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  • Heather Crosby's Pantry To Plate + Hearty Chickpea Stew

    Heather Crosby's Pantry To Plate + Hearty Chickpea Stew

    I did a little happy dance when I heard Heather Crosby had a new book coming out! 

    Heather, creator of the beautiful online space (and book by the same name!) known as YumUniverse, is a fellow plant-lover, graduate of T. Colin Campbell's Plant-Based Nutrition course, and believer in bio-individuality. 

    She also calls West Virginia (wild and wonderful) home these days, which, in my mind, kind of makes us part-time neighbors. (Go with it, people!)

    Her latest cookbook Pantry To Plate: Improvise Meals You Love - from What You Have is a one-of-a-kind, plant-based, gluten-free recipe playbook for the home chef!

    The concept here is "choose-your-own-adventure", and Heather's 30 mix-and-match templates are just what you need to get your creative juices flowing.

    Follow the recipes exactly as they're presented, or go ahead and mix things up. The possibilities are endless! 

    Here are just a few of the lick-your-fingers (and plate!?) delicious recipes you'll find here: 


    HEARTY CHICKPEA STEW
    Serves 8+

    Now I know it's starting to warm up outside, but don't count this one out! It's the perfect meal for those slightly cooler days and evenings (thinking this'll be a good one for Sleepy Creek with the fam) and definitely warming, grounding, and nourishing for colder nights.

    As I write this, it's in the upper seventies in Baltimore, and it was really the perfect lunch today! (I had seconds and I'm already looking forward to dinner.) 

    Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
    1 yellow onion, diced
    3 stalks celery, diced
    2 carrots, diced
    1 tablespoon fresh thyme
    1 cup (15 g) lightly packed stemmed, chopped kale
    ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine (optional)
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander I used 2 drops of my doTERRA Coriander, since I didn't have any ground on hand. 
    ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
    ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
    ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    5 cups (1.2 L) low-sodium vegetable stock
    3 cups (495 g) cooked chickpeas (roughly 1 cup/200 g dry; see page 11)
    1 cup (165 g) cooked wild rice, cooked (roughly 1⁄2 cup/80 g dry; see page 11)
    1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

    Fresh-cracked black pepper

    How To:

    • In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrots, and thyme for 7 to 10 minutes, until softened and browning.
    • Add the kale; sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the wine (if using), lemon juice, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, zest, and cinnamon; stir for 2 minutes, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
    • Fold in the chickpeas and wild rice—cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and then transfer 2 cups (480 ml) of soup (make sure the bay leaf stays in the soup pot and not in the measuring cup) to a blender and purée until smooth. Return the purée to the soup to add bulk, and stir. Reduce the heat to low and season with more salt if you like and generous pepper.
    • Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes to infuse flavor even more—serve warm and enjoy how the flavors develop every day if you have any leftovers.

    And few photos from my fun in the kitchen:

    Credits:
    Recipe from YumUniverse Pantry to Plate © Heather Crosby, 2017. 
    Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.
    Available wherever books are sold.
    theexperimentpublishing.com

  • Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    When you think of essential oils, what comes to mind?

    A massage, maybe? Aromatherapy? When a friend first introduced me to oils, I had no idea how much they would change my life. I was simply looking for a way to go more "natural" when it came to the many products I was using. To simplify. 

    What I discovered was a whole new way to take care of myself, my family (and friends!), and our home. They are soothing, cleansing, calming, supportive, energizing, protective, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit -- and beyond. Their uses are seemingly endless. You will be amazed at the power of pure, exceptionally high quality essential oils.

    But for now, I'd like to introduce you to just a few: My top five must-have essential oils for home and beauty! They are: Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, a special blend of protective oils I love, and Frankincense.

    LEMON

    Lemon essential oil is a little bottle of joy! All of the citrus oils are! (I love Grapefruit and Orange, too!)

    Pop open the top, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Immediately, you begin to feel uplifted. It naturally promotes positivity and cognitive ability, and it's also wonderful for both beauty and keeping your home sparkling clean. A couple simple tips:

    • HOME: Make your own multipurpose spray cleaner! Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Need to freshen the air? Pop some Lemon in the diffuser, or make your own "Fresh Air" spray with just a simple glass spray bottle, water, and 15 drops of Lemon. (A few drops in a bowl of baking soda is super effective, too!) Bonus: Lemon essential oil is amazing for removing all things sticky, from glue to gum and even permanent marker!
    • BEAUTY: Try just 1 drop of Lemon essential oil in a big glass of water. (Stir it in to mix evenly.) It naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion. And healthy digestion equals glowing skin - plus a whole host of other benefits! It also helps to ward off free radicals with its antioxidant properties, so drink up!

    LAVENDER

    Lavender essential oils is widely used and touted for its calming and relaxing qualities. Who couldn't use a little more of that?

    These days, with our crazy schedules and the unfortunate glorification of busy, one of the best things we most need to do for ourselves (and the people we love) is slow down. And that can be tough! Find comfort and ease in Lavender. 

    • HOME: Diffuse 3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil at bedtime to help slow things down and get ready for a restful night of sleep. Have guests coming? Go fancy on them and spritz a bit of Lavender water (mix 2 oz. of water and 10 drops of Lavender in a spray bottle) on their pillows and in their rooms. Smells aaahmazing and will ease the tensions of the day. 
    • BEAUTY: Lavender is soothing to the skin. Whether we're talking daily beauty routine (add a drop to your moisturizer for glowing skin) or a homemade after-sun balm (the absolute best thing you can use for too much sun), Lavender's got ya covered, helping skin to recover quickly. My first (and a classic favorite) combination for an all-natural deodorant that really works(!) also calls for Lavender. Dare you to give it a try - and experience how well it works for yourself.

    MELALEUCA

    Also known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca essential oil is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. But it's also incredible for helping to freshen and purify the air. It's seemingly limitless applications have earned it the nickname of "the gentle giant". I love it for:

    • HOME: Make your toilet shine with a DIY toilet cleaner combo of 10 drops of Melaleuca, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. Amazing, I tell you! (I like to add 10 drops of Lemon, too!)
    • BEAUTY: Melaleuca promotes a clear, healthy complexion. I used Melaleuca (along with Lavender) in an all-natural after Shave lotion for my husband- that he loves! Try adding a drop to your moisturizer - or even your shampoo!. It also soothes minor skin irritations. And remember: A little goes a long way! I love the combination of Lavender and Melaleuca for any of the minor skin stuff that comes along with summer - especially for the little people in our lives!

    MAKE YOUR OWN PROTECTIVE BLEND

    The gorgeous "protective" blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils is a powerful, natural, and effective combo for immune support. It smells like Fall and Winter to me - spicy, warm, energizing, uplifting, and soothing - but it's wonderful year-round.

    • HOME: It's safe to use on countertops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to cleanse the atmosphere by diffusing. Make your own cleanser, hand wash, air freshener, laundry detergent. I love knowing that the products I'm using in my home are non-toxic and health-supportive. Taking out the trash? Give the inside of your trashcan a spray with a simple mix of water + this blend of oils (10 drops of the blend in 2 oz. of water) combo! (I use that same spray for an on-the-go hand cleanser, too!)
    • BEAUTY: This blend is also wonderful for purifying the skin while promoting healthy circulation. Try a drop, massaged into the bottoms of your feet, each night before bed. I also love it for oral health! I use it in my toothpaste, add a drop to water to make mouthwash, and add a drop to a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil for oil pulling. 

    FRANKINCENSE

    I can't wrap up my top 5 without mentioning my favorite oil of all: Frankincense. Royal, resin, and woody, Frankincense is considered the King of Oils. Why? Among other things, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system. It promotes cellular health, reduces the appearance of blemishes, rejuvenates skin, and promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness. Heavy hitter, right? 

    • HOME: Frankincense smells intoxicatingly wonderful - and uplifts the mood. Diffuse 3-5 drops of Frankincense (I love it with Orange, too) in your home to promote ease and emotional balance. If you meditate (it will change your life), try starting your practice with a drop of Frankincense in the palms of your hands, slowly inhaled over a few deep breaths. Or: Rub 1 drop of Frankincence under your nose and massage into the base of your skull. 
    • BEAUTY: Nourish your skin this summer (and year-round) with Frankincense. It promotes youthful, radiant looking skin and slows the signs of aging. This is the main oil I use on my skin, and I use it every single day! A drop in a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or sesame) massaged into your skin (or even along with your moisturizer) is fantastic. Try a DIY clay facial mask! Talk about self-care. Smells and feels amazing!

     
    Have I piqued your interest? One thing that's absolutely crucial when it comes to oils (and most things in life!) is QUALITY - and that you're using only the highest quality of oils (pure therapeutic grade, sourced indeigenously, thorough testing) in your homes and on your bodies. 
    It's truly become a passion of mine to support people in learning how to properly use essential oils and incorporate them into their daily lives. So if YOU'd like to learn more about my favorite essential oils and try them for yourself, check out the Essential Oils section of my website - or reach out to me here. I love hearing from you!

