Erica Liu Williams, Founder of Gr8nola

Episode 11: an interview with Erica Liu Williams, Founder of Gr8nola.

Learn more about Gr8nola on:

Their website

Instagram (Their feed is gorgeous)

Facebook

 

Cinnamon Delicata Squash Bread

This Cinnamon Delicata Squash Bread is delicious quick bread that will bring a unique flavor to your fall days.

Fall finally arrived at the farmer’s market last weekend! All through September I waited impatiently for the peaches to be replaced with apples, the sunflowers with fall foliage. Now, in the second week of October, the fall produce has arrived!

Cinnamon Delicata Squash Bread

I practically skipped through the market, taking in the sight of pumpkins, brussels sprouts, and purple sweet potato.

But the most thrilling find was a basket of knobbly, striped delicata squash. I had seen these photogenic gourds all over Instagram and couldn’t wait to try them.

I bought one to roast and add to meals throughout the week, and another to experiment with. I’d heard of “pumpkin” breads made with other types of squash, and I was excited to create my own.

It turned out better than I could have possibly expected. My family members devoured their slices and instantly asked for seconds.

If you make this Cinnamon Delicata Squash Bread, I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment or share with me on Instagram. I hope you and your family love this recipe as much as mine does!

Cinnamon Delicata Squash Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Topping:
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • ½ tbsp pepitas
Instructions
  1. Halve delicata squash and roast for 45 minutes at 375 ºF.
  2. Remove squash from oven, preheat oven to 350 ºF, and grease an 8x4 loaf pan.
  3. Remove skin, then mash squash in mixing bowl until smooth.
  4. Add egg, sugar, and olive oil to bowl. Mix until well combined.
  5. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  6. Once dry ingredients are incorporated, pour batter into pan.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pepitas down the center of the loaf.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.

 

If you like this recipe, you should also try:

Banana Baked Donuts

Blackberry Tahini Bread

Baked Apple Donuts

Chocolate Granola Cups

Have you ever experienced snack burnout? Like when you’ve got a few go-to snacks that you absolutely love and always keep on hand, but then one day you wake up and suddenly none of them sound appealing anymore? You’ve been there too, right?  Luckily, we’ve got these Chocolate Granola Cups to shake up our snack game.

These little bites are truly incredible. The creamy, nutty, mild base paired with the rich, crunchy chocolate layer is a match made in heaven. And with that sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top? I have no words.

They also have collagen peptides in them for an added protein boost! I used Further Food collagen (you can find my podcast interview with the founder here), which gives this snack a little extra staying power. However, if you would like to make the recipe vegan or vegetarian, you can absolutely omit the collagen and they will still be delicious.

I’ve been bringing these on the go for snacks, enjoying a couple for dessert, or just grabbing one out of the fridge as I walk by. I also think they would be an incredible substitute for granola on a yogurt bowl. Chocolate for breakfast? Heck yes.

Chocolate Granola Cups

If you make these Chocolate Granola Cups (do it do it do it!!) be sure to let me know what you think in the comments, or share a picture with me on Instagram!

Chocolate Granola Cups
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 mini cups
 
Ingredients
  • Granola layer:
  • ½ cup rolled oats (use certified gluten free if needed)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (omit if vegan)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Splash of almond milk (if needed)
  • Chocolate layer
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips (dairy free if vegan)
  • ¼ tsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Mix together oats, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, salt, and collagen peptides (if using) in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil into dry ingredients, and stir until thoroughly combined. If your having trouble with the mixing, feel free to add a splash of almond milk.
  3. Fill your baking tray with the mixture. I used a 12 cup mini muffin tray, but I imagine the recipe would also work in a regular sized muffin tray.
  4. To make the chocolate layer, microwave chocolate chips and coconut oil for 1 minute and 30 seconds, then stir until smooth.
  5. Spoon chocolate into each muffin cup, then refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Finally, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and enjoy!

 

If you’d like to try Further Food, use the code primarilyplants10 for a discount on your order!

I am so lucky to be an affiliate for Further Food, a company I love and respect deeply. If you make purchases using the discount code in this post, I will receive a commission, so many thanks to you and to Further Food for helping support me and my blog.

Lillian Zhao, Founder of Further Food

Interview with Lillian Zhao, the founder of Further Food.

A few months ago, Further Food reached out to me and asked if I’d like to be part of their affiliate program. I’d never tried collagen, and I was definitely intrigued. I did some research and decided to try it out. So I joined the affiliate program and began using the product, but I still wanted to learn more about collagen. And who better to ask than the company’s founder, Lillian Zhao?

Further Food

When I emailed the company to request an interview, I honestly didn’t think I’d get a response, just because they are so popular. To my surprise and delight, I received an affirmative reply. So a couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lillian and hearing first hand her passion for her business.

This interview is not sponsored in any way by Further Food (if anything I would pay Lillian to talk to me!), but if you are interested in trying the product, you can use the code primarilyplants10 for 10% off your order.

