Healthy, artful and whimsical are three words that can describe the recipes that Navitas Insider Sarah S. aka "Miss Whisk" creates on the daily and publishes on her blog A Whisk and Two Wands. From smoothie bowls to spiralized salads, Miss Whisk never disappoints with her creative, (mostly) gluten free and plant-based culinary creations. We recently had a chance to catch up with Sarah to find out what inspires her to create these delicious and wholesome recipes that we have been swooning over for many years.
Read on for this exclusive interview!
What inspired you to create a plantbased and gluten free recipe blog?
It started out as just a healthy food blog, creating delicious healthy fun meals to fuel me and my active family. I use to post food on Facebook all the time and had over 1000 food photos and friends and family kept telling me to write a cookbook. I had just started taking photos because I love food and I dreamed of some day maybe creating a cookbook for my girls. One for them when they went away for college, another when they got married, and one when they had kids. The recipes and photos in the cookbooks would consist of dishes I make for the girls as well as those we would make together (with photographs of my helpers included of course). I started getting friend requests from people I didn't know directly but that knew friends and family members to see my food. Instead of friending the world on Facebook I got Instagram instead (back when it started) and would point friends and family there to see my recipes and photos. It was then when I was told by a couple of large food companies that I needed to start a blog. It was never in the plans, I had only planned on maybe one day opening up a bakery with my girls as my passion was always baking. I make my girls homemade fondant tiered cakes for their birthday parties. My husband bought my domain for Valentine's Day. I thought ok I can do this not knowing what to do or what to expect. I didn't even regularly read any blogs and had no clue what I was in for. My blog was different when I started as there were more kids snacks and fun play with food ideas. I had a nice camera but snapped most photos with my phone as they were easy to just upload. My blog changed, and continues to change, as our lives and dietary needs change. I was following a plant-based vegan diet for awhile and that is what my recipes were. About 10 years ago being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which years later I was told I no longer had with no explanation I still limit gluten as I just feel better doing so. I don't cut it out 100% but a majority of my recipes are gluten free. As my girls grow the recipes also change and are still focused on making healthy food fun and delicious and living a balance lifestyle. We like our treats and I try to make healthier versions but we still live a balanced life eating mostly plant-based healthy foods.
How did you discover superfoods?
I'm not sure how I first discovered superfoods as some we were eating for years and at the time didn't realize they were considered superfoods. I first purchased Navitas Naturals was about 7 years ago when I bought Gelatinized Maca Root for fertility and hormone reasons. While it didn't help as hoped with fertility I noticed positive changes. Shortly after that I added goji berries, flaxseed, hemp seeds, and chia seeds to my daily life. Later I added more superfoods in for fitness and recovery and to feel my best. I try to avoid medicine and focus on nutrition and healthy living to feel good and prevent health issues. I didn't plan to add recipes with them to the blog when I started as I'm not a nutritionist or doctor. While I normally add superfoods such as maca to my recipes, I normally make them optional as they don't typically change the finished product leaving it up to the reader to decide if they want to add them or not.
What are your favorite superfoods to use in your recipes and why are they are your favorite?
There are so many foods called superfoods these days it's hard to pick a favorite. I love all my healthy greens, veggies, seaweed, and berries and whole food "superfoods". I also love cacao powder, chia seeds (as does my oldest daughter, she loves her chia seeds), turmeric, acai, pitaya, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and for myself maca powder! If I had to pick only one favorite recipe for superfoods it would have to be smoothies and smoothie bowls. You can pack so much nutrition into a delicious healthy smoothie. Smoothie bowls are like dessert, even a thick green smoothie, and I love adding all the toppings for flavor and texture! The whole family loves smoothie and smoothie bowls! Second would be chia pudding and anywhere else I can sneak them in.
Tell us about your background training - when did you start cooking? Did you go to culinary school?
I have no formal training with cooking, no culinary school or classes. I only have a passion for food for as long as I can remember that all came to a haul and changed when I was diagnosed incorrectly with Celiac and this was years before it was mainstream and gluten free foods were hard to find and labeling wasn't as clear. This happened just before the holidays and I was crushed as it was a huge time of year for cooking with so many happy memories. Years after when I found out shortly after the birth of my second daughter that I didn't have Celiac I started really doing research into food. That continued with fertility and other health issues, than progressed as fitness became such a large part of my life. It was wanting to live the healthiest I could and my knowledge and passion just kept growing. We also started a large garden as we had one growing up and like to grow our food (when we can here in Minnesota and we aren't traveling with my husband a lot for work) and teaching my girls where food comes from at a young age. This goes back to me remembering cooking with my mom and grandmother from as far back as I can remember. They are some of my fondest memories and hope my daughter's look back on our times in the kitchen the same way.
What is your favorite meal to prepare for your family?
My passion is in baking and meals for gatherings. I like to think I put love into each dish I make for them even if it's something quick as we run out the door to soccer. I like big, or should I say more time consuming, Sunday night dinners, I like lazy morning breakfast, I like baking cookies and breads. I love making their big elaborate birthday cakes, but those are our treats and not so healthy but that's ok because it's all about balance. I like even the simplest smoothie to feel and look special, we are an energetic family and I like our food to be healthy and fun! Maybe it would be apple pie and a soup that I create after a long day at the apple orchard. Or Christmas dinner since we host it at our house and have a large gathering of family. Life gets a little crazy these days so my favorite meal would just be one we can all sit down and enjoy togetherâ€¦ which lately would be our homemade pizza nights. We prep dough 3-4 hours in advance, even if it's between soccer games on the weekend and we all make our own favorite pizzas (or have fun playing with flavors as no combos are off limits) together and than enjoy them.
What is your favorite recipe of all time that you created and are most proud of?
I can't even pick one because I have many I love for different reasons. So I asked my girls. My oldest said my Raw Cashew Layered Chocolate Mint Mousse Cake. She couldn't believe it was avocado in there. I would have to say I agree I like raw cakes as my Raw Chocolate Mousse Cake is a hit when I take it to any get together and everyone (except those with a nut allergy) can enjoy it! Otherwise so many of my smoothies, including coffee ones as they are healthy versions of nutrition lacking coffee house drinks (like my Molten Chocolate Protein Shake or Pumpkin Maca Mocha). My cookies hold a special spot as does a non "recipe" of my daughter's Mermaid Party where she told me a day before her 5th birthday that she wanted an edible coral reef. I took on the challenge and gave her a huge edible coral reef that took up almost our whole center island.