Quick and Easy Breakfast: Smoothie Bowl

Quick and Easy Breakfast: Smoothie Bowl

Happy Friday, friends! Man oh man, what a week it has been. <3

Decided to start my day today with a bright smoothie bowl!

In our smoothie, we’ve got:

Throw everything into your blender and blend it up! Then, pour into a bowl and top with:

This came together in about five minutes and was super filling!

Have a wonderful Friday, friends!

Be Well,

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Lunch Vibes: Bright Veggie Sandwich with Tofu

Lunch Vibes: Bright Veggie Sandwich with Tofu

Hi, friends!

It’s a gloomy / dreary day here in Michigan…ugh. It’s only January, but I’m really ready for winter to be over! Whenever the weather is depressing, I love to have bright foods…just like this veggie sandwich with tofu. 🙂

This beauty includes:

And that’s it! It was so messy to eat haha but really delicious.

I hope you’re having a beautiful day!

Be Well,

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My entire body is shaking and I feel a wave of nausea coming over me as I get ready to click “publish.” I’ve hit cancel more than a few times now but a tug inside of my heart is telling me that I need to share something more significant than #tacotuesday today. To be honest, social media has been chipping away at my heart lately. As I carefully craft the perfect post to live alongside other people’s highlight reels, I can’t help but compare myself to their seemingly perfect lives. But you noticed what I said there, right? Highlight reels? Because that’s what we tend to share…the best of the best, only the carefully curated moments we want others to know about us.

Well today, what I’m sharing is imperfect. It’s a work in progress, a struggle, a battle…me. The real version of me. The me that I’ve tried my very best to hide from the corners of social media out of fear of judgement, shame and guilt…until today. In a world that makes it so easy to be consumed and overwhelmed by our perceived “lack” that we feel as we quickly assess the things that someone else has in their highlight reel that we “don’t”, I want to reach past all of that to the person who is sitting in the same seat as I am today in search of something real.

 

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March 2014, I snapped the photo on the left. I remember this day very distinctly as I stood at the top of my stairs in my Royal Oak apartment, alone, petrified to take this picture. I was really good at hiding this version of me; baggy clothes, layers, etc. A lump in my throat formed as I opened my camera. I didn’t want to take this. At all. But I knew I had to. I kept this photo safe and close to me for what has been almost four years now, just waiting for the time to come to share it. I knew when I did, I had to be in the right place. If you had scrolled through my social media feed at the time that photo was taken, you would have never known the darkness that was in my heart…or at least I didn’t want you to. On the outside, my life was great! I had an amazing boyfriend (my now husband), a good job, wonderful friends, a beautiful family. But, I hated myself. I hated the way I looked, I hated the way I felt, I hated that I let myself get to this point and was trapped in a body that I knew wasn’t mine. I can still feel days in the pit of my stomach where I would catch myself in the mirror as I did my hair or makeup. I remember the hatred that filled my heart as I not just thought to myself, but told myself that there is no way any could really love me if I looked the way that I did at the time. This hate was fueled by my binge eating disorder, something that I never shared publicly until now. Food was a coping mechanism for me — for stress, for depression, for fear, for boredom, for anxiety, for self-hate. Until this day. This day in 2014, tears filled my eyes and my heart felt relieved as I finally decided to give up the fight against myself and instead, forge a new path of love again.

The photo on the right was taken earlier this morning. I literally took one photo and then walked away. No posing, no lighting adjustments. Since the photo from 2014, a lot has changed. I reassessed my relationship with food, took time to understand my disordered eating and found ways to make a healthy change. I established a workout routine that makes me feel my best and brings out the best in me. Am I exactly where I want to be in terms of my body? Nope. Do I still slip up from time-to-time? You bet. But do I now approach life with a love and appreciation of the power of my health and body? 100%.

When I first began my health coaching journey, I was brought to tears within the first week of my program. Not only did I finally feel like I had found my “dream job”, I knew this was meant for me because I’ve been on the other side….the “secret” other side. I’ve been through the self-doubt, the self-hate, the feelings of worthlessness, the not knowing where to turn in what seemed like a never-ending cycle of binging all while making sure people only thought that my life was perfect. And it’s through all that darkness that I live in the light today. I still compare myself to others and there are times where I let the highlight reel cloud my mind and weaken my heart. But then I remember that in the secret spaces between the highlight reels are real humans. And if sharing this today reaches just one person who needed to be reminded of the real, the good, the “real life” and that sincerely loving yourself matters so much more than the way you want people online to think they love you, then the girl from 2014 snapped that photo with you in the bright parts of her heart.

