explore.dream.discover.

As you may or may not have noticed, my blog posts have become few and far between. Let's just say life has become a bit chaotic, but change is on its way. I am in my last month of graduate school (which means papers, presentations, and research galore), continuing to intern a couple times a week at a hospital nearby, and last but definitely not least...I got a job! I am working 24 hours a week as the assistant health educator at CSUMB. It is a fabulous opportunity, but needless to say, it leaves little room for the blog.

Oh, and there is one more little update...My hubby and I are packing our bags next month and going to INDIA for a month long teacher training program! We will be staying in the Himalayas in the same area where the Dalai Lama and Tibetan monks reside. We could not be more excited about this adventure we are about to embark on.

As I mentioned early in the year, my intention for 2014 is to live fearlessly and that is exactly what I am trying to do. I am stepping outside the world I know and experiencing something new. I hope to grow as a yogi and as a human being. I hope to become more aware of myself and the world around me. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily life crazyness, but I think it is the healthiest thing to let go of the daily routine, and just experience something new every once in a while. 

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out & about

We had such a wonderful weekend away. We took friday off and ventured out to Fresno and Yosemite to spend some quality time with good friends. I have been so busy with school, internship, and work lately that I haven't had much time to play. It was great to go on a mini vacay and do something out of the norm. This was Perkin's first time to Yosemite. I hope we get a chance to go back again soon, there is so much to explore in the park. It is such a stunning place to visit.

vegan + gluten free buttermilk doughnuts

This has to be my favorite doughnut recipe so far! They taste so decadent and yet are really pretty healthy. They are very addictive though, you have been warned! 

On a side note, if you are buying a doughnut pan I do not recommend the one I have. It is the mini size and it's just too difficult and time consuming to fill the little molds. I ended up putting half the batter into a muffin pan, as you can see by the shape of some of the doughnuts in the picture. These actually turned out great, kind of like large doughnut holes. 

Ingredients:

{doughnut}

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

{chocolate glaze}

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ΒΊ and grease doughnut pan
  • Whisk together the almond milk and vinegar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until curdled
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Whisk all wet ingredients into the milk and vinegar
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Try not to overmix. Let sit for 5 minutes
  • Spoon batter into molds
  • Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • To make the glaze just whisk together ingredients
  • Let the doughnuts cool and then drizzle the glaze on top

Recipe adapted from the cookbook: Baked Doughnuts for Everyone by Ashley McLaughlin

Portuguese kale + bean soup

Happy weekend friends! My mom made this the other night and I couldn't help but share it! This soup was so delicious and loaded with healthy ingredients. The flavors just came together so nicely. We were going to add some parmesan cheese on top and Sriracha inside to give it a kick, but after taking a bite we realized it needed nothing extra! What I really like about this is how versatile you can make it. You can add or subtract depending on your dietary needs. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium potatoes, we used yukon golds, diced to bite sized pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • About 4 diced sausages, being vegetarian we love to use a meat substitute you can pick up at Whole Foods or Safeway called Field Roast*
  • 1 quart soup base of your choosing, we used a mushroom base 
  • Chopped parsley, basil, and oregano to taste (we used just a small bunch of each)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

*The meat, fake or real, is not necessary. I would recommend adding a kick to the soup if you don't add this ingredient. Sriracha or Pepper Plant would do the job. 

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat
  • Add in potatoes and onions, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, occasionally stirring
  • Add garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, and kale, cover until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add in everything that's left: beans, tomatoes, meat, and broth
  • Bring to a boil
  • Once boiling, reduce heat back down to medium and cook for another 5-10 minutes
  • You know it is done when the potatoes are tender 
  • Enjoy with a big hunk of fresh bread!

a few new favorites

Lately I have been reading up on the different all natural skincare and makeup brands and testing out new items. The only problem is, everywhere I look there is a different opinion on the brands. Some say one is good for the environment while another will say that it is terrible! It is hard to know what to believe. Yesterday my good friend recommended an app to me that tells you all about the makeup and skincare products on the market today. The app explains the ingredients in each product, which ones are good, which ones are bad, and why that is. Oh my goodness this is my newest obsession. I cannot stop scanning barcodes or entering brands into this app! It helps me to really understand the ingredients in my products. The app is called Think Dirty and is free to download onto your phone. 

I also wanted to share with you some of my new favorite all natural (or mostly all natural) products I have been using lately. So, in no particular order here they are:

  • Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner. This stuff is great! It is the best all natural shampoo and conditioner I have found. It is also super cheap and smells amazing. I have been switching between the coconut and jojoba formulas. I purchased this at Vitacost.com or you can find it here on Amazon.
  • Arcona products, especially the eye wrinkle repair cream. I apply this every night. It feels wonderful under my eyes, so moisturizing without feeling greasy or heavy. I received this as a gift but believe it is available at Nordstrom. 
  • Tom's toothpaste. While I mentioned in my last favorites post that I dislike Tom's deodorant, I love their toothpaste. It leaves my teeth feeling super clean and white.
  • NOW Avocado oil. There are many other brands of this stuff, but I just wanted to mention the actual oil. I use it as a deep conditioning treatment for my hair. I apply this over my ends on top of my conditioner and leave it on for about 5 minutes. It leaves my hair so silky soft. I have a friend who also applies this as a face moisturizer at night. She swears by it! You can get it on Vitacost, at some Whole Foods, or here on Amazon.
  • Andalou hair spray. I picked this up at Whole Foods and absolutely love it. The smell is nice and refreshing and it really does help to volumize my hair and keep everything in place. I hate the smell of chemicals in the normal hair sprays I pick up at CVS so I thought I would give this a try. Glad I did.
  • Ecco Bella lipsticks. These are fabulous! They are very pigmented colors and long lasting. Definitely some of the best all natural lipsticks I have ever tried. I bought mine here on Amazon.
  • Lush anything really, but I have been loving the Mask of Magnaminty. It is the brands only mask that does not need to be refrigerated. It smells great and makes my skin feel so soft and clean. 
  • Burt's Bees peppermint lip balm. I don't have it pictured since I just ran out and need to get another tube, but it is great stuff! In my last beauty post I mentioned I really didn't like the company's tinted lip balm, which is still true, but this product has a totally different consistency and just makes my lips feel so good and hydrated. 

