Beef and Broccoli (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Spring has sprung (for now)! Tomorrow it’s supposed to be cold and rainy, so I’m enjoying all of this while I still can.

I’ve been doing a lot more cardio, and contrary to what I’ve wanted to be true for FAR too long, the pounds are coming off. I don’t know from where, because I don’t feel that I look any skinnier, but the scale says otherwise. I think I’m losing weight from my big ol’ head. If you knew me in person, you’d likely ask why I’d even want to lose weight. I’m 5’8”, a size 4 (sz 2 in some things) and am what most would consider quite fit or thin. I’m making a personal decision to trim down so that I can see the hard work I put into weightlifting, and to feel more comfortable in my skin when I’m at the beach. So far it’s going well, but to be conscious of every little thing I eat is pretty hard. I obviously LOVE food, love to eat, love to cook, the whole nine. That said, I’m sticking to it because I want my hard work to pay off. I’ll let you know how it goes in about…. 1.5 months.

I’ve been missing for a while, and let me tell YOU! I’ve also set aside some time to cook for y’all. I do not think you’ll be disappointed. I feel like I often come back with a wacky dessert, but this has been a lot of experimenting with savory recipes. They have turned out pretty good. Another thing that recently happened is a good friend’s store opened up locally – it’s called Take Care Apothecary. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook! She’s an Ayurvedic wellness practitioner and her shop carries organic body care lines, Ayurvedic supplements, incense, books, and my personal favorite… tarot and oracle cards. I picked up a new deck and have been playing with it – it’s interesting that no matter how many times I use it, the same “message” comes through. I also got an amazing lunar astrology day planner that I LOVE. Which reminds me…. Tomorrow is a new moon!

New moons are regarded as a time to press the “reset” button. You get another chance to course-correct the things you’ve been working towards that may have gone astray. I especially like to consider this a time look over things like my eating habits, my workout habits, my sleeping habits, friends I need to pick back up with… I can look at any part of my life and start to work towards improving that. This particular moon is now in Aries. What’s this mean? The official astrological calendar begins with Aries, so it may feel like the first part of 2019 went by in a flash, and you’re now just catching your breath. Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of physical expression and ability, assertiveness, high impact, energy… so this feels like the fire is now lit under your tush, yes? So, what are you to do with all of this potential?

During a time like this, I like to make a mantra or intention for the next few weeks until the full moon… something I’ll write down and repeat so it can govern my actions in a positive way. I’m a Libra, so perhaps I’ll focus on the balance of things within my job, relationships and other aspects of my life, and use that to move myself forward. Your new moon is what you make of it!

In the meantime, you’ll need a snack with all of this planning. Get your protein in with some paleo-friendly beef and broccoli 🙂

 

 

Beef and Broccoli (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

 

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

For the beef:

  • ~1 lb beef (skirt steak or sirloin is fine!)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed, divided in half
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • ghee, coconut oil, or your preferred cooking fat
  • 1/4 cup of coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp of tapioca starch
  • 1 large head of broccoli, broken/cut into fairly small florets (cut up the super large ones!)
  • For the finishing sauce:
    • 1/8 cup coconut aminos
    • dash of fish sauce, about 1 tsp
    • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
    • pinch of crushed red pepper (do you love these measurements? I do)
    • Sesame seeds, for garnish

     

