Get Happy!

Get Happy!

OMG, I am loving all things Christmas right now! The lights, the cheesy movies, the cookies and the music!

This past weekend my husband and I went to the annual Holiday on Cape Symphony Concert and it had me grinning from ear to ear! It’s so fun that we’re creating these traditions together, as this was our second time attending.

It’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit, and I noticed 2 things that gave me so much joy that I wanted to share with you.

Digestive Support for your Thanksgiving Feast

Digestive Support for your Thanksgiving Feast

As we sit down to eat this week, let us all be mindful as to how much we take in. In my yoga class I taught last week, we worked on our digestion. Here are some of those self care tools from Naam Yoga Therapy that you can use to properly assimilate and process your food and emotions at home. 

For the Love of Fall {and all things pumpkin!}

For the Love of Fall {and all things pumpkin!}

My most favorite time of the year is fall, especially here in New England! I live for anything pumpkin, hearty, and warm, so as we wind down this season, and transition into winter, let's celebrate with food!

Healthy Habits: Thanksgiving Day Inspiration

Healthy Habits: Thanksgiving Day Inspiration

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!! Since I'm just getting back from a two week road trip down the east coast (which I'll share with you soon), I haven't even attempted to go shopping or plan for what I'll be making tomorrow, so I wanted to share with you my inspiration source for all things healthy, simple and festive!

I have a friend here on Cape Cod who is an amazing dietician, nutritionist, and food enthusiast, doing mind blowing things to inspire, educate and mentor people along their way to health! Her name is Nicole Cormier, of Delicious Living Nutrition. You should DEF check out her site and start following her on instagram for her inspiring dishes she intuitively whips up!

Because I follow her, she turned me on to her friend from Oregon who is running a serious food operation on her fantastic blog called, Minimalist Baker...

Health: Traditional Holiday Foods + Recipe

christmas elves
christmas elves

 

A few years ago, I was trying to 'veganize the holidays' and thought it would be a fun task to try to conjure up family recipes and put together a little recipe/cook book to refer to and pass down for generations to come...I came up with only a few recipes during my quest to try and veganize tradition (oh the irony...) but I'm re-inspired again this holiday season!

I started thinking about what is the actual traditional Thanksgiving dinner, since it's become so fancy over the recent years...and what do people really serve on Christmas? Do they eat a dinner on Christmas Eve or is it on the actual Day? Or do they do what we did and usually just have a fun breakfast after we opened our presents? What is the American Tradition of the Holidays? What have those, who celebrate Christmas, been doing all these years?

A quick little Wikipedia search shed some light, and I thought I might share it with you, if you're like me and you love food and celebration of family and love!:)

Thanksgiving. The first Feast happened in 1961 between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth County, right down the street from us Cape Codders! Naturally, they feasted on their locally sourced food. To my surprise the menu included many things that I wouldn't have thought to be associated with the Thanksgiving table.

They ate: turkey, waterfowl (geese, duck), venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash....really?!

It goes on to tell how it's changed, and based on different cultures, you might see cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, green beans/casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, dumplings or noodles, deviled eggs, sauerkraut (in Baltimore), cornbread (in the south or new england), peas and carrots, bread rolls, rutabegas or turnips and a salad. Pie is often mincemeat, apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, or pecan (my fave!). Interesting, huh?

A few other interesting tidbits being that the Southerners, or African Americans may serve baked mac and cheese and collard greens at their table, while Italian-Americans may serve lasagna, Who knew!? (not me obvs)

As for Christmas, the dishes tend to be similar to Thanksgiving in America. Wikipedia provides an extensive list of all the different countries' traditional menus. In America, it is common to see:

The main dish being a Christmas Ham, (This came from the Germanic peoples as a tribute to harvest and fertility, and later was popularized by the Catholic Church as a test of truthful conversion from Judaism...hmph!), turkey, duck/goose/pheasant, oyster stew, fish (from the feast of the seven fishes originating from the Italian culture, celebrating on Christmas Eve), dungeness Crab in California, and prime Rib.

Side dishes include: the traditional meso-american (spanish) tamale, stuffing (southern influence), plum (christmas) pudding originating from England, cranberry sauce, mashed potato, lefse ( a traditional norwegian flatbread eaten in Wisconsin and Minnesota), and mixed nuts.

Beverages include: champagne, apple cider, eggnog, hot chocolate, hot buttered rum (eww and random...dates back to the colonial days...) and a Tom and Jerry Christmas Cocktail (from Britain, it is a variant of eggnog adding rum and brandy and served hot, drunk in Wisconsin and Minnesota).