    [Originally published on the beautiful Lenore Design!]
  • How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    A few weeks ago, I sent my top five tips for transitioning to cleaner eating to the fine folks over at Jule's Wellness, an awesome Canadian wellness company on a mission to help you feel healthy, strong, and more conscientious in your life. (Love their stuff! I've got my eye on their monthly subscription box!)

    Eating "clean" isn't nearly as complicated as you might think, but with all the different points of view and diets out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused! I know I used to be. 

    It took getting sick (asthma, IBS, allergies, acid reflux, relentless colds), taking a bunch of meds that didn't work, and feeling hopeless, for me to finally find my way.

    And I'm still learning every day! But that's, I'm quite confident, how it's supposed to be.

    The secret?

    There really is no one-size-fits-all diet. Not in my book, anyway. We are all individuals with unique bodies and needs, so it only makes sense that we would need to take a similar approach when it comes to food!

    Here, I'm breaking the whole "eating clean" thing down into five simple steps. Start where you are, and remember: It's not a race. It's a journey.

    The idea here is to do a little better all the time.

    1 - EDUCATE YOURSELF

    I have a Bachelor's in Secondary Education, a Master's in Science, and 5+ years working as a Trauma/Emergency Department registered nurse, and I still had to go back to school to figure all this stuff out!

    Your story, surely, will be different from mine. And I'm not saying you need to do everything I did! But in some form or another, you're going to need to begin to dig a little deeper and explore a little further than what you've always heard about health and wellness. (Hint: Counting calories, buying non-fat, and opting for "magic pills" will not be getting you to where you want to be, my friends. At least not in any lasting way.)

    For me, it all started with the documentary Forks Over Knives. (You might like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead or GMO OMG!) From there, I devoured book after book on the subject of food as medicine. A few early favorites were The Omnivore's Dilemma, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole, and UnDiet. If you haven't read these yet, I assure you they will shed new light on old "truths". 

    Having experienced what felt like was my own "health miracle", I craved expert guidance, to deepen my understanding of nutrition. And I felt a very clear calling to help others begin to take back their health, too.

    I enrolled in T. Colin Campbell's Plant-Based Nutrition course, followed by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which truly expanded my vision of health (so much more than food!) and taught me the concept of bioindividuality, that what works wonders for one person might not be what's best for another. It was throughout my time at IIN that my vision of health and wellness (and happiness!) began to take shape. 

    If you're anything like me, you'll find that what makes you feel happiest and healthiest may (and likely should!) change over time. Be gentle with yourself as you explore and, ultimately, discover what works best for you. Consider hiring a coach to help you along the way. There is truly something extremely powerful about having a loving, supportive, empowering person in your corner, especially when you're taking on big changes like these.

    2 - THROW AWAY THE CRAP

    As soon as you start re-educating yourself, you'll likely begin to feel like there's a lot in your fridge and pantry (and perhaps hiding under the bed or some other secret stash location?) that simply must go!

    Warning: This could be a little painful. You may want to enlist the help of a supportive friend (maybe after watching one of those awesome documentaries together!), family member, or coach. 

    But, I promise you, this is a critical and crucial part of getting you feeling amazing again!

    You must must must get rid of the bad if you wish to bring on the good. (And I know you do!) If it hurts too much to throw it away, consider donation. Remember: The longer you keep it around, the longer it will take for you to get healthy again! This is something you're going to want to go "all in" on.

    CRAP: I mentioned earlier than I'm of the belief that what's best for me might not be best for you. That being said, my experience and education has taught me that there are a few key offenders that seem to cause a lot of trouble for people. If only for a while, I urge you to consider removing things like dairy, gluten, and processed sugar/sweeteners. Processed anything, really, should go!

    What you want left over is, quite simply, real food. (Not the creations of the food "industry", not those long ingredient lists of unrecognizable items, and definitely not those "fake" and "imitation" animal products laden with processed soy, sodium, and other questionables.)

    3 - REPLACE IT WITH THE GOOD STUFF

    Hint: Good stuff = Real food.

    And here's where it gets fun again! (And the produce department of the grocery store becomes your new best friend!)

    Think seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible.

    Wary about spending more on organics? This little video on The Organic Effect will inspire you to choose "cleaner" options. I also love the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, which help you choose the cleanest options while also being budget-conscious.

    Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is another great tip! (Allows you to skip the a bunch of the processed stuff in the middle sections.)

    A couple of my favorite rules of thumb from Michael Pollan (and your great-grandma) that I like to use are: (1) Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And I also love Rule No. 19 from his fabulous book Food Rules: (2) If it's a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.

    Beyond these, if you're eating animals, please be mindful of their source, what they were fed, and how they were raised. Always look for words like pastured, organic, and non-GMO. If you'd like to learn more about conscious "clean" farming, check out the work of Joel Salatin.

    And if you're looking for another all-around excellent guide to help you identify the crap (and get rid of it), check out Meghan Telpner's down-to-earth and inspiring take-back-your-life book UnDiet. You will love it!

    4 - EAT THE GOOD STUFF

    And make it delicious!

    After throwing together random "plants" for a year or so, I realized I should probably actually learn how to cook! As much as I'd always loved food, I'd never really felt comfortable in the kitchen - until I found Meghan Telpner and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

    Mind = Blown!

    I learned that health-supportive, nourishing, healing food can (and must!) taste mouth-wateringly delicious. And I learned that even I could make amazing food! (This shocked me, I tell ya!)

    I started by just watching her free videos, reading her blogs, and experimenting with some of her recipes, which are - to this day - some of my favorites to recommend to clients, friends, and family!

    If you're not used to cooking with a lot of plants and doing it in a way that is nourishing and healing to the body, just do what I did and start trying out a bunch of different recipes - until you find the ones you looove!

    Over time, as you practice and play and experiment in the kitchen, you'll develop a natural intuition about food and ingredients, and you'll begin to find it easier and easier to throw together something that's both delicious and nutritious for you and your family.

    I've got a bunch of recipes here! A couple other favorites (I have so many) are Rachel's Nourishing Kitchen, Green Kitchen Stories, and Sondi Bruner. Oh - and definitely take some time to browse through all the awesomeness in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition's Top 50 Clean Food Blogs!

    5 - REPEAT (WITH FRIENDS!)

    And there you have it! Educate yourself (lots of great books, documentaries, and classes out there to explore), get rid of the bad (seek support if you need it), bring in the good (lots of plants, think seasonal, local, and organic), make it delicious, and eat it - with friends!

    That's how you transition to cleaner eating. In a nutshell. 

    But the learning doesn't stop there, and there are certainly going to be ups and downs as you find your way. So, I'd like to say a word about your support system. 

    Finding a group of supportive, encouraging, like-minded folks will do wonders for your health, both mental and physical! If you can't find one you love, join mine!

    Making changes to the way you eat isn't always easy. You're going to need to have someone(s) to turn to when you looking for an answer to What the heck do I do with rainbow chard?, or your husband isn't exactly thrilled about your newfound plantiful ways, or you just want something sweet to eat, for God's sake! - but you don't know which ingredients are best.

    Why? Because this is the important stuff. This whole "figuring out what to eat" thing will keep you living and thriving and loving life for a very long time. It's completely changed my life, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you!

    YOUR TURN NOW

    Now it's your turn to share!

    Where are you in this whole process? Wherever you are, I hope you've found something useful here. What's been your biggest takeaway, and where would you like more support?

  • DIY Perfume for Mother's Day

    DIY Perfume for Mother's Day

    Make Your Own Perfume

    More than likely, the "fragrances" in your favorite perfume, body spray, shampoo, deodorant, and so many of the wildly popular store bought self care items are not as natural as  we'd like to think. What we might think is Lavender, for example, is very likely a chemical concoction meant to make us think we're smelling real Lavender. Synthetic fragrances are everywhere, and unfortunately, they're no good for our bodies. Beyond messing with our endocrine systems (throwing our hormones out of whack), they can also cause allergic reactions and sensitivities that can result in sneezing, rashes, runny noses, dry skin, and more. 

    These days, I'm all about the 100% pure, natural options. And essential oils have given me just that. The peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what I'm putting in and on my body makes me feel extra awesome about all the amazing DIY self/skin/body-care stuff I've been whipping up. Plus, it's super fun!

    With Mother's Day right around the corner, I'm thinking this little combo will be the perfect gift - along with some homemade chocolate, of course! Feel free to give it a go yourselves:

    Ingredients
    10 drops Vetiver essential oil

    20 drops Fennel essential oil
    15 drops Orange essential oil
    Spring water or alcohol* (I used an organic vodka)

    *Alcohol will help to meld and preserve the scents.

    Instructions

    • Add essential oils first. For best results, allow just the essential oils to sit in the container for a couple of days. This will help them mix and meld nicely.
    • Top off with water (or alcohol). 
    • Shake well. Allowing everything to sit for a couple weeks will help everything meld together, allowing the alcohol scent to fade and oils to intensify.

    If you'd like to learn more about the essential oils I love the most, just shoot me an email! Happy Mother's Day, mama friends!!

  • Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Make Your Own Chocolate Bark
    Great to throw together for a party or just enjoy at home.

