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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

  • My Two Cents On: The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

    My Two Cents On: The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

    Today is the day!

    If you're a fellow CNE, you'll know this mantra well.

    It's a line from Academy of Culinary Nutrition (ACN) founder Meghan Telpner's official creed, and it's become something of a battle cry for those in the program.

    Today's the day:
    To dare to live life differently,
    To say yes to your heart,
    To chase your dreams,
    To make things happen, and
    To infuse it all with a whole lot of love, community, and integrity.


    When I first stumbled upon Meghan's blog, I was finishing up my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

    I was in search of deliciously nourishing real-food recipes, and oh-my-goodness did I find them! Meghan's are still some of my all-time faves!

    The last year and a half had been an adventure in learning to eat to live.

    Changing the way I ate had given me my health and my life back and catapulted me onto a new path that felt so right I could hardly stand it. But something was missing.

    I wanted to feel confidently comfortable in the kitchen, learn to create awesome recipes, and take a deep dive into the world of food for healing.

    So when I saw the announcement about the debut of an online Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE) program, it was an immediate yes(!) for me.

    I knew, in my gut and my heart, that I had to do it. 

    What I didn't know was how incredible it was going to be, how it would challenge and transform me, or that I'd meet some of my best friends there.

    It remains one of the best programs I've ever completed.

    And here, my friends, are just a few of the reasons why:

    1 - IT'S THE REAL DEAL

    This program is legit.

    Meghan and team are committed to providing a rigorous, professional level, high quality, potentially life-changing experience. No fluff. They deliver on everything they promise and more.

    It's not easy. It requires dedication, time management, and organization. It assumes you are passionate about the study of culinary nutrition and challenges you to rise to the occasion and make the very most of your time in the program.

    When you receive your congratulatory letter and official certification at the conclusion of the course, you'll know that you earned that baby, and it will feel darn good.  

    2 - SERIOUS CULINARY NUTRITION KNOW-HOW

    Research, shared learning, and hands-on experience make for a powerful combination!

    You'll be asked to develop your own unique food philosophy, read the best culinary nutrition books out there, watch inspiring documentaries, create condition-focused recipes and meal plans, plan and teach a cooking class or workshop, and prepare amazing meals in your kitchen every week.

    By the end of the program, you'll have developed a comfort level in the kitchen like you'd never imagined.

    3 - CUTTING EDGE TECH, ONLINE PRESENCE, AND VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE

    This ain't your grandma's cooking school!

    The small-but-mighty ACN team has gone to great lengths to provide a high quality, visually appealing, professional level experience.

    You'll find beautiful images, awesome videos, and smoothly integrated tech. Whether you're an experienced online learner or brand new to the concept, you'll receive the support, guidance, and resources you need to succeed.

    The Academy is also well represented across the various social media platforms and committed to staying current and connected, which is something I appreciate and admire as an entrepreneur with my own online presence.

    4 - STELLAR SUPPORT

    You're so not alone here.

    You'll find an amazing community (more on that in a moment) in your fellow CNE students and alums.

    You'll also get to connect in real time with Meghan and your classmates on the weekly live call!

    You'll find an incredible support and beautiful soul in Ashley, the Academy's Director of Outreach and Customer Happiness.

    And, of course, you'll have your Program Coach (it could even be me!), who will offer valuable feedback and support throughout the program. 

    5 - THE CNE FAM

    Saved the best for last!

    The friends I've made as a result of doing this CNE program are the absolute best thing about it! They are co-creators, inspiration, motivation, expert resources, colleagues, business partners, team members, and so much more to me.

    There is something so extremely empowering to be said about finding your tribe, your peeps.

    Intentionally connecting with likeminded people, especially when you're in the natural health world, can be one of the most transformative things a person can do for themselves. It's a gift of shared enthusiasm, feeling understood, and finding the support and encouragement you've been looking for. 

    Here are just a few of the beautiful people I've been fortunate enough to meet (and snap a photo of) in person! So many of my CNE buddies have become dear friends, and I can't wait to meet them in person! 

     

    I'm often asked to share my CNE experience with folks who've been thinking it over and seriously considering the program. I hope this post helps!