On to desserts...: custard, candy canes, chocolate fudge, christmas cookies, fruitcakes (originating in ancient Rome), gingerbread, persimmon pudding (a traditional American dessert, similar to English Christmas pudding), russian tea cakes (a pastry commonly eaten in England consisting of wedding cake, butterballs, or italian wedding cookies), and an array of pies ~ apple, mincemeat, sweet potato, pumpkin, and pecan!

So there you have it, cultures, traditions and food to celebrate family, love and connectedness!

paleo pecan pie prep
paleo pecan pie prep

My contribution for our Christmas Eve dinner at my bf's family will be a 'new and improved healthy version' of pecan pie from the paleo mom blog. :

Ingredients (crust):

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and work together to form a dough with your hands.
  3. Place the dough into a 8″ deep dish or 9″ pie plate.  Channel your inner playdough-loving child, and pat and push the dough to fully line the pie plate (this is a type of pie crust called a push crust, because you “push” it into place rather than rolling it out).  Make a nice edge.
  4. Bake crust for 15 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven.

Ingredients (pie filling):

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet for 5-8 minutes (you can do this while your pie crust is cooking), until fragrant (the pecan pieces take about 5 minutes, and the pecan halves take a little longer).
  2. Once the pecans and pie crust are out of the oven, reduce the heat to 350F.
  3. Heat honey and maple syrup in a small saucepot over medium-high heat until it comes to a rapid simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and egg yolk together.  Temper the eggs (which means adding a little bit of the very hot honey and syrup to the eggs while you stir them quickly) then add the eggs to honey and remove from the heat.
  5. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and ghee (or other fat of choice), and chopped pecans.  Pour into pie crust.
  6. Arrange pecan halves to cover the top of the pie.  Place pie in the oven and back for 20-25 minutes, until set (you’ll know it’s set when you jiggle the pie a little and the middle doesn’t wobble like jello–how long this takes depends a bit on whether your crust or filling cooled a bit before getting it into the oven and just how hot your honey got when you brought it to a simmer, so it could take as long as 30 minutes).
  7. Let the pie cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!

I hope you all enjoy eating, drinking and being merry this holiday!

In good health, happiness and love, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Health: Thanksgiving Recap {includes recipes}

Pumpkin Muffins Last thursday we celebrated being thankful for all that we have. I'm so sorry I didn't get this post out to you the week of! Better late than never though, right?!;)

It's a great day to remind ourselves of where we've been and where we are right now, and to look around and appreciate all that we do and don't have in our lives. I personally count my blessings every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to bed. Gratefulness is THE number one way to channel your energy into positive vibrations.

When we focus on what we are grateful for, the energy that gets sent back out into the universe only comes back to us with more of that which makes us happy. Conversely, when we focus on what we don't have, we will keep perpetuating that negativity. It's a choice. You can literally choose happiness just by making a daily list of what you are thankful for.

That being said, I am extremely grateful for being able to spend the holidays this year with my wonderful boyfriend, to be where I am here on Cape Cod surrounded by my family and friends and lovely co-workers and clients. I'm grateful for my health and wellbeing, and my newfound sense of balance. The list goes on and on, but that's the big picture:).

Cooking brings me so much joy because it's a celebration of life and connection, and that's why I get SO excited about the holiday menus, so I wanted to share with you what I was up to in the kitchen this past week!!!

Here's what I made to contribute to the dinner we were invited to:

First, I had to make my Pumpkin Muffins to have on hand because who doesn't want to get as much pumpkin into their lives as possible this fall?! ;)

This recipe is inspired by Gwenyth Paltrow's Sweet Potato and Five Spice Muffin recipe from her cookbook, "It's All Good". Gluten Free and Vegan! Makes a dozen.

Ingredients:

1 can of organic pumpkin puree

1/2C EVOO

1/2C unsweetened almond milk

3/4C grade B maple syrup (plus 2TBS for brushing muffins)

1tsp pure vanilla extract

2C gluten-free flour

2tsp baking powder

2tsp baking soda

1 1/2TBS pumpkin pie spice blend

1/2tsp fine sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 and grease muffin tins or use paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree with olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice blend and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups/liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, brushing the tops with the extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let them cool before serving.

We brought corn bread, Paul's famous butternut squash dish (it's a secret recipe, but I'll have you know the walnuts and ghee are the best part!;) and banana ice cream.