    This is a really fast and easy solution to the all-too-common "I've run out of chocolate" problem so many of us experience. (Happened to me last night.) If you have raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and sea salt, you're covered. How cool is that?

    High quality, organic, fair trade chocolate is not only decadently delicious, but can also good for you. Just don't go eating it all day long. My feeling on chocolate is that it's meant to be savored and enjoyed, a little at a time.

    Cacao beans (where all real chocolate begins) are rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and manganese. And they contain more antioxidant flavenoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries. They're also high in resveratrol, a potent antioxident that protects and supports the immune system.

    What's the difference between cacao and cocoa? Good question, my friend. What you're looking for here is "raw cacao". Why? Here's the low-down, straight from the folks over at foodmatters.tv:

    Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). 

    Cocoa looks the same as cacao, but it's not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that's been roasted at high temperatures. The roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, which reduces the enzyme content and lowers the overall nutritional value.

    Making your own chocolate with raw cacao is where it's at! And it couldn't be easier.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup coconut oil
    1 cup raw cacao powder
    1/2 cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
    pinch of sea salt
    pinch of cinnamon, optional
    pinch of cayenne, optional
    chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit, optional

    Instructions:

    • Over the lowest possible heat, heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. You can even create your own double boiler to further remove the cacao from the heat.
    • Once coconut oil has melted, remove saucepan from heat, and immediately stir in cacao powder and maple syrup, until well combined.
    • Mix in sea salt. (Mix in cinnamon and cayenne, if you like.)
    • Pour mixture over parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    • Sprinkle with optional nuts, seeds, dried fruit.
    • Place in freezer to harden.

    Note: 
    It will melt quickly (remember that coconut oil is liquid at room temperature), so don't leave it out too long, unless you're planning on eating it all in one sitting -- with your friends, of course.

  • Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Making my own sauces is one of my favorite things to do. You can play with the different ingredients and consistencies and personalize things to your taste. No hidden, scary ingredients. No overload of salt or sugar. It's the best! Simple, clean, and nourishing. So you can feel free to drench your veggies in deliciousness!

    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    1/4 cup garbanzo beans
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup water
    2 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons tamari
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon maple syrup

    Instructions:

    • Add all ingredients to high speed blender
    • Blend completely, until creamy and even
    • Optional: Add an additional 1/8 of water to thin (that's what I did), depending on desired consistency
  • In Words + Photos: Afternoon Tea & Oils

    In Words + Photos: Afternoon Tea & Oils

    Back in January, I posted a photo on my Facebook page from a Tea & Essential Oils gathering I'd hosted the night before.

    I'd invited a couple of friends over who'd expressed an interest in learning more about essential oils. I served tea and chocolate, shared my essential oils story, and taught my friends the basics of essential oils. It was a lot of fun! Super laid back and chill.

    About a week later, I was on the phone with a friend from upstate New York. She'd seen the photo and had a crazy [awesome] idea.

    For at least two decades now, she, her sister, and their mother have been getting together once a year for a mother-daughters afternoon tea. They'd meet somewhere special, spend a few days together exploring the area, and, of course, have tea. They've been all over New York City, in various other cities and states, and even had tea at the beach one year! 

    And this year, my friend was thinking, maybe it was time to come to Baltimore! Inspired by my photo, she wondered if I'd be interested in hosting a "culinary nutrition" style Afternoon Tea & Oils class for her, her sister, and her mom. 

    I instantly said: Yes! 
    And then thought: What the heck will I do?!

    I've been to one high tea before - at the Ritz Carlton, with friends of mine, in elementary school. (With our American Girl dolls in tow, if I'm not mistaken.) So I certainly was no expert on planning tea parties. But I reminded myself that my friend had invited me to get creative, do what made sense to me, and to give it the culinary nutrition twist that she knows I love.

    And here's the thing: I love tea, food, and essential oils. So to get to plan a day around those three most wonderful things, for three incredible women, was going to be amazing! And adventure? Yes. But definitely amazing. What an opportunity!

    PREP

    My tea party guests had booked their flights and hotel and were Baltimore-bound, flying in from New York the day before the big event. They'd be staying at the Inn at the Black Olive, a luxury organic-themed, eco-conscious boutique hotel tucked just between Fells Point and Harbor East. I'd heard wonderful things about it!

    I stopped by that morning to drop off a welcome card and gift: A bottle of Grapefruit essential oil. Just a drop in your hands, cupped in front of your face and breathed in deeply is instantly uplifting. It's also awesome in a glass of water, adding the perfect amount of flavor (I use two or three drops) and helping to support the metabolism and curb cravings. I thought it would make a refreshing welcome for weary travelers.

    If you haven't yet been to the Inn, I recommend putting it on your to-do list. The Agora Organic Market on the ground floor is lovely! Green juices, smoothies, organic cafe fare, and even a selection of biodynamic wines. 

    That evening, with help from my best bud, I set the table with some of my favorite colors, textures, patterns, and flowers: A table runner from our trip to Bali, gorgeous cloth napkins from Anthropologie, a sugar jar Eddie brought home from México, and a bright bouquet of red tulips, gifted to us by a recent guest. Thank you, Kath and Mel.

    Next up? Prepping the menu. I wanted to feature a mix of my favorite brands, Baltimore makers, and homemade items. Here's what I came up with:


    TEA

    The first course was Tea. In keeping with my culinary nutrition theme, I decided on a traditional yogi tea, which, according to Ayurvedic wisdom, helps to purify the blood, lungs, and circulatory system and cleanses the liver. It's a warming, spicy blend of cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, clove, and cinnamon, sweetened with a touch of local raw honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes and you're good to go. It was a hit! On the side, I offered coconut palm sugar, homemade maple hemp milk, and a local organic milk (just in case). 

    In addition to the yogi tea, I offered a selection of some of my favorite organic teas from Traditional Medicinals: Ginger, Raspberry Leaf, Cup of Calm, and Peppermint, each of them soothing and health-supportive in its own way.

    Yogi Tea

    Ingredients:
    2 quarts (8 cups) water
    5 sticks cinnamon
    1 tablespoon whole cloves
    1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
    1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
    1 inch ginger root, freshly sliced
    almond milk, optional
    raw honey, optional

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot
    • Simmer for 20-30 minutes
    • Serve alone or with a touch of milk and raw honey

    Note: 
    You can simmer much longer (2-3 hours, even) if you like, but 20-30 minutes will do the job.

    The last of the teas was, I think, an unexpected one: Kombucha, from Hex Ferments, which I picked up at our local Farmers Market the morning of. Hex is awesome because they use organic tea, organic free-trade cane sugar, filtered water, and local, organic and wild foraged herbs to create their super lovely and unique kombuchas. For our afternoon, I chose the Butterfly Lime (the purple one up there) and Parsley varieties.

    Kombucha is a big culinary nutrition player because it's a natural source of probiotics, which help to keep our guts (where nearly three quarters of our immune systems live) strong and healthy. 

    SNACKS

    For the savory portion of the menu, I served a beautiful Coconut Veggie Curry, which my incredibly talented husband (primarily) whipped up the night before. He's so amazing with food, and - having witnessed my "food as medicine" journey and hearing me teach about the importance of understanding the quality of the food we eat/buy - he's very much on board with what I do these days. He's the greatest. Thanks, Babe.

    To accompany the curry, I made the most adorable little tea sandwiches, inspired by the one and only Meg, of Beard & Bonnet. Hummus, lentils, cucumber, dill. Simple flavors that came together very nicely, I thought. Loved them. And have already made them again several times.

    Coconut Veggie Curry

    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons coconut oil 
    1 onion, roughly chopped
    5 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 cups carrots, chopped
    4 stalks of celery
    1 crown of broccoli, roughly chopped
    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, more to taste
    1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more/less to taste
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 BPA-free can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
    1 BPA-free can coconut milk
    8 cups vegetable stock (or water), more or less depeneding on desired consistency

    Instructions:

    • Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat
    • Add all vegetables to the pot
    • Add spices and sautée until just softened, about 10 minutes (stirring frequently)
    • Add diced tomatos, coconut milk, and vegetable stock
    • Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes
    • Allow to cool (enough to transfer to the blender)
    • Puree soup (we used the Vitamix), then return pureed soup to pot, rewarming as needed

    SWEETS

    My favorite course, of course, was the Sweets. And this one I've gotta share a little story about.

    Synchronicity. God. The Universe.
    Whatever you believe, somebody had my back and believed in this tea party.
    And I have proof.

    First, I made a trip to Jinji's (chocolate genius) the day before the party, to pick up a few items. All of her ingredients are raw and vegan, and she does everything in the most creative, quality, heart-filled way imagineable, with the most interesting flavors and combinations. On top of that, she is just the nicest - and so is the whole Jinji's team!

    And would you believe that, just as I arrived, she was putting the finishing touches on a green tea truffle?! It was obviously M.T.B. Meant to be. She sent me home with a collection of Matcha Gunpowder, Mace Stuck Pot Rice (a new favorite), and Lavender Lemonade beauties.

    And then: I wandered over to PlantBar to see if they might have anything there that would fit the occasion. And guess what!? They had a raw Chai Cheesecake. Craziness! And oh my goodness was it good.

