Archive for the ‘meg’s kitchen’ Category

Welcome back to Meg’s Kitchen! Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for a drink I have nearly every day for vitality, strength, energy, health– it’s literally like spinach for Popeye!

My Beautiful Skin Drink Recipe consists of only four ingredients:

  • Spinach (a few handfuls)
  • One tomato
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Water, to taste
  • Optional: cilantro, salt, black pepper, cumin

That’s it! Blend it all in a small blender (NOT a juicer!) like the handy-dandy Magic Bullet. I promise you, the juice tastes SO much better than you think it does by the sound of it! It’s delicious! I’ve converted many a non-believer once they tried it. And because the spinach is blended, you can drink so much more of it than you would consume by eating a salad (which takes forever to chew anyway).

Vegetable juices are an amazing way to get part of your daily vegetable or fruit requirement out of the way with minimum time and hassle.

I drink my spinach juice about 5 times a week for clear and glowing skin. It also is an awesome energy booster, so it’s great to have as soon as you come home from work or school in the afternoon!

Tomatoes, rich in vitamins C and K, have anti-cancer benefits and support bone and cardiovascular health. The vitamin A in spinach is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it fights free radicals, keeping your skin (and the rest of your body) healthy and youthful. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, be sure to eat a small snack along with your spinach juice (a few dry roasted salted peanuts are a tasty option!)

Vegetable juices are hugely popular among celebrities ranging from actor Shahrukh Khan, to Hollywood actress Freida Pinto, to Bollywood legend Sridevi. Do try it and let me know what you think!

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A long, cold winter can leave you feeling chilled, sluggish, slow, and bloated. According to the ancient Indian medicinal tradition of Ayurveda, to fight these symptoms, one must stimulate the inner digestive fire, called agni.

This hot toddy recipe will do just that– it will warm your body, and your soul!

Now, different recipes abound for hot toddies, but I’ll share how I make mine. It’s a piping hot, super-healthy, antioxidant-packed drink that is sure to drive away the winter freeze, leaving you feeling both cozy and energized. I love to curl up on the couch with a hot toddy and watch my favorite movies. My mom always asks for one of my hot toddies when she’s feeling under the weather.

The hot toddy is filled with anti-inflammatory, repairing vitamins and minerals that will stimulate your immune system, kickstart your metabolism, and vanquish stuffy noses, headaches, sore throats, stomach aches and more. To get the best results, use fresh ingredients! Also, be sure to use manuka honey, as opposed to the processed honey usually found in your cupboard; manuka honey has incredible healing health benefits and can be found at your local health food store.

Meg’s Hot Toddy

In a small pan, combine:

  • 1 round slice or wedge of lemon (with flesh and peel)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cubes fresh cut ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • water

Let the water simmer for five to ten minutes (without bringing to a full boil). In the meanwhile, in a mug, combine:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy
  • A few teaspoons manuka honey, to taste

After you have finished simmering the water, turn the heat off, remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool for 3 minutes. Then pour the water through a strainer into the mug, stir well, and enjoy! (To make a non-alcoholic version, skip the brandy.)

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My numero uno secret to staying uber-healthy is apple cider vinegar. I used to get chronic throat and sinus infections every time the weather changed, and I hated taking antibiotics! Nothing says unattractive like a froggy throat and stuffy nose. I did extensive research on home remedies for illnesses and came upon the King of Grandma’s Medicine Cabinet: apple cider vinegar.

As soon as I feel a little under the weather, I take a tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water. Voila! I am feeling great in no time at all; I simply don’t get sick. In fact, since I started drinking ACV a few years ago, I have never been sick- not a cold, a flu, fever, infections, nothing! ACV clears my sinuses up like a vacuum, gives me a huge burst of energy, and helps my immune system battle any foe.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular remedy for countless troubles beyond sniffles, though- people have cited it as fixing their problems with joint pain, acne, stomach flu, you name it! Danqing’s grandparents always recommend she drink ACV when she is visiting them in China to prevent food poisoning. ACV is also a popular weight-loss helper for celebrities, as it curbs appetite. Read more about the wonderful healing powers of ACV here.

The vinegar may be sour, but its rewards are sweet! Bon appetit!

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My earliest memory of friendship with Danqing is from grade school. Warm autumn light filtered through the high windows of the school library as two young girls crouched between a pair of bookshelves. I watched Danqing as she shuffled through a series of dusty paperbacks, all by a man named Brian Jacques. She held out one of the books, “Redwall”, with a look of excited anticipation, and I opened it.

Danqing and I formed a bond over our shared love for the Redwall series and its stories of warrior mice, badger lords, and courageous hares. The most lasting impression Brian Jacques’s writing made upon me was his sumptuous, lavish descriptions of feasts. There were feasts for every occasion! At Redwall, spending time in the kitchen preparing meals is a way of expressing love and happiness towards those we cherish.

At Redwall, the delicious feasts were full of hot baked pies, spicy stews, freshly brewed ciders, endless salads, homebaked bread, and herb-studded cheeses. Medieval food, in other words, made scrumptious!

You’ll read time and again on our blog that the food you eat is extremely important to your health and beauty. The ancient Indian medical philosophy of Ayurveda states that the way you prepare your food– with love, or anger, or impatience- actually imbibes intangible properties into the food itself to impact the health of those who eat it. So make your food with affection, joy, and peace in your heart!

I’ve included a selection of recipes below from The Redwall Cookbook. Prepare these treats for your friends, your family, or just yourself, celebrating the bond of food and feelings as it’s done at Redwall Abbey.