I love this Corn Bread recipe from Alicia Silverstone's, "the kind diet" cookbook. Super easy and super yummy!!!

Ingredients:

1C maple syrup

1 1/4C soy milk

1/4C sunflower oil

1 1/2C cornmeal

1/2C whole wheat pastry flour

1tsp baking soda

1/2tsp fine sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Oil a 9x9inch baking dish. Combine the maple syrup, soy milk, and oil in a medium bowl and mix well. In another bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and mix just until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30min. or until toothpick comes out clean at the center.

The Banana Ice Cream we brought for dessert was a total hit! The recipe is straight from Gwenyth's cookbook as well, in a previous post of mine here.

So, there you have it, a few great recipes to try out during this holiday season! For more posts about Thanksgiving, click here and here.

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

 

 

 

Reviews & Rec's: A Cinco De Mayo Recipe to Celebrate!

alicia silverstone recipeHappy Cinco de Mayo everyone!! This holiday has always been my most favorite celebration! Freshman year in college at Burro Loco had me hooked ~ the margaritas were flowing and the chips and guac kept me coming back for more year after year!

To add to my mexican love, I worked as a waitress throughout, and post-college, at a Mexican restaurant on Cape Cod ~ Sam Diego's! Who doesn't love a good mexican night out?! I was the queen of slinging tacos and margaritas, but those days are long gone...

You can imagine my excitement when transitioning to a vegan diet, that Mexican and many other ethnic cuisines, are a favorable part of the diet! (sans cheese, of course). Thank God for dairy free alternatives! Daiya cheese is pretty darn good and satisfies that creamy comfort that we crave from dairy.

Alicia Silverstone

I've mentioned before that the first book to inspire me to lean into a vegan lifestyle was Alicia Silverstone's, The Kind Diet. I have a list of other books and recommendations on my FAQ's page as well.

I've had so much fun cooking my way through her book! This recipe was one of the first to confirm that I wouldn't in fact feel deprived without dairy!

It's a Mexican Fiesta in a bowl! Try it in honor of my love for this holiday!

Cheesy, Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip

Ingredients:

1 can refried beans (Eden brand is best)

3 large avocados

3 TBS fresh lime juice

2 (8oz.) containers nondairy sour cream

1 packet taco seasoning (buy from natural foods store w/o sugar)

1/2C diced mild green chiles, drained

1/2C sliced black olives

5 tomates, chopped

2C shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Spread a layer of refried beans in the bottom of a 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish. Pit and peel the avocados, and place in a bowl. Mash the avocados together with the lime juice, and spread on top of the refried beans. Stir together the sour cream and taco seasoning, and spread over the avocado.

Sprinkle the chiles over the sour cream, and top with a layer of black olives. Add the tomatoes, and sprinkle with the cheese. Heat the dip for 25-30min. or until heated through and the cheese is a bit melted.

Serve warm or at room temp.

Enjoy! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

KATE-SIGNATURE

 

Counting Christmas Blessings

Caymana Bay, CaymanI believed in Santa Claus until I was way too old-- probably about 11 or 12, actually! My mom was determined to not get caught! She threw out all the stops and tricks even when we heard otherwise from our friends at school. She always said to us, "If you believe in Santa, he will come, and if you don't, he won't". Plain and simple. We were not about to risk the chance of not having him come visit!! After watching my favorite Christmas movies this month, which include, Love Actually, A Family Stone, Elf, Santa Clause, Home Alone, etc., to name a few, I'm very aware of the underlying theme -- faith.

Faith means believing. Believing in something you cannot see. Believing that Christmas Magic does in fact happen throughout the entire year, and realizing that that magic comes from Love. Love which connects us to every single thing --anything that was ever created. Christmas brings us together to reconnect with our heart, to rebirth ourselves anew, to remember that we have the capacity to make magic happen--to uplift others and lead a pure life of love, and of light, and to honor our own unique truth. The truth being what lights us up inside--what we're called to do, what brings us joy, peace and inspiration to create!

The symbolism of Santa to me, is God--the vast omnipresence of magic. To believe is to have faith. What I learned from my Universal Kabbalah teacher, Sivan, is that there are 3 principles of Faith.

The first being, that if it came to you, it's from God.

The second, If it's from God, it means it is good for you.

Thirdly, If it came to you from God, and was good for you, then what is there to learn? Can you step into your own light? Do you have what it takes and are you ready? Challenges bring double the blessings. There's always a lesson to receive and an opportunity to evolve.