    Inspired by a recipe my aunt brought to our Easter get-together this year, I also created a batch of Lemon Blackberry Melts, but with a raspberry surprise in the middle! Such a genius idea, and one I'd never seen before. The only thing I changed was: I used a combination of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and three drops of Lemon essential oil. They were a challenge to recreate, but so worth it. 

    OILS

    To finish off the afternoon, I planned an Introduction to Essential Oils class. 

    What are essential oils?
    How long have they been around?
    How can I use them?
    What can I use them for?
    What do I need to know in choosing the right essential oils for me and my family?

    All this and more was covered, along with a lot of sampling and smelling of the oils, discussing common uses, and sharing some of my favorite resources. We even did a little DIY session, creating customized fresh air sprays and sugar scrubs for the bath or shower. Lavender, Vanilla, Frankincense and Orange, Grapefruit, Clove, Peppermint. A feast for the senses, to be sure. Want to learn more about my favorite oils? Shoot me an email here.

    The sun was starting to set as I waved goodbye to my friends. It had been a beautiful day, getting to know these three beautiful women and, I hope, providing a space to sip, savor, relax, connect, and learn together.

    I am beyond grateful to have been invited to be even a small part of such a longstanding, special tradition. I hope they enjoyed themselves! And I hope it won't be long until they find themselves in Charm City again.

    They'll always be welcome here. With love and tea and oils.

  • Food for a Cause: From Scratch is here!

    Food for a Cause: From Scratch is here!

    Oh, just one more reason I love the Academy of Culinary Nutrition!

    Their mission reaches beyond the "classroom" and beyond the kitchen.

    They're out to change lives and empower people to take back their health and create the lives they desire and deserve!

    What does this latest compilation, From Scratch, from the Culinary Nutrition Experts have to do with changing lives? 

    Well, for one: The recipes are downright dreamy: Gorgeous photos of food-for-healing style recipes, created by yours truly and a whole bunch of my extremely talented friends!

    But much more importantly, 100% of the proceeds (your donations!) will be donated to Kiva, an amazing lending program that helps people around the world kickstart their own businesses - and change their lives!

    This year's edition of the From Scratch Cookbook includes:

    • 35 plant-based, entirely gluten-free recipes
    • Options for vegan, dairy-free, and allergy folks
    • Culinary nutrition tips

    AND it's all available at pay-what-you-can pricing!

    But only through March 6th, 2015!

    So, come on! What are you waiting for?

    Jump on over here and grab your copy:

    I've already donated and downloaded my copy! (It's stellar!!)

    And THANK YOU for supporting this special project. It is truly an honor to be a part of this awesome community. 

  • Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bites

    Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bites

    Welp. We ran out of dark chocolate yesterday. Never a good thing! I like a piece of high quality dark chocolate from time to time. And my husband looks for it every night!

    After the success of the Wild Orange Power Bites at my essential oils class last week, I was really wanting to put together a chocolate-themed "bite" *for all the lovers* this Valentine's Day. (Or any day!)

    These are super easy, satisfying, and frankly, quite healthy! Throw them together today, pop them in the fridge, and enjoy throughout the week. Warning: They go fast! 

    Ingredients:
    1 cup almond butter
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    1/4 cup hemp hearts
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 cup cacao nibs
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1/8 cup chia seeds
    Several dashes cinnamon
    Pinch of sea salt

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in mixer bowl.
    • Mix thoroughly, until well combined.
    • Shape into 1-inch balls.
    • Place in fridge to store.

    And enjoy!

    Happiest Valentine's Day to you and yours! Lots of love from me! 

    Katie
    XO

  • Warm Sweet Potato Spirals

    Warm Sweet Potato Spirals
    Ah, the sweet potato. Love it or leave it, this tuberous root veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness. 


    But it's not just good for your body! Its sweet, beta-carotene orange flesh is rich in magnesium, which promotes relaxation, calmness, and a good mood, according to Psychology Today. 


    And don't be afraid to add healthy fats to the mix. Aside from being vital to keeping our bodies functioning optimally, healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocado), when eaten along with sweet potato, help the body to more efficiently absorb beta-carotene!


    De-stress and give your body some love with these simple Steamed Sweet Potato Spirals. This recipe is so super simple, and it works great as a nutrient-packed veggie side or a mini-meal. 


    Serves: 3
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
     
    ​Ingredients:
    Spiralizer (Or something similar. Even a simple veggie peeler will work.)
    1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed (More to taste)
    Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
    1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, to finish
    Avocado, sliced lengthwise (Optional)


    Instructions: 
    • ​Spiralize the sweet potato.
    • Fill the bottom of a large pot with 1/2 of water, place steamer basket in pot, and place sweet potato spirals in steamer basket. Steam on medium-to-high heat for 10 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure desired tenderness.
    • While sweet potato steams, mix EVOO and lemon juice in a separate dish.
    • Once steamed, remove spirals from steamer. Add EVOO-lemon juice mixture, tossing to lightly coat. Taste test: Add more oil and/or lemon juice as needed.
    • Finish with sea salt, pepper, and sesame seeds to taste.
    • Garnish with avocado slices.

    Enjoy!

  • Turn Up The Beet (Chips)

    Turn Up The Beet (Chips)

    This is the simplest recipe ever - and super delicious! Get yourself some beets and throw these together for a snack or a side. Easy peasy.

    Not nearly as good for you as fresh pressed juice, which is what I'd originally intended to do with my beets, but these babies are delicious. A fun treat from time to time!

    Ingredients:
    1 beet
    1 tablespoon healthy cooking oil
    sea salt and ground pepper

    Instructions:

    • Preheat the oven to 385F.
    • Use a mandolin slicer to slice very thin slices of beet.
    • Place the beet slices in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of healthy cooking oil. I recommend an oil that can withstand high temperatures, like coconut oil (make sure the beet is room temperature, or the coconut oil will harden when it hits the cold flesh of the beet) or avocado oil.
    • Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, mixing to evenly distribute.
    • Place beets on parchment-lined baking sheet.
    • Bake for 20 minutes, flip each beet, and continue to back for about 10 minutes, checking frequently at the end to avoid burning!

    Enjoy!

  • Superfood Hot Chocolate

    Superfood Hot Chocolate

    It's another snowy morning here in Baltimore, but I'm warm already just thinking of how much I'm going to enjoy this totally awesome hot chocolate recipe I created a few weeks ago.

    MindBodyGreen is featuring the recipe on their website this week.

    It's all the good stuff. None of the bad!

    With warming spices like cinnamon, cacao, and just a pinch of cayenne, you'll be feeling cozy and energized in no time. Maca, coconut oil, and turmeric are few more of the powerhouse ingredients you'll find here. 

    Don't be put off by the turmeric! This one's a winner, my friends.

    When you're feeling like you need a little afternoon pick-me-up (power up!), this will do the trick. Works every time. 

    Whip one up this afternoon and let me know what you think!

  • Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon Cornbread

    Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon Cornbread

    Oh heeeey there!

    I didn't see you there behind my giant heaping bowl of chocolate chili and stack of cinnamon cornbread. You have got to try this one! (Recipe and cookbook giveaway coming up!)

    It's packed with plant-based power and it's super hearty, to satisfy all! Plus, it has chocolate in it! (What?) Yes. It's true!

    Especially as my days and nights grow busier with all the holiday happenings, I'm loving having my friend Michelle Pfennighaus' Winning at Kitchen, A Budget-Conscious Cookbook + Mealplans on hand.

    Michelle Pfennighaus is a fellow Holistic Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She suffered for years with debilitating IBS and anxiety, until finally healing herself through changes in diet and lifestyle. Now, she helps others do the same. (And you know I'm all about that!)

    Sure, I know how to make meal plans. And sure, I know how to cook up some delicious, nutritious food!

    But sometimes even a health coach just wants some new done-for-you ideas, to take the stress out of deciding what's for dinner -  and to add to the standard rotation! I'm keeping things interesting over here!

    So far, I've loved everything I've tried! 

    Another nice thing about the Winning at Kitchen recipes is that they're family-friendly! Michelle knows what it takes to get her little people to eat their veggies. In fact, she's kind of an expert at that. 

    We could all use a little more time in our days, right? And a little more money in our pockets! With Winning at Kitchen, you'll get:

    • 25+ recipes for breakfast, dinner, dessert and money-saving staples using real food ingredients.
    • 4 weeks of no-fuss dinnertime meal plans spelled out for you.
    • Recipes are dairy-free, gluten-free and pain-in-the-butt-free. Some vegetarian meals, some with meat.
    • You’ll get printable grocery shopping lists and make-life-easier prep instructions. Start right away, or whenever your schedule allows.
    • You’ll also get Michelle's comprehensive budget shopping guide. Do you know how to edit a recipe to be less pricey? Are you buying organic and wondering if it’s worth the cost? I’ve been honing my money-saving skills for decades and can’t wait to share my secrets with you!
    • AND you’ll have 24/7 access to Michelle's online forum for extra help, ingredient substitution questions, recipe exchanges, kid-friendly ideas and more. In other words – you’re not alone. That sort of support is something you don’t get with other cookbooks or meal plans out there!

