Filed under: Honestly Pure
Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Pad Thai Your Whole Family Will Love!

Pad Thai 1

Keeping the family happy and healthy isn’t always easy. But there are some dishes that everybody can agree on, including mom (the health food fan). I have made this pad Thai dish a few times, playing around with measurements and different ingredients. It’s a fun dish to perfect because who doesn’t love a good pad Thai? Sometimes I crave this dish but most Thai restaurants use soy sauce, which isn’t gluten-free. So making it at home has been a wonderful treat!

I love my variation because it’s not only gluten-free but it’s also dairy and meat free. Fish sauce is a great tasting addition to the sauce but it’s not vegan. If that doesn’t matter to you, then start with 2 Tablespoons of it. You can play with different sweeteners as well. Egg (cooked alongside the tofu) is also a common addition to this dish if want to add that as well.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Pad Thai 
Serves 4-6
  • 8 oz pad Thai rice noodles (cooked according to package directions, immediately rinsed with cold water)
  • 2 Tbsps coconut oil, divided
  • 8 oz or 1/2 lb tofu, cut into small strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 – 1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsps organic chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps organic sriracha sauce (gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsps tamarind paste
  • 6 Tbsps palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsps mellow white miso
  • 5 Tbsps tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce (not gluten-free)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
To serve:
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced thin with a knife or peeler
  • 1 large carrot, sliced thin with a knife or peeler
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  1. Preheat frying pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook the tofu and garlic until browned on the bottom (about 3 minutes). Add a sprinkle of tamari to give it a browned look and saltier taste. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, tossing often, until browned.
  2. Meanwhile, place the rice noodles in a bowl of super hot water (my sink faucet gets the water very hot). Let sit for about 7 minutes while you’re making the sauce.
  3. To make the sauce, blend all of the ingredients in a blender on low/medium until smooth.
  4. In a large saucepan/frying pan combine the tofu, soaked noodles (discard the water), and 1 cup of the sauce. You can also add cooked veggies of your choice, but that’s up to you. Heat on medium until noodles are warm and everything is well cooked.
  5. Add the scallions, mung beans, cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Add more sauce if needed. Top with shredded zucchini and carrots, additional herbs and peanuts. Lime wedges are wonderful for extra tang.

VARIATIONS: You can add fried eggs to this dish as well. Or you can even add a Tbsp or two of fish sauce to the sauce. I made it once with peanut butter as well. Use this as your foundation and play around with it. Your family will love it. You can add grilled broccoli or other vegetables as well. 

Pad Thai 3


Have you ever made a gluten-free and/or vegetarian version of other popular Thai dishes? Share your recipes in the comments!  


~ Juli Novotny of Pure Mamas 

Safe Skincare Tips For Before, During & After Pregnancy

Laguna Sunset

If you’re pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, there are a lot of things to consider as you prepare to bring a baby into the world. Skincare, as in what you put on your face and body, is one important consideration for moms-to-be in part because all those extra hormones may cause skin problems. While some women get a glow, others get acne, which is the most common pregnancy skin problem. Or, maybe you have both.

In the course of about a year, your hormones will fluctuate drastically, so considering your skin’s changing needs will help you take better care of yourself. But, more importantly, your skin is your body’s largest organ and it’s porous—meaning what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream and even travel to the placenta. When you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to read labels and avoid putting anything on your skin containing questionable ingredients. Follow these simple and safe skincare tips:

Before Getting Pregnant 

  • This is the time to start doing general research about which skincare ingredients to avoid. In Christopher Gavigan’s book, Healthy Child, Healthy World, he says pregnant women should steer clear of products containing phthalates. In body care products, these chemicals are typically used as stabilizers to help maintain scent and consistency and can be found in things like nail polish and fragrances. Among other things, “phthalates have been shown to alter male reproductive development in rodent studies, and preliminary research has suggested a link between high exposure to these chemicals in utero and male reproductive birth defects.”
  • Avoid products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or any of the retinoids when you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. If necessary, try sulfur-based products to treat acne. Skincare products containing glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids are also safer options.
  • In general, start simplifying your beauty routine, using fewer products and smaller amounts will reduce unnecessary exposure to chemicals.


