Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we wanted to share a few dessert recipes that are perfect for topping off the taco bar buffet. These recipes are simple enough to be whipped up by tomorrow, but delicious enough to be enjoyed at any time of the year!

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– Watermelon Sorbet –

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
6 cups watermelon
2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 lime)

Directions:

1) Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar; then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

2) Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature (should take about 45 minutes).

3) Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until chilled.

4) Meanwhile, place watermelon and lime juice in a food processor and combine until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove seeds (push any large watermelon chunks through the sieve).

5) Combine the watermelon puree and sugar-water mixture, then pour into a shallow metal pan. Freeze for about 30 minutes, then stir mixture to incorporate the ice crystals. Repeat process every 30 minutes until all of the liquid is frozen, then allow the mixture to harden in the freezer for 1-2 hours before serving.

**Recipe found on Her Campus.

margarita-vegan-ice-cream

– Margarita Ice Cream –

Ingredients:

15-oz can coconut milk
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 or 4 limes)
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

2) Freeze using an ice cream maker, or use the method described in step 5 of the recipe above.

3) Prepare glass serving dishes by rubbing the rim with a lime wedge and inverting on a plate of salt (optional).

**Recipe found on One Green Planet.

We hope these quick and delicious recipes will help liven up your Cinco de Mayo celebrations! We also hope you get a chance to take part in one of our other favorite Mexico-inspired traditions this week…the siesta!  🙂

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Everyday people get up in the morning and proceed with their routines. Shower, get dressed, brush hair, moisturize, detangle, powder, pluck, the list is endless. And, everyday we use products to assist us in maintaining our bodies: lotions, rubs, gels, and cosmetics to name a few. We rely on products to improve our overall well being by nurturing, healing and preventing. But what if the things we thought were helping, are actually hindering us?

Drop Dead
Like most people who use cosmetics mostly everyday, I was in the dark about the toxic ingredients of commercial products until I stumbled upon a book in the Lifekind library. Drop Dead Gorgeous by Kim Erickson is an eye-opening book about protecting yourself from the hidden dangers of cosmetics.

Synthetic materials such as suspected carcinogens, hormone-disturbing parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives linger in those lotions and soaps that leave your skin feeling dreamy and moisturized. In our beloved face powders and favorite blushes you are exposed to substances such as Aluminum Powder which is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. So why does the public consumer not know about this??

Unfortunately these types of issues are no concern to the manufacturers and they skirt around the issue when it becomes public knowledge. But there are still ways of obtaining the knowledge. Kim Erickson’s book is a wealth of information with excellent references and even all natural recipes for your own lotions and beauty products. Here is a sample of one that you can try at home!

Chocolate-Mint Body Smoother
(Emollient-rich cocoa butter has a delicious chocolate scent)
2 ounces cocoa butter
¼ cup apricot kernel oil
1 teaspoon beeswax, grated
1 teaspoon liquid vitamin E
3 drops peppermint essential oil
Combine the cocoa butter, apricot oil, and beeswax in a small saucepan. Heat on low until the cocoa butter and beeswax have completely melted. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the vitamin E and peppermint essential oil, stirring well to blend. Pour into clean container and allow to cool completely before capping.

So before you buy your next lotion from the local drug store remember Drop Dead Gorgeous by Kim Erickson. Maybe if enough people know and realize the dangers of everyday products we can start a change towards a cleaner, healthier living that is chemical free.

Dad’s Tofu Tacos

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have parents who not only believed in an organic and holistic lifestyle, but lived one as well. My sister and I grew up without jarred baby food or baby formula. My parents would use a hand grinder wherever they went, and we would eat straight from their plates. Goat’s milk and kefir were staples, as well as tofu and homemade bread. My parents shopped for organic produce at the local co-op or grew it themselves. We hand-raised pigs, and bought a steer from a local farmer each year. It was a healthy, sustainable childhood.

My upbringing taught me to believe in a natural and organic lifestyle. I eat organically, use natural remedies, and always recycle. One area I never thought about until I started working at Lifekind, however, was my bedroom. I never knew the potential hazards of something so seemingly trustworthy as a mattress. I’ve learned so much at Lifekind, and have unearthed a new dimension in my strive for purity.

My goal is to have an organic mattress made without chemicals as soon as possible, but in the meantime I’ll work my way up through pillows and mattress toppers till the money tree can shake a branch free. This in turn has prompted me to start trying harder in the areas of my life I already consider to be organic, and where better to start then to re-create some of my parents’ dinnertime dishes from when I was growing up?

One of my father’s most notorious and loved dinner recipes is for Tofu Tacos. Not only is it a great option for vegetarians (a.k.a. my sister Ashley), but it’s also a much leaner choice than typical beef tacos. Hopefully sharing this recipe will show how easy it is to make a small change to a healthier lifestyle.

Ingredients:
1 or 2 packages of firm tofu (I like to use two for leftover taco salad)
1 small yellow onion
Salt and pepper
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Paprika
Grated Pepper jack and/or cheddar cheese
Sliced olives
Chopped tomatoes
Cilantro
Chopped lettuce (Romaine is best)
Avocado
Sour cream
Corn tortillas

Drain tofu and squeeze out excess moisture, then chop into roughly 1/4-inch squares. Coat a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and turn the heat to med-high; add tofu. Meanwhile, dice the onion and add it to the tofu. Once the tofu begins to brown, you can add the seasoning: a healthy dose of garlic powder and chili powder, then a lighter dusting of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat and continue cooking until the tofu is crispy on the outside.

While the tofu and onions are cooking, prep the rest of the fixings: Chop the lettuce, dice the tomatoes, pick the cilantro leaves, peel and slice the avocado, drain the olives, and grate the cheese. Fill a small skillet with about ½” of vegetable oil; turn to med-high heat until the oil is hot. Place corn tortillas one at a time in the oil for 10-15 seconds, then using tongs, fold in half into a taco shape. Cook on each side about 30 seconds, or until the shell turns golden brown, and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

For extra “yum” factor, dust the tortilla shells with parmesan cheese while they’re still hot. Build your taco with all the fixings you prefer, and you’ll have Dad’s Tofu Tacos.

Enjoy!