Monday, December 31, 2012

Detox from the Inside Out this New Year's


**Published on MindBodyGreen

I am so grateful to have another article chosen for MindBodyGreen, and hope you all enjoy my intrinsic goals for the new year...

The end of the year is a time to focus on where we’ve been, and where we strive to go in the coming year, whether it’s making a change towards a better diet, implementing a new workout plan, or perhaps making a career change. All of these resolutions may bring you more happiness and make your life feel more full, but consider some intrinsic ways to detox this year, and experience more happiness than any crash diet or juice detox will ever make you feel.
This year, try out some resolutions that will fill your life from the inside out:

1.  Focus on needs vs. wants.

As a society, we tend to focus on material objects, hence buying and receiving gifts throughout the holidays. My father always told me, “You can only have so much ‘stuff’!” I am now starting to realize how right my father was all these years, and have found myself needing and wanting less ‘stuff.’ I started my New Year’s resolution early this year, and gave away bags and bags of clothing, shoes, and jewelry that I don’t really need. My life feels organized, light, and ready to take on the new year. Less is now more.

2.  De-clutter your relationships.

Just as material things tend to build up in our lives, so do relationships that don’t serve us anymore. You may have individuals in your life that bring more negativity than inspiration, and are constantly trying to bring down your sunshine. It’s time to let go of those relationships and focus on nurturing the ties that help us to realize our full potential and continue to allow us to grow into thriving individuals.

3.  Give more than you receive.

I’m not talking material objects when I say ‘give,’ I’m talking about the non-material things that we provide for others. Give more love, honesty, and support in your relationships. In your career, be the team player instead of the competitive player. Do selfless gestures that others may not anticipate, without expecting anything in return. The return you will receive feels better than any material gift.


4.  Have kindness and acceptance for your body.

Focus on nourishing your body with healthy foods as much as possible, and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t eat perfectly everyday. Integrate physical activity into your day, whether it’s walking the dog, taking a yoga class, or cleaning the house. Accept your body for the strengths that it has, and don’t dwell on your faults, it’s the only body you have, and deserves only the best treatment. Avoid extremes.

May you feel fulfilled, energetic, and surrounded by love in the coming year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Recharge


When my diet needs a little balance and grounding, especially after holiday lunches, dinners, and all the parties in between, I love a good smoothie to get my diet back on track...a RECHARGE!

On the days I want to recharge my diet, I usually start the day with hot water, lemon, and cayenne to start cleansing from the inside out. I cut out coffee and switch to green tea with lemon throughout the day. In the middle of the day, I whip up a yummy nutrient filled smoothie with greens, fruit, hemp or green proteins, coconut oil, and a few extras like the smoothie below.

My digestive system gets movin', my energy level stays steady all day, and I feel all around lighter. 

You're sippin' till supper!

This blueberry smoothie has been on regular rotation for me lately, and it tastes almost like a blueberry cheesecake...or almond butter & jelly sandwich! 

Ingredients:

Spinach, handful
Frozen blueberries, 1 cup
Almond milk, 1 cup
Coconut oil, 1 Tbsp
Mejdool dates, without pit, 2
Hemp protein or green superfood powder
Slivered almonds, small handful
Cinnamon, 4 dashes
Coconut flakes, unsweetened, optional

Add all ingredients to blender, and add water if consistency is too thick.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peppermint Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


That's a mouthful...and did I mention no egg and no dairy...

Santa's getting some healthier treats this year!

If you are all out of time, and need to whip up something sweet for dear Santa, these cookies are quick and simple...even for someone like me where baking just isn't my thing {I tend to forget important ingredients like flour...oopsie}.

Ingredients:

*Earth Balance margarine, 1 cup
Brown sugar, 1 cup
Water, 1/4 cup
Vanilla, 1 tsp.
Peppermint oil, 1/2 tsp.
Quick cooking oatmeal, 3 cups
Whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups
Salt, 1 tsp.
Baking soda, 1/4 tsp.
Dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together margarine and brown sugar. Add in water, vanilla, and peppermint oil. In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients: oatmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture, and add in dark chocolate chips to preference.

With spoon or scooper, shape dough into small balls. Cookies don't change shape and expand as you bake, so shape to your preference on your non-stick baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cookies will get crispier as they cool, so don't leave in oven longer than the specified time.