    So what do you say? Wanna snag a copy for yourself? Click right here to buy your copy right now. And, while you're here, why not enter the free giveaway, too!?


    WIN YOUR OWN COPY
    Click HERE to enter!!


    And here's the recipe you've been waiting for:

    Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon Cornbread
    Makes 8 Servings
    Prep Time: 20 Minutes
    Cook Time: 1 Hour

    Ingredients:
    1 Tbl. coconut oil
    1 onion, minced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large sweet potato, diced
    3 large Swiss chard leaves, minced
    15-oz. can diced tomatoes
    1 quart chicken or vegetable stock I used vegetable.
    2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

    2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    1 Tbl. cumin
    1 Tbl. cinnamon
    1 Tbl. chili powder
    2 Tbl. cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp. salt (or more, depending on how salty your stock is)
    Hot sauce We skipped the hot sauce.

    For Cornbread:
    1 cups cornmeal
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. baking soda
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 egg, beaten I used a "chia" egg*. 
    1/4 cup coconut oil, plus more for pan

    1 1/2 cups unsweetened milk of choice I used homemade almond milk.
    2 Tbl. raw honey

    *1 chia egg is easily made by combining 1 Tbl. ground chia seeds (I use a spice/coffee grinder) with 1/4 cup warm water, mixing well (I use a coffee mug), and setting aside for about 10 minutes to fully gel. 

    Instructions:

    • In a large stock pot, heat coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and sweet potato. Mix and cook for about 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard, tomatoes, stock, beans, spices, and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Serve with hot sauce.
    • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Great a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch pan and set aside.
    • Combine all cornbread ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into prepared skillet or pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

    And enjoy! It tastes amazing - and even better the next day!

    Love,
    Katie
    XO

  • Día de los Muertos, For Remembering

    Día de los Muertos, For Remembering

    The first July after Grandpop passed away was especially hard. Everyone felt it. His presence and his absence, simultaneously. 

    We'd traveled to the Outer Banks for our annual family reunion. And though he wasn't a particularly loud man while he was alive, everything seemed quieter that year.  

    Months had passed since he'd left us, but the sting, the loss, the pain was still so palpable. I thought of him often and cried every time. 

    That summer, Aunt Kath and Aunt Marg laid out some of his possessions in the living room, on the couches and the chairs.

    T-shirts he'd had made, with images from some of the earliest family reunions. His ties, his eyeglasses, a travel sewing kit, a travel clothes line he'd made himself, his hats, more clothes, and other assorted belongings leftover from his children's painstakingly tedious sorting through of his things.

    Pieces of him, scattered around.

    For us.

    To pick and choose, and take home with us. To remember.

    I wanted to rush up in front of my cousins and grab up everything I could get my hands on. To get first choice. To keep every tangible bit of him. To take him home with me.

    It felt wrong. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed for some reason. But I wanted any pieces of him I could have.

    A few minutes passed. I looked around the room at people wearing his shirts and his sunglasses, smiling, laughing.

    And I noticed there was still something very special sitting on the couch. I asked one of my aunts if I could have it: his little medicine trunk. A brown leather Samsonite travel case, with a hard frame and brass buckles on the front. Inside, a few of his old medications and travel supplies were still tidily tucked away. 

    I also took some of his ties, which I gave to my husband, Eddie, and a pair of his military-issued thick-rimmed eyeglasses. 

    I remember that I carefully rolled his ties and placed them, along with his glasses, in his travel case.

    Tears welling up in my eyes, as they are now, I clutched the case tightly and walked downstairs to my room, silently asking forgiveness for my greed.

    -

    This morning, years later, I opened that medicine trunk.

    And the smell of my grandfather spilled into the air, hitting me hard in the face and the heart. My throat tightened and I felt hot tears slide down my face. 

    It still happens, but not as much as before.

    -

    It's funny, isn't it, how someone can be something very different to each person they know?

    I know for a fact that his relationship with my older cousins wasn't the same as it was with my sister and I.

    And the nearly three quarters of a century he spent with my grandmother, too, was surely a very different kind of relationship. Many challenges, to be sure. He was away a lot, in the Navy. My Nanny did so much on her own to raise a family of four children.

    But for me, Grandpop was always such a hero type of man. Loving, kind, supportive. He always believed in me and he always told me so.

    To me, he was wonderful. I'm so grateful I got to know him that way. That for me, he was all goodness and nothing bad. I hope he knew that about our relationship. I have to believe he did, and still does.

    On this November 2nd, Día de los Muertos, All Souls Day, he surely has come back home.

    I feel his presence all around me. My tears are both of love and of loss.

    It's a day to remember those who've gone before and who are no longer here in their physical form. A day to welcome them back home to the Earthly world, honor them and love them, and then send them safely back to the spiritual world.

    It's been years since I've done this, though I always mean to, and long overdue, but this afternoon I built an altar for my grandparents and Eddie's grandfather, too.

    We built it by the window, to let the light shine in, the rays of light symbolizing the impermanence of life. And to guide them home to us for the day. To "catch up".

    Photographs, belongings, candles, favorite foods, memories. Time and attention. Permission to cry. Permission to smile as you speak of them. And to let the love flow. It's so simple, but so powerful, too.

    How often do we stop to remember our dead?

    Gone but not forgotten. I love this tradition. Day of the Dead. 

    Today, I especially honor and celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have gone before us.

    Because the last thing I want is to forget.

  • Delicata What?

    Delicata What?

    Hey Loves!

    It's been far too long since we've connected here. Time to nip that in the bud! I've missed you!

    How are you? How's life going for you? 

    The last few months have been a bit of a wild (and awesome) ride for me. I've been TA-ing for the most wonderful Culinary Nutrition Expert program, teaching people how to use essential oils to improve their (and their families') lives, and working on a very cool group coaching program!! (Definitely keep an eye out for that one - because I'll be sharing all the details very soon!)

    Lots of good things! And lots to be grateful for. 

    But in the midst of a lot of professional goodness, I found that my self-care routine had been taking a bit of a back seat. (Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.) I know I'm not the only one who struggles with maintaining self-care and work-life balance! 

    It's an ongoing thing. Life is always gonna be busy, right? Things are always gonna happen.

    So what are we gonna do about that? Well, I've decided that I've got to stop putting myself last. And you know what's kind of awesome and amazing?

    I'm finding that my relationships, my body, and my business will ALL benefit from my re-commitment to self-care.

    You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    AmIright? So from here on out - and I'm putting it out into the interwebs for all of you to hear...and hold me accountable - I'm recommitting to doing what I need to do in order to love and respect myself AND be able to serve all of you best

    Let's start with food! Today, I've got a delicious delicata squash salad for you. It's seasonal, simple, and so delicious. If you haven't had delicata squash before, then you need to try this. It's a personal fave, inspired by a recipe a dear friend of mine sent me last year! Ready? Here we go:

    Super Simple Delicata Salad

    Ingredients:
    1 delicata squash
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO (or coconut oil)
    1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
    Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Leafy greens Enough to fill a plate. (I used mesclun and spinach.)
    1/4 cup of walnuts (roughly chopped)
    1 tablespoon of dried cranberries

    For salad dressing:
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Instructions:

    • Wash squash and slice it in half long-ways. Scoop out the seeds. 
    • Slice squash into half-medallions (as pictured) and place in a medium-size bowl.
    • Add EVOO, maple syrup, and sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Toss to combine/lightly coat.
    • Place on parchment paper-lined cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
    • Place greens on plate, and sprinkle walnuts and cranberries on top.
    • In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients together.
    • When squash is finished baking, add it to the top of your salad. The warmth of the squash will warm your salad just the right amount, making it a nice salad for cold weather.
    • Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!

    Let me know what you think! And take me up on this self-care challenge: Do at least one thing today to take care of yourself. What will it be? You are so worth it, my friend. XO

    Love,
    Katie

  • My New Favorite Pie & A Super Simple Crust!

    My New Favorite Pie & A Super Simple Crust!

    You guys!! If you haven't seen me posting about this raw Peach Cream Pie from my teacher, Meghan Telpner, then now's your chance to get in on the action!

    Right off, here's the link to this awesome creation. Meghan always brings her best to the table and lets real food shine! She's got so many great recipes on her website, so please bookmark her page.

    This one is a WINNER, I tell you. Go out and get the last of the summer's peaches (so sad!) and whip this one up for your friends and family. YUM.

    When I first made this pie (have made it twice in two weeks now), I made an unintentional fabulous discovery. I accidentally missed a couple of the crust ingredients when I went grocery shopping, so I had to improvise.

    Thanks to the google, I found a few different options. 

    But the one I want to share with you today was the easiest (and best) recipe ever for a raw pie crust. Thank you Shivie Cook!

    I will be using this all the time now. Think of the possibilities!

    Ingredients:
    1 cup Brazil nuts
    1/2 cup walnuts
    1 cup almonds
    4 tablespoons organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
    3 tablespoons organic coconut butter
    pinch of sea salt

    Instructions:

    • In a food processor, pulse Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds until finely ground. No big chunks.
    • Transfer to a bowl, and - using a fork - mix in coconut oil, coconut butter, and pinch of sea salt.
    • Transfer to pie dish and mold to even/desired thickness, carefully working it up the sides of the dish. Take your time.
    • Add desired contents, freeze (mine took a couple of hours to fully freeze), and voilà: Pie!

