The Importance of Self-Care: Morning Pages

This past week I have been focusing on the art of self-care.  It came to my attention through my studies to become a holistic health coach and I am very grateful for it.

I had no idea how badly I needed to make self-care a daily practice.  I was giving a lot of energy to projects, my j.o.b., travel, studying and other people and it took me a while to notice that my energy was waning.

Through my curriculum I learned about a wonderful lady named Julia Cameron, author of the book The Artist’s Way.  This book was recommended to me by a friend within the last couple of years, and I purchased the book but still have yet to read it!

Luckily, I watched a lecture given by Cameron in which she describes the practice of writing what she calls Morning Pages.  This is the gift of writing freehand first thing in the morning and filling 3 pages with thoughts, feelings, dreams and anything else that is on one’s mind.

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I have only been doing this for about a week, and I am amazed at the difference it has made in my life.  I am calmer and more grounded and able to live outside of my own head and be more present with my loved ones.  I feel less needy of other people’s attention because I have given myself the loving attention of honestly sharing my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis.

There really is something magical about validating yourself through writing.  Not only is it an actively healing and cathartic experience, it allows the exercising of creativity, something that I now remember is incredibly important.

I’m so grateful to Julia Cameron and the Morning Pages activity that has helped me to nourish myself emotionally and mentally and to inspire me to get back in touch with my creative side.

You can learning more about Morning Pages and Julia Cameron’s beautiful gifts here.

 

Celebrate Friendship

You ever have those moments when you connect with a great friend at just the right moment in your life?

I had one of those this past week.  One of my dear friends and I got to share stories, memories and laughs as well as encourage each other to enhance our lives in some way.  We talked for the better part of an hour and I had a smile on my face that lasted after the call.  Over the next couple of days I connected with 4 of my best friends and I experienced healing, joy, gratitude, love and peace from those simple yet profound conversations.

That is the beauty of friendship.

I am so thankful for the deep, meaningful friendships that I have in my life.  Their love reminds me that God and the universe truly loves me and is moving things in a positive flow to aid me in my intentions to create the life I desire.

I encourage you to reflect on your relationships this moment.  Is there someone who stands out as being a truly amazing, supportive and loving friend at all times? If so, I encourage you to take a moment right NOW to pick up the phone and call them and tell them what they mean to you (texts and emails are nice, too-but a call is so much more powerful because we can hear each other’s voice and feel the energy and emotion there).

I appreciate your presence on this site right now and I hope that reading these words will remind you of the beauty, light and power that lives in you.

Super Simple Raw Pitaya “Bowls”

Today I stumbled across  a comment by someone who found it challenging to find a place that makes a really good pitaya bowl.  This inspired me to run home on my lunch break and make use of some special fruits that have been camping out in my fridge.

For those who are new to the term pitaya (like I was when I moved to California) it is one of the more common names for dragon fruit.  Dragon fruit is an amazing specimen.  First of all, it grows from a cactus of all things! Second, it is one of the coolest-looking fruits out there-it really resembles what I imagine a dragon’s egg might look like.  Third, it comes in different, beautiful colors and is packed with vitamin-rich, hydrating nourishment.  It’s even said to be potentially preventative of cancer.  (You can check out a scholarly article written by Brazilian researchers on the subject here!)

One interesting thing about dragon fruit is that you never know what color you’re going to get until you open it up-at least I don’t know if there is a trick, I just enjoy the surprise every time.  🙂 Typically they come in white, red, magenta or yellow.  Last month I opened my first magenta-I mean, magenTA! Unfortunately I did not take a picture of it-next time!

This time I opened one that I got at an Asian market (hands down best place to find dragon fruit + best price) and the most common color greeted me.

My idea to make the bowl started with 3 simple ingredients: the dragon fruit, a kiwi and some shredded coconut.  It might be fun to add another color like red with some nice strawberries or raspberries, or some banana slices to make it more tropical.  Today, however, I am hoarding my bananas to make some of the best banana bread I’ve ever made so I’m sticking with these 3 selections.  🙂 I also made the decision to not process the pitaya at all, which is what I mean by “raw.” This is the healthy option that I prefer, as most commercially-made pitaya bowls are mixed with sweeteners like orange juice or apple juice during the blending process.  Personally, I don’t think those bowls do the fruit justice as the delicate dragon fruit flavor is easily overpowered by added fruit juices.