On a side note: I still love my Rodin Olio Lusso face oil. I just repurchased it, meaning the last bottle lasted me a full year. Worth the money in my opinion. Other products I still love from my previous post on this topic (which you can get to by clicking here) are the Herban Cowboy deodorant, jojoba oil as makeup remover and hair serum, coconut oil as lotion and a deep conditioner, and Dr. Bronners as a body wash.

I would love to hear about your all natural beauty favorites! It is always great to hear about new brands/products to try in this category. 

out & about

I haven't done an out and about in a while so I thought I would share my weekend today. It was my mom, aunt, and sister's birthday this past week and everyone was in town to celebrate. The weather was fabulous so we spent much of the time outdoors. Definitely starting to feel like Spring!

diy toilet fizzies

I am sharing with you a super easy DIY. I came across this on Pinterest and thought it sounded interesting. I had most of the ingredients in the cupboard so thought I would give it a go. The first time I tried this the fizzies didn't fizz at all! I adjusted the recipe a little bit and figured out how to make it work. It is a fun little DIY that cleans the toilet and adds a nice scent to the room.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid (this was difficult for me to find. I ended up ordering on Amazon. Here is a link to what I bought)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
  • About 60 drops of essential oils*
  • Spray bottle

*I did a combination of tangerine, bergamot, and grapefruit. Lavender, peppermint, or another fresh scent would be great here. 

Instructions:

  • Mix together the baking soda and citric acid. 
  • In a separate glass container, mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Slowly, drop by drop add this to the dry ingredients trying not to make the concoction start to fizz. 
  • Put the essential oils into a spray bottle and spritz them into the bowl, stirring in between sprays.
  • Gently mix everything together. 
  • Use a 1/2 teaspoon to scoop and mold the mixture onto a baking sheet. A silicone mold would work better for this, but I didn't have one. Using a decorative mold would look really nice.
  • Let the fizzies dry for a minimum of 4 and then place them in a sealed container. I got mine from Ikea. 
  • Whenever you need to freshen up the space, just drop a fizzy into the toilet.

recipe adapted from: savvysugar

wild rice burgers

There is a restaurant in Duluth, Minnesota called Fitger's Brewhouse and inside you will find the best vegetarian burger. Whenever I go out there to visit family, that is the first place I want to go. I have gotten to a point where I just crave it. Unfortunately, the recipe is top secret. So, what I have done below is put my own twist on the famous burger. It turned out awesome! Very similar to the original. I made a huge batch of about 20 to freeze. I have cut down the recipe here to serve around 8. If you have the time, I would suggest doubling the recipe and freezing some. They are great to have on hand for those busy week nights. These patties are gluten free and vegetarian. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cracked wild rice, uncooked (the broken rice is more moist, less expensive, easier to blend, and cooks quicker. If you don't live in Minnesota, you can get it here on Amazon)
  • 3 cups mushroom stock (if not available, vegetable stock or even just water would be fine)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons of an all purpose seasoning (this would include paprika, onion, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO (olive oil)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (regular cracker or bread crumbs can be used here if you are not gluten free)
  • whole grain or gluten free buns
  • toppings of your choice. I love grilled onions on here. Mushrooms or roasted bell peppers are great too. 
  • ketchup, aioli, hummus, or mustard are all good options to put on the bun*

*I have been obsessing over a ketchup I found at Whole Foods called Sir Kensington's. Best ketchup I have ever had, hands down. If you don't have a WF nearby, you can get it here on Amazon.

**As you see in the picture below, I have stuffed a bell pepper with the patty mix. This turned out delicious too. I just roasted this in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes or until heated all the way through.

Instructions:

  • Cook the wild rice with the mushroom stock. Once cooked, have it cool completely. To quicken this process you can stick the rice in the fridge. 
  • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, seasoning, and EVOO.
  • Mix in the cheese until combined. Then add in the rice and bread crumbs.
  • Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the mix and form a patty. I used a burger press, which really helped mold the patties and keep everything together. It is a really fun gadget! You can get something similar here.
  • Heat some EVOO in a griddle over medium heat. Cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden in color. 
  • Enjoy with your favorite toppings and bun.

raspberry lemon scones

Perkin has been obsessed with the raspberry scones from a local bakery down the street, Pastries and Petals. They are absolutely delish, but I am guessing not all that healthy. I decided to make something similar for him over the weekend. They turned out pretty darn good! Not exactly the same as the ones from the bakery (sans butter and white flour) but still very yummy! These are low carb, high protein, and gluten free. 

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Ingredients: 

{scones}

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or sweetener of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or other berry/fruit of your choice
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

{glaze}

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ΒΊ
  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add in berries, then wet ingredients
  • Stir until well combined
  • Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until a fork comes out clean
  • While that is baking, whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze
  • Let scones cool then drizzle the glaze on top 
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recipe adapted from: Bob's Red Mill