With love,

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Meatless Monday: Hearty Vegan Chili

Meatless Monday: Hearty Vegan Chili

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! My mom, sister and I had a girls “staycation” weekend in Detroit and it was the best!

  • Friday morning, my sister and I had manicures and pedicures together and then went to a few of my favorite stops around Grosse Pointe, including Trader Joe’s and The Better Health Market to stock up on some goodies for the weekend. Friday night, my mom, sister and I went to Maru Sushi in downtown Detroit — SO good!
  • Saturday morning, we had the most relaxing spa day at IMMERSE Spa at the MGM Grand in Detroit. In the afternoon, we met up with my aunt and cousins for lunch at Townhouse Detroit, explored the holiday pop up markets in Cadillac Square and had a shake from Shake Shack.
  • Sunday, we spent the morning taking in the Monet exhibition the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and then saw The Bodyguard at the Fisher Theater. We ended the weekend by having this chili recipe around my dining room table, and it was the perfect way to conclude our fun-filled weekend around The D!

For Meatless Monday today, I wanted to share an incredibly easy and hearty vegan chili. Chili is one of my go-to recipes in the winter because it warms me up and is such a comforting food (especially in frigid temps!). Chili so simple to make — anything that lets me throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot and call it a day is my kind of meal. Plus, the fact that you can customize it to your taste and dietary preferences is a win-win-win.

For today’s recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 TBS chili powder
  • 4 TBS cumin
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of shredded carrots
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (optional)
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (I live for Cholula hot sauce…life changing), optional.

Directions:

  • In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until garlic is fragrant and onions are soft and translucent — about five minutes.
  • Add salt, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, cumin and diced sweet potato and cook until potato is soft — about 5-7 minutes.
  • Next, add your vegetable broth, quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, carrots, poblano pepper (optional) and a few dashes of hot sauce (optional). Bring your mixture to a low boil on medium heat. Stir, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check for taste and add any additional spices as needed. Your chili should be fragrant, the quinoa should be cooked and your mixture soft and thick. The great thing about chili: the longer you let it cook, the more flavorful your final product will be.  I gave my chili another stir, covered it back up and let it simmer on the stove for an hour.
  • Serve with chips, avocado or whatever other toppings you desire!

Enjoy!

Do you have any favorite chili recipes? Please share them in the comments below! : )

Be Well,

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Taco Tuesday: Buffalo Chickpea Tacos with Ranch Dressing

Taco Tuesday: Buffalo Chickpea Tacos with Ranch Dressing

It’s Tuesday, friends, so you know what that means: #TacoTuesday!

Guys, I am so excited to share this taco recipe with you because it combines two of my favorite things: tacos and a recipe from my pals at Well Vegan. If you’re new to my blog, I am a huge fan of my Frugal Vegan cookbook.  Kate and Katie share tactical ways to live a healthy vegan lifestyle without breaking the bank with 99 affordable and delicious plant-based recipes. Also within the book, they teach you how to stay away from pricey perishables and special ingredients, while still enjoying nutritious, exciting food at every single meal. A win-win. And even if you’re not vegan, you’ll still benefit from the information in this book!

Last week, the Well Vegan girls shared a Buffalo Crispy Tender Tacos with Vegan Ranch recipe that I just knew I had recreate for this week’s taco Tuesday. And this vegan ranch, you guys…oh my god. I truly don’t know the last time I had ranch dressing, but this dressing…tastes better than I have ever remembered store-bought ranch dressing to taste. Like, I wanted to drink this dressing it was so good. I know, I know the thought of drinking ranch dressing is gross, but it was seriously that good. #noshame

For my non-vegan friends, I also wanted to give you a healthy ranch recipe from my friend Steph of The Steph Gordon Blog! Steph and I went to college together and we share a mutual love for a great sweat sesh in the gym and living a healthy lifestyle. Steph is a momma to two sweet littles and she, her husband and girls follow a paleo lifestyle. On her blog, Steph shares drool-worthy recipes and awesome tips for following a paleo lifestyle. Pop on over to her blog to give her content a browse, and make sure you check out this ranch dressing recipe!

Now for our tacos!