If you’d like to learn more about Further Food, you can find them:

On their website

On Instagram

On Facebook

If you have feedback about the show and/or suggestions for future guests, you can leave a review on iTunes, email me at primarilyplantsblog@gmail.com, or fill out this contact form.

 

If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll also love:

Episode 3: Sundara Clark, Founder of Vixen Kitchen

Episode 5: Molly Alliman, Founder of Balance by Molly

Episode 7: Elaine Hayes, Founder of MNT Studio

How to Combine Work with Self Care

Like many people, I am a master procrastinator. Overtime, I’ve become much better at checking off the little things- answering emails, doing laundry, etc.- but when I’m faced with a big, stressful project, I often put it off because I’m not ready to deal with the anxiety it causes. Unfortunately, I’ve found that this just creates a snowball effect- as time goes by my nervousness only builds, so when it finally comes time to get to work, I have more anxiety to overcome than I did in the first place. Breaking this habit is definitely a work in progress for me, but I have found many valuable tools that help me combine work with self care.

Combining a stressful project with something that makes me happy mitigates my anxiety and gets me excited to start working. In this post, I share the strategies that I’ve find helpful, but I also encourage you to take this idea and make it your own- find what works best for you!

How to Combine Work with Self Care:

  • Put on a face mask
    • I find that taking 5 minutes to put on a face mask before sitting down to do my math homework brings a sense of peace and mindfulness to the experience. Plus, it’s nice to feel like I’m multitasking and clean out my pores while I clear up my to-do list.
    • This is the face mask I’ve been using recently!

  • Take a bath
    • I’ve found that it’s impossible for me to be stressed while taking a bath. So when I have a project that I get stressed even thinking about, I’ll take a bath and plan out how to tackle it. Once I’m in a more relaxed, creative mindset, it’s easier to plan out a big project. And if you have one on hand, adding in a fun bath bomb can also help get the creativity flowing.
  • Work from a coffee shop
    • This might be a little more self-bribery than self care, but it works well for me. In fact, it’s probably my very favorite tip on this list. Taking myself on coffee dates when I need to work on a challenging project helps me look forwards to hard work instead of dreading it. I find that working in coffee shops is especially effective when I need to really focus on a creative project. And the caffeine from my latte doesn’t hurt either.
    • You can find some of my favorite spots in SF on this list.

  • Brew some tea
    • I love having a variety of teas on hand so I can have one to match every mood. Right now I’m really enjoying lemon ginger tea, but I’d love to hear your recommendations too! Taking a moment to close my eyes and slowly sip my tea in the middle of a work session is so cozy and revitalizing.

  • Light a candle
    • For me, the main benefit of lighting a candle is the intention behind it. While the candle itself certainly makes my workspace cozier, just taking a moment to light a candle puts me in a more positive mindset.
  • Incorporate creativity
    • Often this is as simple as writing with colorful pens or organizing my notes in an artistic way.
    • I’m also a big fan of drawing my ideas instead of writing them when I’m feeling stuck. Putting pen to paper and creating concept maps or illustrations helps process my ideas without worrying about making anything perfect.
  • Listen to a podcast
    • When I’m doing any sort of boring, automatic work (such as organizing a spreadsheet), I make the task much more enjoyable by listening to my favorite podcasts. Sometimes I even look forwards to tedious work because I know I’ll get to listen to a fun podcast episode.
    • If you’re looking for new podcasts, here is a list of my favorites!

This is how I combine work with self care, and I hope you find these strategies as helpful as I do! And if you have your own tips for incorporating self care into your school/work life, I would love to hear them either in the comments or on Instagram.

Peach Caprese Salad

Going to the farmer’s market with my parents on Sunday mornings is one of my favorite parts of the week. It’s such a nice opportunity to spend time with them and catch up without any distractions. Every week we make an effort to try a new fruit or veggie, and sometimes we do, but no matter what we always leave with peaches. Recently, I’ve been buying an extra peach and a tomato, then making this Peach Caprese salad on Sunday evenings.

Peach Caprese Salad

I’ve already shared this salad on my Instagram, and it’s so simple you barely need a recipe, but I love it so much that I just have to share on the blog.

This salad tastes like the essence of summer, and it is beyond simple to make. That means spending less time in the kitchen and more time with your family/friends/Netflix.

This Peach Caprese Salad is so versatile that I will make some on Sunday evening to have with dinner, then I will eat it again with toast for breakfast the next morning. And as you can see from the below photo of my desk lunch, it’s also delicious as leftovers topped with some chicken (or your protein of choice), which is such a win in my book.

If you try this (and you totally should!) let me know what you think and/or share it with me on Instagram!

Peach Caprese Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4, as a side
 
Ingredients
  • 1 peach
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella balls (omit/replace with almond-based cheese if vegan)
  • ¼ c. thinly sliced basil
Instructions
  1. Dice peach and tomato into bite-sized chunks
  2. Cut each mozzarella ball into quarters.
  3. Combine all ingredients in serving bowl, toss gently, then serve.

 

Try this Peach Caprese Salad along with:

My Tropical Green Smoothie, Lemon Poppyseed Toast, or Blackberry Tahini Bread for a delicious breakfast.

