Banana Coconut Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas (mashed)

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup shredded dried coconut

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

  • 1/4 mulberries or dried fruit of choice

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

  • Pinch fine sea salt


Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

2. In a large bowl, stir together bananas and coconut oil until smooth. Stir in oats, dried coconut, walnuts, mulberries, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, chia seeds and salt.

3. With your hands, roll mixture into 12 balls, each about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

4. With the bottom of a glass or the palm of your hand, flatten cookies until they are about 2 inches in diameter. (If they flatten unevenly or edges crack, you can press them into a neater round shape but it’s not necessary.)   

5. Bake until cookies are lightly browned and dried, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely.

6. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Butternut Squash and Vegetable Thai Coconut Curry with Tamari Tempeh

This recipe blew me away. I adapted it slightly from a one I came across, and was worried because I didn't use all the ingredients it called for it wouldn't come out the same, but it came out even more flavorful than I expected!

The butternut quash and leek combination is the perfect seasonal mix for the wintertime. The thai infused flavors of the coconut, lime, ginger, and garlic provide so much flavor! As you know by now when I cook, I'm all about FLAVOR! 

Not sure what to make during your busy work week? This quick recipe doesn't take long to whip up and is way better than ordering takeout. It also makes about 6 servings, so you'll have leftovers for lunch or dinner during the week ahead. 

Also, people tend to think that ordering takeout food that claims to be "healthy" is nourishing. However, eating lots of takeout can actually stunt your weight loss goals. A lot of the food you order out has poor quality oils and salts added to it. This not only adds unnecessary calories to your meals, it also harms your digestive system and causes indigestion and weight gain.

Don't get me wrong, I recommend incorporating oils in your diet, but high quality ones like organic olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil. You should be controlling your intake of these oils though, and when you eat out you're unfortunately allowing someone else to. A lot of the time the preferred oil of choice in restaurants is canola oil or extremely processed olive oil and its best to avoid these oils altogether! 

Cooking more at home allows you to control what goes into your food and body, and you want it to be the best quality stuff right? 



Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients: 

Curry:

  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 (13.5oz) cans of full fat organic coconut milk 
  • Rind of 2 limes
  • Juice from 4-6 limes (to taste)
  • 1/2 large butternut squash (peeling and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 leeks (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 2 red peppers (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Cilantro and lime wedges to serve
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tempeh:

  • 4 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 package of organic tempeh
  • 4 Tablespoons organic tamari

Instructions:

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of avocado oil to your saucepan and add in your garlic, ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

2. Then add in your coconut milk, lime rind, and lime juice and bring to a boil then simmer and cover with lid for about 20 minutes to allow flavors to marinade. 

3. In a separate skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of avocado oil and add in thin sliced of tempeh. Then pour over your tamari. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes on each side until browned. Once fully cooked and browned, set aside. 

4. Add your chopped butternut squash into your coconut milk and lime mixture and allow to cook for 20 minutes until cooked through. 

5. In another skillet add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil and cook your diced onion for about 3 minutes until translucent. Then add in your leeks and turmeric and cook for another 6 minutes on medium heat until tender. Set this mixture aside in a bowl. 

6. Cook your red pepper in another skillet and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 

7. Finally, add in the leek mixture, red peppers, spinach and cilantro into the coconut milk mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat. 

8. Then mix in your tempeh to the curry and serve. You can serve this alone or over brown rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy! 

 

Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?

Have you ever been overcome with anxiety because you feel like you aren’t where you need to be in life? This familiar feeling arises within me from time to time, and although I know better than to succumb to these defeated feelings, they can be overwhelming. Pressures that society instills in us and that we instill in ourselves manifest a lot of stress, and we forget to appreciate where we are and all that we are doing.

I’m 26 years old and when I look at my Facebook newsfeed I see posts of friends getting engaged, having kids, and creating homes for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier for these friends, but seeing this makes me think…Am I where I want to be in life? Am I where I thought I would be at this point in my life? There is no grand plan for how your life will turn out, and there is no way in knowing. When you hear about your friend’s lives and what they are up to…do you feel jealous? Anxious? Unsettled? I know I do, and that’s because I am my own worst critic. I know that I want a life where I have financial stability, a home, and a family, and because I don’t have those things yet and other people do, I feel pressure. I recognize this, and it makes me think, will we always believe that the grass is greener on the other side?

Why do we want what we don't have? We latch on to all the reasons why life isn't good enough, and constantly want more. Continuously climbing up a never-ending ladder hoping that when we finally reach the top we will have everything we've ever dreamed of.

What if I told you a little secret? Those feelings will never go away. You will forever yearn for more out of life, your relationships, and career. It's a chronic addiction, and a mind game that will exhaust you to no end.

So how can we overcome this? How do we deal with feeling insignificant? Try not to latch on to the negative, the reasons why things won't work out, why you feel like you aren't good enough, or why you shouldn't keep trying.

Time is on your side my friend. Make the most of it. It's easier said than done to say, "don't rush the process." It's not just some yogi mentality; it's a practice of patience that is acquired with time. When you finally accept that you won't know how long it will take to get to your destination, or if you will ever get there, you finally have given up resistance. You’ve finally learned to accept yourself for who you are in the now, with wrinkles, cellulite, pimples, or other "imperfections." You've learned to embrace everything as a learning experience, a building block, and a part of you.

We have become accustomed to instant gratification, instant results, and have forgotten that worthy things take work, investment and yes, time. Time is contingent to our patience and growth. As we learn and progress, our goals in sight will surprisingly transform as much as we do.

At the end of the day, what we are all searching for is meaning. Meaning in building a prosperous life. Meaning in our relationships. Meaning in the mess of it all. We are all interconnected by this humanistic desire and inner fire that drives us to wake up each morning.

So why is it we always compare our lives to others? What makes what they are doing any better than what you are doing? You see, what's different is the way your friends speak about what they are doing (and we do the same in social situations) or what they share on social media. To you, they seem happy, content and on the right track, because this is what they are forced to portray to ironically make you feel comfortable.

They’ve somehow pushed your insecurity button and envy and jealously inevitably surface. You want to feel the kind of security and happiness they are portraying. However, unbeknownst to you they don't divulge the pain, the disappointment, and all the bad things they have dealt with along the way to where they have gotten (in your mind).

We think that everyone else has their shit together, is able to make more money than us, and has the secret ingredient to this mysterious formula. It's just not the case. We are just thinking romantically and latching on to ideals that society has engrained in us from a young age. Telling us that we will grow up and be rich and have a happy life and family, and once we have all these things, this is the true definition of happiness and success.

The reality is, things aren’t that simple. The definition of success differs from person to person. I realized this when I began meeting people and they were honest about their struggles in life. They were dealing with exactly the same problems as what I was going through. Not being happy with their job, wanting the freedom to travel, and their struggles with dating and being single. I began to realize, I’m not the only one, and neither are you. Get out of your head, stop over-thinking, and begin to look within. What you want, you have the ability to create, but dwelling on what you don’t have, will get you nowhere. 

You would think by now, after all these years of experience, we would have learned. But you know what? People don't like the truth. And why? It's brutal, raw, and honest. The truth can't be romanticized into some fairytale dream with a knight in shining armor. The truth isn't always happy or fun. The truth makes us confront our deepest insecurities. So of course we want to avoid this!

When I was ready to grow I began to welcome all of my insecurities, all of my inner struggles, and a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Why? Because I finally learned that accepting these feelings, these aspects about myself, meant that I finally accepted myself for who I am. Beautifully broken. I use the word broken in a positive context, because being broken means that you have endured pain, and learned how to be resilient and strong.

Most of all you've learned. You've learned that the bits of you that are cracked don't necessarily need to be fixed. You've learned to take responsibility for your actions and words, and you've become more connected to your individual beauty by accepting what you used to perceive were flaws. Those flaws have transformed just as much as you have. I no longer felt like my flaws defined me, and I began to have the strength to define them, because I knew who I was. I realized that I would forever be evolving into a new beauty, into a new beast, into a more aware person.