    Today, I use what I learned in the CNE program without even thinking about it. It's become second nature, a part of what I do in all areas of my life and work. My clients, customers, family, friends, and team members have all been touched by what I learned at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.   

    I love connecting with you, learning a bit about you, and answering any specific questions you might have. If you're local, let's grab a cuppa tea and chat. If not, a virtual tea date works for me!

    Feel free to reach out anytime. Perhaps today's the day?!

  • Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    In yoga class last night, 
    The flow was good. Very good.
    But the message was even better.
    And the timing was perfect.
    Brittni led us through a loving-kindness meditation.
    Metta meditation.

    Not familiar?

    The Greater Good Science Center, out of the University of California Berkeley, describes loving-kindess (or "metta") meditation as the simple practice of directing well-wishes towards other people

    And also yourself.

    It's a simple, yet powerful way to feel happier, pump up the positivity, get yourself on a trajectory of growth, feel more connected, and even change the way you approach life! 

    Pretty awesome, eh? 

    How does it work? You simply direct kind, loving feelings to yourself, others (those you love, as well as those you've been feeling tension/negativity towards), and finally, all beings everywhere. It only take a few minutes to do, and it's something anyone can do - including the little ones!

    Check out this awesome video to get a better feel for how this works!

    I'd gone into class feeling some tension about something (doesn't matter what) someone (doesn't matter who) had said earlier this week. And the metta meditation was exactly what I'd needed.

    It left me feeling peace, ease, perspective, compassion, and love for the person who'd been weighing on my mind. It felt like a weight had been lifted: Free from the negativity and the tension. Ready and able to move on. 

    And that's where the gratitude comes in.

    To me, gratitude is like a reality check.
    Yeah, things may be crazy at times.
    Life may feel really hard.
    And it may seem silly to stop and think about what you're grateful for. 

    But I've found that, especially in those most challenging moments, when we take the time to focus on what's good in our lives (love, friendship, being brave, overcoming fear, telling your story, time to listen, being heard, sitting in the sunshine, making a big change, a hug, a hand, doing what's right), something incredible happens.

    A shift.
    And a lightness. 
    And over time, it grows. 


    So I invite you to pause for a moment today.
    Or even a few times today!
    To direct some metta at yourself, the people in your life, and the world. 
    Lord knows we can (all) always use more loving-kindness.

    Maybe even start a list!

    I'll kick things off with 5 big things I'm feeling especially grateful for this morning:

    • Love in my life.
      From family and friends.
      People who lift me up, cheer me on, and genuinely care.
      I am so grateful for you.
    • Community.
      My tribe.
      And there are many, actually.
      This one is forever shifting and expanding.
      But the magic that happens when you connect with people who "get" you is hard to describe. 
      And I am so grateful for this.
    • Meaningful work.
      The opporunity to do soemthing that lights me up and makes me feel alive.
      With food, natural health, self-care, supporting, educating, empowering.
      But most of all: People
      For this I am massively grateful.
    • My Health.
      The ability to breathe clearly, move freely, dance, stretch, run, relax, travel, and snuggle.
      These were not always things I could easily do.
      And I cherish them now more than ever.
    • And even: The Hard Stuff
      Because it's shaped and molded me into who I am today.
      It's an excellent teacher.
      I am stronger, clearer, and more confident in who I am and what I'm capable of because of the challenges.

    And you? What are you thankful for right now?


    Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

    Wherever you may find yourselves today,

    May you be happy,
    May you be healthy,
    May you be safe,
    May you be peaceful,
    And may you be at ease.

    Katie
    XO

  • 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!]
  • Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    It's that time again. 
    But don't worry, I've got you covered!

    I feel your pain. A few years ago, I too was struggling to build and support a healthy immune and respiratory system, to combat irritating (to say the least) seasonal and environmental threats.

    After quite a bit of time experimenting with various options that made me feel foggy, sleepy, and just generally like I wasn't myself, I was fortunate enough to learn that by changing my diet, I could change a lot of other things, too. Including my health issues.

    This blew my mind. And I knew, immediately, that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore.