    Directions

    1. Slice your beef into thin strips, about 1/4 inch (definitely no more than 1/2 inch thick).  Mix together your 1/4 cup of coconut aminos, your 1.5 tbsp of sesame oil, tapioca starch and half of your garlic in a mixing bowl large enough to fit your beef. Add your beef, cover, and allow to marinade as you continue to prep, or up to 2 hours.
    1. Separately, add about 4 cups (or however much water you need to immerse your broccoli) of water to a pot — bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water, separately (this is relevant, I promise). Blanch your broccoli – allow to boil for 1.5-2 minutes until tender, yet still a bit crisp… it should still be bright green. with a slotted spoon, remove from the boiling water and add to your ice bath, to stop from further cooking at getting mushy. Once cooled, set aside on a plate.
    1. Now for the fun stuff. If you have a wok, go get it! Otherwise, a large frying pan will do. Heat your pan/wok with your preferred cooking fat over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, Add your remaining garlic and ginger. Stir until starting to cook, about 20-30 seconds.
    1. Now, turn the heat up a little, to medium-high. Add your marinated beef, spreading out in a single layer. Sauté until browned and starting to crisp, flipping pieces as necessary.
    1. Once the beef is cooked, add the ingredients for your sauce, allowing the beef to sauté in the sauce for about 1 to 1 1/2 min. Now add your broccoli, stirring and tossing to combine and coat in the sauce. Remove from heat.
    1. Serve immediately; garnish with sesame seeds.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

    Well hey, y’all. Interestingly enough, a wild snowstorm appeared in the bushes and all of us are here waiting for it.  Some sources say 3-5 inches, some say 4-6, I say…. I’m wearing leggings, found a giant blanket, and I have my work laptop out with a cup of tea, a dog and two cats staring at me. Woo! Unexpected snowstorms. An interesting turn of events after a few days off from work followed by a day of intense work crises.

    I said yesterday that I often post and talk about the moon. While I’ve not had anyone openly object to my doing so, I figured I’d at least share why I believe it to be so important. Have you ever heard the word “lunatic”? While it’s an antiquated way to refer to someone who is behaving erratically or is mentally ill, the word has roots in a deeper meaning. Philosophers like Aristotle believed that those with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses were triggered by the moon. Though in modern days, there’s evidence on both sides that the moon impacts human behavior, I’m here for the fun stuff. The “I Can’t Explain It But I Know Something’s Different” stuff. The far-out, woo-woo stuff.

    Though it’s really anecdotal evidence, I find that days where the full moon is expected are not the same. Perhaps it’s that it really is just brighter outside, and you notice all the little leaves blowing about. Perhaps it’s just that it’s something bigger in the sky to look at, and triggers a series of thoughts about what’s really out there, thoughts of existentialism, or how there’s so much more going on than we can see. I’m a believer in the moon’s influence, but I realize its not for everyone.

    That having been said, this moon comes at an interesting time. The “Snow Supermoon”, as they’re calling it, came just on the brink of a major snowstorm. It comes at a particular time of year where people are coming out of their fog, eager for what’s next. Bonus season just ended for a lot of employers, which is a precursor to a lot of job changes, new adventures, and the like. But on a more personal level, Spring is just around the corner. Daylight savings is, too. There’s a lot of change on the horizon politically and economically. So, how does this particular moon really have anything to do with that?

    This  particular moon, falling within 0 degrees of Virgo, is said to strengthen our intuition and emotional side, but also creates the space for us to really take ownership of how to make real what our intentions are. This is really the time for one to lay groundwork and get organized – to set up the logistics to get what it is they really desire. This full moon falls during a great shift in awareness, so it can feel really intense to suddenly realize, “Wow, I have REALLY got to get moving.” Just don’t forget to set aside time to have fun, to relax, and above all, to de-stress your mind.

    What better way to de-stress than to enjoy some good ol’ comfort food? Little meatballs! Maybe I should call them moon-balls. I don’t think people would eat them if I did. I guess we’ll stick with meatballs.

    Enjoy these paleo-friendly Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs – recipe below!