I realized when I accepted these uncomfortable feelings that I was more connected to my truth. Instead of avoiding the pain, and escaping it through any vice, I decided to look at pain right in the eye. I developed a more consciously aware relationship with pain. I began to ask why it was present, and reflected on my experience with pain to help me become stronger and avoid any self-destructive patterns in the future.

I’ve learned that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s just unknown. It intrigues you, and because others describe their life in a desirable way, you endlessly search for what they have. Not realizing that you’re standing right in your own oasis. Don’t seek what others have, because what they have is unique to their life and their path. Look down where you are standing and notice how the grass feels in between your toes. That’s the beauty in it all. That’s where you will find your success, your strength, and feeling complete in life.

Everyone will always want more, but when you accept what you have in this moment, you will not only attract what you desire, you will become it. That’s the secret, not thinking about how life will be when you have obtained what others have, it’s about realizing all that you have already.  

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods to eat in the wintertime, and this is a quick and simple recipe to make at home. 

I find myself constantly disappointed when ordering this at restaurants. Either they add too much, cream or butter and the flavor of the butternut squash is lost. Thats the whole point right, to taste the main ingredient?

Thats what this recipe does, using a just a few fresh ingredients, and creating a flavorful and addicting soup. Feel free to add a little ginger to the dish if you're feeling a little sick, this antibacterial addition will add a hint of spice. 



Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large butternut squash (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 6 thin carrots 
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. grass-fed butter or olive oil
  • 32 oz container of vegetable broth 
  • 2 cups water (if needed) 

Instructions: 

1. Melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan. Add in the onion and cumin. Cook for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. 

2. Add in butternut squash, carrots, and vegetable broth.

3. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat with lid on top for about 30 minutes until vegetables are fully cooked. 

4. Blend together soup with a hand blender. If the soup needs more liquid add more water to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. 

 



Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and a simple breakfast or snack option to take on the go, kids will love taking these to school as a snack as well!

They are crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, my favorite kind of cookie! I added orange zest and a tiny bit of fresh orange juice to bring out the sweetness of the raisins and flavor of the vanilla extract. I’ve been making these cookies for a few weeks now, and everyone I give them to (because I cant eat them all!) has absolutely loved them. So I hope you do too!

This summer has been an extremely awakening one for me. I’ve released a lot of stress, and unleashed a whole new life ahead. I’ve used meditation to relax and accept this moment in life for what it is, and this has allowed me to appreciate and focus on all the good instead of stressing about all the things “I don’t have.”

Living more mindfully and consciously aware has shed a lot of impatience and resistance. My clients have also reaped the benefits from using stress techniques that work for them, whether it’s breathing exercising, meditation, yoga, working out, walking outside, or journaling. Try one of these practices and see which one works best for you. I’m telling you, you won’t regret it.

Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy and cookie afterwards! ;)


Makes 14-16 Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies

(Adapted from Amy Chaplin’s Recipe)

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups Rolled oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ cup organic Thompson raisins
  • ¾ cup raw walnuts (roughly chopped)

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350’F and grease cookie trays lightly with coconut oil.

2. Combine oats, spelt flour, almond meal, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl.

3. Combine coconut oil, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, vanilla extract, orange zest, and orange juice in a separate bowl and whisk until mixed together.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well. This mixture will be wet so set aside for about 10-15 minutes to allow batter to thicken.

5. Mix in the raisins and walnuts.

6. Using a damp ¼ cup-measuring cup, scoop batter and roll in your hands and flatten slightly when you place cookie dough on the cookie tray.

7. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Meditation Takes Practice


Have you been hearing a lot about meditation? Do you think its just some hippie way of living, and don't understand the benefits or why people are raving about it? I was one of those people. I heard all about meditation for a while, and just thought it was another fad.

The deeper I got into wellness and emotional healing the more and more consciously aware I became and I just wanted to learn more. I decided to finally tested out the meditation waters, and you know what? It wasn’t so bad. Painless actually. 

