Matcha Green Smoothie

If you’re like me, then the idea of facing all your responsibilities again after a (hopefully) lovely period of relaxation gets your stomach twisted up in knots. Whether yours are severe, sailor type knots or more like loose bows, your feelings are absolutely valid and deserve to be addressed.

For me, addressing these feelings of anxiety means reminding myself that even as my life gets busier I’m still allowed to practice self care and spend time with people I love. This really should be a given- of course I’m allowed to make some tea, put on a face mask, and call my best friend whenever the heck I want- but I think when I get stressed I begin to see self care as a waste of time.

This is most definitely FALSE because loving and caring for yourself is one of the most important investments you will ever make. At the same time, I completely understand the panic of being pressed for time and feeling like you can’t take a moment to combat the pressure/anxiety/fear you’re feeling.

And that, my friends, is where this smoothie comes in. Breakfast and magic anti-stress elixir all in one! What could be better than that?

Ok, for real though. While I can’t actually promise this will cure your anxiety, it does have some legitimate brain boosting benefits. Spinach is rich in magnesium, which acts as a “natural ‘chill pill'” according to MindBodyGreen. Bananas supply potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, while turmeric contains mood boosting antioxidants. Matcha, however, is really the star of the show. While matcha contains caffeine (meaning this smoothie will help you ditch your coffee addiction), it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which promotes relaxation. Most matcha can be a little pricey, but you can find my favorite affordable brand here.

When I was growing up, my dad would say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So if you’re feeling a little stressed, get going to the kitchen and make this smoothie!

Matcha Green Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: Serves 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen spinach
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ cup brewed matcha tea
Instructions
  1. Peel ginger.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drink and feel your stress melt away.

 

All nutrition information comes from this article and this article from MindBodyGreen.

Top 10 products for a Healthy 2017

As we prepare for a new year, many people take the time to recommit to their wellness goals. As I’ve said on Instagram, I think cleanses and crash diets are total B.S. However, I totally understand the desire to switch up your routine and try something new, so I’ve put together a list of my favorite products that have helped me feel my best this past year.

Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes

10 minutes after I received this book I had already bookmarked at least 15 recipes that I absolutely NEEDED to make immediately. I already knew Dana (Minimalist Baker) is incredibly talented from reading her blog, but this book takes inventive, mouth-watering recipes and amazing photography to a whole new level. At the same time, all the recipes seem completely doable for people like me who maybe don’t have many clean dishes and need to get back to watching Grey’s Anatomy ASAP.



Spiralizer 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer

So I am officially an old woman, considering my favorite Christmas gift this year was a kitchen appliance. But to be fair, I’m pretty sure spiralizers are the sexiest kitchen appliance out there. What could be better than a machine that turns veggies into noodles? Not to mention turning the handle definitely counts as your arm workout for the day. Delicious veggies + a quick workout sounds like the perfect way to kick off the new year.


Rishi Tea Organic Matcha Tea Bags

Ever since I enjoyed my first matcha latte at Peet’s over the summer (while reading a trendy book and feeling very sophisticated) I’ve been searching high and low for an affordable, high quality brand. I finally found Rishi, and I’m so glad I did! I’ve been loving it with lemon and in DIY lattes. Unlike coffee, drinking matcha in the mornings makes me feel refreshed, energized, and calm.


Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar

I’m seriously addicted to these bars. It’s hard to believe that three simple ingredients (dates, peanuts, sea salt) can come together to create such a delicious, nutrient packed snack, but Larabar proves it can be done! After spending waayy to much on these bars at the grocery store, I finally started buying them in bulk on Amazon. It’s a great snack AND a great deal, so it pretty much ticks all the boxes.


Swell Insulated Water Bottle

For years I’ve resolved to drink more water, but time and time again I’ve failed. Even  though I knew staying hydrated would improve my skin, reduce headaches, and give me more energy, drinking water was such a chore. In the past, I’d tried apps such as Plant Nanny, but I just forgot to drink water, my plants died, and I felt terrible for killing an imaginary plant. This year, however, thanks to my Swell Water Bottle, I finally met my goal. These water bottles are so pretty, they honestly make drinking water feel incredibly fun and chic.