Jenny Eu, Founder of Three Trees Almondmilk

Conversation with Jenny Eu, the founder of Three Trees Almondmilk:

  • In the episode, Jenny and I talk about:
    • How her grandmother influenced her outlook on health.
    • The top three values she keeps in mind when running her business.
    • And her own day to day wellness philosophy.

You can learn more about Three Trees Almondmilk:

On their website

On Instagram

On Facebook

And maybe in a store near you!

If you enjoyed this episode, I would so appreciate it if you would leave a review on iTunes, let me know on Instagram, or tell a friend! And if you have any feedback as far as what you would like to see more of on the show, please let me know!

Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness

When I was 12, I went to sleep-away camp for a week. I was there with one of my best friends and my little sister, but I was still incredibly homesick. One night, we had tater-tots with dinner and I started crying at the table because my dad loves tater-tots and eating them reminded me of him. Looking back, I find that pretty funny, but at the time it definitely wasn’t. And now I am able to find the humor in the situation because I’ve developed strategies for overcoming loneliness and homesickness that I didn’t have back then.

Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness

I still struggle with homesickness, but these strategies have been incredibly helpful to me, and I hope you find them useful too.

  • Strategies for overcoming loneliness:
    • Find “portable homes”
      • In my life, portable homes are resources that I can take out into the world and turn to when I need to feel comforted and understood. These are some of my favorite portable homes:
        • Books. These are mine, but any of your childhood favorites will probably work.
          • Harry Potter
          • Betsy-Tacy Series
          • Little Women
        • Podcasts. I love finding podcasters that are really caring and nurturing people because I can listen to them whenever I’m out in the world and feeling alone.
        • Blogs. In times of stress, it can be hard for me to connect with my body and know what I need. These blogs provide gentle reminders on living intuitively and taking good care of your body and mind. Plus, all three women’s lovely, hilarious personalities come through in their writing.

    • Take time for yourself
      • This seems a little counterintuitive, but I find that being by myself when I’m feeling homesick or lonely is really helpful. For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling lonely even when I’m with a big group of people, so taking a little time for myself can be so important. Being alone allows me to reconnect with myself, fully experience my emotions, and cry it out if I need to. Then, when I do rejoin the group I feel much more present and connected.

  • Figure out the root cause
    • Growing up, I was ashamed that I cried at summer camps and sometimes got homesick on sleepovers. For a long time, I thought that I wasn’t as brave as my friends or that I was just being a “crybaby.” But in recent years, as I’ve learned more about the way my brain works and the ways my anxiety manifests, I’ve found that these feelings were actually the result of separation anxiety.
    • Knowing this has been so helpful in enabling me to respect my feelings and respond with self care instead of judgement. Obviously, everyone is coming from different places, and my reasons are likely different than yours, but having more knowledge about the origins of our feelings can be really helpful.

I hope you’ll find my strategies for overcoming loneliness useful, and if you have strategies of your own, I’d love to hear about them! Just leave a comment here or connect with me on Instagram, and we can keep the conversation going.

Episode 8: Cynthia Samanian of Confetti Kitchen

Episode 8: Cynthia Samanian of Confetti Kitchen

Cynthia is the founder of Confetti Kitchen, a recipe website and event business that encourages people to use simple food as a platform to create meaningful connections.

In the episode, Cynthia and I discuss:

Using positive language to talk about food

The importance of simple, accessible recipes

How small details can make a huge impact

And much more.

 

You can learn more about CK:

On their website: https://www.confettikitchen.com/

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/confettikitchen/

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/confettikitchen

And if you enjoyed this episode, leave a review on iTunes and/or let me know on Instagram!

Mint Chia Pudding

I really like this time of year. For me, savoring the last lovely moments of summer while looking forwards to the coziness of fall is one of the best parts of the year. But the one thing I don’t love is the food. Its an awkward phase- we’re moving on from hot dogs and watermelon, but aren’t quite ready for all pumpkin everything. So what’s a food-loving gal to do? Make Mint Chia Pudding, of course.

mint chia pudding

This Mint Chia Pudding is the perfect transition food. The mint flavor is fresh and summery, which reminds me of sitting on the beach eating a cone of mint chocolate chip. (Or my mint chip “ice cream”)

At the same time, its super convenient and meal prep friendly. Make a few batches at the beginning of the week, portion the chia pudding into jars in the fridge, and you’ll have grab & go snacks all taken care of!

Plus, thanks to the magical power of chia seeds, this pudding will be able to power you through anything from outdoor summer adventures to the first day of school!

If you make the recipe, be sure to share with me on Instagram! And let me know (in the comments or on IG): what are you most excited for about fall?

Mint Chia Pudding
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¾ c. cashew milk
  • Small handful spinach
  • ¼ tsp mint extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender.
  2. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Allow to rest for at least 2 hours in fridge.
  4. Go crazy with toppings!!

 

As you can see, I went a little wild with toppings (which I totally recommend doing!) I used plain greek yogurt, chocolate peanut butter, and granola. It was delicious, and I’d love to hear your topping suggestions too.