My first meditation experience was at a beautiful resort I stayed in with my family in upstate New York, and I went to a guided meditation class. After that experience I was completely hooked. If you have a wild imagination like me, you’ll have some great imagery come to mind. I had the most memorable and mesmerizing visuals. Throughout the hour-guided meditation I was in pure bliss, no worries or thoughts consumed my mind. I was in my element, literally. I felt calm and found the portal where my breath and mind were connected. I was silent, still, and my soul was powerless and taken on a serene journey. 

Guided meditation is a great starting point for beginners because it verbally guides your thoughts, and provides you with positive reinforcement throughout the experience. This helps you let go and relax. However, if you do become consumed with mental vomit, its ok, we all do, even in meditation! Awareness is key. Accept these thoughts. Don't force yourself to stop thinking, just redirect your train of thought to clarity. It's almost like the sunlight coming through your window in the morning, reawakening your mind. Allow the sunshine to come through. 

It's funny because many people that I suggest meditation to tell me, "I've tried it, but I don't think I’m doing it right." There are no tricks with meditation. There are different approaches and styles, but at the end of the day meditation is all about shutting off your mind, allowing yourself to relax, and being present in the now. We sometimes get used to being so hard on ourselves that ironically even in a time when we are supposed to be doing something good for ourselves we tend to think that it's still not good enough. We figure because we can’t do it “right” there’s no point trying again. Am I right? Don't rush the process. This is something that takes time and your investment in the time.

How did you learn to ride your bike? How did you learn to play baseball or an instrument? How do you learn anything in life? PRACTICE. Any habit or skill we have formed, we've developed through consistent practice. So keep meditating. Keep trying. Stay on the tidal wave, because you’ll stand up and be taken to shore, I promise. Sometimes you'll be able to clear your thoughts and feel at ease, and other times you may overthink and have to bring yourself back to the moment, and just breathe. This is completely normal and it doesn't mean you aren't meditating right, this just means you can practice more. Eventually meditation will become second nature, a habit.

Remember to focus on the good. Envision the energy you want to surround yourself with, the light that radiates from within. Take this energy with you throughout the day, this is your souvenir, this is your reward. You will notice a change in how you react to stress, the people you surround yourself with, what is important to you. You will gain so much clarity, and feel present, really present. You won’t be as consumed with the past or worried about the future, and you will feel more content with all that you have now and who you are in this moment in time. Does this sound terrible to you? I didn’t think so.

So what are you waiting for? A good way to integrate meditation everyday is making time to meditate for 5 minutes every day the first week then 10 minutes your second week and see if you can get up to 30 minutes. Attend a meditation class and try a different approach, just find what style works for you. I love going to classes as well because you are in a space where everyone is there to detach from their hectic lives together. This forces you to sit down and breathe with other likeminded people.

It takes 21 days to form a habit, so by the end of meditating every day for 3 weeks this should become second nature and a part of you. I hope you try it out, and please share your experience with meditation in the comments below; I’d love to hear how it has impacted your life. I know mine has completely changed, and its crazy to look back on how I stress ate, had so much anxiety and used to respond to stressors in my life compared to how I do now has significantly improved. When I was in college I would be so stressed that I would eat just about anything I could get my hands on because I just had so much to write and complete. I felt terrible afterwards but it was a habit I formed and I realized I needed to redirect that energy into a positive more beneficial habit not one that would make me feel terrible and breed negatively in my life.

I’m now fully in control of my reactions and I handle situations as they come. I’ve learned there’s no point worrying about if it’s going to rain or not. I’m not going to walk around in fear with an umbrella every day! The rain isn’t so bad anyway; it reminds me that I’m alive. This analogy just goes to show that its all about changing your perspective and learning how to adapt and handle what comes to you when it does. Meditation will help, I promise. 


I've included a simple meditation calendar to keep you on track. Print it out and check off each day you meditate. Set a goal for yourself. Every week you've meditated, treat yourself. Whether thats going to a yoga class, taking a day trip with a friend, or getting a massage. When you have a reward in mind it helps to motivate you.