*I must mention this is a vegan margarine and just as creamy and sinful tasting as its' dairy cousins.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Veggie Eats: Creamy Truffle Sauce


This recipe is inspired by the combination of two foodie obsessions of mine... 

The first inspiration is from a zen little vegetarian restaurant, The Green Temple. They have the most amazing Tofu sauce that is used on almost all their dishes...so delicious and yummy, I literally leave no trace of it on my plate...OUT OF THIS WORLD!

The second inspiration is from my last visit to Italy, where I enjoyed the most decadent, TO-DIE-FOR truffle sauce...it left me searching for truffle anywhere I could, and caused me to make a splurge purchase of some truffle oil at the market so I can make my own sauces (It wasn't really THAT expensive...more than your average olive oil...).

The best thing about the combination of the two is that this sauce gives you the creamy, rich truffle flavor...without the dairy.

I have been experimenting between veganism and vegetarianism, trying to find what feels best for my body, and the one thing that has made the most impact is cutting out dairy...I'm not perfect, and I've been dabbling with cheese 1-2 times per week, but I've definitely noticed a difference in my digestion, energy level, and weight management.

Enough about me though, let's get started...

Ingredients:

*Sprouted tofu, 1 lb.
Olive oil, 1/2 cup
**Bragg's Amino's or Tamari, 1/3 cup
Garlic, 2 cloves
Lemon, juice of 2
**Nutritional Yeast, optional, 1 tsp.
**Truffle oil, 1 1/2 tsp.
Oregano, 3-4 pinches

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

You can heat the sauce and top over pasta, vegetables, or use in place of a creamy mushroom sauce in a casserole.

*Un-sprouted tofu can be used as well. I prefer the sprouted, as it is made from sprouted soybeans, which increases the calcium, iron, and protein in the tofu.
**These items can be purchased at your local health food store or Amazon, which is a great resource to get deals on some of the more specialty grocery items.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just Breathe


 As I was trying to manage through the hustle and bustle of holiday traffic last night, I received a good helping of road rage from someone out of nowhere. 

It shook me up a little...as my tiny little Mini Cooper was no match to the giant truck that wouldn't let me live down the accidental last-minute merge I attempted. It really made me think...what makes people so worked up during the holidays, or any time of year, that they feel it's necessary to threaten harm on another?? ...Especially over something so small...

The reason I bring up my road rage incident is because it was so small, in comparison to the extremely tragic events in Connecticut this past week...yet people still allow themselves to get so stressed and worked up, they take it out on everyone around them...especially this time of year when emotions are magnified. 

While we can't control the emotions and actions of others, we can control OURSELVES. When the stress is rising through holiday functions, family gatherings, and all of the buzz of the holiday season...take a second to... 

BREATHE...

 and be grateful for the life you have...
just a little reminder :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Veggie Eats: Tofu Tahini Scramble


*Published on MindBodyGreen.

You won’t be disappointed with this creamy vegan-friendly dish! This scramble has a sweet and spicy Asian flare, and is super quick and easy to make. 

The coconut oil gives the dish its sweetness, and the tahini gives it a nutty, warm flavoring. 

I served my tahini scramble over baby kale, chard, and spinach, but it would be just as yummy over a quinoa or brown rice. 


Ingredients:
Makes 2-3 servings

Coconut Oil, 3-4 Tbsp
Garlic cloves, 2
Tahini 2-3 Tbsp
Tamari, 1 Tbsp
Lemon, juice of 1
Brussel Sprouts or Broccoli
Edamame, 1/4 cup
Garbanzo Beans, 1/2 cup
Tofu, crumbled
Garlic Chili Sauce or Siracha, optional



In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil, garlic, and the juice of half of a lemon. Once the oil and garlic have heated together, add the brussel sprouts. On medium heat, cover the brussel sprouts for 10-15 minutes to soften. Once the brussel sprouts are almost soft, turn down heat to low. Add tofu, edamame, garbanzo beans, tahini, tamari, and juice of half of a lemon. 


Scramble together until all ingredients are married, and add garlic chili sauce or siracha to taste!


I like to make an additional tahini sauce to drizzle on the greens before topping with the scramble.  In a separate bowl, mix together tahini, lemon juice, and tamari for an extra creamy dressing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kombucha for Detoxification and Energy


Kombucha is my version of healthy soda...it has an effervescent quality to it, and refreshes and re-energizes!

There are tremendous benefits from consuming kombucha, whereas soda...not so much...