     

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

     

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 40 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1 4oz can of adobo sauce
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; stems and seeds removed
    • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 tsp coconut flour or tapioca flour (for thickening), plus more if needed

     

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet, add splash if your preferred cooking fat as well as your chopped onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. In the same skillet, also over medium heat, add your garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until the peppers have cooked out much of their water and onions start to brown – another 5-6 minutes. Season with a small pinch of salt.
    3. Remove from heat, leaving half of your onion/pepper mixture in your pan and set aside – you will move the remaining half into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
    5. Within your mixing bowl, add your ground turkey, egg, almond flour, 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If mixture is too wet, add more almond flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Turkey tends to be less stiff when raw than ground beef or other ground meat, so you don’t want to add too much more flour – they will be dry once cooked.
    6. Once thoroughly mixed, use your hands (or a melon baller/cookie scooper for consistency) to roll mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Arrange on a greased, foiled or parchment lined baking sheet, evenly spacing 2-3 inches apart. Bake until they start to brown, about 20-25 minutes. It may be more or less time, depending on the size of the meatballs.
    7. Meanwhile, as your meatballs are cooking, place your skillet with onion and peppers back over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add your coconut milk and another 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, allowing pepper and onion to simmer. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If more adobo is needed, continue to add, 1 tbsp at a time, to ensure appropriate spiciness. Once simmering, if still quite thin, add your tsp of coconut or tapioca flour and stir until well combined. To avoid burning, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer.
    8. Once meatballs are finished cooking, gently remove from  your baking sheet and add to your skillet, stirring to coat meatballs in your gravy. I like to cover it and let it simmer so the meatballs stay tender/juicy for about 3-4 minutes.

    Serve, and enjoy!

    -S

     

     

    Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

    Greetings! How’s everyone doing today?

    I had a really cool weekend – went to a tarot reading with Earth and Fire Tarot at the Prana House in West Chester. It was interesting – often times, I don’t really know how to think of card readings, even though I do them with myself often. I have dozens of oracle and tarot decks… I know the material is legitimate when I’m the only one pulling them, and all too often, coincidences that are really more than just coincidences happen. In this particular reading, they let me pull my cards – while one could argue that you can make anything work if you’re vague enough, the cards fit very well with one another and were a truthful, accurate and very specific representation of a situation in my life at the moment. At the end, they decided to pull a card for me, from a deck I own. I told them, this particular deck, I have a very strange connection to, and I very frequently get the same card. It’s the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans. The detail within the artwork is absolutely beautiful, and Kim’s descriptions are insightful, comprehensive and honest. The card that frequently comes up is the Dragonfly – and I am grateful that it does. Both in real life and in this card, the dragonfly is this versatile and resilient creature that embraces transformation. It’s born with a finely tuned hunting skill, and requires little to no time in understanding that it can fly, almost immediately. I find that I get this card because I need to be reminded that being aware of your transformation as its happening makes it any less special. In fact, the dragonfly represents the power of self-awareness, knowledge, intuitive thinking and reflection.

    As they were just as familiar with this card and its meaning as I was, I wasn’t surprised when they pulled it as expected and gasped and how that was possible. I don’t know, but when ya know, ya just know, ya know? We confirmed what I already knew and off I went.

    This wasn’t meant to be a self-righteous post, or me toot-tooting my own horn about something anyone could just chalk up to a “coincidence”. My point is this – there is no such thing as coincidences. Once you take full ownership of your life and surroundings, you suddenly have this knowingness that you never paid attention to. You have a little more peace, and a little more perspective, and a little more confidence. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?

    Now, let’s talk some food.

     

    Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 25 min if using an Instant Pot, 45 min if baking 

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 heaping tbsp small red onion, finely chopped (or more if preferred)
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
    • 2/3 cup petite diced tomatoes
    • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped with seeds and stems removed (optional)
    • 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise or Veganaise
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • preferred greens, such as romaine, arugula, spring mix

     

    Directions

    1. If using an Instant Pot, place your chicken into the pot and pour chicken or vegetable broth over until pieces are just covered. Seal and cook according to instructions — about 25 minutes. If using an oven, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken into a baking dish and pour broth over, also until just covered. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
    1. Once cooked, allow to cool, remove from broth and shred with a fork. Reserve some of your broth to add to shredded chicken to prevent drying, cover and set aside.
    1. In a small mixing bowl, mix your mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar thoroughly. Add your taco seasoning, salt and pepper, and continue to stir. Set aside.
    1. In a larger mixing bowl, add your shredded chicken and all remaining ingredients except your lettuce. Mix until well combined.
    1. Next, add your mayonnaise mixture, continuing to thoroughly mix. Add salt or pepper to taste.
  • Serve over crackers, in a wrap, or over a salad.
  • Enjoy!
  • -S

    Pecan-Crusted Dijon Salmon (Paleo!)