    Note: You can use any combination of nuts for this and can easily sub more coconut oil for the coconut butter, if you don't have it. So easy!

  • Miso Soup For The Soul

    Miso Soup For The Soul

    Who needs chicken soup when you've got miso?

    This satisfying concoction is ridiculously easy and soothingly delicious.

    But first, let's talk miso. What's so great about it?

    Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, known in Japanese as kōjikin, and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients. 

    Because it's fermented, miso is a natural probiotic, which is super healthy for the gut

    The World's Healthiest Foods recommends choosing certified organic soy miso, since 90% of U.S. soybeans are genetically modified (GM) these days. The "certified organic" seal offers a lower risk of unwanted contaminants. No need to mess with the bad stuff.

    Ok, ready to get cooking? 

    Ingredients:
    2 teaspoons coconut oil
    1/2 onion, sliced thinly
    2 carrots, sliced thinly
    3 cups water
    2-3 tablespoons miso
    2 portabella mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly

    1 broccoli crown, chopped into bite-size pieces
    2 sheets nori, torn into bite-size pieces
    1 avocado, sliced
    sesame seeds, to taste


    Instructions:

    • In a medium-sized pot, heat oil over low-medium heat.
    • Add onions and sauté until just translucent.
    • Add carrots and sauté until just tender.
    • Add water, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
    • Add miso, mushrooms, and broccoli, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat. Stir in nori.
    • Add avocado, to taste.
    • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

    Enjoy!

  • Banana Chia Pudding: Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, Easy

    Banana Chia Pudding: Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, Easy

    This stuff is GOOD.

    And so easy!

    It's sweet (from the banana and cinnamon) and satisfying, too (because of the chia). It really fills you up.

    Whip this up right after dinner, give yourself some digestion time, and then head back to the fridge (I usually give it about an hour) for the finished product. 

    Just blend together:

    1 banana
    2 tablespoons chia
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup non-diary milk

    Transfer to a bowl, pop it in the fridge to allow the chia to "gel" up, and grab it in an hour or so for the perfect dessert!

  • Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    Another winner this summer:

    This Kale Berry Goodness smoothie! 

    To make, simply blend together:

    2 leaves of kale
    1/2 cup blueberries
    1 banana (Use less for less sweetness.)
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
    1 - 2 cups non-dairy milk (Use less for thicker smoothies.)
    ice cubes, to taste

    Serves two!

  • {Chia} Blackberry-Pear Jam

    {Chia} Blackberry-Pear Jam

    Chia jam!

    This is one of my new favorite things.

    What's not to love?

    Blackberries 
    Pears
    Lemon juice
    Raw Honey
    Chia

    Let me assure you: There is nothing complicated or scary about making jam this way.

    It will only take a few minutes - and it might not last that much longer!

    I saw this recipe over at The Kitchn a couple of weeks ago. And it just so happened that I'd snagged a little carton of blackberries at the market the day before.

    You know what they say about synchronicity, right?

    It was simply meant to be. :)

    My version is only slightly different from the original.

    Here's what you'll need: 

    1 heaping cup of blackberries
    1/2 ripe pear, cut into small pieces (~1/2 inch cubes)
    2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    1 tablespoon raw honey
    2 tablespoons chia seeds

    And click here for the instructions, straight from the source

    Enjoy!

  • Dreamy Super Greens Salad

    Dreamy Super Greens Salad

    I love a meal that lasts. The kind that you can twist and turn and use a bunch of different ways throughout the week. That peanut sauce I made yesterday, recipe over at Food52, is just that. And it's all real, whole food. Nothing processed. Just DIY goodness that loves you up. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it!

    Last night's soba + homemade peanut sauce extravaganza was a success!

    And today, I decided to use the leftover sauce as salad dressing. It worked perfectly! And thankfully, there's still a LOT left. (I can't get enough.) :) My favorite base these days? It's Organic Girl's  SUPER GREENS! mix.  

    Here's the beautiful salad I created today. Really simple, super nourishing, and delicious.

    Creating beautiful, nourishing food is a form of self-love and self-care. And when you do it for others, you're extending that same love and care to them.

    Plus: It's fun to get creative with your food!



    What are your favorite dishes to make that stretch throughout the week? Do double or triple duty? Take a minute to share below!

    Have a great rest of the week, guys!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Build The Perfect Salad, A FREE Guide

    Build The Perfect Salad, A FREE Guide

    Hello Loves!

    Summer is in full swing here in Maryland, and with it comes a massive amount of fresh, seasonal, delicious produce. What better way to dress up a boring salad than to pack it with the fruits (often quite literally) of the season?

    In the Spring, my Nutrition School released its FREE "Spring Salads Guide". It's full of tons of awesome salad recipes from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition students and grads. And did I mention it's FREE?

    What's even better about it is that it's applicable throughout the year - not just in the Spring. :) 

    Click on any of the images below to grab it for yourself and your family - or share it with a friend.

    There's even a quick recipe for an anytime salad dressing. My tip? Add a touch of raw honey to the mix for a little extra sweetness.

    Enjoy! 


  • Avocado Pesto Pasta

    Avocado Pesto Pasta

    This Fourth Of July was lovely!

    Skipped the fireworks and booze and parties to enjoy a peaceful, beautiful day spent with some of my best friends + a homemade meal that satisfied the belly and the soul. All set to a backdrop of motown hits and an open appreciation for the stuff that really matters in life.

    Friendship. Love. Taking care of ourselves. And taking care of others.

    The star of the dinner table was this Avocado Pesto Pasta, the ultimate in summer comfort food. It was inspired by a longing for a pesto I made while at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition last year. Soooo good! Here's a little variation on the original recipe from my mentor Meghan Telpner. 

    Ingredients:
    1 package gluten-free pasta This one's my favorite!
    1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
    1 teaspoon EVOO
    1 bunch basil leaves
    1/2 tablespoon tamari
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds
    1/3 cup olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 avocado
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 1/2 cups tomatoes, sliced
    Sea salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions:

    • Cook pasta according to package instructions.
    • Sauté mushrooms in 1 teaspoon EVOO, until tender. Set aside.
    • Place basil, tamari, sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup olive oil, minced garlic, avocado, and lemon juice in blender. Blend until smooth.
    • Drain and transfer pasta to a large bowl. 
    • Mix in mushrooms, tomatoes, and pesto until pasta is coated and all ingredients are evenly combined.
    • Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
    • Enjoy!

    So what was YOUR favorite Fourth Of July moment? I'd love to know! I hope you had some time to rest and soak up all the love around you. 

  • How's That Breakfast Working Out For You?

    How's That Breakfast Working Out For You?

    What's your breakfast situation?

    Coffee? Bagel? Cereal? Smoothie? 

    Whatever it is, I want you to ask yourself an important question:

    Is your breakfast living up to your expectations?

    I need my breakfast to be wholesome, clean, and satisfying. I need it to last me through till lunch time - because I don't always get a chance to eat before then. And I like it to be homemade, from scratch. That's how I know it's all good stuff - none of that chemical, "food product" business. 

    Real food is the way.

    And on that note, I want to share with you my latest favorite breakfast. More than any other breakfast, I find it lasts me through until lunch. And it's super delicous, too! 

    I also love that it only takes about three minutes to make a batch for the whole week!

    Do this tonight, and you'll be set for the week ahead. Let me know what you think.

    Ingredients:
    3 cups rolled oats
    1 cup puffed brown rice
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds
    1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
    1/3 cup hemp hearts
    1/4 cup chia seeds
    1/2 cup almond slivers
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    1/3 cup dried coconut shreds
    1/2 cup raisins
    2 teaspoons cinnamon, which helps to regulate blood sugar and satisfies a sweet tooth, too!

    Instructions:
    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. I like to put mine in a big container, put a lid on it, and shake to combine. 

    Feel free to add fresh fruit and mix and match the ingredients. Enjoy as you would cereal: with milk of your choosing. I'm partial to homemade almond milk. But that's just me. 

    And that's it! Simple, clean, and deliciously satisfying. Hope you love it! 

  • Portobello Pasta

    Portobello Pasta

    I'm getting ready to do a two-day fresh-pressed juice cleanse (more on that in another post), so I needed to use up some of the food in the fridge. 

    It's so awesome to have access to fresh produce - but one of the challenges is to actually use all of that food. It kills me to have to throw rotten food away.

    We had tons of greens from our Therapy Garden, a random portobello, and some coconut milk left over from that bomb Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream I made last week. 

    Th result? A very simple, yet super delish Portobello Pasta.

