My Easy Matcha Latte Hack

For the longest time I would scroll through my instagram feed looking longingly at all the matcha latte’s that healthy food bloggers out there were making, thinking to myself “I wish I had the time and energy to buy a matcha whisk and bowl and slave over it morning after morning”….. until finally I realized I didn’t need all that special equipment and I can do it on my own in under 5 minutes!

I’m always trying to cut corners in the kitchen if you haven’t noticed…

Anyway, here’s my cheaters hack to easy matcha lattes: a blender.

Simply blend your matcha powder with your *still cold* milk (I like cashew or coconut milk) along with anything else you would like to add (my staples are ashwagandha powder and collagen peptides). When the mixture is well combined, just add hot water and voila!!!

**NEVER put the hot water in the blender with your milk and powders

Now even busy ladies (and gents) can take part in the morning matcha craze as we rush out the door!!

 

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you will still achieve that beautiful foam when you use your blender, trust me!

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Juice Cleanses: Worth the Hype?

Everyone has their two cents to put in about juice cleansing. Is it great for you? Is it horrible for you? Does it serve a real purpose? Is it totally redundant since your body is constantly detoxifying itself? Who knows! All I know is, I love it. In moderation of course, as with everything.

The longest juice cleanse I have done has been 4 days of nothing but juice, water and herbal tea, so nothing extreme. More frequently, however, I have done 3 days, 2 days and even just 1 day. I have tried all 3 of the popular Pressed Juicery cleanses and I have also tried BluePrints 3 day cleanse, as well as Georgia based Arden’s Garden’s 2 day cleanse, and I have also put together my own cleanses using the juices available at the supermarket. So I’m no expert, but I do know a thing or two about the popular juicing craze and I’m here to share my ~juicy~ philosophy (or philoSophie, if you will):

I want to start by laying it all out there, my feelings about juicing for me and for everyone else, as well as my reasons for juicing and my personal connection to it.

I’ll say it again: I love juicing. Short term juice fasts are great for me for so many reasons; they help cut cravings, they flush me out, they give my sensitive digestive system some time off, they pump me full of nutrients, they clear my head, they force me to regulate myself and listen to my body extremely vigilantly, they’re basically just a big reset button for me. I have learned that sometimes my body just needs to take a beat, and this is the method that works for me.

That being said, I’m not under the impression that juice cleansing serves some overarching, pivotal, medicinal purpose or that it is something that my body couldn’t go without. I would never pressure anyone to juice with me or claim any kind of superiority over someone who doesn’t like to juice. My recommendation when it comes to juicing is to listen to your own body, and respond to it. Who knows, you might be like me and feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You also might feel irritable and deprived, no shame in that, just remember it’s not a competition so there’s no shame in quitting! Sometimes it feels like my body is begging for a day of juice, so that’s what I give it. Other times, it feels like my body is begging for a beer and a basket of fries, so that’s what I give it! Long story short, if juicing isn’t your jam then forget it, who needs it if it sucks?

To give you a more in depth history of my emotional relationship with juicing, I have to give you some back ground info. This may come as a surprise, or maybe it won’t, but I used to struggle with an eating disorder. All I ever thought about was food; when I would eat next, what I would eat next, how I could avoid eating, or how I would punish myself if I did overeat. Needless to say, I would find myself in some crazy psychological funks surrounding food. I knew full well that I needed to provide my body with nutrients in order to live, but I also had the eating disorder devil on my shoulder telling me to forget about that and to do whatever it took to avoid ingesting anything. At this particular point in time, it was finals week at my University so I needed to study and just take my mind off of food. Having juiced in the past (before my ED had become serious) and knowing that it worked for me, I decided to do a 3 day cleanse during finals week for the soul purpose of taking my mind off of food. And guess what? It worked! It was the first time that I felt truly “reset” by cleansing, and from then on it was a method that I employed very frequently when my ED would become unbearably overwhelming. Right or wrong, juicing was a tool that I used to help pull myself out of my eating disorder. As a result, it’s something that I feel strong gratitude for and that I feel very lucky to have found.