KOMBUCHA
is a fermented effervescent tea with detoxing and energizing qualities. You can make the tea on your own, or you can purchase a ready-to-drink bottle at your favorite health food store. Bottled kombucha is often complemented with ingredients, such as ginger, spirulina, chlorella, or chia seeds, and give it a less bitter taste.

Let's discover some of the most common benefits:

1.  Kombucha contains live cultures of probiotics, increasing intestinal flora and improving digestion. Your body will be able to absorb the good nutrients, and get rid of toxicity.

2.  Most versions of kombucha contain a wide range of B vitamins, providing energy to the body, as well as vitamin C, boosting immunity and promoting detoxification.

3.  Kombucha balances the pH in the body, alkalizing acidity, and flushing toxins out of the kidney. This is similar to the benefits of warm water and lemon, that I discussed here.

4.  Kombucha increases metabolism, as the body is brought into an equilibrium with all systems running more smoothly.

The benefits of kombucha are most effective when consumed on a daily basis, which can get quite expensive if you are buying it pre-bottled.

Try brewing your own kombucha in order to gain the most benefit...something I plan to try out myself...so stay tuned for a tutorial on how to brew your own!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy: A Documentary

Photo Via

To end a great weekend celebrating my sister's birthday with family and friends, I finally got around to getting cozy and watching a great little film called 
HAPPY:)

Happy explores cultures around the world, in search of what makes people happy, and I am happy to say, it is not $$.

This documentary was extremely touching, and focuses on the true journey of happiness and where we experience it most...through community; through active, productive, and enjoyable activities; and by helping others, and contributing to their happiness.

So if you have an hour of time...discover HAPPY...


Happy is available on Netflix instant, or for $2.99, you can watch Happy through the official Happy site here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Veggie Eats: Rosemary Hummus


With the holidays in full swing, the party invites are overflowing, and you probably need a healthy contribution to the holiday party menu...

 My Go-to...
HUMMUS

This creamy fiber-filled dip is an easy option that can be made ahead of time, and uses ingredients that you probably already have on hand...and you'll guarantee that you have something healthy to nosh on besides that tempting spinach and artichoke dip!

Ingredients:

Garbanzo beans, 3 cups
Olive oil, 1 cup
Garlic cloves, 3-4
Tahini, 2 Tbsp
Lemons, Juice of 3
Rosemary, 2-3 sprigs, minced
Cayenne pepper

If you are using dried garbanzo beans, you will want to cook them ahead of time, like I showed you here!

Add 2 cups of garbanzo beans to a food processor, as well as olive oil, garlic cloves, tahini, juice of lemons, and rosemary. Pulse to blend all ingredients together. Add 1 more cup of garbanzo beans, and process until you reach a creamy consistency. You may need to add additional olive oil if the beans are being stubborn and not easily reaching a creamy consistency. Add cayenne pepper to taste, and serve with crackers or vegetables!

The rosemary is optional, and can be omitted or substituted. I like to try different flavorings, like...black bean, edamame, or spicy jalapeno!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An At-Home Yoga Practice


Photo Via

Finding an at-home yoga practice may be a great option for those with crazy schedules, as a cost- saving option, or if you want to supplement your regular studio practice. There are a few online resources where you can pay a small monthly subscription, and have access to hundreds of classes, and lots of different styles of yoga. I am currently using YogaGlo and am loving it!

YogaGlo is $18/month for unlimited classes, and they have many different styles of yoga, including pre/post natal, restorative, vinyasa, and even meditation. Classes run from 5-120 minutes, and are offered at different levels. You can choose a class based on endless criteria, such as a class for energizing, detox, cross training, or yoga at work.

To Create a Successful and Fulfilling At-Home Yoga Practice:

1.  Find a quiet space where you have enough room to spread your mat, and are free from clutter and distractions. You may need to move furniture aside...I learned my lesson with this one, and had a nice run-in with the couch while trying to manage a headstand.

2. Light candles and dim the lights so you can focus, and get the feeling of a studio.

3.  Don't allow yourself to stop your practice to answer your texts or finish the laundry, this is time for YOU!


4.  Try different classes and types of yoga that fit your mood, and your body's needs. If you don't want to pay for a service, there are YouTube videos you can find for no cost. 

5.  Take your practice to a level you are comfortable with. In a studio class, our ego often comes out in the form of competitiveness that causes us to push ourselves farther than is comfortable for our body.