    Takes about 15 minutes to make. Do it. Thank me later. :)

    Ingredients:
    1 cup orecchiette pasta
    fresh salad greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
    1 teaspoon coconut oil
    1 portobello mushroom, halved and thinly sliced
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons coconut milk
    1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    Instructions:

    • Get the pasta cooking.
    • Prep your greens (rinse and tear into bite-sized pieces).
    • Plate the greens.
    • Warm coconut oil over low heat.
    • Add sliced mushrooms, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    • Allow mushrooms to cook (over low heat) to desired tenderness, moving them around the pan frequently to prevent burning.
    • At this point the pasta should be just about done. Strain and drain - and add pasta to mushrooms.
    • Add coconut milk and nutritional yeast. More sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    • Pour over salad greens.

    Enjoy!

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

    Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

    Nom nom nom.

    I feel super lucky to live right next door to an awesome year-round Farmers Market. (It's part of why we chose this neighborhood in the first place!) But the Spring and Summer months are especially exciting! So many fresh, vibrant colors to take in - and recipes to plan!

    This weekend I put together a little Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, based on my many recreations of Meghan Telpner's crumble - from her must-have (seriously, you must have it) book UnDiet

    It was my first time using rhubarb - and it was sooo good! I picked up the rhubarb on a whim last week at the market. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but it was too beautiful to pass by. Its super tart taste pairs perfectly with the sweetness of fresh strawberries.

    Ingredients:

    For the filling:
    Two cups strawberries, quartered

    Two cups rhubarb, sliced into half-inch thick slices 
    1/4 cup raw honey
    3/4 tablespoon arrowroot starch

    For the crumble:
    1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour
    3/4 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    1/4 cup coconut oil, just melted
    1/4 cup raw honey, just melted
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon allspice


    Instructions:

    • Preheat the oven to 350F.
    • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ingredients for the filling.
    • In a second, medium-sized bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble, mixing well to combine.
    • Pour the filling layer into an oven-safe baking dish, to create the first layer of the dish.
    • Evenly sprinkle the crumble over the filling, creating the second layer of the dish.
    • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until slightly golden on top and the layer of fruit bubbles below.

    Enjoy!

  • Culinary Nutrition + Lemon Lentil Veg Soup

    Culinary Nutrition + Lemon Lentil Veg Soup

    I was not a natural in the kitchen.

    I loved watching the Food Network and eating amazing food! But it used to be that my husband's asking me to take care of dinner (a rare occasion, since he was the only one who could cook in our relationship) would be an anxiety-provoking experience.

    What to make?
    How to make it?
    How long will it take?
    What will it taste like?!
    Can't you just make it? Pleeease?

    Fortunately, that's no longer an issue. In fact, now I probably take care of dinner just as often as he does - if not more!

    What changed? 

    My first attempts at cooking were the result of changing the way I ate - in order to heal myself and get on with my life. It worked! But the food wasn't always that impressive. It tasted good to me, but there was very little rhyme or reason behind the "recipes" (if you could even call them that!). 

    Now, things are very different.

    It's easy for me to make dinner. I'm more-than-comfortable in the kitchen. I love it, actually! I'm even confidently creating my own recipes. (It's crrrazy dude!)

    I knew a lot about nutrition, but I'd wanted to up my game (take it to the next level) and finally learn how to prepare awesome food for myself, my family, and my coaching practice

    From the moment I saw Meghan's Culinary Nutrition Expert program, I knew I had to do it.

    I just had a sense that I needed that program - personally and professionaly. 

    And I was right. But what I got so far exceeded my expectations.

    It's an information-packed, challenging-but-totally-worth-it, life-changing course.

    And if you're thinking about going for it this time around, then do yourself (and your family, friends, and clients) a favor - and take the leap!

    Today is the day, guys. Life's too short not to do what you love. 

    Here's a peak at what's on the other side:

    • Real time pre-recorded workshop videos
    • Accompanying course materials (resources + recipes)
    • Weekly live-stream office hours with Meghan (includes demonstrations and Q&A)
    • Reading materials
    • Meghan’s business coaching workshop
    • Goal setting workshops
    • Home study & cooking assignments

    Use my link to learn more - and tell them I sent ya! 


    And in the meantime, give this recipe a shot! It's a super easy-and-delicious Lemon Lentil Vegetable Soup, and it's the "Meghan recipe" I've made and remade most often.

    Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
    1 medium (average-sized) onion, diced
    4 carrots, sliced
    5 celery stalks, sliced
    3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained*
    3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
    3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    6 cups water
    1 teaspoon sea salt (more to taste)
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more to taste) 
    1/2 avocado (garnish)
    * Or just use all red or all all green lentils.

    Instructions:
    Heat oil over low-medium heat. Sauté onions until just translucent. Add carrots, celery, lentils, lemon juice, water, sea salt, and cayenne. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. (I've found that you'll need a little longer if you're using green lentils.) Add avocado as garnish. It's such a creamy, delicious addition!

    Notes: I also love adding broccoli (2 cups, chopped up small) and 2-3 cups of sliced-up greens (spinach, mesclun, kale) at the end. I'll turn off the heat, mix in the broccoli and greens, and then re-cover to let the hot soup cook the broccoli and greens with no added heat. Hope you love it!

    And, if you'd like to see the original recipe (not much different from what you see here), you can find it on Meghan's page: http://bit.ly/1o5Vq19

  • Easy Chickpea & Quinoa Salad (Vegan & Gluten-Free!)

    Easy Chickpea & Quinoa Salad (Vegan & Gluten-Free!)

    Whip up this super easy, light-yet-satisfying lunch: Chickpea & Quinoa Salad! It's plant-based, vegan, and gluten-free. Aaand it's delish. 

    Ingredients:
    2 cups quinoa (cooked)*
    1 can chickpeas
    1/2 cup diced red onion
    2 tablespoons dried cranberries, unsweetened
    1 tablespoon dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    • Combine all ingredients.
    • Allow to sit for 1-2 hours, or enjoy immediately.



    *Making quinoa is super easy and fast! To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa until water runs clear. Combine rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups of water in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5-10 minutes. 

  • Taco Night Done Right

    Taco Night Done Right

    Happy Earth Day, guys! Wondering how else you can give Mother Earth a little more love this year?

    I’ve got the perfect thing for you: A totally plant-based, super easy and delicious recipe that you can throw together in minutes. This one is always a winner at our house.

    Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with Earth Day. Actually, quite a lot. According to the Environmental Working Group:

    Americans’ appetite for meat and dairy – billions of pounds a year from billions of animals – takes a toll on our health, the environment, climate and animal welfare. Producing all this meat and dairy requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water. It also generates greenhouse gases and large amounts of toxic manure and wastewater that pollute groundwater, rivers, streams and, ultimately, the ocean. In addition, eating large quantities of beef and processed meats increases your exposure to toxins and is linked to higher rates of health problems, including heart disease, cancer and obesity.

    So, if you want to give your mother a little extra love this year, consider taking a look at the foods you consume - and where they come from.

    A plant-based diet (based mainly on eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) is generally more Earth-friendly than the alternative. Bonus points for paying attention to how far your food has to travel to get to your table. This is super important. Local is best!

    Here's a recipe you can feel good about - that loves you back and is easy to put together fast! 

    Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

    Ingredients:

    The Filling:
    3 cups sweet potato, diced small

    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can corn, drained
    2 avocados, diced
    1/2 cup red onion, diced small

    The Dressing:
    4 tbsp lemon juice

    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tbsp raw honey (or use agave or maple syrup if you prefer)
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp ground cayenne
    1 tsp sea salt

    Tortillas:
    We like to use soft, organic corn tortillas for our tacos.

    Instructions:

    • To steam diced sweet potato, add 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of a medium/large pot, sit steamer basket in the pot, and add sweet potato. Steam, covered, on medium/high heat until tender. (About ten minutes.)
    • While the sweet potato is steaming, place black beans, corn, avocados, and onions in a large bowl. Once tender, add the diced sweet potato.
    • In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, raw honey, cumin, cayenne, and sea salt until well combined.
    • Pour dressing over filling, and mix gently to combine well.

    We use a cast iron pan to warm our tortillas. Low-to-medium heat does the trick. The tortillas will soften quickly. Give them a flip to be sure they've warmed throughout. Add as much filling as you like - and enjoy!

    So, what do you think? Easy enough, right? And it does not disappoint. I would love to know what you think – and I’d love to hear what your go-to healthy meal is. Let me know in the comments below!

  • Get-Happy Ginger Cookies: Easy, Gluten-Free, & Plant-Based!

    Get-Happy Ginger Cookies: Easy, Gluten-Free, & Plant-Based!



    SUPER EXCITED to have
    my new Get-Happy Ginger Cookies on MindBodyGreen today!

    These are super easy to throw together - and they're entirely plant-based AND gluten-free. Happy bellies all around! 

    Snag the recipe HERE.

    Let me know what ya think!

    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • *April Freebie* Whole Grains & Beans: How To Pick, Prep, & Cook Them

    *April Freebie* Whole Grains & Beans: How To Pick, Prep, & Cook Them

    Hey Guys!

    If you've been following along for the last few months, you may have noticed I've been creating a series of *Health Coach Approved* freebies.

    This month's freebie is a guide to Whole Grains & Beans: How To Pick, Prep, & Cook Them

    It's a perfect little quick-reference tool for you if you've ever asked yourself:

    "Um, is this gluten-free?" OR
    "How long should I soak these for?" OR
    "How much water should I use?" AND
    "Is there ANYTHING AT ALL I can do to reduce the flatulence factor?" (There is!)