Brockhall Badger Carrot Cakes


  • 1 small potato, cooked and mashed (3/4 cup)
  • 3 medium carrots (6 ounces), peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion (6 ounces), peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Farenheit. Place the potato in a bowl and mix in the carrot, onion, breadcrumbs, and parsley.
  2. Beat in the eggs and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a little of the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and drop tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Cook until the undersides of the cakes are golden brown, turn them over and cook the other side, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the cooked cakes to a paper towel-lined plated and keep warm in the oven. Continue with the remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as needed.

Summer Strawberry Fizz


  • 1 quart (4 cups) strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup strawberry ice cream
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup seltzer water
  1. Combine the strawberries, ice cream and sugar in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for one hour, then stir in the seltzer and serve immediately.

Honeybaked Apples


  • Butter, for the baking dish
  • 4 medium baking apples (such as Granny Smith, McIntosh or Rome)
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (such as raisins, currants and golden raisins)
  • 1/4 honey, warmed until runny
  • Custard sauce or heavy cream for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Generously butter a baking dish.
  2. Core the apples, stopping 1/2 inch short of the base of the apple. Leave the peels on. Stand the apples in the buttered dish.
  3. Fill each apple with 2 tablespoons of the dried fruit.
  4. Pour a tablespoon of warm honey into each cavity, letting it run over a little onto the tops of the apples.
  5. Pour water into the pan until it comes about 1/2 inch up the sides of the apples.
  6. Cover the pan with the foil and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with custard sauce or a drizzle of heavy cream.

Remember, you are what you eat, so cook happy and eat happy! Bon appetit!

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This may not be the ideal day for me to write about relaxation because we are getting our roof redone, so there are some twenty men walking on top of my head right now with hammers. It sounds like it’s raining rocks! Not to mention, my dad’s lunch just caught fire in the kitchen!

But despite any stress (roof- or fire-related, or otherwise) in your life, always remember to take a few moments every day for rest and relaxation. It could be a  handful of minutes you set aside to clear your mind and meditate in a quiet place. Or perhaps it’s those ten minutes you spend stretching before you exercise. For me, my special moment of relaxation is when I’m drinking chai in the afternoon with my mom.

Busy as she is, mom always sets aside whatever she is doing to relax and enjoy her daily chai. I make hot garam masala chai (hot spiced tea) just the way she likes it and we sit on the couch together, talking about anything and everything. Those special moments, when distractions and stressors fall away, make chai-time my favorite part of the day.

Reducing stress and encouraging relaxation are vital to beauty. Stress hormones and even just holding tension in your face can lead to poor health, a weakened immune system, and premature wrinkles. So take a deep breath, smile, and find time in your schedule to just chill!

Here’s how I make my mom’s favorite chai:

  1. Boil water. I like to use an electronic kettle; it boils water in less than a minute!
  2. Place a black tea bag (we prefer Tetley tea bags) at the bottom of your tea cup/mug. Lay it flat so that the leaves are evenly dispersed.
  3. Add masala (spices). We use a blend (Nirav Tea Masala) from our local Indian grocer, but if you want to make your spice blend at home, combine ground dried ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, nutmeg, and clove and store in an air-tight container. Use just a pinch of masala for a cup of tea. If you want to kick up the spiciness, you can add some shredded fresh ginger at the bottom of your mug.
  4. Pour the boiling water slowly over the tea bag and spices. Cover with a lid and let sit for five minutes.
  5. Remove the tea bag with two spoons and squeeze the bag to get all of that yummy tea concentrate water back in your mug.
  6. Pour milk to taste.
  7. Add sugar to taste; I always drank with two spoons but recently reduced it to one and still love it!
  8. Re-heat in the microwave (35 seconds or so) if desired.
Mmm, chai! Happy relaxing! Bon appetit!

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It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for the first installment of Meg’s Kitchen, our weekly segment where your learn how to use the foods in your kitchen to produce radiant beauty results!

Today’s superfood special is kale.

Familiar with kale? It’s a dark leafy green, known for its extraordinary health benefits (it‘s one of the healthiest foods in the world!) and bitter taste. Green leafy vegetables (called cruciferous vegetables) are famous among celebrities as skin-savers and glow replenishers.

Bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor swears by eating generous helpings of leafy greens to keep her skin clear and healthy. Says Kareena to Vogue India on her beauty secret: “I am a vegetarian and believe in eating lots of green vegetables, like spinach, fenugreek, and broccoli.”

Kale is arguably the healthiest among the leafy greens.

  • Kale is rich in antioxidant flavonoids, which help clear the body of damaging free radicals.
  • It is a good source of naturally occurring omega-3‘s, giving kale beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Kale’s fibrous structure and phytochemicals make it a brilliant detox ingredient for anyone looking to keep their system regular and sprightly! Consistent detoxification of the body means moving harmful chemicals and free radicals away from your organs (including your skin); kale has also shown to have anti-cancer properties for this reason.

How can you include kale in your diet?

Food Network’s own Indian-origin chef Aarti Sequiera developed a wildly popular kale recipe for her show “Aarti Party”; her Massaged Kale Salad (with mango!) uses a clever and simple technique to get rid of kale’s bitter taste while preserving all of its healthy benefits.

Massaged Kale Salad by Aarti Sequiera


  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons


In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

I made this salad just recently and it was very well-received! I reduced the amount of oil used in the dressing, however.

Another great way to consume kale is to make kale chips. Kale chips are yummy, full of nutritious Vitamins A, C, K, calcium and magnesium, AND are loved by kids! (In fact, kale’s calcium content makes it a great addition to the diets of those who are lactose intolerant.)

The internet is full of recipes for kale chips, some including fresh lemon, others a happy sprinkling of cayenne pepper or garlic powder. Play around with it and figure out how you like it.

Bon appetit!

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