In the movie that I watched on the flight down to Cayman a few days ago, Morgan Freeman says to Steve Carrel's wife in Evan Almighty, that 'when you ask for patience, God doesn't give you patience, he gives you the opportunity to be patient'. There's always an opportunity to practice receiving the blessings and the guidance we are always given, to be grateful for everything we have right now, and to acknowledge the lesson, so we have the chance to think right, speak right, and act right.

Calypso Grill Christmas Tree

Christmas reminds me to believe. To believe in magic. To expect Miracles, as Gabrielle Bernstein says.

It doesn't matter how old I am, Santa and Christmas celebrations of family and love, reminds me that there's something bigger out there. We only see 10 percent of reality, according to Universal Kabbalah. The remaining 90 percent is in the unseen realm.

This week, I'm remembering to focus my attention on others and on my surroundings, rather than myself, so that I can tap into that unconditional light of giving love. Through giving, Master Kabbalist and Mystic, Dr. Levry says that, "giving will guide you through every troubling situation into calm and still waters. When you give you create a pathway for blessings to come to you, for giving or serving is an extension of the Great Law of Love. This Law is one of the great laws in nature."

With Love, Faith and Hope we connect with the holy trinity--we become a bridge from heaven to earth and therefore, anything is possible.

Won't you continue to count your blessings with me, and carry the Christmas Spirit throughout the whole year!

Merry Christmas to you all,

Much love, peace and light,

Kate

Healthy Holiday Traveling

Travel Food"It's the most. wonderful. time. of the year!!!...(ding, dong, ding, dong)" (christmas song on the brain;) I'm sure most of you are gearing up for your holiday travel plans, as I sure am! Packing and planning tends to lead to lots of stress prior to the final departure, but it's all part of the fun! This might be kind of weird, but I actually get super excited about all the goodies I'll be packing for snacking on board ~ vacation has officially begun once en route, right?!

Now that I've adopted a very mindful healthy eating lifestyle, it's become second  nature for me to think a day or two in advance as to what I'll be eating. If you don't plan, you'll be likely to set yourself up for the 'hunger, grab anything and everything scenario', which typically leads to non-ideal choices. This cultivation takes time, but soon enough, you'll be in your own groove, I promise!

As a little jet-setter myself, I've gotten into my healthy travel groove, now knowing what to expect and how to avoid being hungry or unsatisfied with a little preparation!

First off, definitely pack a little bag full of treats. I make a trip to the natural foods store and stock up on a few raw, vegan, unrefined sugar treats (being the sweet tooth that I am--maybe yours are savory snacks?) ~ typically a 'chocolate tart', or chocolate bar, some raw cookies, or yummy gomacro bars, larabars or something of the like...don't be embarrassed to lug your grocery bag around, it's totally worth it in the end! Oh, and don't forget to always have some nuts and seeds on hand anytime you're on the go--raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whichever you prefer--just make sure they're not salted and there are no other ingredients in them like oils and sugar, etc. (just pure raw nuts/seeds--organic preferably)

I also bring a lunch with me. Sometimes I have leftovers to bring with me, like a roasted sweet potato or batch of steamed squash, but that can get kind of annoying when lugging the tupperware around after, so I prefer bringing a prepared lunch from the natural foods store.

Starbucks Oatmeal

Breakfast is always easy in the airport or whenever traveling, if you just find your closest Starbucks! I order the oatmeal without sugar or dried fruit (careful, it's always covered in sugar unless otherwise stated) and double the bags of nuts. I'll be honest, I usually order two oatmeals so that I can really be satisfied for a few hours ~  I like to eat, if you couldn't tell already!;).

While you're there, do yourself a favor and order a large cup of hot water. When traveling, your stomach tends to bloat due to an ayurvedic vata imbalance, reflecting the mental disturbances of the mere concept of travel and all the anxieties/stressors/altitudes that come with the territory, whether you know it or not. Hot water will calm your stomach. It's best to sip it before you eat, but throughout the whole day is great ~ keep ordering it on the plane, or maybe add a tea bag or lemon! Either way, please stay hydrated! Another way to do that is to use nasal spray (from the natural foods store ideally) to keep all the airplane toxins away!

Once you get to your travel destination, if you can make a quick run to a local market, a few essentials will do the trick for a few days: oats, quinoa, ezekiel bread, almond butter, apples, greens, berries, avocado. You should be able to make smoothies, almond butter and toast, or oatmeal for breakfast or snack, and lunch of quinoa with steamed/raw greens with avocado or any variation of the above. And please pack a Green Powder. I like Vitamineral Greens from the natural food store (or Whole Foods). Your system will thank you for it!

