Archive | July, 2012

Honoring My Favorite Things and Planning My Life Transformation

30 Jul

Yes, I said planning. You’ll see what I mean.

If you read wellness blogs as much as I do, I’m sure you’re familiar with the practices of meditation, yoga, general exercise, deep breathing, affirmations and the like all to bring about inner-happiness and harmony. I’ve realized that I’ve read a lot on these subjects, even understand and believe the benefits, but fail to practice them myself. Occasionally when I’m in a good mood and get inspired (and when the house is clean and have nothing to do) I’ll try them out, but soon lose patience and get bored. Why? I’m completely sold on the idea of how transforming it can be for your life but haven’t taken the steps to practice it. I guess I’m a reader and believer but not a do-er, and have settled in to a comfort zone in my life. But with comfort comes boredom, and I know deep down that my life could be transformed for the better in ways I don’t even see possible now. So the big question is: how do I get there? I need a plan. I’m a big believer in baby steps and easing into a process as opposed to diving head first and subsequently falling out of it. So this is my first baby step, Honoring My 10 Favorite Things. I’m putting myself on a goal path, starting out with small daily practices of gratitude and appreciation of my current life and ending with consistent practices of nourishing my soul through fitness and meditation. I will stop thinking/analyzing and start doing, and I just know my life will be different. I’ll update through here during the process.

So let me get started with gratitude: My 10 Favorite things.

  1. My early morning routine of making my breakfast while kitty plays at my feet, then drinking my coffee/tea and reading my favorite motivational blogs while kitty naps next to me. Feeling the stillness of morning.
  2. The ritual of “rolling” with my boyfriend. Sometimes we’re zoned in on whatever we’re doing and we realize we feel a little distant. In a moment we’ll give each other a look, and run off into the bedroom to literally roll on top of each other. It seriously brightens our day.
  3. Taking a perfect photo of a thing, person or place that means a lot to me and printing it out for keepsake.
  4. Discovering a new recipe, shopping for the ingredients and serving it for my boyfriend and I, (or a crowd).
  5. Getting anywhere out of LA into the countryside or especially the forest. Seriously, I need to recharge in nature from LA sometimes.
  6. Feeling so accomplished that I don’t feel guilty allowing myself a treat/cheat.
  7. Editing photos after a great photo shoot, paired with great music and a cup of tea.
  8. Having a great conversation with my boyfriend, a family member or friend. The kind that makes connections and plans and leaves you feeling inspired, fulfilled and closer to them.
  9. Learning a new thing that will help me. I love researching and gathering knowledge.
  10. Taking care of someone I love by cooking for them, listening, showing kindness, anything they truly need at the moment.

Now on to my next step, creating a wellness goal chart. I’ll share it in a post later 🙂

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Sweet Potato-Lentil Burgers and Kale Pesto

24 Jul

I often rely on microwavable veggie patties for lunch when I’m rushed, but I want to eat foods that are whole and fresh so that I know exactly what I’m eating. These take a little time, but you’ll have lunch ready-made for the whole week. Plus they are perfectly well-rounded with a good balance of high-quality protein, carbs and fat to keep you satisfied.

This recipe is a shout out to a fellow WordPress blogger Wayfaringteacher.com, who inspired these burgers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small sweet potatoes – shredded
  • 1 large carrot – shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked lentils – drained
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp agave
  • lots of black pepper
  • 1 tbs EVOO

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

  1. Mix the chia seeds with 1/4 cup of water and set aside. This will create a gel that replaces the egg.
  2. Cook and drain your lentils.
  3. Shred the potatoes and carrots together and heat in a pan with the oil for 5 minutes, just until soft.
  4. Grind almonds (and sunflower seeds together) if you don’t have almond meal. Put the meal, lentils, chia gel and agave into a food processor and process until mixed but slightly chunky.
  5. Combine the processed mixture into a bowl with the cooked vegetables and hand mix. If the mixture is too wet, add more almond meal, if it’s too dry add some water. If it’s too dry it will fall apart in the oven.
  6. Shape even patties from 1/4 cup mixture and back for 20 minutes on each side, until crispy.