During Pregnancy

  • If you must use nail polish, look for brands that are “three-free.” This “toxic trio” are dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde, which are collectively linked to everything from reproductive and developmental toxicity to cancer. A number of popular nail polish companies committed to removing these chemicals from their products but a study by the EPA in April 2012 showed that 5 out of 7 nail polishes still contained these chemicals, and others claiming to not contain one of the “toxic trio” likely did. So, if you do want to keep painting your nails, do so in a well-ventilated space or try a non-toxic option. Priti NYC, Scotch Naturals, and Zoya are brands we honestly love.
  • Skip lipstick with lead and mascara with mercury. Both lead and mercury are potent neurotoxicants and miniscule amounts can cause irreversible damage. For a naturally tinted lip, try mixing Honest Healing Balm with a non-toxic food coloring (look to your local co-op or grocery store for something like red dye made from beet juice). It’s an easy DIY and your lips will love the amazing moisturizing effects of the botanicals and oils.
  • Learn to love your roots. Some hair dyes contain harmful chemicals such as lead acetate and coal tar dyes, according to Healthy Child, Healthy World. And while there’s no solid proof that these chemicals are unsafe during pregnancy, it’s best not to take chances since these ingredients have been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. Highlights that don’t touch your scalp are a good option if you need some color in your locks. Try EcoColors and other more natural lines to avoid exposure to the harsh VOCs in traditional hair color.
  • Slather on Honest’s Organic Belly Balm to prevent stretch marks and strengthen connective tissue. This balm is made with organic shea butter, olive oil, tamanu oil to help encourage healthy skin regeneration, and calendula to encourage natural healing and reduce scarring.
  • Instead of spritzing on perfume, which might contain phthalates, in The Honest Life Jessica Alba recommends mixing Honest Body Oil with an organic essential oil in a scent you like. Use this like lotion after a shower. Not only will you smell fresh, but your skin will be silky smooth–a two-in-one solutions that also lets you avoid nasty phthalates. (Note: Use essential oils with caution. According to Modern Alternative Pregnancy, you should consult with your healthcare practitioner before using these oils: basil, cassia, cinnamon bark, clary sage, lemongrass, rosemary, thyme, vetiver, wintergreen, and white fir. They also recommend using peppermint essential oil sparingly near the end of your pregnancy and while breastfeeding since mint is known to decrease milk production.)

After Giving Birth

  • If you’re breastfeeding, continue with all the aforementioned steps. Chemicals mom is exposed to can wind up in breast milk. (If you can, continue with a more natural and non-toxic beauty routine because it’s better for your health, too!)
  • Soothe sore nursing nipples with Honest’s Organic Nipple Balm. This high-quality food-grade salve is naturally non-toxic and safe for ingestion.
  • Regardless of how you feed your baby, continue going perfume and fragrance-free. Baby’s going to spend tons of time nestled into you and inhaling those chemicals can still pose a health risk to her little, developing body.

One final tip: Check out the Environmental Working Group’s database, Skin Deep, to see which body care ingredients and products to avoid.


What are your pregnancy skin care tips? Share them with us in the comments!

Easy-to-Make Organic Holiday Chocolate Bark

bark 2

The holidays are a time for giving, sharing, and creating memories with loved ones. Some of the memories my family and I enjoy around the holidays involved delicious meals and some yummy treats!

Today I’m sharing a treat you can feel good about giving to your kids and enjoying some yourself — homemade chocolate bark. I like to consider chocolate bark the new fruit cake. It makes a great gift for friends and relatives, plus my version is a lot healthier than any you could buy in the store. This chocolate bark is also fun to make — you get to choose the toppings and make it personalized. You don’t have to worry about it going old like baked goods since it has a pretty long shelf life. And even if you’re not a pro in the kitchen, chocolate bark is super simple to make. It’s truly the perfect hostess gift, stocking stuffer or treat for a holiday party!

bark 4


  • 3-4 organic dark and white chocolate bars for white and dark bark


  • Toasted nuts and seeds, chopped (pumpkin, hazelnut, almonds, walnuts)
  • Dried fruit, chopped (cranberries, raisins)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Sugar in the raw (I use turbinado sugar)
  • Flavored sea salt
  • Candy cane pieces
  • Get creative – whatever you like pairing with chocolate works!

You’ll Also Need

  • Parchment paper
  • Small high wall cookie sheet or pan

bark 3


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove wrappers and put chocolate bars next to each other, side by side, on cookie sheet.
  2. Bake until chocolate is melted and not burned, about 5 minutes. Maybe longer depending on your oven, so be sure to check them every few minutes to see if the chocolate is melted enough to spread with a spatula.
  3. In the meantime, prep toppings.
  4. When chocolate is melted, remove the cookie sheet from oven. Using a flat spatula, evenly and gently spread the mixture over the parchment paper on cookie sheet until completely covered. Note: If you would like, you can add a flavoring, like cinnamon, peppermint oil, sea salt, orange essence, vanilla, even peanut butter and blend it into the warm chocolate mixture.
  5. Next, sprinkle all toppings evenly over the top layer of the warm chocolate.
  6. Freeze or refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, until mixture is hard again like a chocolate bar.
  7. Gently great apart chocolate into large or small pieces.
  8. Enjoy!