An at-home practice may not be ideal for everyone, but may also be the only way to get in your practice. For a new mom, this could be a great option during the baby's nap time. It is a time to focus on YOU and get a re-charge so you can be more focused and present for your child throughout the day. For students, an at-home practice would be a productive study break, and yoga has been shown to increase attention and alertness.

I still enjoy the social aspects of a studio class with a live teacher, but for a few days out of the week, I have also found challenge and satisfaction in an at-home practice.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rainy Day Cravings: Homemade Pho


Cold and drizzly nights call for warm and cozy meals, and this homemade pho was the perfect nutritious combo to fulfill my rainy day craving!

The best part about this pho is you could use any vegetables you have in your refrigerator, and it's super quick! 

Ingredients:
Makes 3-4 servings.

Olive oil, 4 Tbsp
Vegetable Stock, 5 cups
Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp
Tamari, 4 Tbsp
Ginger Root, grated
Onion, sliced
Broccoli*
Cremini mushrooms*
Shiitake mushrooms*
Baby bok choy*
Kale*
Tofu, firm
Soba noodles

For flavoring:
Basil 
Lime
Jalapeno

*Vegetable amounts can vary based on your preference, and the amounts that I used are shown below.


In a large pot, add 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, and onions and set on medium-high heat. Add broccoli, or any vegetables that may need a longer cook time, such as brussel sprouts. Add in vegetable stock 1 cup at a time, steaming the broccoli and onion. Add in mushrooms, bok choy, kale, tamari, and a few grates of ginger root. Heat on low until pho reaches a rolling boil, and add sesame oil before serving.

In a separate pot, boil water for the soba noodles. Once water has reached boiling, add the soba noodles for 8-10 minutes until al dente. Drain in colander. 

Add soba noodles and cubed tofu to serving bowl, and add pho to fill bowl. Basil, jalapeno, and lime can be added to taste. I also add siracha for an extra spicy kick!

Pho Belly...Pho Heart! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

For the LOVE of Tea Tree Oil!


I love a good green product with multiple uses, and am constantly searching for natural, do-it-yourself remedies!

 When I recently needed a cleaner for my yoga mat to rid off all the yuckiness that gathers from dripping sweat and being transported back and forth, I found my remedy in
TEA TREE OIL!


Here are a few fun facts about my new FAV oil:

1.  Tea tree oil fights off bacteria, fungi, and viruses...hence, my use for a yoga mat cleaner!

2.  It can be applied to your skin and used to treat acne, eczema, and Athlete's Foot. Word to the wise... avoid eyes when applying to your face!

3.  The scent of tea tree oil is energizing and can lift your mood. I use tea tree oil as a morning toner, making me feel more awake, energized, and fresh!

4.  When used as a spray, tea tree oil can control mold and mustiness, preventing germs from lingering. I spray the mat cleaner on my pillow in the morning to keep germs off, and it smells like a spa when I jump in bed at night.


To Make Your Own Tea Tree Oil Disinfectant Spray, you will need:

Small spray bottle
Tea Tree Oil
Water
Essential Oil of your choice
**I used a Rosemary Lavender for an energizing, but calming scent.

Combine in spray bottle: 1 cup of water, 12-15 drops of tea tree oil, and 12-15 drops of essential oil.

If there is something that I can create or use in my own home that doesn't contain chemicals and lots of additives, then I am hooked!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Veggie Eats: Spinach and Kale Pesto


My Italian Mama is an extremely good cook, and I credit any skill I have in the kitchen to her! 

This pesto has been adapted from her recipe, and one that I crave frequently, perfect for those days when you just need a little Italian comfort food in your life. The spinach and kale provide extra nutritious greens, and a different, yummy bite than your traditional all-basil pesto. Serve over gnocchi, quinoa pasta, or with a bruschetta as seen here!

This sauce is far better than any pesto you buy out of a jar, and...it's HEALTHY...no guilt included!


Ingredients:

Fresh organic basil, 4-5 cups 
Garlic cloves, 3
Pine nuts, (2) 1/4 cups
Olive Oil, (2) 1/4 cups
Kale, large handful
Spinach, large handful
Lemons, Juice of 2
Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper

In a large food processor, blend basil, garlic cloves, 1/4 cup pine nuts and olive oil, and juice of one lemon. When pesto reaches a creamy consistency, add kale and spinach to basil mixture, so processor is full. Add the second 1/4 cup pine nuts and olive oil, and blend again till pesto becomes creamy. Add black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.