    Since then, I've been on a mission to learn as much as I can about natural healthcare, and to share my experience and knowledge with others. Here, I'm sharing what I've learned about managing seasonal threats naturally.

    There is hope!
    And if you have something awesome to add, please, leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

    1 - EAT + DRINK CLEAN FOOD

    It always starts with food. That's been my experience, anyway. Transitioning to clean eating has been hugely beneficial to my overall wellness. Why? A massive portion of our immune systems is located in the gut. Clean up what you're putting in there, and you'll start to notice a shift in how you're feeling pretty quickly.

    What can you do right now? Begin to move in the direction of a whole food, plant-based diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegan. Or paleo. Or anthing in particular, really. But it does mean paying attention to where your food comes from and how it was grown/raised. Some of the most common triggers to avoid include processed/packaged "foods", overdosing on sugar, conventional dairy, and (for some) gluten.

    We are all different. This is the concept of bioindividuality. What makes your body feel amazing might do the complete opposite for someone else. If you think you could use some help sorting that out, consider hooking up with a health coach for a seasonal cleanse (elimination diet approach) or a few personalized sessions. Every body is unique.

    2 - SPOONFUL OF HONEY

    Wild, raw, and local, to be more specific. And just a quarter (tea)spoonful or so at first. Why? Those beautiful bees, as they're buzzing about doing their thing, pick up pollen from their environment. The result: By consuming a bit of wild, raw, local honey, a little at a time, you may help to desensitize your body to the pollen. You'll want to start with a smaller amount in the beginning and gradually work up to the full spoon.

    3 - ESSENTIAL OILS

    Until about a year ago, I had no idea how significantly these guys would change my life. When a friend of mine introduced me to essential oils, touting, specifically, their therapeutic properties, I was hesitant and skeptical at first. But I just kept hearing more and more good things about them. Eventually, wanting to really understand the why behind essential oils and their theraperic properties, I took a leap and ordered myself a kit.

    And I am so glad I did. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils are known for their ability to support clear breathing and a healthy inflammatory response when combined together. Used by both veteran and novice essential oil users, this well-known blend is frequently diffused or mixed together for its respiratory health benefits. A little goes a long way.

    4 - HERBS & SPICES

    In conjunction with eating clean, a couple of standout herbs and spices that are really worth mentioning here are turmeric and nettle. 

    Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with many beneficial properties. One of my favorite simple turmeric recipes is "Turmeric Tea", from 101 Cookbooks. Super simple, soothing, and delicious.

    Nettle is another great one, as it contains ingredients believed to support a healthy inflammatory response. Used regularly, many report significant improvement. And it's wonderful for lots of other things, too. Side benefits. My preference is nettle tea from Traditional Medicinals

    5 - OIL PULLING

    Oil pulling is thousands of years old and comes from the ancient practice of Ayurveda, the science of life. I love it because it's an age-old, all natural option for improved overall oral health, clearing out toxins hiding in the mouth and sinus cavities, combatting seasonal threats, supporting a healthy respiratory system, and freshening breath.

    I also love how simple it is. All you need is oil! Coconut, sesame, and olive oils are great options. But stick with the cleanest, most natural version you can get your hands on. 

    How does it work? The fat cells in the oil pull out the bacteria and other harmful toxins from your saliva and around your teeth, tongue, and gums. It’s super easy, painless, safe, and affordable. See the simpe how-to right on over here.

    6 - BREAK OUT THE NETI POT

    The neti pot is another old standby when it comes to respiratory health. The concept is simple: Flush out the problem before your body's had time to mount a major attack. Most folks recommend using the neti pot morning and night to most effectively clear the invading substance(s). 

    Have you explored any of these natural options for combatting seasonal and environmental threats? Any others you swear by and would love to add? Please share, if you like. I love reading your recommendations!

  • 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.

  • Books + Documentaries that Might Change Your Life

    Books + Documentaries that Might Change Your Life

    Inevitably, when I share what I do for a living with someone, we get into a great discussion about this book or that documentary that is a "must-see". Over the years, I've been collecting (mentally and in hard copy) books, documentaries, and other inspirational pieces that have changed my life.