Ingredients:

For the buffalo sauce

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tsp vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the tacos

For the vegan ranch dressing

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 TBS non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Almond milk…I’m currently experimenting with making my own almond milk, so stay tuned for that recipe!)
  • 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (I used Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill (the original recipe calls for 1/4 tsp, but I love dill so I added more!)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and peper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour your chickpeas from the can into small strainer and rinse under cold running water.
  • After your chickpeas are rinsed, grab two bowls — we’re going to remove the skin or shell from the chickpeas. This task will take about 5 – 10 minutes depending on how many helpers you have in the kitchen. If you have kiddos, this is an easy way for them to help contribute to the meal! 🙂 Simply pinch the end of a chickpea and it will easily slide out of it’s skin. Place the skin in one bowl and the “naked” chickpea in the other. Repeat until all chickpeas are done. The lack of skin or shell helps the chickpeas to crisp up better in the oven.

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  • Once your chickpeas are all set, drizzle them with 1 tsp of olive oil, toss to coat and then pour them onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pop into the oven for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  • Next up, make your buffalo sauce. I just threw all of the ingredients into my Magic Bullet, but if you have more time than I did, the Well Vegan girls suggest making this on the stovetop.
  • While your chickpeas are still baking, prepare your ranch dressing. Again, I just tossed everything into my Magic Bullet to combine – super easy (or lazy, whatever!).
  • After your 40 minutes are up, check your chickpeas for preferred crispness. At this point, mine were pretty crispy, so I mixed them with my buffalo sauce and popped them back in the oven for about 10 more minutes so they could cook with the sauce for a little bit.
  • Once your chickpeas are cooked to your liking, you’re ready to assemble your tacos!
  • Place a tortilla on a plate and add your romaine, avocado, chickpeas and a few dollops of your ranch dressing.  Other toppings for consideration: pico de gallo (I meant to include this when I made my tacos, but I honestly forgot!), cilantro, olives, etc.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

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What are your favorite way to make tacos? I’d love for you to share in the comments! <3

Be Well,

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Meatless Monday: Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Meatless Monday: Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Happy Meatless Monday, friends!

I love sharing #MeatlessMonday recipes, and this one is definitely one of my go-to’s. Aside from the yummy flavors of this recipe, these loaded sweet potatoes are not only easy to make, they’re filling, nutritious and best of all, inexpensive. Plus, loaded sweet potatoes are so easy to change and customize, you can rotate them into your weekly meals without much effort.

Ingredients:

  • Two sweet potatoes (organic, if possible)
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional, for serving)
  • 1 TBS fresh cilantro (optional, for serving)
  • Salsa for serving

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  • Under cold running water, wash / scrub your sweet potatoes. Since we’re going to be leaving the skin on, I recommend buying organic sweet potatoes if possible, but if not, just make sure that you’re scrubbing the skin really well to wash off any pesticides.
  • Once washed, place your sweet potatoes on to a foil-lined baking sheet. Use a fork to poke a few holes over the surface of each potato.

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  • When your oven is up to temp, pop your potatoes into the oven and set a timer for 1 hour.
  • While your potatoes are baking, pour your corn into a strainer and give it a good rinse under cold water. Once rinsed, pour into a large mixing bowl. Do the same with your black beans and add them to your corn.
  • Dice up your red bell pepper and add to corn and bean mixture. Stir everything to combine.
  • Next up, drizzle 1 TBS of olive oil over peppers, beans and corn and stir to combine, making sure the oil is evenly distributed.
  • Add your garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper to pepper, beans and corn mixture.
  • Give everything a good stir and then pour mixture onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Make sure to spread the mixture out over your baking sheet so that everything has room to cook.
  • At the 20 minute mark on your timer, pop your veggies and beans into the oven.
  • At the 10 minute mark on your timer, take your veggies + beans out to give everything a stir to ensure even cooking.
  • When your timer is up, pull everything out of the oven. Set veggies and beans aside. Let sweet potatoes cool for a few minutes until they’re safe to handle. Totally normal if your potatoes are oozing. : )
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half length-wise and check the middle with a fork. If you can easily scrape the flesh in the middle, your potatoes are done! If they’re still a little tough, put them back in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Once your potatoes are cooked, scrape the inside flesh a little bit with a fork to make room for corn, beans and peppers. You will definitely leftovers of this mixture! Add it to a salad for lunch or use as a sided dish for another meal later in the week!
  • Scoop some of the mixture into each half of the potato and top with diced avocado, cilantro and salsa. Other additional topping ideas: sour cream (if you’re not vegan), diced jalapeño, olives, pico de gallo, etc.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

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What are your favorite ways to make sweet potatoes? : )

Be Well,

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