    So, about this cold weather. I found a picture of someone’s toilet on the internet where the water in their tank froze and BROKE! The toilet tank. As in, the toilet tank is gone, and all that’s left behind is a huge chunk of water. It was a solid brick of water. Look at this! This is wild. I never thought I’d be so jazzed about a picture of a toilet. I hope everyone across the country is staying warm… it’s dangerous outside, and my dog has gone to the bathroom twice now on the front porch because that’s as far as she can bare to go.

    Re: enduring this cold while I’m indoors… right before Christmas I bought myself a robe. I did not consider myself a robe person, by any stretch of the imagination. I lounge in leggings and a shirt, and I don’t go barefoot between November and April unless I’m showering, or sleeping (I’m not a total psycho, who wears socks to bed? Yikes). Why would I need a robe, I thought.

    Well. Let me tell you.

    Let the temperature outside reach -3, and I am a robe person now. I had on fuzzy socks, the Alo leggings with the foot warmers, a thermal, a sweatshirt with a hood, and a robe. I could’ve slept outside in the snow and still be warm, honestly. I imagine this is what a sheep may feel like before getting sheared… just warm, cozy, and completely insulated. It’s literally the greatest feeling ever. I mean, I probably looked like a Dementor, but function over fashion, baby. That’s the business.

    Aside from this cold weather, another thing coming up that I really don’t care for is the Super bowl. Though I do not care one bit about the game, I am PUMPED to eat super bowl food. I have a few recipe ideas, and if it stays this cold, that’ll make it a great day. Stay tuned for more recipes on that front.

    On a more exciting front, do you know what else is coming up? The new moon! When it comes to lunar phases, I think that recognizing where you are on the lunar calendar is a great way to link this up with your intentions for what’s going on in your life. Think about it, a new moon is just that- a clean slate, a blank canvas. You get a chance to start fresh if you need it, even if it isn’t the start of a new year. The full moon is when your intentions for your life are likely most up front and apparent, but a new moon is when you can stop and say, “I can start this over. I can change this if I want to.”  Take this time to plan our where you want to be in a month, 6 months, a year, five years. It’s not even a concrete plan that you’re bound to for eternity, because you can revisit this every few weeks.  Think of the New Moon as your check in — do you need a recharge on your enthusiasm for your goals? As the New Moon is on Feb 4th, in Aquarius, take the time to be creative, flexible, unconventional and really fluid in your goals. Live a little. Enjoy.

    That being said, the best way to enjoy one’s self (in my eyes!) is to EAT food you really enjoy making and savoring. I got a Butcher Box right before Christmas, and in defrosting the last of it, I had some pieces of salmon left. What better way to enjoy it than with a tasty marinade? Keep reading for more delicious details 🙂

    Pecan-Crusted Dijon Salmon (Paleo!)

     

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 15 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 4 6oz boneless wild-caught salmon fillets, skin removed
    • ½ cup Grey Poupon mustard
    • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 (ish) tsp salt
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • 1 small shallot, finely minced
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • Pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup of raw pecans, finely chopped/crushed
    • ½ tsp garlic powder

    Directions

    1. In a dry, preferably non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add your pecans, half of your salt, garlic powder and a pinch of paprika. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Toast until thoroughly golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    1. In a mixing bowl, add your Dijon, honey, garlic, olive oil, your remaining salt, shallots and paprika. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add your salmon to the bowl, and coat thoroughly with mix. Let stand in refrigerator for 30 minutes, up to 2-3 hours.
    1. Once ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place salmon in a greased baking dish, making sure to use as much of the marinade as available. Coat with crushed pecans, making sure to cover the sides – you may need to pat them on to ensure they stick. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper, and bake until opaque and flaky, about 13-15 minutes (or more, if needed).

