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This weekend for Mother’s Day my sister and I met up with my mom, not for a fancy brunch or day of shopping, but to walk 5K to bring awareness to mental illness.  Over 60 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, so I would be willing to bet that if you are not one of these, someone you know and love is.  However, this is something that no one seems to feel comfortable talking about.  Despite the fact that mental illness is so prevalent in our society, there is still a horrible stigma attached to it.  NAMI is on a mission to erase this stigma, by bringing awareness to the disease.  They also provide support for those who suffer with mental illness and their families who are suffering too (often in silence because of the stigma).

Stomp our the Stigma

The NAMI walk was at Fair Park in Dallas, one of my favorite places.  We went to the State Fair of Texas every fall when I was a kid.  My memories are filled with swarms of people buzzing in and out of the expo buildings,  and the thrill of riding the carnival rides at the Midway.  While I love the energy and excitement of those fair days, walking through fair park on an off day was such a serene change.  It really gave me a chance to soak up the amazing sights and architecture around the park.  Without so many people to watch I felt like I was seeing the park for the first time.

Fair Park Bandshell

The race began at the peachy bandshell.  It was ombre before ombre was cool.

Nami Walks 2014 Fair Park

We walked by the iconic Texas Star Ferris wheel.

Texas Star Ferris Wheel Fair Park

And along the strand of art deco buildings and statues.

Art Deco at Fair Park

Statue at Fair Park Dallas

Their was a quick stop to pose with the elephant along the way.

elephant statue fair park dallas

and to check out the turtles sunning in the lagoon

Turtles at the Fair Park Lagoon

Clown at the finish line

We finished the walk with a high five from a wacky greeter.  Hopefully no one suffers from coulrophobia, I have never quite understood the fear of clowns myself.

When we got home I was feeling really good from the long walk.  I haven’t been very true to my own advice, and I had not walked that far in months.  I wanted something light and healthy for lunch, so I whipped up some Thai inspired summer rolls with peanut dipping sauce.  The sauce is actually the same as the sauce I use in my Pad Thai recipe.  Traditionally, I think that summer rolls have shrimp, which you could add if you like.  As for the veggies, I just used whatever I had around the house.

Summer Rolls Ready to eat

These rainbow beauties are filled with crunchy carrots, bell pepper and cabbage, slices of creamy avocado, spicy jalapeno, and sweet mango!

To make them you need:

  • 8 rice wraps
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 mango
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 small head purple cabbage
  • 1 avocado
  • A few leaves of soft lettuce, I used spring mix, but Boston or Bibb works well too
  • a handfull of fresh mint and basil
  • Peanut Sauce


Veggies for Summer Rolls

First off, slice everything up into equal sized thin strips.

Soaking rice paper

get a pan or bowl of water similar in size to your rice wraps close by.  Submerge one rice wrap in the water and let sit for 15 seconds to soften up. (Please forgive the trendy chipped nails!)

Ready to Roll

Stack up the filling

Lay the wrap out on a cutting board and stack up all of the ingredients on one side of the paper, leaving a couple of inches on each side.  Start with the lettuce first, and end with the avocado.

Making Summer Rolls

Now you are ready to roll.  First roll the paper to cover the veggies, then fold over each end and continue to roll it into a long tube (just like a burrito).

Summer Rolls

Repeat until you have used up all of your wraps.

Avocado and Mango Summer Rolls

Cut them in half and relish in how beautifully colorful they are for a second.

Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.

Summer Rolls dipped in Peanut Sauce