    Use this link to get your copy!
    http://katiehussong.com/goodandfree 

    LOVE,
    Katie

  • Recipe! Irish Soda Bread Bites

    Recipe! Irish Soda Bread Bites

    Hellooo deliciousness! 

    Recipe: Irish Soda Bread Bites

    This one is really special! Obviously, it's perfect for celebrating St. Paddy's day - but it's also near and dear to my heart because it comes from one of my amazingly talented friends, Kathleen Bradley, CPC. Keep an eye on her! She's doing awesome things. 

    Ingredients:

    1/3 cup honey
    1/4 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup rolled oats, plus 1 cup
    1 TSP caraway seeds, plus 1 TBL
    1/2 cup coarsely ground nut "flour"
    1/2 cup raisins

    Instructions:
    In a small saucepan, mix and warm (but do not boil) honey and almond milk.  Set aside.  In food processor, pulse 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1 TSP caraway seeds until coarsely fine.  Pour onto plate and set aside.  In same food processor, add 1 cup rolled oats, 1 TBL caraway seeds, nut flour and raisins.  Process until a ground mixture forms.  Add to honey/milk in saucepan, stir.  With moist hands, roll 1 TBL portions into balls; then roll in dry, plated oat/seed mixture.  Store in fridge to firm.  



    LOVE,
    Katie
    XO

  • Peanut Butter Cinna-Banana-Sparugula Smoothie. Easy Peasy.

    Peanut Butter Cinna-Banana-Sparugula Smoothie. Easy Peasy.

    Haven't been doing a lot of green smoothies lately. How 'bout you guys? What is easily a once-a-day routine in the warmer months just doesn't come very naturally to me now . It's too coooooold. 

    Instead, I wrap myself in thick scarves and wool sweaters (yes, plural) and hunker down with pots and pots of endless tea to keep warm. 

    Ok, maybe I'm a bit of a baby about it. 

    Time to woman up and eat my greens. Because there does come a time, I've found, when your body starts to scream for greens. 

    My solution? Cinnamon. It's delicious, warming, sweet, and (bonus!) amazing for stabilizing blood sugar.

    This recipe is too easy. 

    Just put:

    • one banana
    • two handfuls of greens I used spinach and arugula.
    • one tablespoon raw peanut butter 
    • a generous dash of cinnamon
    • and one cup of nut/seed milk
    ...in your favorite blender, blend it up, and voilà! Deliciousness.

    And if you're up for yet another (not tea) beverage this week, head over to my friend Jaclyn's page to snag her Nut-Free Cinnamon Sesame Shake. It's killer.  

    Your turn! What's your favorite way to warm up? 

    Katie
    XO 
  • It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    It's Really NOT All About The Vegetables

    Health Coaching the very natural and obvious answer to a question I'd been asking myelf for years.

    How can I do what I love and make a meaningful difference in the world?

    My personal struggle with intense gastrointestinal problems and debilitating asthma led me, quite unexpectedly, to a plant-based diet. To my great amazement, I healed what doctors and pharmaceuticals had been unable to heal - simply by changing the way I ate. 

    I became a very loud advocate for the whole food, plant-based diet. I began to explore other natural healing modalities: yoga, in particular, and massage, herbal supplements, essential oils, meditation. The list goes on.

    This very "give me the facts" and "show me the science" type of gal now fully and completely believes in the power of integrative health. And in questioning what's best for me, instead of accepting what I'm told at face value - or because it's just "how things are". Eastern and western. Alternative and conventional. Yin and yang. One is simply incomplete without the other.

    So I invested in myself - went back to school (more than once) and started my health coaching practice. The journey has been amazing. But there is so much more to this story.

    What I understand now, more than ever before, is that there is no one right way to heal your body - or live your best life, for that matter. Every body - every person - is different. 

    There's no question in my mind that the whole foods, plant-based diet is a very healing diet. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to eat that way forever. Will plants always make up the majority of my diet? Absolutely! No question.

    But what's most important is that we pay attention to what our bodies need. What our hearts want. What lights us up and satisfies our souls. Makes us come alive. And gives us peace. 

    And that, dear friends, is what lights me up right now.

    It's not about how many vegetables I eat. It's about being true to myself and living my vision - more and more each day. 

    So what does my body need? Clean, nourishing foods, a vigorous yoga practice, and the human touch. What does my heart want? Deep connection, love, and friendship. And what gives me peace? Feeling good about what I'm putting into the world and knowing I'm making a difference.

    And now for an invitation.

    In the comments below, tell me. What's it all about for you? Why do you choose to take care of yourself - mind, body, and spirit? I'm guessing there's more to it than vegetables.

    Lots and lots of love, from me to you. XO

    Join me for more love notes.
    Find me on Facebook.
    Reach out to me here

  • POWER UP BREAKFAST {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    POWER UP BREAKFAST {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    Think you don't have time for breakfast? Think again. This is the easiest breakfast to throw together just before you go to bed - and have waiting for you in the morning! Just grab it and go. No cooking. Minimal prep. Five minutes and you're done. 

    It's so simple! Mix and match grains, fruits, and spices to keep things seasonal or change things up whenever you like. Totally grateful to the FoodBabe for turning me on to this. I ate it straight from the fridge this morning. Yum. I used to do this with just oat groats, buckwheat groats, water, and a dash of cinammon, which was great - but I really loved the combination here. Here's what I used in my mix. Try this tonight:


    1/4 cup oat groats rinsed and drained
    1/4 cup steel cut oats
    1 teaspoon chia seeds
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 tablespoon raisins unsweetened
    1/2 cup homemade almond milk 
     half an apple, diced small

    • place all ingredients in a glass or jar
    • refrigerate overnight
    • mix and enjoy the next morning 

    Love it? Let me know in the comments. 
    XO 

  • ALMOND MILK {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    ALMOND MILK {MAKE YOUR OWN}

    The world of wellness can be pretty overwhelming.

    I'm here to make it less about stress, calories, and scales - and more about living, growing, and thriving. To that end, I'm thinking it might be time for a little make your own magic.

    Through a new series I'm calling Make Your Own, I'm bringing this wonderful world to you. Sharing my journey, the things I'm learning along the way, and - most importantly - helping to ease you into a life of greater health and happiness. Why? So you can thrive. So you can live. So you can do everything you want to do.

    One of the most important elements of living well is understanding that how we choose to fuel our lives is ultimately up to us. Too much is missed in school, in the media, in the textbooks - about the power of plant-based nutrition. And there is still so much to learn. 

    This one goes out to all my health-conscious peeps trying to make better choices and buy responsibly. You've heard about the dangers of consuming conventional milk, and you want to do better for yourself and your family. So, what'd you do? If you're anything like me, you headed on over to the Whole Foods and swapped it for a box of almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk. A great idea, in theory, but - as usual - there's more to this story.

    Many of these boxed milk alternatives come with unwanted guests. Preservatives and additives that may not be the safest of options when it comes to our health. One of those additives is called carageenan. It's the concentrated extract of Irish Moss (which, in its whole form, has many health benefits), and it's been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions, and even colon cancer. And friends, who wants any of that?

    So, today I'll show you how to make your own {MYO} almond milk! It's delicious, better for you, and super easy. But first, a few tips for when you feel you must go with store-bought. First, always choose organic. Second, opt for the "original" flavor over vanilla or chocolate. And third, read the ingredients list. (This is the most important!) Most brands use carageenan. It's used as a thickener/emulsifier in many products. If you see it listed on the back of the box, put it back and keep looking. Your gut will thank you. Deal? Ok, good. Now, let's get milking.
     

    1 cup raw almonds, unsalted
    soaking water
    4 cups fresh water
    2 dried medjool dates, pitted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    blender
    large bowl
    nut bag (yup, you read that right)/fine mesh strainer/cheesecloth 
     

    • Start by soaking the almonds. Cover the almonds with one to two inches of water and refrigerate. Six to eight hours is pretty standard. Overnight it great, too. This will make blending the almonds easier. It's also gentler on your digestive system.
    • Rinse the almonds well and discard the soak water.



    • Add rinsed almonds, four cups of fresh water, and two pitted dates to the blender. Blend until well combined - about one minute should do it.
    • The next step is to strain the almond-water-date mixture. Place a large bowl on the counter, and begin to pour the mixture through the nut bag, straining out the almond/date pulp. This takes a couple of minutes. Be sure to squeeze out all the liquid.
    • So that all you've got left is a bowl of milk and a bag of pulp. Save the pulp for granola, bread crumbs, or even to make your own natural face scrub/exfoliator.
    • Now, pour the milk back into the Vitamix, add the vanilla and pinch of sea salt. Blend well. Transfer to storage container, and refrigerate. It will keep for two to four days. Enjoy!

    Sidenote: You can easily swap out almonds for cashews, hemp hearts, and other nuts and seeds to create a different variety of nut/seed milk. 
     

    If you liked this post - and you'd like to see more of the Make Your Own series - then "like" this post and tell me what you think in the comments below. Looking forward to more make your own magic!