bark 5

~ Juli Novotny of Pure Mamas 

Juli’s Fancy (Oven-Baked) Sprouted Granola

Fancy Granola

I LOVE to make granola (this isn’t a surprise if you read my blog PUREmamas). There really isn’t anything better for breakfast than a healthy homemade breakfast cereal. And it’s nutritious, full of healthy fiber, protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

But the granola I usually make is raw sprouted and dehydrated. Not your typical oven-cooked breakfast. Many people don’t own dehydrators (although I highly recommend that you buy one). And I do not suggest that you follow a recipe that calls for a dehydrator and then use the oven instead. It never turns out right (i.e., my kale chip recipe)—and those of you who have done this know what I’m talking about. It changes everything. So, today I’ve created a “sprouted and dehydrated” style granola that calls for an OVEN! Yay.

It’s full of wonderful grains. The grains are germinated first and the seeds are sprouted. It’s gluten-free. And I sweeten it only with coconut sugar and honey. That’s it.

I hope you enjoy this breakfast in a big bowl topped with fresh fruit and fresh almond milk. Or good goats milk, which is another favorite.

Fancy Sprouted Granola


• 1/2 cup millet, soaked in water for 1-2 hours and rinsed
• 1/2 cup buckwheat, soaked in water for 1-2 hours and rinsed
• 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, soaked in water for 10 minutes
• 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
• 1/2 cup sprouted sunflower seeds (you can buy these, sprout yourself, or just use raw seeds)
• 2 vanilla beans
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/3 cup coconut sugar
• 2 heaping Tbsp. good quality organic honey
• 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1 pinch sea salt
*Try to use organic options when possible.

Fancy Oven-Baked Granola


1. First set the millet and buckwheat aside and let it soak in water for at least an hour. Do the same with the chia seeds, except for 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, chop up the oats and sunflower seeds until they are evenly distributed and chopped but not so much they are turned into a flour (about 10 seconds).
3. Add chia seeds, coconut sugar, honey and melted coconut oil. Pulse again until thoroughly mixed (like 5-10 seconds).

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse one last time until the mixture is evenly combined (again about 5-10 seconds).

5. Put mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper try and grease the pan a bit using a coconut oil spray or just rub coconut oil with a towel.

6. Cook at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Please stir the mixture with a spatula every 5 minutes or so.

7. Let cool and enjoy. Store in a dry container in the fridge for a long shelf life.

Hope you enjoy!

— Juli Novotny of Pure Mamas

A Great Start: Grainless Protein-Packed Energy Cereal

Ok, I’m taking a big leap sharing this recipe with you guys. The reason being is that it’s a bit “hippie” or some might say “like bird food.” Or it might seem a little too healthy for others.

And yes, well, it is. But it’s SO darn good! I’m telling you. I’m one of those people who, despite knowing the wonderful health benefits of chia seeds, has a hard time with the gooey texture. All those drinks and puddings definitely turn me off.

So, the fact that I have been playing around with chia seeds is surprising in itself, and I’m actually sharing a recipe with you.

I really encourage you to try this cereal because it is not only unique and delicious, but it’s a grain-free, well-balanced combination of omega 3s, healthy carbohydrates, and hemp protein. The best part is, my pickiest son, actually LOVES this recipe and it’s the easiest cereal you’ll ever make.

Add a little milk and honey and it’s a perfect snack. I could NOT be happier about this.

Chia Hemp Buckwheat Breakfast 

1 cup organic chia seeds
1 cup organic buckwheat groats
1 cup organic hemp seeds

1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix the hemp, chia, and the buckwheat seeds together in a sealed glass container. You can store this for months.

I LOVE this cereal with the above spices, especially during the Winter holiday season. If you want to add some or all of the spices, do so before you store the grains or add just a pinch when you are ready to eat the cereal. It’s up to you. Play around with the seasonings, it’s fun. 

When ready to eat the cereal, pour 3 Tablespoons into a bowl. Add your favorite organic milk (enough to cover the seeds plus a bit more – about 1/2 cup). I add vanilla almond milk. Again, you can add a pinch of whatever seasonings you like. Maybe even a splash of vanilla flavoring.

Note: let this sit about 5 minutes before eating. The chia seeds will thicken the mixture. Then it’s ready to eat.

I added cherries to my bowl. Feel free to add any in-season fruit. I also toasted a handful of the buckwheat groats and added them to the mixture for a bit of a toasty flavor. If you want to do this, toast about 1/4 cup of groats in a toaster oven for 3 minutes at 350 degree Fahrenheit.

This cereal makes a very lovely homemade gift for the holidays. Inexpensive, super simple and healthy; what better gift to share?!

Have fun. Happy Holidays.

– XO — Juli Novotny of Pure Mamas