    Serve with my Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese and Walnuts, Chipotle Caesar Salad or Quinoa Kale Salad. Enjoy!

    -S

     

    Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

    Ah… the full moon. Sunday was an interesting day for it. My friend and I went out shopping, and the predicted temperature was supposed to dip down to about 4 degrees F that night. We planned to make dinner, and we had to go to 3 different grocery stores to find onions, ground turkey and ginger. Apparently, people in this area thought they weren’t going to be able to go outside… or… eat turkey. It was a really strange day that ended with a giant tarp blowing across the road and into/onto a man’s pick-up truck and then onto mine, and then finding that my cat got stuck in my room and peed on my expensive dress coat because he panicked. Again, very… interesting day.

    I started off this year really strong, actually. Not to say that my year is not still strong, but I was really intentional about my new year’s plans. I had maybe 1-2 drinks at a very small get-together, went to bed at 12:30, and woke up at 7, did some yoga/stretching, and went to the gym. I’ve made an effort to be much more aware of my thoughts, what I want to happen, and want I want, in general. The first week of January, I came across a numerology article about what this “year” is considered, and it says it’s a “3” year. It said that we’re already familiar with this number because our lives revolve around this number – we are on the third planet from the sun, we are made of mind, body and soul, good and bad things come in three’s. After calculating my personal number for 2019, I found that I am also a number 3 for this year. It felt spot on – I’ve said “This year is my year!” before, but this year, it actually feels accurate. It says my creativity and abundance are up on deck to shine, and I honestly couldn’t agree more. I think the thing that keeps me going is truly believing that this kind of energy really is limitless. If you put into practice the idea that your thoughts really do dictate your situation (your job, happiness, wealth, friendships, etc.), it really does happen. It’s so simple, yet so hard for a lot of us. My advice? Invest in yourself, and meditate. Do some yoga. It took me YEARS to learn how to settle into my hot yoga classes and focus – dozens of times to meditate and no longer wonder ‘was I just sort of sleeping?’ This stuff pays off, and it allows you to really connect with what’s going on around (and above) you.

    I find that the frustrations of 2018 haven’t left me, they’re definitely still around. I’m just less mad about them, or more sure that they’ll fade or get better, whether I have control over it or not.  This full moon that happened on Monday was a total lunar eclipse. While eclipses sound like darkness, uncertainty, or unexpected events, there’s place for the confidence and courage to accept the change that is coming. This year is more of a reset button – to take a moment to pause and drop what isn’t serving you. Are you feeling really independent and capable? Awesome, that’s where you should be. This moon was huge – it was closer to us and it was close enough to leave behind some energy to those most sensitive or most in need of it. The moral of the story is this – this year, energetically, we have a leg-up to get ourselves through some challenges… much like our earthly New Years’ resolutions, this is only the beginning. Don’t give up yet.

    I actually have a few recipes to post in the next few days, but every now and again I like to post a recipe for an appetizer, for a party. Now’s a great time to have some friends over – it’s colder than a witch’s bittie right now, so why not sit indoors and sip wine and eat snacks with your friends?!

    Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 45 min

    Ingredients

    For the sweet potatoes:

    • 3 long (or at least more skinny) sweet potatoes, cut into ½ centimeter slices
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp dried parsley

    For the bruschetta:

    • 4-5 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
    • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small handful of fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp (ish) balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. In a small dish, mix together your first parts of olive oil, paprika, and salt/pepper. Place your sweet potato slices on a greased or lined cookie sheet and brush with oil mixture on both sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown, then flip sweet potato pieces over onto other side for remaining 20-25 minutes, until brown (but not burnt!).
    3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, grab a small bowl for the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt/pepper) until mixed. Add your tomato, onion and roasted red pepper, and allow to sit and marinate.
    4. Once sweet potato slices are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool on a rack to allow them to crisp. Once cool to the touch, spoon some bruschetta onto each slice, and garnish with parsley and basil.