Lately, I have enjoyed cleansing for just one day here and there (I would say once a month or so) to reset my palette and apatite when I notice myself having lots of cravings or when my body just doesn’t feel right. I like to think of it as my way of hitting the reset button for my innards. Since I work right near two Pressed Juicery locations, that’s basically my go-to for juice. When I do my one day resets I choose the most advanced set of juices (pictured), which consists of 5 green juices and 1 almond milk. If I have an active day, I’ll stop by and grab a 7th juice or almond milk to keep myself from feeling deprived. Contrary to what you might think, these juices almost always last me through the day as long as I pace myself – I like to make a juice schedule when I start my first juice – and keep me feeling full and relatively satiated. They’re also tasty, especially the almond milk, and they have the ingredients listed right on the front so you know exactly what you’re getting!

After I finish a cleanse even as short as one day, I experience a multitude of benefits: cravings significantly diminish, bloat decreases if not vanishes, I sleep soundly and I wake up with ease, I can think more clearly, I don’t feel tempted to overeat, my senses are heightened, and those are just the benefits I can think of off the top of my head! Sometimes the benefits might seem to last longer or to be more or less intense, but no matter what I always feel overwhelmingly refreshed and reenergized.

On a more serious note, there are many stigmas attached to juice cleansing that brand it as some torturous, depriving, quick-fix weight loss tactic. I hope this post will serve to show that if done correctly it can be much more than that, and that it could be something to consider trying if your body or mind feel clogged or foggy. For a first time cleanser, the Pressed Juicery and BluePrint both have awesome beginner options (you can even get them delivered right to your door) – and don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you need to snack on a raw almond or two while you’re cleansing. Ultimately, any type of cleanse you do is for YOU, so don’t let anyone tell you what’s wrong for YOUR body. Feel it out, and have fun with it!

So my conclusion? Juice cleansing is worth the hype from where I stand! We all stand in different spots, however, and I would love to hear new perspectives on this topic. Whether it’s a green juice, a cup of tea, or a glass of wine, cheers to listening to your body and doing what’s right for YOU!

Yogi Diaries: Updates and Intentions

As I delve deeper into the world of yoga and as I am suddenly at a point in my life where free time is scarce, I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of going about my life in a more purposeful and mindful way. When there are fewer hours in the day than you might like, it’s important to ration your time and to assign a purpose or reason to each thing you do, which is why I want to start to focus more on setting clear intentions for my life, weeks, days, and even little tasks.

While I have always had goals in life, I’m finding myself now at a time where I am completely in the driver’s seat of my life for the first time. It’s a strange mixture of terrifying and exhilarating, most importantly, however, it’s inspiring. At any transition point in life, it’s important to find the direction that’s right for you and run with it. While I am constantly exhilarated and excited by the possibilities of the future, I’m beginning to learn that the “run with it” part of finding your path can be easier said than done.

For the past week or so, I spent time focusing on the beginning two aspects of the 8 limbed yogic path: the first Yama, Ahisma which represents non-violence or non-harm, and the first Niyama, Saucha which stands for cleanliness and purity in all aspects of life (for more background information, see my earlier post Yogi Diaries: A Spiritual Journey Beginning with Yamas & Niyamas). The outcome of my focus on these aspects of life was somewhat minimal, but meaningful nonetheless.

Since I already have an inherently non-violent vegan diet, I sort of feel like I used it as a cop-out for focusing on Ahisma. I would have liked to spend more time looking inward and focusing on how I treat all of the people I interact with on a daily basis. I would have liked to make more progress towards eliminating any accidental rudeness or unintentionally inconsiderate behavior, but at the very least it’s good that I am thinking about it at all so that I can continue to make an effort going forward. For Saucha, I made an effort to keep my bedroom space more tidy and to clean up after myself more thoroughly, especially in the kitchen. While my room is still far from perfect, I do think that I made some progress or at least taught my self some helpful tidiness tips and tricks that I’ll be able to employ in the future.

For the week or so to come, I’ll be focusing on the next Yama and Niyama. Respectively, Satya which stands for honesty and truthful communication, and Santosha which represents personal contentment and being enough on your own. As someone who has recently been in recovery from an eating disorder, I think that this one could be particularly hard for me. Intrinsic contentment and confidence is something that I deeply struggle with. I am nervous and scared to look that still-open wound directly in the face because I don’t know how it will feel. I’m terrified to be alone with my thoughts and feelings on this matter, but the fact that I have such fear shows me that it needs to be done and that I should give this aspect of my life special attention. I think that Satya and Santosha will compliment each other as my focuses for this time period to come because I will have to focus on communicating honestly with myself, and being truthful about my progress when it comes to self acceptance. Wish me luck and send me good vibes through this microjourney that I’m embarking on!

Now on a very different note…

Since this is my diary as an emerging yogi, I’m going to bring the conversation back to the mat for a hot second. Since day one, my balance has been sub-par to say the least. Nailing crow was much more of struggle for me than I would ever care to admit. Since I mastered it, I have been trying to work on my tripod head stand and my chin stand. I want to emphasize how unbelievably difficult balancing is for me, because these poses seem to be much harder for me than the average person. It is beyond frustrating to advance so slowly in some aspects (balances) as compared to other aspects of my practice.

That being said, last night I finally found myself in a comfortable straight leg supported head stand (or sirshasana if you prefer Sanskrit)!!! This was a seriously big deal for me, like HUGE! I was so excited and proud of myself that I lost my focus and toppled straight to the ground. In the process, one of my knees ended up hitting my right forearm instead of the ground and as a result my arm has been hurting all day since. It actually caused so much pain in my forearm that I decided to skip yoga class completely today in order to avoid putting weight on the arm (since that’s when it hurts the most). This kind of stuff is scary for me as someone who has little to no experience with injury. Luckily, my arm is feeling better already so I think I’ll just be able to chalk it up to a close call and a sign that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself in the future.

At the end of the day, I’m so so so very excited about getting into my head stand and I hope it will open more doors for me! I am attending a balancing workshop this coming Saturday so hopefully I’ll have a few solid days of headstand practice before then. I hope that my struggles and constant sequences of trial and error will inspire y’all to try something new or tackle your goals because even if you (literally, in my case) fall on your face the first time it will always be worth it in the end.

I know that my writing has been lacking lately, but I’m getting back into my groove this week I promise so stay tuned for more recipes and/or bay area eats and whatnot. For now, keep it HONEST and keep it CONTENT in solidarity with me!

 

Vegan Rosemary Flatbread Crust

When I think of some of life’s greatest pleasures, it’s hard not to think of pizza. Unfortunately, it can be tough to find a truly satisfying and delicious vegan pizza, which is why today I decided to take matters into my own hands! The final product was this addicting Rosemary and Brown Rice Flour Flatbread Crust topped with a modified version of my garbanzo avocado mash (see my recent post Worlds Best Garbanzo Avocado Mash), heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, and black sesame seeds.

I want to share this vegan pizza crust recipe with y’all because I’m pretty sure it’s the best thing to ever grace my oven, and it will definitely be a staple for me from now on. It has the perfect combination of rich flavors (rosemary is my favorite in this) and crunchy yet doughy texture. It’s also easy and quick to make, and you have the freedom to customize the toppings to your hearts desire! I tried to keep it to as few ingredients as possible, but feel free to add or take out any spices based on your tastes and what you have in your pantry.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp active yeast
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 tsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 tsp active yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tbsp of all purpose flour, let sit for 5 minutes to let yeast activate
  2. Add in 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour as well as all of the seasonings and 1 tsp olive oil and mix and kneed until dough is soft and slightly sticky
  3. Roll dough into a ball and let sit for 15 minutes, preheat oven to 435 degrees
  4. Add about 1/2 tsp olive oil to the outside of the ball of dough, and use your hands and a bit of flour to spread the dough thin on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – remember that the dough will rise slightly in the oven so spread it thin, leaving it just slightly thicker around the edges (think 13-14 inches)
  5. At this point you can add sauce and toppings to your pizza, or you can bake it with no toppings and wait until after the crust is cooked to add toppings (depending on if you want the toppings to be hot or cold)
  6. Bake for 17 minutes or until dough becomes golden brown on the edges
  7. Remove from oven, add toppings, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and it’s even better knowing that each ingredient has nutritional value that will benefit my body. I might consider adding hemp hearts or changing up the spices in the future based on what toppings I intend to use, but I can’t imagine an outcome much better than this rosemary and brown rice flour combo!