**Makes enough for a large bowl of pasta. If you make too much, the extra will freeze well in an airtight container.


For the Bruschetta:

Chop cherry tomatoes and basil, and add to a bowl with olive oil, garlic, and juice of one lemon. Mix together all ingredients. Add black pepper to taste. 
Serve over a baguette with your spinach and basil pesto!

Buon Appetito!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Little Things: Giving Thanks

Here are a few of the little things that made the holiday weekend one to be grateful for:

1.  Super-packed, pre-Thanksgiving donation class to raise money for prevention of human trafficking in India.

Photo Via

2.  Cooking an Italian Thanksgiving with my mom and sister. My mom's health has prevented us from cooking and having a holiday that included too much work and stress the past few years, so it meant the world to be in the kitchen cooking together again.


3.  Crawling back in bed the morning after Thanksgiving, instead of battling the crowds for Black Friday shopping, which I have promised myself I will never do!


4.  Celebrating a second Thanksgiving, and also a second birthday with my guy's family.


5.  A much needed reunion dinner with high school friends. Unfortunately, we were having way too much fun drinking wine and catching up, we didn't take a picture together, so I have this little gem from our glory days...thank goodness we all look better with age! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Guilt-Free Thanksgiving...It Can Be Done!

Photo Via

We are one day away from Thanksgiving...the one day of the year it's a requirement to fill up your tummy way past it's limit, with your closest loved ones!

...Which can be a DANGER zone for anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet!

Here are a few tips on how to make it a guilt-free, family and friend filled event, with cooking, drinking, and of course, loads of EATING!

1.  Start your morning with some physical activity...a run, some yoga, or a walk at the beach. Your metabolism will be running more efficiently, and your mind will be clear and relaxed to deal with any stress that may come up throughout the day.

2.  Eat a nutritious breakfast, so you're not famished by the time you get to Thanksgiving dinner. If you don't have a lot of time, a banana or protein smoothie will be better than nothing.

3.  Bring a healthy dish, so you know you can guarantee at least one nutrient-filled dish. I plan on making this ...and this would be a good option as well!

4. Focus on the company, and not the cheese plate! When you are more focused on catching up and having quality conversation with your loved ones, food will come in second, preventing a binge.

5.  Don't be hard on yourself if you do splurge and go overboard a little bit. It's one day of the year, and you'll be back on track with your healthy ways tomorrow. You will gain more weight stressing and dwelling about the giant meal you consumed, then if you accept that this is not an everyday occurrence!

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!
Have gratitude for everything you are blessed with!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Veggie Eats: Everyday Brussel Sprouts


So often these yummy little guys get such a bad rap! I hear people "yuck" and "ekk" when you start talking brussel sprouts...but they are missing out!!

If not prepared correctly, this cruciferous vegetable can be a little bitter, so that's why we're gonna change all that with a really simple preparation that I whip up a few times a week. 

Brussel sprouts are a staple in this house...just as much as water!


Brussel sprouts pack a POWERHOUSE of nutrients, and because I can't give you a recipe without telling you how awesome it is for you, I've included a quick list of their nutritional benefits:

RICH in protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, K, iron, and potassium.
Fight inflammation in the body, and aid digestion.
Prevent retinal damage, and bone loss.
Protect against colon and prostate cancer.



Ingredients:

Brussel sprouts, 20 large
Olive oil, 4 Tbs
Garlic, 2 cloves
Lemon, juice of 2
Black pepper, 1/2 tsp
Red pepper, 1/2 tsp
Capers, optional, 1 tsp
Balsamic vinegar, drizzle or 1 cup for reduction

In a large skillet or wok on low heat, add olive oil, garlic, juice of 1 lemon, and capers. Clean and halve the brussel sprouts, and add to heated oil. Add black and red pepper, and combine all ingredients so seasoning and oil coat the sprouts. Cover and set on medium for 10-15 minutes. This will soften the brussel sprouts. 

While brussel sprouts are steaming, prepare balsamic reduction. Add balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low. In about 10 minutes, balsamic will begin to reduce down and develop a syrup-like consistency. 

Once brussel sprouts are al dente (not too soft, not too raw), add juice of second lemon and brown further by heating on low, uncovered. Add additional pepper to taste. When they begin to get a little crispy, remove from pan, and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Give these green, cruciferous beauties another shot, and you will reap the benefits!