Here’s what I did and how it turned out so that you can enjoy some amazing refreshing deliciousness in a great pitaya bowl anytime in the comfort of your own home (and for about 1/4 of the price!)

Raw Unprocessed Pitaya “Bowl” (Serves 2 with leftovers!)

Ingredients:

  • Medium-sized dragon fruit
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2-1 tsp of coconut flakes (toasted, if desired)

Steps

  1. Rinse produce and place on cutting board
  2. Cut each fruit in half
  3. Scoop out the fruit by running a spoon between where the skin and the fruit meet
  4. Cut off bottoms of the dragon fruit shell so that each half can sit upright like a bowl (this may be easier to do before cutting the fruit/scooping it out)
  5. Place second half of dragon fruit in an airtight container to enjoy later
  6. Dice the kiwi and dragon fruit and arrange in “bowls”
  7. Sprinkle with coconut and enjoy!

Goodbye Squarespace, hello WordPress!

I’m very excited to get started on my WordPress journey and am looking forward to developing this site and transferring my posts from my old blog into this new one.

Out with the old blog, in with the new!

I know there will be a learning curve and an exercise in patience and I am thankful that I have a great team available to support me.

I’m looking forward to taking my blogging to the next level and I hope that what I put into this blog is multiplied and blesses others.  To all who read these words, thank you for being present with me in these moments.

I believe that this is the beginning to something great and I am excited for what develops

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Vegan Spice Broth/Stock

This is a tasty cheat that I discovered a few nights ago when I was preparing a recipe that called for chicken broth.

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

Fresh cracked pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

I love this mix of spices for warm flavored dishes (like vegan taco filling/vegetarian enchiladas) and the best part is that it’s very inexpensive and you can make it on the fly without having to run to the store for broth/worry about using a whole container of stock before the expiration date.  Yay!

My Invisalign Journey: Week 2

This is my update during my second week with Invisalign.  I learned a little more about what it’s like to live with these straightening trays in for approximately 22 hours per day.  I’ve shared some of the challenges and how to overcome them in my video-check it out! 🙂

Smile!

Indian Sprouted Lentil Wraps with Raw Lemon Ginger Garlic Sauce

I wanted to create a dish that would be delightful to eat with the wraps I had made the night before…

This turned out to be a fantastic, refreshing dish with a punch of flavor thanks to the fresh garlic, ginger and lemon in the raw sauce which added some delightful brightness and complemented the Indian flavors of the spices in the lentils.  I was a *tiny* bit concerned once the lentils were done cooking because the flavor was less intense than I prefer in my Indian dishes, but when topped with the sauce, all my flavor-related doubts vanished.  This is a meal that is scrumptious whether it’s freshly prepared or eaten cold as leftovers-I enjoyed every last bite and I hope you will, too!

(For Lentils)

  • Approximately 7-8 cups of sprouted lentils
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • Salt to tast (I used approx. 1/4-1/2 tsp)

(For the sauce)

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and with approximately 1/4 of the stems removed
  • 1/2 inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove or 2 small garlic cloves
  • Salt to taste

(For the wrap)

  • Gluten free spinach tortillas (recipe here)
  • Orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 a fresh onion, diced

Steps

  1. In large pan, heat 2 tbsp of Avocado oil over medium-high heat
  2. Once hot, add cumin seeds (tip: sprinkle a little water with clean fingers, if it pops, it’s ready for the seeds 😉 )
  3. Stir seeds for about 30 seconds or until fragrant
  4. Add ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds
  5. Add the rest of the spices and stir for 30-60 seconds
  6. Add lentils and approximately 10 tbsp of water (little over half a cup)
  7. Stir well until spices are well mixed in with the lentils
  8. Add diced jalapeño, stir well for 1 minute
  9. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until lentils are cooked to your desired texture, stirring occasionally
  10. While lentils are simmering, add the lemon juice, cilantro and remaining ginger to Blendtec (or other food processor) and replace lid
  11. Set to juice setting, once complete then remove lid and scrape any remaining components from the side of the blender
  12. Add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil to the sauce and replace lid
  13. Pulse sauce 5-10 times until it reaches desired consistency (the sauce is delicious a little chunky, it is your preference of smoothness)
  14. Remove lentils from heat and prepare veggies for wraps
  15. Spoon lentils onto spinach tortillas and top with sauce and fresh veggies

Enjoy!