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As I said above, I used my yummy Worlds Best Garbanzo Avocado Mash as topping tonight. I modified the mash by adding some baby arugula, another half of an avocado, chili pepper, and pink Himalayan salt.

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Stay healthy and stay compassionate y’all! B-)

Smoky Spicy Sunday Night Buddha Bowl

I think we can all agree on one thing when it comes to Sunday nights: in a perfect world it definitely includes meal prepping. If you’re like me, it also includes one last delicious and indulgent meal to end the weekend on a perfect note. But what if you only have an hour to cook and you have to choose between the perfect dinner or a weeks worth of lunches? Your head tells you meal prep… but your  heart and tummy tell you to make one last perfect weekend dinner. Well debate no more, head and heart, because you can do BOTH with this delicious, nutritious, Buddha Bowl composed of healthy week day recipes that will keep in the fridge for the work week ahead!

For my work week lunches, I like to have a big bowl of ready-to-eat greens so that I can quickly throw together a salad with any toppings I’m in the mood for. The thing about most salads is that they wilt and get soggy with time, leaving them basically inedible. I also struggle with bringing dressing with me in the morning, it just takes too much extra time and leaves me lots of Tupperware dishes to wash and lug around. Fortunately, superfood Tuscan Kale exists!! Unlike other types of greens, Tuscan Kale keeps its crunch if left in the fridge with dressing for a few days. It makes the perfect work week salad base, which is why I like to make a huge container of a simple, vegan Tuscan Kale Caesar(ish) Salad (recipe below)!

I think it has become clear at this point that I’m extremely into spicy food. The more flavorful, the better! Any simple meal can be vastly improved with just a little bit of fun flavor, so I always like to keep some versatile little “flavor bombs” of some sort on hand that I can toss into any dish to spice it up. I’ve been on something of a garbanzo bean/chickpea kick lately, so this week I decided to stick with the trend and make some Crunchy Smoky Paprika Chickpeas to use as croutons and toppings on anything and everything (recipe below)!

The sweet potato lover that I am, I can’t last the week without a batch of my Sweet Potato and Heirloom Carrot Hash. I can’t get over this dish because of the versatility of it; I can seriously eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all three. It tastes great with a salad, on some quinoa, in a pita pocket, or even by itself! Another thing I can’t last a week without is a copious amount of ready-to-eat quinoa. Right now I’m really into white quinoa because I love that it goes so well with breakfast foods as well as lunch and dinner recipes. It absorbs and really highlights the flavors and textures of whatever it is paired with, so I like to prepare a good amount of it on Sunday nights so I can quickly put together a filling quinoa bowl in a pinch.

Anyway, I digress.. Back to the star of the show: my Spicy Smoky Sunday Night Buddha Bowl! After preparing all of these work week dishes I was starting to get pressed for time as well as just plain lazy, so I decided to combine all of my meal prep elements into one perfect dish! All I needed to perfect this combination was avocado (of course) and some home made Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe below). Below, you’ll find all the information you need to recreate my little meal prep masterpiece, but don’t be afraid to go off book a little bit and add or subtract any ingredients you want! Cooking is a journey of trial and error… with an emphasis on the error if you’re anything like me. Everything tastes great when it’s tailored perfectly to your tastes, so go ahead and individualize everything (or just stick to my recipes, because I think they’re pretty darn good)! Also remember that some of these recipes make way more than you’ll need for the Buddha Bowl because they’re meant to be kept in the fridge and used as lunch or dinner elements through out the week!

Tuscan Kale Caesar(ish) Salad:

You’ll need:

  • 10 cups Tuscan Kale Leaves (if you can’t find it fresh at your supermarket, you can also use 1 bag of organic Tuscan Kale but make sure to still measure out 10 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Chili Pepper, Salt, and Pepper to taste

To Prepare:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, shred the Tuscan Kale leaves into somewhat small, bite size pieces (omitting any stems or spines)
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped and crushed garlic, salt, pepper and chili pepper
  3. Pour dressing mixture over shredded kale, and toss until leaves are evenly coated

Crunchy Smoky Paprika Chickpeas:

 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees, drain and rinse chickpeas and dry them off a little bit with a towel or paper towel
  2. Combine all spices in to a small bowl
  3. In a larger bowl, combine chickpeas, olive oil, and about 1/3rd of the spice mixture and mix them together until the olive oil and spice mixtures are spread evenly
  4. On a cookie sheet, spread out the chickpeas and cover them with the remainder of the spice mixture, making sure they are fully coated with the spices
  5. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until they are crunchy

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce:

 

You’ll need:

  • 1/4th cup all natural peanut butter (I like crunchy)
  • 1/4th cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1-2 teaspoons (or to taste) Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • lemon or lime juice to taste

To Prepare:

  1. I’m going to be honest with you here, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to prepare traditional peanut sauce, so I’m just telling you guys what works for me (as someone who is not above cutting corners for the sake of efficiency) – Step 1: Melt the peanut butter over the stove or even in the microwave
  2. Combine all ingredients until combined into a creamy sauce texture. If you are looking for a thinner consistency, add small amounts of water (maybe a teaspoon at a time) until you have achieved your desired consistency.

Spicy Smoky Sunday Night Buddha Bowl:

You’ll need:

  • 1 -1.5 cup cooked white quinoa
  • 1 cup Tuscan Kale Caesar(ish) Salad
  • 1/4 cup Crunchy Smoky Paprika Chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup – 1 cup Sweet Potato and Heirloom Carrot Hash
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • Black Sesame Seeds or Garnish of Choice

To Prepare:

  1. In a bowl, lay down a base of quite quinoa, adding the kale salad and sweet potato hash second, and the avocado and chickpeas afterwards
  2. Drizzle peanut sauce overtop of the quinoa. Sprinkle black sesame seeds or garnish of choice over top
  3. Enjoy!


I hope you guys enjoy this awesome and nutritious Buddha Bowl as well as the recipes included in it! I know I’ll be enjoying them all week 🙂 I would love to hear if you have any great tips to improve any of my recipes or if you made any yummy or nutritious changes. Have a great week, keep it simple y’all!!

 

Sweet Potato and Heirloom Carrot Hash

If I had to pick a favorite food, you best believe it would include sweet potatoes (well.. either sweet potatoes or split pea soup). They’re the perfect food in my book: delicious, nutritious, versatile, and beautiful! The first time I ever had sweet potato hash was at True Food Kitchen, and ever since then I have been trying to perfect a sweet potato hash recipe of my own.

Sweet potato hash is one of my favorite side dishes to have on hand because it’s an awesome compliment to almost anything. In the past I have used it as a topping on nachos for dinner, as a side dish with tofu scramble for breakfast, as an ingredient in a buddha bowl, as a filling for a pita, and of course as a main course in all it’s glory!

Along with sweet potatoes, heirloom carrots are also up there on my list of favorites. The two flavors compliment each other wonderfully. They also take on the flavors of seasonings perfectly which makes them an awesome addition to my sweet potato hash, bringing some new flavors, nutrients, and pretty colors to the table!

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes
  • 2 heirloom carrots
  • 6 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (I use vegetable bouillon)
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • chili pepper
  • salt and pepper

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Thoroughly wash and finely chop the sweet potatoes, heirloom carrots, garlic, and onion and combine them with the olive oil and vegetable broth. Roast them for 20-25 minutes in a glass cooking container.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat and transfer the vegetable mixture into the skillet. Add in spices (chili pepper, salt and pepper to taste) and sauté 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes begin to get crispy
  4. Enjoy!

On a nutritional level, this dish packs a great punch as well. Sweet potatoes are an absolutely awesome source of healthy carbohydrates and dietary fiber as well as some key vitamins and heirloom carrots are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin A, and several B-vitamins. This is the perfect side dish to serve with any salad or as a carbohydrate and vegetable component of any macro bowl!

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Finished product, still in the skillet. Feel free to add in any additional spices and cook it to the crispness of your liking.

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Sweet Potato and Heirloom Carrot Hash as a component of a macro nutrient bowl! One of the endless ways you can use this recipe

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and I would love to hear about any modifications or new uses for it! Stay sweeeeeet as yams y’all & don’t forget to keep it compassionate and keep it whole!