The holidays are for spending quality time with those you love. This is a time to relax and enjoy your company and surroundings, but still be able to be true to your center of balance. These few suggestions should help you do just that. :)

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Love,

Kate

Chestnut Cream Pie Anyone?

Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year! I love the holidays, with all the joy and celebration it brings, reminding us of what's truly important in our lives. For me, it's family, friends, my health, spiritual wisdom, and the inspiration that brings me ultimate fulfillment and happiness. This year I get to celebrate it with my friend and mentor, Karen.  She's a Macrobiotic Chef here in LA, who I've had the pleasure of working privately with, to learn how to cook delicious whole food meals, and live a healthy lifestyle! She's graciously invited me to her home to have a proper 'Macro' Thanksgiving dinner, which is very appropriate!

This Thanksgiving marks my fourth year without turkey, which resulted in me having to  actively participate in the grand cooking process of this day. If I'm not eating the turkey, I have to 'step up to the plate' and create something that I'll actually enjoy, right?

The first two years, I took a Vegan Thanksgiving Cooking Class with the Spork Food Sisters in LA to really up my game, and last year relied on Alicia Silverstone's book, 'The Kind Life' for a menu. See post from last year for my inspiration and menu plan:): http://gowiththeglow.net/2012/11/20/turkey-shmurkey/

Tofu Thanksgiving This year I actually get to show up to an already edible Thanksgiving Table! How lucky am I?! But the pressure is kind of on as to what I'll be making, wouldn't ya say?!

I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, that I often forget about called, 'The Self - Healing Cookbook' by Kristina Turner. I've decided to make one of her holiday pies. I couldn't decide between the Squash Pie or the Chestnut Cream Pie, but ultimately decided to go with the latter--more of a challenge and a little more unique!

Chestnut Cream Pie**

Ingredients:

1C chestnuts

1C water

2C amasake

1/4C almonds, ground

1tsp vanilla

1tsp cinnamon

pinch allspice

2T agar agar flakes

Directions:

Grind almonds fine in the blender. Add amasake, chestnuts, vanilla and spices, and puree until creamy. Heat agar agar with 1/4C water until throughly dissolved--about 5min. Stir in the chestnut cream. Pour into a pre--baked pie crust. Let cool and set for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Today, I'm off to buy packaged pre-steamed chestnuts from Trader Joe's and amasake from Whole Foods (ran out of my bulk order), a fermented sweet brown rice drink as the main macro sweetening ingredients for the dish. I'll have you know, I'm also attempting my very own gluten free pie crust too, which includes oats and brown rice flour!

amasake

My day of Thanks will include a special prayer for all that I'm grateful for in my life--all that I have and all that I do not have. I will pour all my love into my pie, to show my gratitude for Karen's friendship and mentoring, and will enjoy one of my most favorite things--eating healthy food--being grateful for all it's abundance and all the knowledge I have for understanding how to nourish my body properly! Then, last but not least, I will honor my tradition of watching one of my all time favorite childhood movies, "Home Alone". Sounds like a pretty perfect day to me!

I hope you do all the things that you love on this day! Be grateful to yourself for taking time to do what you need to do to care for you, so that you can then be your best self, and in turn, serve others, so they can be grateful for you too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Much love,

Kate

Cook, heal, give thanks and pray!

thanksgiving! what a wonderful opportunity to slow down, take a step back, and look around at your life, to realize all that you have to be thankful for. everybody has something to be thankful for--the gift of life, for one. for our breath, for the sun rising today and everyday, for a roof over our head and the fact that we have eyes to read this post. the list could go on and on.

hopefully, you all take a mental inventory every night before you go to bed to list all that you are grateful for, but thanksgiving is a time when we can express it freely with giving back to those we love, in it's most basic form--food.

our hands are a healing instrument.

we can do so much with them, once you understand the power they hold. they are literally an extension of our heart, and love heals all. when you cook, you are pouring your heart and soul into that food, so be mindful of your intention as you create this meditative art form.

to have the opportunity to cook for your loved ones, gives  you the chance to send that loving energy into their being.

this is my third thanksgiving without turkey, and no i do not miss it at all! i've been asking my friends and family recently what their favorite dish at the thanksgiving table is, and wouldn't you know it, nobody has mentioned the dead bird at the center.

