. I’m definitely just having the deepest and most wonderful nap dream ever. Is somebody gonna wake me up before I pee? No? SO IT IS REAL?! 😀
In all seriousness though, I’m ecstatic to be continuing my education in their historical performance program. Who wouldn’t be?! I get to play baroque violin all day every day, play with an amazing group, and learn from some of early music’s most revered artists. This has been a dream of mine ever since I began playing baroque violin, and it’s actually coming true.
….I am also a leeeetle bit wiped out though. #realtalk. This was a warm (not quite hot) mess of a busy year that turned out to be SO BEYOND worth the struggle. Preparing an audition on baroque violin while still juggling grad student life on modern violin nearly made me crazy, and I questioned my sanity every 7 minutes, basically. One thing I learned in the process, though, is that when things get stressful, you just need to power through one day, one task, and one minute at a time. Bite-sized goals on small plates… Do you see where I’m going yet?
I am, by all accounts, a savory brunch person.
Maybe someone can explain this phenomenon to me, because my sweet tooth is out of control, yet I very rarely order or make sweet brunch food. Maybe I avoid it subconsciously, because I know I’ll end up falling asleep right after I eat it (can someone say sugar crash?). Maybe it’s because I really appreciate a perfectly-cooked egg, especially when it’s oozing down a mountain of mashed avocado or smoked salmon and hollandaise. Or, maybe I just appreciate it when someone ELSE is responsible for perfectly cooking that egg for me. I don’t know.
Some days though, I do get a hankering for something sweet that only the french toasts, pancakes, oats, and pastries of the world can satisfy. And some days, I truly can’t make up my mind. For those days, the brunch solution is clear: