Inspiration Interview: Lindsay, The Happy Herbivore + Thai Crunch Salad Recipe

lindsay-nixon-light-and-leanWelcome to the newest feature on The Laughing Medusa, The Inspiration Interviews. Through this series, we’ll get to hear from inspiring X who and that wonderful adventures await those who aren’t afraid to chase their dreams.

To kick off the series, I’m so glad to have Lindsay Nixon here as part of her pre-release blog hop book tour. I’ve been following her blog (and devouring her delicious recipes!) for over five years now. Her first cookbook, The Happy Herbivore, is my go-to when I’m looking for a healthy, easy, and delicious meal. If you’re looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, I highly recommend Lindsay’s recipes. Plus, they have the added bonus of being low fat and made from simple, ‘everyday’ ingredients. Lindsay has an inspiring story to share, moving from lawyer to self-made cookbook author in order to pursue her passion and make the world a healthier place. Plus, she’s even sharing one of the recipes from her new cookbook, Light & Lean with us today. 

What did you want to be when you were young? What unconventional career path brought you from there to here?
When I was very young I wanted to be a veterinarian because I assumed that meant I got to play with animals all day. As I got older I leaned more towards becoming a doctor and then a lawyer. Both of those careers were attractive to me because I had this deep desire to help people and saw those careers as a way to do it. My parents will tell you they thought I was going to grow up and be a writer because I loved writing short stories and poems as a child (I also had a very active imagination!). I ended up becoming a lawyer, and a lawyer who represented doctors and hospitals no less! Although I was truly helping my clients, I never felt satisfied. I just wasn’t happy so I eventually left the law to build my company, Happy Herbivore Inc. I get to help people every day AND I get to write! SO I guess my parents were right in the end! (If you want to learn more about my unconventional journey check you my “exit strategy” blog posts on or sign-up for the free video series – I go into my own story in the first video).

happy-herbivoreWhat inspires you?
People taking steps towards living better. I’m always flattered when my fans tell me I inspire them… because they inspire ME.

What advice would you give to someone looking to transition to a plant-based diet?
Just do it. Make the next thing you put in your mouth a plant food. Take it a meal at a time. Don’t worry about Thanksgiving in a month or a wedding next year. Cross that bridge when you come to it. And I promise you’ll be fine. Focus right now on the next meal. And get junk out of the house!

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
Live better.

thai-crunch-salad-7323_CMYKThai Crunch
Single serving
Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Single Serving

Before I was plant-based, I loved the Thai Crunch salad at California Pizza Kitchen. I finally decided to re-create a lighter vegan version of it for this cookbook. It’s easy, fresh, fast, and satisfying. (I also loved their Original BBQ Chicken Chopped salad, hence my BBQ Salad [in full cookbook] recipe!) By the way, CPK is one of the vegan-friendliest restaurant chains in the US. They have a PDF online indicating which menu items are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

4 c napa cabbage, red cabbage, or lettuce (or a combination)
1 carrot, julienned
2 green onions, sliced
¼ – ½ c edamame
½ cucumber, sliced or diced
Thai Peanut Dressing
crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
cilantro (optional)
lime wedges (garnish)

Toss cabbage/lettuce, carrot, green onions, edamame, and cucumber together in a salad bowl, then top with Thai Peanut Dressing, crushed peanuts, and cilantro (if using), and garnish with a lime wedge. (I also love squeezing fresh lime juice over the salad.)

Chef’s Note: For a soy-free version, substitute chickpeas for the edamame.


Thai Peanut Dressing
Makes ¼ cup
Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Pantry
Creamy, delicious—here’s a lower fat and lower calorie DIY peanut sauce.

1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
juice of 1 lime wedge
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
1 ¼ tsp rice vinegar
garlic powder
ground ginger
1–2 drops Asian hot sauce (e.g., Sriracha)
1 tbsp nondairy milk

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter with water, chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce or tamari, rice vinegar, a few dashes of garlic powder and ground ginger, plus hot sauce. Microwave for 10–20 seconds (so peanut butter is melty), whisk into a sauce, and then whisk in nondairy milk. Taste, adding more hot sauce as desired.

Chef’s Note: For a richer sauce, substitute coconut milk for the nondairy.

Thanks so much, Lindsay! I can’t wait to try the Thai Crunch Salad; it’s right up my alley. If you’re already a Happy Herbivore fan, what’s your favourite recipe? If not, you’ve got some serious catching up to do.


The Secret to Making Perfect Kale Chips Every Time

IMG_8558 copyThis post isn’t exactly revelatory – any food blog addict has read approximately one zillion posts about these crunchy green bites o’ love. But sometimes friends or family try making them and complain that they’re soggy or burnt or otherwise disgusting. Maybe you’ve had that problem too and I’d hate for you to not have this delicious snack in your life. So here’s my little kale chip secret…

Kale chips are easy. Anyone can make them. But they do take a little bit of love.

So here are my tips for making kale chips that are crispy, perfectly seasoned, and still a little green… every time.

IMG_85651. You can make your kale chips any flavour you like (dill pickle, spicy curry, or, cheesy perhaps?) But I’d recommend keeping it simple the first few times. A head of kale, olive oil, a lemon, and salt are all you need.

2. Tear your kale off the stem and into chip-sized pieces (some will be smaller, thats okay).

3. Make sure your kale is very dry – use a salad spinner or leave it to air dry in a colander.

4. Measurements will vary depending on how big your head of kale is. Start with 1/2tbsp each of lemon juice + oil and a 1/4tsp of salt. Add more as needed.

5. Get your hands in the bowl and massage your kale so that its all evenly covered.

6. This is probably the most finicky part: Lay your kale out in a single layer on baking sheets. Make sure none of it is folded over or overlapping another piece.

7. Bake at 250 degrees. It’s tempting to crank up the heat so that you can eat these babies sooner but don’t. It’ll be worth the wait, I promise. They’ll probably take about 30-40 minutes (I generally check them after 20 and every 10 minutes thereafter). When they’re all crispy take them out and transfer to a bowl.

IMG_8568Tada! Perfect kale chips. It’s true – it takes a little bit of patience, but if you follow this formula you’ll be chowing down on a delicious, crispy, salty snack that just happens to be a big bowl of greens. Double win!

Have you tried making kale chips before? Do you have a favourite flavour combination?


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pineapple mango gazpacho.

It might seem strange to eat a chilled soup for dinner when it’s snowing outside, and to make a meal made of tropical fruits when the sun has barely shown its face that day. But that’s exactly what I did last night. I’d been at work for 12 hours straight, pulling things together for our upcoming issue and finalizing details for the event we’re hosting on Wednesday. When I got home, I needed food. Fast.

I tried this gazpacho while completing the Clean Program (I’ll post a proper recap soon). With a few modifications to suit my tastes, it’s quickly become a favourite of mine. The sweet, salty, and spicy flavours go so well together. Plus, it’s always nice to have meals you can make in a matter of minutes. If you’re looking something for simple and delicious to have for dinner tonight, I would give this a try.

pineapple mango gazpacho

1 cup chopped pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 cup chopped mango (fresh or frozen)
1 cup baby spinach
1 avocado, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp coconut milk or water
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

1. Blend pineapple, mango, spinach, jalapeno pepper, salt, lime juice, coconut milk, and half of the avocado until smooth.
2. Pour into bowls. Garnish with other half of the avocado. Optional garnishes include sprouts, cilantro, and extra fruit.

Serve chilled. Because of the avocado, you want to eat this as soon as possible after making.

Easy peasy, right? And oh so tasty! This is quite a light dish, so you might want to try eating it with a cup of your favourite grains. While I was cleansing, I usually found it was a all I needed in the evening but I know some people might want a bit more satiety.

Don’t you think this would make the perfect accompaniment for dinners on warm summer nights? I can’t wait!

What did you have for dinner? If you have any healthy meal ideas that come together in a few minutes, I’d love to hear them! I’m definitely going to be short on time for the next couple of months, but I’m determined to stay on track with eating clean.


how to make poison-free deodorant.

Since starting Clean, I’ve been thinking about how I can reduce my exposure to toxins on a daily basis. The program is all about lowering our toxic load and reigniting our body’s natural ability to detoxify.

I started making the switch to natural body care after reading Meghan Telpner’s ebook when it came out. She explains that, as our largest organ, what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies. Essentially, if you’re not comfortable eating it, you shouldn’t be using it. And, as we’ve all heard before, the lotions, creams, and cosmetics that so many of us smear all over ourselves everyday are full of some really creepy stuff.

Mainstream deodorants are all kinds of scary. They often include ingredients like formaldehyde, which is a suspected carcinogen; pthalates, which we now know can cause damage to the liver, kidney, lungs, and reproductive system; propelyne glycol, a petroleum derivative that causes kidney and liver damage, inhibits cell growth, damages cell membrane, and leads to rashes; talc, which is linked with infertility and a suspected carcinogen when inhaled; and aluminum, which is associated with nervous system damage and respiratory problems.

However, when I decided to ditch my Dove stick, I was stuck with a major problem: most all-natural deodorants don’t work! It’s no fun worrying that you smell like BO when you’re out on the town. So, when I experimented with making my own and it actually worked, I was pleasantly surprised. This isn’t an antiperspirant. It won’t stop you from sweating. But it will stop you from stinking. And best of all? It’s made from 100% natural ingredients that you could actually eat. Do something nice for your body, and give this recipe a try!

Poison-Free Deodorant

4 tablespoons cocoa butter
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup aluminum-free baking soda
1/4 cup organic corn starch
1 tsp Vitamin E oil (I just punctured & emptied 3 capsules)
5-10 drops essential oil

1. Put your cocoa butter and coconut oil in a bowl.
2. Place that bowl on top of a smaller bowl full of hot/boiling water.
3. Meanwhile, mix together your dry ingredients.
4. Once your cocoa butter and coconut oil are melted, mix in dry ingredients in batches until fully combined. Add your Vitamin E and essential oils.
5. Pour into a small jar and allow to set.

Voila! Scoop out a pea sized amount at a time and rub ‘er in!

Let me know if you give this recipe a try, and I’d love to hear any natural skincare tips you have up your sleeves!


the pajama jam, simple stock from scratch, & a raw hot chocolate recipe.

We didn’t peel ourselves out of bed yesterday until it was already afternoon. Desperately hungry, I started to call around, looking for a place to eat. Many of my favourite haunts were closed for the holiday. Sadie’s was open but it was going to be a 30 minute wait for a table.  We headed out in that direction when a guy in front of Shanghai Cowgirl (Toronto’s rock ‘n roll diner!) called out to us.

They were having their annual New Year’s Day Pajama Jam and we decided to check it out. Inside, a DJ was spinning tunes on his laptop and the waiters were dancing as they valiantly staved off hangovers in order to serve the hungry party-goers. Some of the other guests were still in their New Year’s finery, having not gone home yet. It was fun, and a New Year’s Day tradition I wouldn’t mind keeping.

The three of us each eyed the healthful and tasty sounding Vegan Delight (a veggie-laden sandwich), but instead set our sights on greasier options. We figured that, since we had stayed up well into New Year’s Day abusing our bodies, that our resolutions didn’t really count until January 2nd. So, we ordered the french toast, a veggie burger, and perogies, respectively. Most of the day (read: late afternoon and evening) was spent watching re-runs of Lie to Me and trying to stay awake. We ate leftover dumpling soup for dinner, but wanting to make sure I had a healthy dish to start the week off right at work today, I made a batch of sesame miso salad before bed.

In anticipation of starting the Clean Program next week (more on that another day), I also whipped up a batch of simple veggie stock to use in the many soups I’ll be consuming. I used stalks from one bunch of kale, stalks from 4 heads of broccoli, two carrots, one potato, and three cloves of garlic. However, stock is wonderful because you can use whatever veggies you have on hand and it’s great for using up leftovers, or pieces of veggies you’d normally throw away.

Chop your veggies and put them in a large pot. Cover with approximately 3 litres of water and add a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender. Turn of heat and allow to cool. Strain into jars and freeze or refrigerate for later use. The purple kale in this recipe turned my stock a pretty colour of lavender.

I only worked a half day today and I’ve been spending most of the day furiously scribbling plans for bringing my resolutions to life. Right now, I’m curled up with a cup of my raw hot chocolate listening to Fleet Foxes. If you’ve made a resolution to be better to your body this year, why not try this sweet treat that packs a powerful nutritional punch?

Raw Hot Chocolate

2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
2 tbsp. coconut cream (or avocado)
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tbsp. goji berries
1 tsp. maca powder (optional)
tiny sprinkle of salt (optional)
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup nearly boiling water

1. Blend all of the ingredients except for the boiling water.
2. Add in the boiling water and continue to blend. If your blender cannot handle hot liquids, stir it in separately.
3. Strain and enjoy in your favourite mug.

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I’ll share more about mine tomorrow!

Sweet dreams,
xoxo S.