    Serve, and enjoy 🙂

    -S

    Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

    Hey y’all. Still cold. However, apparently there’s a snowstorm on the horizon…. Which I LOVE. I am ready for  snow, 100%.

    As I sit back and think about how  close December is, and how close to an end 2018 is, I think about how much happened in 2018, and how much still has yet to happen as a result of what’s since passed this year. 2018 was a prime example of looking at things through a lens lined with emotional and spiritual maturity, peace and loving energy. What’s that really mean, outside of all the foo-foo stuff? Really, just this – as we begin to evolve more quickly, which is happening more and more each year, it’s easier for us to stay aware of what’s changing and going on around us, and how we can react to best suit our needs and heal.

    Again, what does this really mean? Here’s a few examples:

    • Not believing every first thought we have – some are rooted in human emotion and fear, and don’t suit our best interest. Taking a step back and realizing that our thoughts have a greater influence on what goes on around us can make a WORLD of difference in keeping with the positive instead of sticking without knee jerk reaction. Be patient with your thoughts, and allow yourself to process before coming to conclusions.
    • Not sourcing our own value from someone else’s perspective – on the flipside, while your thoughts do control your life around you, they cannot directly manipulate people around you. Focus on only your reactions, and understand that if you’re too worried about someone else’s thoughts, you lose sight and strength over your own.
    • Focusing your sights on not having enough, and whatever lackthereof is ailing you – this sounds counterintuitive if you gloss over it, but this one is the most important. I’m a FIRM believer in the law of attraction, for many  reasons. If you go around thinking about everything you don’t have, it will never be any further from you. You say… but, Sarah, how do I live my life like I have all the stuff I need, if I don’t already have it? Well, you choose your words carefully. You wake up in the morning, count your blessings (no matter how few there are), and thank the universe for the opportunity to gain everything you’re destined to. Once you’ve done this enough times, two things happen. First, you truly see how valuable what it is you do already have, and then simultaneously open your doorway for more.

    Everyone is guilty of these thoughts at some point, because we are human. In order to truly evolve and heal, we need to catch ourselves and recondition our knee-jerk reactions into things much more suited for growth, and self love. We also need to stop thinking of self-love as a foo-foo, dirty of silly term, and start defining what that means to us, little by little.

    Side note, I was pretty excited to see that my store introduced plum for the holidays – what a great color to finish off the year with. Plum, or violet, or any rich shade of purple, is an extremely powerful color – often associated with royalty (the Advent candles are also purple….) 🙂 I came across a healing technique recently, having to do with envisioning a violet flame – both the color, and visualization, are extremely powerful in that they present a quick spiritual “recharge” that we can do for ourselves.

    The  color violet is special in that it holds the highest frequency within the spectrum of colors – this is a scientific fact. By identifying the highest color vibration we know of, we provide a segue to the next level of vibrational light. What’s the brightest thing you can think of, that you’ve seen on earth? Fire.

    If I haven’t lost you yet, by envisioning a violet colored flame, we are calling our thoughts to move to the highest level of light our minds can think of. Light such as this has the ability to heal our physical bodies (think of laser therapy), alter our perception of what’s around us (think of illuminating a dark room), and provide warmth and comfort, helping heal our emotional bodies. A quick visualization can put you on the path of healing with a few steps.

    In a quiet room, visualize yourself seated and surrounded by violet light. While you’re visualizing it, imagine it flickering as if it were a candlelit  flame – anything to create a realistic image.

    • As you picture yourself immersed completely within the violet light, say this to yourself several times:
    • “I am within the violet light, because the violet light is within me.”
    • Express your gratitude for the opportunity to connect with the Violet Light – this actually is a representation of connecting with your higher self.