    I'm keeping a list here, for days when you feel like you need a little inspiration, want to check out something new, or are trying to remember the name of that book or film that chaned your life. Please, share your favorites. This list is ever-expanding.  

    TED Talks + Other Inspiring Shorts

    Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
    Daniel Amen: The Most Important Lesson from 83,000 Brain Scans
    Diversity & Inclusion - Love Has No Labels

    Libby Weaver: The Pace of Modern Life Versus Our Cavewoman Biochemisty
    Maysoon Zayid: I Got 99 Problems ..Palsy Is Just One of Them
    Robin Sharma: How to Wake Up Early
    Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
    The Story of Cosmetics
    This Girl Can

    Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do
    Tree Change Dolls

    Documentaries

    A Place at the Table
    Black Fish

    Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
    Burzynski: Cancer is Serious Business
    Food Inc.

    Forks Over Knives
    Genetic Roulette
    GMO OMG
    Happy

    I Am
    King Corn
    Pink Ribbons, Inc.
    Revolution
    The Business of Being Born

    The Gerson Miracle
    The Promise
    Vegucated

    Walmart

    Books

    Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy
    Becoming Vegan
    Change Your Brain Change Your Body
    Coyote Medicine
    Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Tranforms the Way We Love, Love, Parent, and Lead

    Diet for a Small Planet
    Grain Brain
    Eat to Live
    Emotional Healing with Essential Oils
    Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
    Farm City
    Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    Holistic Dental Care
    Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness
    Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole

    Live Raw: Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty
    Medical Aromatherapy
    Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof that You Can Heal Yourself
    Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your Purpose
    Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils
    Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
    Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide
    Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure
    Salt Sugar Fat
    Start with Why
    The Alchemist

    The Blood Sugar Solution
    The China Study
    The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
    The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms
    The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
    The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy
    The Hormone Cure
    The Icarus Deception
    The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out

    The Omnivore's Dilemma
    The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living
    The War of Art

    UnDiet
    WomanCode
    Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

  • Sharing My Story

    Sharing My Story

    I'm so honored to have been featured on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's blog. I stumbled across this post this morning and felt like this was exactly the time to share it with you. 

    My journey to becoming a Holistic Health Coach began with sickness and hopelessness. Now, my life is so very different.

    And I want others to see that this is possible for them, too.

    Today is the first day of this awesome new class I'm taking, and I was asked to introduce myself by answering these two questions:

    1. What do you do? 
    2. Why do you do it?

    Here's what I said: 

    What Do I Do?: I support and empower women (and some pretty awesome men, too!) to heal and thrive naturally - so they can stop feeling stuck and do more of what they love in the world.  

    Why Do I Do It?: It's what I'm most passionate about. I believe everyone deserves to have the knowledge and support (this part is crucial) they need to make their dreams (health, happiness, career, relationships) a reality. I've been on the other side of thriving and happy, and it truly felt like there was no way I would be able to turn things around. Hopeless, depressed, stressed-out, frustrated, angry. But when I began to pay attention to the way I nourished my body, mind, and spirit, everything changed. Now, I'm exactly where I want to be and trust that there are more good things coming.

    Truly, the most important message here is that change is possible. And I am here to help. Sometimes asking for help is the one thing that turns everything else around. 

    Here's the original article, in case you want to check it out:


    Have an awesome rest of the day, guys!

    Much love!
    Katie

  • Is Your Job Making You Sick?

    Is Your Job Making You Sick?

    YES, changing your life, growing, stretching, learning, expanding, making a difference, doing work that satisfies you, and living in gratitude and love is possible.

    For me, it started with saying YES to a friend who offered to listen, hear, support, and encourage me. She told me about her experience at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which I'd been considering, too.

    I said YES to IIN - and things began to shift immediately.

    The community of likeminded, positive, inspiring people is like no other.

    Best investment. Loving the journey. And excited to invite YOU to join the wellness revolution, too!

    Between now and July 4th, you can save $1500 when you say YES and enroll at the largest, most life-changing nutrition school in the world.

    The ripple effect is real.

    Let me know if you'd like to learn more! http://bit.ly/1jiUHTH