growing up, i can say my favorite dish was always the sweet potato casserole, or the squash, and then it evolved into the green bean/mushroom casserole. needless to say, as a meat eater back then, i too didn't look forward to the turkey come holiday season...

we can have so much more fun with vegetables! the creations are endless, unlike the animal possibilities. now, granted, these veggie dishes are often laden with dairy products--butter, cream, and sugar, which there is no need for!

luckily there are easy substitutions like soy or hemp milk, earth balance butter spread, and maple syrup or brown syrup.

you can over indulge in a gentle way on thanksgiving without busting out of your pants and feeling like you have a hangover from all that gunk...

try to veganize your fave thanksgiving dish and don't tell anyone that you did it...see what they say for themselves...it could just very well be the best dish at the table, and then you can surprise them after they mow down and say, "bet you never would have guessed it didn't have sugar or animal products in it"!

for a little inspiration, this is my thanksgiving day menu. i'll be cooking for my family with love and appreciation for all the unconditional love, support and guidance they constantly give to me. without them, i wouldn't be who i am today, and for that i am overwhelmingly grateful.

-my dishes from alicia silverstone's book, the kind diet (check out her recipes online @ www.thekindlife.com)

tofu stuffing

corn bread

cranberry sauce

scarlett roasted vegetables

-from the spork food sisters (check them out at www.sporkfoods.com)

sweet potato casserole with ricemellow cream

and their amazing pumpkin gingerbread cheesecake - or the pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting...i still can't decide!

have fun, enjoy your company, and say a little prayer before eating, being grateful for all the food on your plate and all the hands that it took to bring that food to you. don't forget mother earth for supporting us with an endless supply of food.:)

happy thanksgiving everyone, and thank YOU for reading my posts. your support and feedback keeps me motivated to inspire you to live your life with an open heart and a healthy, happy mind and body!

cheers to you for being open and receptive to continue to move in the direction of health and love.

Veganizing the holidays

with all the holiday parties, dinners and traditions, it is has become extra fun to try and incorporate my new eating habits into the mix! this is my second year without meat or dairy, so my family traditions of turkey for thanksgiving, ham for christmas and all the christmas cookie baking has taken on a new spin. some people may look at this new approach as daunting or even sad, but to me it's a new exciting project i can take on! this weekend i attempted to veganize our family cookie recipes. i thought it was going to be easy - substitute the real butter for earth balance vegan butter, the milk for soy milk, and the egg for egg replacer baking mix....well, it was not that simple. i went through many batches, and will admit that i got quite discouraged. but, luckily i have some trusty vegan cookbooks that are helpful! after studying some of their recipes to similar cookies, i can understand how some things work, and others don't...needless to say, i have transformed two recipes successfully!! and incorporated two more into my own repertoire!

i absolutely love the holidays and what it represents - family togetherness. food is at the forefront of these occasions and it is a symbol of love to cook for one another, so i am thrilled to be able to contribute to express my love for everybody in my life.

giving out baked goods is a wonderful way to do that, and is so simple. i urge you all to try one vegan recipe this year -there are so many online.

i'm really enjoying the recipes from the  spork fed cookbook. these girls are local chefs here in LA, and teach cooking classes and have an online cooking website as well. they are super cute and quirky! try their chocolate peanut butter cookies. i also took their thanksgiving classes these past two years and cooked the whole menu which was a total success!

keep in mind, even if you're baking without dairy, there is usually flour and sugar in the mixes, so check yourself before you wreck yourself! you can even experiment with gluten free baking mix to substitute the white flour, and can use brown rice syrup or barley malt as your sweetener to avoid crazy sugar crashes/binges.

check out thekindlife.com for inspiration.

merry baking!

Keep yourself in check during the Holiday Party Season with these tips!

i just love this cheerful holiday season! so many reasons to cook, bake, get together with loved ones, and celebrate with parties!

i feel it is very important to be extra mindful throughout, not just because you want to stay fully engaged with the meaning of the season, but also because you need to keep your physical body in check!

a few pointers that help me are:

1. nothing good happens after midnight.

2. try to keep your drink consumption down to 2 - with a glass of water in between. if you can't stick with this rule, at least stick to number 1!

3. don't go to a party without having a little something to eat prior. i always eat a light, healthy meal or snack before i head out, that way i don't eat whatever is in front of me which is probably packed with sugar and/or flour.

4. and to keep your weight regulated, when you wake up in the morning, drink warm water with 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar. it detoxifies you and keeps you trim.

enjoy your weekend!