Kale Pesto: an amazing pairing with these burgers. I was surprised how much this tastes like pesto sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of washed kale, steamed for 5 minutes
  • 1-2 tbs agave
  • 1 tbs dry basil
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pulse all the ingredients in a blender until mixed and chunky. Top your burgers with this, along with some grilled onion, tomato, mushroom and bell peppers like I did 🙂

Coconut Banana French Toast

22 Jul

Need I say more?

Okay, I’ll say a little more. Like how awesome and easy this recipe is! I used Cinnamon and Raisin Ezekiel Bread which makes the result even sweeter, plus I like to eat sprouted grains for it’s health benefits. Pair this with a nice glass of orange/carrot/ginger juice and you’ve got yourself a fine brunch 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbs coconut creamer
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (or EVOO)
  • 2-4 slices of bread
  • shredded coconut for garnish

Mix all the ingredients (except oil and bread) in a pan and soak the bread in the mixture for 30 seconds on each side. Meanwhile heat the oil on a large pan. Drain the bread a little before adding to the pan, then cook for about 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. I also caramelized a couple slices of banana and brown sugar next to them for the top of the french toast. Finish with shredded coconut, blueberries, maple syrup, whatever your heart desires! Enjoy 🙂

Shamrock Shake

21 Jul

This is my take on the #1 rated smoothie in all of LA by Sun Cafe. (And I like mine better) 😉

I’d save this for dessert. Long ingredient list but don’t worry, it’s easy and quick to make. You can leave out or substitute some ingredients and you’ll be fine.

Ingredients (serving for one):

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 c non dairy milk
  • 1/4 c almonds or cashews
  • 1/8 c cacao nibs
  • 1 tbs chia or flax seeds
  • 1 date or sweetener of choice
  • mint leaves (optional)
  • shredded coconut for top

Blend up the nuts and seeds first, then add the rest. The result is thick, creamy and delicious. Beware, it’s addicting!

Fruit Cereal Smoothie

20 Jul

Yes, you read correctly. Cereal. Smoothie. I know, it’s pretty rad, and you HAVE to try it!

If you’re anything like me, you like your mornings fruity and your smoothies thick enough to need a spoon. Bring forth the Cereal Smoothie.

This dish has become one of my breakfast staples. What’s great about it is it’s completely customizable, I make it different every time. This morning it was berry-based. My favorite is adding a whole peach, it creates a perfect smooth and thick texture. But one thing is for sure about this, it’s healthy! Turning solid food into liquid food is much easier on your digestive system, freeing you some energy for your day!

General ingredients to blend:

  • 1/2-1 frozen banana
  • handful of berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries)
  • 3/4 -1 cup of non dairy milk
  • 3/4 cup of cereal (I use bran flakes and fiber-o’s)
  • sweetener and/or spices (stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)
  • 1 tbs chia seeds or flax
  • squeezed juice from half an orange (optional, for more fruity taste)

You can simplify and just use frozen banana, it’s like banana bread in a bowl. Same goes for pumpkin. My favorite is peach and banana. You can add soy-yogurt, or juice instead of milk. The list goes on. Maybe if you’re like me and you have one of these little guys keeping you company while you experiment. 🙂

Do you have any pets who like to watch you in the kitchen too?

Raspberry Lemonade Sorbet

17 Jul

Want an easy, low calorie night-time snack?

Try simply turning this……

into this….

It’s tangy, its sweet, it’s everything you love about summer and will definitely help beat the heat! And may I add, extremely simple to prepare and make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lemonade (I used a low calorie version from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raspberries (or any kind of berries)
  • sprinkle of sweetener (I used stevia)

Blend those ingredients a few hours before you want to eat it and put it in an ice cube tray to freeze. Pop it out and blend the frozen cubes in your blender. If yours can’t handle it (like mine) add a small chunk of watermelon or some fresh raspberries to help it blend. ~viola~! enjoy 🙂

The Pink Lady

13 Jul

This was by far the best tasting juice I’ve ever had. It is so hydrating, sweet, and has a pretty simple recipe.

  • 1 big cup watermelon
  • 1 cup papaya
  • 1 pear
  • 1 beet
  • 1/2″ ginger
  • little squeeze of a lemon