Lavender Essential Oil

I’m usually so excited (and a little anxious) about my life/school work/projects that I have some trouble falling asleep. Overtime I’ve developed strategies to fall asleep more easily but I’m always looking for new methods, so when I discovered this Lavender Essential Oil I was thrilled! I sprinkled a couple drops on my pillow and was fast asleep within minutes. While some of it may have been a placebo effect, they oil smelled amazing and undoubtedly helped me relax.


AVEDA Rehydrating Lip Glaze Coral Peach

AVEDA is an phenomenal natural beauty brand. I love their commitment to sustainability, good for you ingredients, charity, and animal welfare. I actually bought this gloss as a gift for a friend, so I haven’t tried it, but the staff at my local store was so helpful and brand is wonderful. I’m certainly going to stock up on AVEDA products this year as I focus on clearing the junk out of  my makeup stash and filling it up with quality products.


TRX GO Suspension Training Kit

I’ve been using TRX ropes at the gym for a couple months and they’re so much fun! Using them makes me feel like I’m a little kid at the playground. Unfortunately, it seems many other people feel the same way and the TRX stations at the gym are usually occupied. TRX Go ropes are the perfect solution, as they are unobtrusive and easy to set up at home. You can get in a workout without leaving the house (read: brushing your hair/showering) and you’ll never have to wait in line!


Hoka One One Running Shoes

These are by far the best running shoes I’ve ever owned. I received them nearly a year ago and wear them often, but they are still in perfect condition. I wish it was socially acceptable to wear sneakers everywhere because they really are that comfortable. I do wear them every chance I get, from running to weightlifting to hiking, and the bright colors never fail to improve my mood.


Yoga Mat

Over the past few weeks, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Yoga with Adrienne. The flows feel amazing and she brings so much joy and positivity to her videos. They’re so easy to do at home and don’t require any fancy equipment, but having a yoga mat really does make the experience so much better. When I started out, my only options were to do yoga on my bed or my hardwood floor- not ideal situations for balance and relaxation. This extra fluffy yoga mat is absolutely wonderful, the only problem is it’s so comfy you may just fall asleep in child’s pose.

I hope these products help you get your new year off to a wonderful start!

Paleo Sweet Potato Oatmeal

Phew. The post-Christmas blues are real. I absolutely adore everything about the holiday season, from peppermint mochas to playing Christmas carols on the piano (badly). And once Christmas is over, sometimes everything seems to fall a little flat.

This year, I’m starting new projects, reading new books, and taking the time to set goals for the new year. Finding more to look forwards to is a great way to move past that post-holiday slump, but I was still feeling a little blue today.

As I often do, I found solace in the kitchen. This cozy bowl of “oats” was born from:

1. my constant craving for oatmeal

2. the abundance of leftover sweet potatoes in my kitchen

3. my desire to create a paleo-friendly oatmeal recipe.

This meal is so perfectly cozy, comforting and vitamin-packed, I promise you will be left glowing and satisfied.

Paleo Sweet Potato Oatmeal
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: Serves 2
 
Whether you're testing out the paleo diet or just looking for a way to change up your morning oats, this is the recipe for you!
Ingredients
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup almonds (toasted if you have time)
Instructions
  1. Grate sweet potato
  2. Bring water to a boil, add grated sweet potato, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain water from sweet grated sweet potato.
  4. Mix together almond milk and spices, then microwave for 30 seconds
  5. Spoon grated sweet potato into bowl, add spiced milk, and top with slivered almonds.

 

PB&J Quesadilla

Yesterday I babysat for three ten-year-old boys from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and by the end I was completely exhausted. As soon as I got home, I made a cup of tea, put on my comfiest sweats, and curled up in bed for a Grey’s Anatomy marathon.

Babysitting was worth it though, considering I need to fund my Whole Foods trips and overzealous gift buying somehow. However, I am far more reluctant to part with money I’ve worked so hard to earn- causing me to be more mindful about my food budget. And that’s where this thrillingly simple recipe comes in.