Besides...don't you need to bring a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner?!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I ♥ Lemons!

Lemons Via

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make...EVERYTHING!


These detoxifying, and beautifully bright fruits are present in almost every recipe I make. Not only do they give a little zing to every dish, but they have innumerous health benefits as well. It has been found that starting your day with lemon and hot water will detoxify and cleanse your digestive system and liver.

Some of my favorite benefits of lemon include:


1.  They are extremely high in Vitamin C, and can fight off colds, flu, and throat ailments. Add lemon to your echinacea or green tea when you feel a cold coming on.

2.  The citric acid in lemon aids digestion, relieves constipation, and can prevent formation of kidney stones. I start my day with warm water and lemon just for these reasons, and the smell will wake up your senses.

3.  Lemon has preservative qualities. If you sprinkle lemon on your apples or avocados, you can keep them from turning brown, and extend their life.

4.  It can be used as an aromatherapy aid, as lemons lift mood and energy levels, helpful to those with depression, and going through menopause. It clears the mind allowing for better focus and concentration.

5. It has antibacterial and astringent properties, and can improve the appearance of dull skin. When applied to the skin as a toner, it acts as an anti-aging treatment.

Besides all of the above everyday uses, lemons look fantastic and bright in a bowl in your kitchen, which is personally one of my favorite uses!

**Try a few of my favorite recipes with lemon here, here, and here...with plenty more coming soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Veggie Eats: Butternut Squash Soup


Cooking is one of my favorite things to do to unwind and relax after a long day...but I also work full time, so I don't have a lot of time for difficult and lengthy recipes with tons of ingredients!

...Which is what makes this Butternut Squash Soup so divine! Most of the ingredients I had on hand, and it's super simple!

Ingredients:

Large Butternut Squash
Olive Oil, 1 cup
Pine Nuts, 1/4 cup
Roma Tomatoes, 2
Garlic Cloves, 3-4
Fresh Rosemary, 2 sprigs
Agave, 2 T
Crushed Red Pepper, 1 tsp
Sea Salt, 1 tsp
Oregano, 1 T
Black Pepper

*Makes about 6-8 servings.

For a creamier consistency, you will want to cook the butternut squash first. Cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, or use oven gloves, and cut butternut squash into cubes, removing skin as well.

Add all ingredients to a large food processor or blender. Heat over the stove to warm, and add black pepper to taste.

I served my butternut squash soup with a Rosemary Cashew "Cheese," modified from my Jalapeno Cashew "Cheese" recipe here. It tastes like a rosemary cream cheese/ricotta, and had me fooled that there was no dairy involved!

Not sure that could get any more simple!


I even found a heart in my squash!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Little Things

Quote Via

I truly believe that the little things are really the BIG things in life, and as the week begins, it never hurts to look back and have gratitude, and recognize some of the little moments that make life so BLISSFUL!

A Few of the Little Things Last Week that Made Me Smile:

1.  Brisk but sunny Fall days, perfect for weekend walks by the beach.


2.  A long phone conversation with my sister in Seattle who is working her butt off in nursing school. Our phone calls are few at times with busy schedules, but always inspiring!


3.  A splurge at the market for my favorite oil which guided me to a new sauce recipe which I can't wait to share soon!


4.  Time with my absolutely adorable goddaughter. Her cuddles and smile melt my heart every time.



Find the little things that make your world SMILE this week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Green Product I Love: My S'well Bottle


This little green bottle packs a lot of punch, and has been by my side since I bought it a few weeks back!

When you purchase a bottle, you are supporting WaterAid, which provides safe, hygienic, and sanitized water to the world's poorest communities, as well as cutting down on the waste of plastic bottles that are disposed of each day.

Aside from the green benefits of this bottle, it looks super sleek...I get asked about it often in work meetings, and it is made of double stainless steel, so liquids stay cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours!

I put it to the test, and brought my S'well with cold water to my 100 degree hot yoga class, which is pretty much always impossible to maintain a cold water bottle throughout the whole class, and SUCCESS!

Not only that...Every Sunday I take my dog for a long walk and play session down at the beach, and my coffee is usually cold by the time we're done, but the S'well passed that test too!



To snag one up for yourself, you can find them here. I know I'll be buying a few more for holiday gifts this year, and I have to say the wine bottle size could come in pretty handy for some outdoor strolls through Christmas lights!
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