What if you said, “yes” to every invitation, request, and opportunity? What if instead of spending time and energy making excuses and avoiding people and experiences, you simply said, “yes”?
This is the premise of a Jim Carrey movie called Yes, Man. His character avoids his friends and says “no” to everything. However, after being dragged to a self-help workshop, he makes an oath to say, “yes” to everything. From there we see how his life begins to unfold.
By saying “yes,” he opens himself to an entirely new world filled with fun, joy, and adventure. By the end, however, he learns the important difference between saying yes because he wants to and saying it because he thinks he has to. “No” is an equally powerful word. Being genuine and authentic and saying “no” when that’s what you mean is vital to living a balanced life.
You can say “Yes!!” to this dessert. It’s delicious, easy to make, and pretty darn healthy as far as desserts go.
Do you feel lonely at times and wish you could share special moments? Have you ever remarked on the beauty of a rainbow, only to discover there’s no one there to hear your gasps of delight? Do you sometimes get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day that you forget to notice little glimmers of magic, and do you sometimes feel too overwhelmed and stressed to appreciate the simple joys of being alive?
A number of years ago I was supposed to fly to Vietnam with my parents, but due to some airline mishaps, I ended up getting separated from them and had to make the approximately 36-hour journey by myself. Since I’d been expecting to travel with my parents, I hadn’t paid much attention to the ins-and-outs of getting to our destination.
When I mentioned my anxiety to my friend, Kyla, she suggested I imagine a small version of her keeping me company and pointing out all the cool and wondrous things along the way. My shoulders began to relax and my breath deepened as I realized that this solo journey could actually be fun.
Just before embarking on the first leg of the trip, I put a small heart-shaped rose quartz in my pocket and decided to call it “Mini-Kyla.” I liked the idea of having a physical object to represent my imagined companion.
What had started simply as a way to find pleasure in a long overseas flight became a wonderful new habit. The rose quartz is now in my pocket every day. If I’m in a bit of an uncomfortable situation, I gently touch the outside of my jeans pocket, and I feel its love and support. And, if I’m watching a particularly glorious sunset, somehow it feels as though it’s also sharing in my joy. But, most importantly, having the stone in my pocket reminds me to enjoy and appreciate simply being alive. It’s so easy to get caught up in work or family commitments and forget to cherish the beauty of our breath and the rhythm of our beating heart.
We are so excited to finally post this winter meal plan! If you’re anything like us, February can feel a little gloomy, and inspiration levels tend to be low, whether with cooking or with anything else. This meal plan is here to prove all of that wrong and to show us that plant-based winter food can be just as exciting and tasty as any other season’s. I can definitely say that creating recipes for this plan got me out of a mini cooking rut.
So we’ve got vegan and gluten-free breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert recipes that will feed you for a week. Everything starts with roasting up a bunch of root vegetables (the darlings of winter cooking), cooking beans (we are focusing on mung beans and black beans this time), and making a pot of rice. We’ll then mix and match those foundations to make delicious, nourishing meals. We’ve got you covered with the shopping list, as well as all the prep and planning. As usual, we are splitting this meal plan into two parts. This first part will focus on weekend prep, as well as breakfast and lunch recipes. Part 2 is here, and it’s all about dinner and dessert recipes. Ready? Let’s do this.
Yesterday was our new cookbook’s pub date, which is sort of like a birthday in the book world. It feels so good to finally have it out there, and thank you guys so much for all the support! We have a few book events coming up, and the first one is this Saturday, February 10th at Williams Sonoma in Tampa, FL. I’ll be doing a cooking demo for a chocolatey cake from the book and signing/selling copies. I would love to see you there. Click here to learn all the event details.
Now onto the no-recipe soup, which I’m so excited to share. I love simple, creamy soups and make them all the time, especially in the winter. I find that they are incredibly forgiving and perfect for utilizing whatever produce I have on hand that needs to be used up. The thing is, I pretty much never use a recipe. Instead, I’ve developed a sort of formula that I apply to basically any vegetables (and some fruit), and those soups always come out ranging from very good to really delicious. It’s not complicated, and anyone with a blender can do this. In fact, I bet you might have the ingredients for a tasty creamy soup in your refrigerator/pantry right now. I thought it would be helpful to share that formula here.
Happy New Year, friends! We wanted to stop by with a round-up of 18 vegan and gluten-free New Year reset-friendly recipes that are vegetable-forward and deeply nourishing, but also satisfying and delicious. We’ve got you covered on healing soups and stews, vibrant mains, energy-boosting breakfasts and snacks, a powerful cold remedy drink, and even a minimally sweetened dessert that still very much tastes like a treat. Wishing you all the health and happiness in 2018 :)
No-Recipe Healing Soup (v, gf)
One of our most popular recipes of 2017. This is a highly customizable soup, built on a powerful broth made with immunity-friendly ingredients. It’s delicious and warming, but especially helpful to those under the weather or low on energy. Make sure to seek out 100% buckwheat soba noodles to make this recipe gluten-free.
Although the Golden Rule is not a new idea, I’m still awed by it. Years ago while dining in Washington DC, there was an unexpected interlude between courses that was just as wonderful as the food. The experience reminded me that the more trusting I am, the more others will trust me and vice versa.
A friend and I were having dinner at Restaurant Nora, the first certified organic restaurant in America. We decided to go all out and get the 4-course tasting menu. It was a big splurge, but it was my birthday. The manager assured us that if we placed our order quickly, we’d be able to finish in time to make it to the Kennedy Center where we had tickets for the symphony.
Suddenly, however, it was 20 minutes to eight and we hadn’t yet had dessert. The manager, Jack, appeared at our side. He told us we should leave if we wanted to make the concert. I asked if we could settle our bill first, but he said we needed to hurry. He told us to enjoy the show and come back afterward for dessert and drinks. We could pay then. He trusted us to walk away from a sizeable bill.
True to our word, we hurried back to Nora as soon as the performance ended. We had a delicious dessert, and were even treated to sauternes wine on the house. We paid our bill and left knowing we’d had a magical evening.
When I was a schoolteacher, I carpooled with a woman who went to the gym every day, rain or shine.
I’m not like that.
Actually, I enjoy exercise, but it just takes a lot to motivate me. Justification for not doing it flows from me with the ease of water breaking through a poorly built dam. It’s too cold, too hot, too late, too early. I’m too hungry, too full, too busy, too tired.
When I was teaching French to elementary school-aged children, I used a reward system that worked incredibly well. Every student got a gold star for the day if they made an effort to speak French. It was remarkable to see how hard they worked for this seemingly small token.
I wondered if I could apply this same tactic to my own life. So began my Gold Star Experiment.
On the first of the month I posted a calendar on my fridge. Each day contains the words “Exercise” and “Vitamins.” I made it simple because I knew if I set my expectations too high there would be a greater chance I wouldn’t follow through. The goal: take vitamins and do something active every day, no matter how small.
Keeping track of each day is very helpful. Otherwise, I have a tendency to put things off until tomorrow. But then tomorrow becomes another tomorrow and so on. This way I’m accountable every single day. To sweeten the deal, I promised myself a gift if I received 31 gold stars in the month.
The experiment was a success. It seems…Gold stars aren’t just for children!
Checking in really quickly with this olive oil loaf that we haven’t been able to get out of our heads. We knew that we wanted it to be vegan and naturally sweetened, with a pink, plant-based icing, but the rest took a bit of debate. Should it be gluten-free or not? Should we aim to make it golden yellow like traditional olive oil cake? We finally decided on a simple, spelt version (maybe we’ll tackle a gf one later?), sweetened with coconut sugar, and thus darker in color than your average olive oil batter. It is still moist and hearty, and the icing is so easy and very special :)
I love baking with spelt flour, especially sprouted spelt, which I used quite a bit for the baked goods in our new cookbook. The batter here is very simple, and yields a nice, crumbly yet moist dough, perfect for baking projects like this one. I would usually use coconut oil in this batter, but decided to go the traditional route and use olive oil. I love the subtle, earthy flavor that it brings to this loaf.
Anyone who has ever been on a rollercoaster with me will tell you that I’ll scream until I’m blue in the face. But, what they don’t know is that the uphill section is often the scariest part for me. Going up in a rollercoaster, I hold my breath, clench my jaw, and repeat over and over again, “oh no oh no oh no!” That’s when my muscles are the tensest and I feel my heart beat the fastest. After so much buildup, screaming on the downhill is a fun, cathartic release.
What if rollercoasters were all downhill with none of the uphill? Would we react the same way? Sometimes anticipation is necessary to building excitement. Waiting for these cookies to bake and smelling their heavenly aroma makes that first bite—of warm chocolate mixed with crunchy nuts and chewy oats—even better.
Ever since going gluten free, I’ve been craving a cookie with a cookie-like texture. Many GF cookies are crumbly or overly soft, but these (in my opinion) are perfect. Plus, they have lots of good things in them. Coconut flour is full of fiber and almond meal is packed with protein.
This happens to me pretty much every day at around 3 o’clock, providing that I’m working from home. I get up from my desk, put on the teapot, throw a bunch of things in the blender, whirl it all together, and end up with a cozy and satisfying latte-ish drink that gets me through to dinner time. I don’t drink caffeine anymore, because I’ve always been very sensitive to it, and found that avoiding it altogether really helps with even energy levels (I may have made a few exceptions in Italy :)). But this little ritual takes me back to the days when 3 o’clock meant a cup of really good tea or a matcha. There’s really nothing better.
I end up making a different drink every time, based on my mood and the ingredients I have on hand, but the general formula is the same. There’s always something for creaminess, something for flavor, something for an energy boost… So I thought I’d give a ‘no-recipe’ recipe here, as well as a few of my favorite combinations. Midday super-latte making is a really fun routine to add to your day if you’re around a blender, and it’s good for your in a number of ways: it gets you out of the busyness of the day and nudges you to take a break, it’s creative, and the beverage you’ll end up with will likely be good-for-you, warming and tasty.
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