This easy quesadilla recipe is the perfect cheap, nutrition-packed power breakfast to give you energy for all the craziness in your life, be it babysitting, studying, sports, your job, or anything else that really takes a lot out of you. Although, now that I think about it- can I still call it a quesadilla if there’s no cheese?? Am I committing some sort of quesadilla sacrilege here? If you think so, you don’t have to call it a quesadilla, but you DO have to make this recipe. I’m pretty sure you and I both know you need to experience all the crispy, gooey, sweet, nutritious goodness that is a PB&J quesadilla.

  1. PB&J Quesadilla
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Breakfast/Lunch
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 1
     
    Ingredients
    • 1 whole wheat tortilla
    • 1 tbsp peanut butter
    • ¼ cup blackberries (use frozen + thawed to save $$)
    • ½ tsp coconut oil
    • ¼ tsp cinnamon
    Instructions
    1. Melt coconut oil in frying pan over medium heat.
    2. Once oil is melted, place tortilla in pan.
    3. Spread peanut butter over half the tortilla.
    4. Place ¼ cup berries on top of peanut butter and smush with a fork.
    5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of berries, fold tortilla, and flip quesadilla.
    6. Cook about 30 more seconds, or until tortilla is golden brown and peanut butter is melty.

Pumpkin Granola

For me, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can’t go by fast enough. I actually had to drag myself away from online shopping for Christmas gifts just to write this post. The recipe is really the star of the show here, so I’ll type it up real quick and get back to deciding whether to get my sister fancy peppermint brownie mix or a pair of earrings.

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This is probably – no, definitely – the best granola I’ve ever made. An believe me, I have made A LOT of granola. I’ve always loved granola, but the store bought kind often has some questionable ingredients, so I was thrilled when I learned how to make it at home.

Somehow, this is both the healthiest and best-tasting recipe I’ve tried, which makes me so very happy. I’ve been sprinkling this on smoothies, mixing it into yogurt, and snacking straight out of the jar for an energy-boost with healthy fats and minimal sugar.

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Ingredients:

  • Dry Ingredients
    • 2 cups oats
    • 1/2 cup walnuts
    • 1/4 cup coconut
    • 1/2 tbs minced ginger
    • 1/2 tbs chia seeds
  • Wet Ingredients
    • 1 tbs coconut oil
    • 1 tbs maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Stir until wet ingredients appear smooth and creamy.
  5. Remove pumpkin mixture from heat and stir into dry ingredients.
  6. Make sure all dry ingredients are coated in pumpkin mixture (definitely get in there and use your hands, its very satisfying).
  7. Spread granola evenly across baking sheet, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until granola is crunchy and golden.

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Vegan “Sausage”

When I was eight years old, I was obsessed with the Animal Ark books- a series about the daughter of a veterinarian and all her animal friends. I yearned to be like her, surrounded by horses, kittens, goats, pigs, and puppies. Eventually I began to find it odd that I loved animals so much, yet still ate them.

My parents supported my decision to become vegetarian, and for about two months I stood my ground against bacon, burgers, and corn dogs. (I realize that doesn’t sound like I had great eating habits, but I promise my parents fed me veggies too!) Eventually, however, my resolve wore down, and little eight year old Katherine finally gave in to a turkey sausage one morning at breakfast.

vegansausage

In recent years, I have returned to a mostly plant-based lifestyle, and sausages are actually still one of the only meat dishes that I miss. I’ve read articles and heard stories about how much junk is actually put into sausage, but that doesn’t change the fact that eggs and turkey sausage tastes amazing.

Inspired by the warm, salty-sweet, comforting flavors of fall, I set out to create a vegan “sausage” that would satisfy all my breakfast cravings.

I wasn’t sure how the recipe would turn out, but these are so good I’ve started craving them for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Winner winner sausage dinner!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or sub favorite breadcrumbs)
  • Flax egg (optional, helps with binding)*
  • Marinade
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Whisk together marinade ingredients.
  2. Place mushrooms in tupperware container and pour marinade over them. Shake gently, then place in the fridge. Marinate for at least an hour, but the longer you let the mushrooms sit, the more flavor they will absorb.
  3. Pour mushrooms and remaining marinade into sauté pan over high heat. Add onion and cook until onion pieces are soft and browned.
  4. Remove from heat and place in food processor with panko crumbs.
  5. Pulse until a smooth, sticky mixture forms. There will still be some chunks, but mixture should be moldable.
  6. Remove from food processor, and mix in flax egg using your hands.
  7. Mold mixture into “sausage” patties, each about 1 inch in diameter.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to set for 15 minutes.

*Flax egg: 1 tsp flaxseed meal, 2 tsp water

Pecan Pie Oatmeal

Is an adoration for pecan pie genetic? I am pretty sure I get my obsession with the sweet treat from my mom, a pecan pie fanatic. My dad actually proposed to her by giving her a pecan pie box from the Little Pie Company in New York with a engagement ring inside. My mom was thrilled and accepted, with the caveat that he better have the pie for her too. He, of course, knew her well enough not to deny her pie, and they have been happily married ever since.

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One of my favorite holiday memories is sitting on the couch the day after Christmas watching the Harry Potter marathon and eating pecan pie in fuzzy socks and sweatpants.

Full out, decadent pecan pie is reserved for holidays in my family, but I love it so much I wanted an easier, healthier version I could eat every day of the year.

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This oatmeal has all the sweet, crunchy, buttery taste of pecan pie, but with far more wholesome ingredients. The combination of dates, oats, and pecans,  will keep you warm, cozy, and satisfied all winter long.

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Pecan Pie Oatmeal

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 dates
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Maple syrup and salt to finish

Directions:

  1. Chop dates and add to saucepan with almond milk. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Toast oats and pecans while milk simmers.
  3. Add toasted oats and water to saucepan. Turn heat to high and cook until oatmeal reaches desired consistency, whisking continually.
  4. Pour oatmeal into bowls, top with pecans, drizzle with maple syrup, and sprinkle with salt.

 

 

Baked Apple Donuts

These Baked Apple Donuts are:

A: Pillowy soft

B: Cozily spicy-sweet

C: Completely drool-worthy

D: Vegan

E: All of the above

E is undoubtedly the answer here. I can imagine whipping up a batch of these Baked Apple Donuts for a holiday brunch with family or friends, relaxing and chatting as the aroma of apples and cinnamon wafting through the air. Though they are so simple and easy to make, a light dusting of powdered sugar is all that’s needed to make these donuts stand out on any table.

I think they would also be perfect as an original, delicious gift for the hosts of a holiday party. Imagine, instead of that frantic, last minute rush as you try to find a nice bottle of wine or a classy bouquet of flowers, being secure in the fact that you are about to wow your friends with a treat like no other.

Finally, I know the idea of vegan baked goods may be off-putting to some, so rest assured that no one will be able to tell these are even a little bit healthy. My (health food hating) little sister devoured two before I informed her they were vegan and naturally sweetened. She stared at me in surprise for a moment, then asked for another.

If she likes them, I’m confident these treats will be able to impress the pickiest of eaters, and I can’t wait for you all to try it out. Now, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!

Baked Apple Donuts
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 apple (preferably a sweet, crisp variety such as Fuji or Honeycrisp)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tsp flaxseed meal + 2 tsp water)
  • ½ tsp instant yeast
  • ½ tsp whole cloves (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring almond milk to a simmer.
  2. Remove ¼ cup of milk from pan, then mix with sugar and yeast in a small bowl. If bubbles form, yeast is active. If no bubbles have formed after 5 minutes, discard and try again.
  3. Stir maple syrup and cloves into remaining milk, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. While milk simmers, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ tsp cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Pour milk mixture through strainer into dry ingredients.
  6. Add coconut oil, flax egg, and yeast, then whisk to combine.
  7. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean cloth, and set in a warm place to rise for an hour.
  8. Go watch an episode of your favorite TV show (I'm loving New Girl and Jane the Virgin), then come back after about 30 minutes and begin the apple filling.
  9. Dice apple then place in saucepan with 1 tbsp water and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Cook until apple chunks are soft and water has evaporated.
  10. When apples are done cooking, mash  lightly with a fork until mixture is somewhere between apple pieces and applesauce.
  11. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease donut pan with olive oil or nonstick spray, then fill with dough. If dough is too sticky, add additional flour 1 tbsp at a time.
  12. Top donuts with apple mixture, then bake for 40 minutes. When they are done, donuts will be pale but puffy and firm to the touch.

 

Honey Walnut Granola Bars

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Recently, my family has been so busy we haven’t had time for much grocery shopping. Everyone has just been pulling together meals out of all the odds and ends in our fridge. Unfortunately, this business and lack of food have made it difficult for me to create new recipes. However, as necessity is the mother of invention, I’ve been trying to use the ingredients around the house to make foods I normally get at the grocery store.

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Normally, my pantry is stocked full of granola bars (Larabars, Kind bars, and RX bars are some of my favorites), but recently our supply has been in the low to nonexistent range. Yesterday I got home from school with one mission in mind: fix the granola bar stash. So with oats, nuts, and a little ingenuity, I set out to make a Larabar-esque creation of my own.

This bar satisfied my cravings (and my infamous sweet tooth) perfectly, even with only 2 grams of sugar per bar! Im so obsessed, I might not even buy granola bars on my next grocery store trip (which will hopefully be soon).

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Honey Walnut Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp honey (use agave to make vegan)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 tbsp water

Directions:

  1. Combine oats, 1/2 cup walnuts, coconut flakes, honey, and coconut oil in food processor.
  2. Pulse until a fine crumb is formed.
  3. Scrape down sides of food processor, then pulse again, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time until the dough becomes sticky.
  4. Once the dough is thick and sticky, place it in a 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper. The dough only filled up 2/3 of my pan, but you could fill the whole pan if you want thinner bars.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

Healthy Hacks: Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Does any one else have a habit of spending wayyyy too much money on fancy groceries? I often walk into Whole Foods intending to grab some veggies and almond milk and come out with veggies, almond milk, a handful of granola bars, a bottle of kombucha, and something totally random I saw on Instagram and just had to have.

I’m still in high school and living with my family, so I’m very lucky that I don’t have to buy all my own groceries yet. (If I did, I’d be broke in a month.) However, I am the only one that follows a primarily plant (haha) based lifestyle, so there are lots of foods, such as almond milk and tofu, that I have to buy for myself, and therefore I find budgeting very important.

Assuming I’m not the only one who struggles with overspending (if I am don’t tell me), today I’m sharing some of my tips for keeping the nutrition high and the prices low when grocery shopping.

Top 5 tips for grocery shopping on a budget:

  • Focus on ingredients over brand name. I’m constantly tempted to buy the expensive products I see my favorite bloggers posting about on Instagram, from granola to face wash, but I try to keep in mind that there are alternatives of equal quality for a fraction of the price. Sometimes I will splurge and treat myself to something from a fancy brand, but most of the time I try to find something less expensive with a comparable ingredient list (i.e. few ingredients, real foods, words I’m familiar with).
  • Compare price per ounce. This is a shopping trick my mom taught me when I was still sitting in the baby seat of the shopping cart. Sure, a  $2 carton of almond milk might look like good deal, but if the $3 carton is significantly larger, the $3 milk may actually be the better purchase.
  • Go in with a specific list. This one is pretty simple. If you know what you need and have a clear plan for what you’re going to buy, you will be less likely to find yourself wandering through the store making unnecessary purchases.
  • Never grocery shop in a rush. While making a specific grocery list should speed up the shopping process, it’s also important to give yourself plenty of time to peruse, explore, and find the best deals.
  • Keep a tally of prices as you shop. I find this strategy especially useful when paying for my groceries in cash, as I’m terrified of getting up to the cash register and not having enough money on me to pay for my mountain of food. Even if you’re paying with credit, keeping a list of prices as you shop and adding it all up before you check out saves you from having to nod and smile and pretend you’re not dying inside when the cashier tells you how much money you owe.
  • Sales and coupons are your friends. I bought a pack of Justin’s peanut butter cups the other day that had a coupon inside, so I saved it and redeemed it for a squeeze pack of nut butter.

Using these strategies, I managed to snag all the goods pictured above for just over $30! I’m pretty proud of myself to tell the truth.  I had so much fun practicing mindful shopping, and I discovered some really great brands I’d never tried before. All these great brands, along with what I make with them, will be showing up on my Instagram throughout the week.

If you have any shopping hacks, I’d love to hear about them!

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