Well hey there!

How are you doing today? Thanks for all your lovely comments yesterday on the blog’s brand new look. As I mentioned, I’ve still got lots of fiddling around to do with some of the pages, but things are looking much better, don’t ya think? If you missed yesterday’s post and you’re a Canadian reader, be sure to check it out and enter my Love Grown Foods giveaway, which closes at midnight this Thursday.

Alright, over to this week’s new things! (Just FYI, if you’re wondering what’s happened to the ‘Tuesdays” tab that used to be in my top menu, it’s at the bottom of the page in my footer now. You’ll also find my Top Posts, Spin Schedule, and link to my Fresh Bites book there.) Here we go…

1. Recipe of the Week: Us Canadians just came off of a long weekend (*she says as she sheds a tear*) and along with the gorgeous weather came a whole lotta use of the barbeque. I know my American friends are heading into the Memorial Day long weekend, which sadly we don’t get to celebrate up here. Regardless, weekends in general are great times for grilling and I think you NEED to make these:

The marinade on these Basil Pesto Balsamic Chicken Skewers is foodgasmic on so many levels. I might even like it better than my Grilled Veggie and Chickpea Salad in Oh-My-Goodness Marinade that I cheffed up last summer, which was also pretty bomb. It’s a combo of balsamic vinegar and a basil-based pesto which you’ll have plenty of left over for other uses. So really, it’s kinda like two recipes in one. Don’t say I never did anything nice for you. 😉

2. Alba Botanica Aloe & Green Tea Moisturizer. As I’m sure you’re aware, I like to maintain a pretty clean diet. My skincare regime on the other hand, is a little less than green. It makes sense that what I put into my body is going to affect how I feel and what I see on the outside, but until now I’ve sort of turned a blind eye to natural beauty products. This isn’t at all because I don’t think they work as well – I simply just haven’t taken the time to investigate different brands until recently.

Souce: Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica is one that I’ve seen in Whole Foods and several health food stores, and it’s part of the same brand family as JASON and Avalon Organics. After passing by shelves stocked with Alba products on multiple shopping trips, I finally decided to give it a go. My Murad daily moisturizer (which I did an early review of here) was almost finished so I started my Alba trial with just one product  – the aloe and green tea oil-free moisturizer.

This moisturizer is part of Alba’s Hawaiian line, all products from which are made with tropical fruit extracts, plant oils, and organic aloe. Having used a lot of skincare products in my 23 years so far, I’m now of the mind that the simpler the ingredients are, the better – much like food. I know what aloe and tea tree oil look like, and I like the idea of putting natural good-for-you ingredients into my skin as opposed to chemicals.

I’ve been using this product since last Tuesday (I know this kind of cheating in Try Something New Tuesday terms but I figured one day wouldn’t be enough to give you a good review) and it seems to be doing a nice job. It’s fairly light, but not as light as Complex 15, (the oil-free moisturizer I was using when my acne was out of control) which left my skin feeling dry. So far there have been no breakouts, so I’m considering also buying the pineapple enzyme facial cleanser to go with it. Alba’s products are much more reasonably priced than the Murad ones I tried a little while ago, which to be very honest, didn’t seem to work any better than the less expensive ones I’d been using before.

Source: Alba Botanica

Other products from Alba include skin lotions, sunscreens, skin care, hair care, and shaving creams, which you can check out here if you’re interested, or here if you’d prefer to see the US site.

3. Green Mango. This was one among many new things found at the Asian market I went to on the weekend. (More about that experience coming up later this week.)

Apparently the large green mangoes don’t have the same sourness that you’d get if the mango was younger, which is a quality that many Thai chefs look for when they’re choosing them. (In comparison, the small, hard green mangoes are more sour and are also easier to shred into matchstick-sized bits like you may have seen in Thai restaurants.) In addition to being eaten on their own, the mangoes are often used in relishes, dipping sauces, and pickles.

In my Thai cooking investigations as of late, I’ve found that green mangoes are often used in salads. Being the salad monster that I am, this seemed like a highly appropriate application. After browsing around several different recipes, I picked and chose ingredients from each that I liked and combined them all into my own version of a Green Mango Salad. It contained:

  • 1 small green mango, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp each lime juice and rice vinegar
  • 1 Thai chili, very finely minced
  • 1/3 cup very thinly sliced carrot sticks
  • 1/3 cup cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 small spring onion, sliced thinly, on diagonal
  • ½ cup angel hair tofu shirataki noodles, very well rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup mung bean sprouts
  • 2 tsp roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 small Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped leaf lettuce
  • 1 tsp crushed peanuts

I soaked the mango pieces in some rice vinegar, lime juice, and a small chili, a tactic that I learned draws out the heat of the chilies. This way, even if you don’t actually eat the chilies, their hotness is floating about in the liquid so you get a bit in every bite. If you’re not a fan of hot food this probably sounds like a terrible way to ruin a salad, but if that’s the case you could easily just omit the chili.

This was really good. So good in fact, that I’ve posted the full Green Mango Salad recipe here because I think you should try it too. I think my mango was a little over-ripe because it wasn’t very grate-able (I chopped the pieces up instead), and based on the articles I read beforehand, it was sweeter than I’d anticipated. Nevertheless, it added a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to the salad and I loved how it paired with the hot chilies.

Annnnd that’s all I have for you today! Before you head off, tell me…

  • Have you tried Alba products before? What did you think?
  • Are you a mango fan? I like the fruits when they’re fresh, but I’m definitely not a fan of mango juice. When I lived in Bahrain, mango juice was a huuuuge favourite amongst the locals there and I remember it having the consistency of lightly-diluted syrup. I always had to drink it mixed with half a glass of water!

See ya tomorrow with the kickoff of a brand new series! Have a wonderful day! 🙂