 

 

Gluten Free Spinach Tortillas

Can I just say how much I am loving all of this free non-devoted-to-school-time that I can spend experimenting with fantastic recipes!? Thankful to be done with my degree!!

I have been having a blast planning, shopping and preparing lots of delicious, healthy meals this week and I am especially excited about how these homemade spinach tortillas turned out!

I had 2 bags of organic baby spinach from Trader Joe’s and was looking for something creative to do with them that didn’t involve me eating 12 oz of raw spinach in one day, as they were on their “best by” date already.  This is the sweet result!

Tools:

  • Blendtec (or food processor/blender)
  • Cast iron pan (medium to large)
  • Medium bowl
  • Small whisk

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh spinach
  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I used the following recipe and substituted an extra 1/3 cup of rice flour in exchange for the coconut flour).
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4-5 tbsp Avocado oil

Steps:

Rinse and drain spinach (don’t worry about drying it off).  Heat about 1 tbsp Avocado oil in cast iron pan on medium heat until it sizzles when you sprinkle water on it.  Add spinach to pan and season with sea salt.  Allow to wilt, frequently turning/stirring with tongs for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour cooked spinach into a glass/ceramic bowl, keeping the juice.  Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, wipe out cast iron pan with a paper towel and re-season with Avocado oil.

While the spinach cools, mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk.  With the tongs, add spinach to the Blendtec, being careful to leave most of the juice in the bowl.  Cover Blendtec with lid and pulse 10-15 times or until the spinach reaches the desired consistency (I blended mine until it was quite smooth).  Add the mixed dry ingredients to the spinach in the Blendtec, replace lid and pulse for 10 seconds.  Add as much of the spinach juice as you want a little at a time and pulse until you have achieved an evenly mixed, moist batter.

Heat another tbsp of oil on the pan over medium-high heat.  Once heated, pour/spoon batter into the pan and spread around with a spoon to form a tortilla.  Experiment with thickness and size of the tortilla to your liking-some will turn out better than others and that’s ok! 🙂

Heat on one side for 30 seconds to a minute or until you are able to flip it over with a spatula.  Heat for another minute, pressing down on tortilla with the spatula and flipping it over again to get more sear on the other side, if desired.  Once done, use the spatula to transfer to a plate.  If you want to keep them hot you can cover with foil or place the plate in a warmed oven.  Make the rest of the tortillas and serve immediately or save them for later.  I would recommend storing in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Enjoy!

My Invisalign Journey: Week 1

I finally did it-I got Invisalign!! After going through not one, but TWO rounds of braces as a teenager (yes, my teeth were that messed up!), one permanent retainer POPPING OFF and multiple lost/damaged retainers along the way, I am giving myself the gift of a perfectly straight set of chompers!

My two reasons for doing this were

1) I knew that it would boost my self-esteem about my smile that I already loved; and

2) If I did not do it then my teeth would continue to shift and eventually get worn down in certain spots-no bueno!

In the video posted below I review my first week and what I’ve learned about Invisalign thus far-check it out! If you are considering Invisalign I highly recommend it-especially since there are lots of places who give great specials including Groupons that make them more affordable than certain types of regular braces, or at least equally as affordable.

Personally, I am very grateful that I have dental insurance through my company that covers up to $1500 of the cost.  Not only that, my dentist extended an offer to me of knocking $1000 off with a kickback that he gets from Invisalign (if a dentist starts so many patients on it within a month, the company will give them a “coupon” of $500, $1000 or other amount).  With these discounts factored in this will *only* cost me around $3200 out of pocket, which, if you ask me is well worth having a life of straight, healthy, easy to clean teeth that I will be able to enjoy and use for decades to come.  I’ve also come to the realization that if something makes me feel great and boosts my positive energy AND it has health benefits then it is a win-win for sure!

Smile!