    If you’ve never visualized something like this, I may have definitely lost you. Trust me when I say that at the very least,  you will feel more calm, and definitely more empowered. Repeat this as necessary throughout the rest of the year.

    —–

    I bet you might be hungry after reading all of this. I know I am. Since it’s still COLD as a witch’s…. broomstick, please enjoy this tasty healthy version of a twice baked potato. Gluten-free, dairy free, paleo, keto-compliant, this thing is the bees knees. You won’t be sorry 🙂

    Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 30 min

    Cook time: 90 min

    Serves 5-6

    Ingredients

    • 3 sweet potatoes, more round/fat in shape
    • 1 lb of thick cut bacon
    • 1 heaping tsp of ground chipotle powder
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
    • 2-3 ripe avocados
    • Cilantro, for garnish
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prick your sweet potatoes with a fork, and coat with your preferred fat/oil (I like avocado oil). Bake for 50-60 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool before slicing neatly in half. Further let cool once cut and halved. Turn oven down to 350. If using to cook bacon on a cookie sheet, bake until slightly browned. Leave oven at operating temperature. (skillet cooking bacon is fine too – just cook and set aside). Chop into small pieces, and set aside.
    2. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tsp of your preferred oil and saute onion until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then add your garlic, continuing to saute until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, gently scoop the contents of each sweet potato half, leaving behind a thin layer if necessary to keep the skin in tact. Mash the sweet potato, adding the garlic, onion and chipotle. Next, add your bacon. You likely won’t want to taste test for more salt until after your bacon is added, since bacon does tend to add a lot of salty flavor. Add more chipotle, if desired.
    4. Scoop contents back into the sweet potato skins, dividing equally. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until potato starts to form a golden crust.
    5. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, mash your avocado in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of chipotle if desired. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make this as you would any other guacamole (link to my recipe!), depending on what ingredients you have on hand.
    6. When potatoes are finished cooking, remove from heat and serve with a scoop of avocado on top. Garnish with cilantro.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

    Hello everyone!

    I’ve been quite mum these last few weeks. No great reason, honestly. I’ve definitely been busy, but I think it was just dedicating the time to sit down and write something out wasn’t something I wanted to bring myself to do. The good news is — I’ve written up some really good recipes, so the next few weeks you are all in for a treat!

    Sunday night was a full moon, and yesterday was the close of a very prominent Mars retrograde.  Between June 26th and August 27th of this year, Mars appears to rotate backward when orbiting the sun. While these things are typically just illusions, a lot of impact can be made by this. Had you noticed that people in general were a lot more aggressive this summer? A lot more turmoil or feelings of discomfort in the air? This had been where we needed to reassess where we stood with our projects, and what we needed to move forward. Because of the appearance of a retrograde, any Mars energy, or masculine energy, is aimed inward, rather that outward — internalizing anger, fear, or heightened emotions sounds like a recipe for disaster. For some people, it was.

    THE GOOD NEWS! it’s over. New beginnings. Get stuff started. Starting with this delicious salad. it’s the best of both worlds, grains and veggies. and I love it.

    Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

    Prep time: 40 min

    Cook time: ~20 min for the quinoa

    Ingredients

    For  the salad:

    • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
    • 1 small purple cabbage, sliced very thin
    • 2 large carrots, skinned and thinly sliced (I used vegetable peeler)
    • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 large yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 medium sized bunch of kale, rinsed, dried and chopped

    For the dressing:

    • 1/3 cup almond butter (you can sub another butter if you have allergies!)
    • Juice from one lemon, plus zest (if needed)
    • 1/3 cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce
    • 1 heaping tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp of water (at a time), to thin the dressing as needed
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

    Directions

    1. First, rinse your quinoa through a fine strainer (so it doesn’t wash away!). Place in a saucepot with 2 cups of water, chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and turn heat down and simmer until quinoa is cooked with little water left – about 15 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool in a bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, as your quinoa is cooking, add your almond butter, aminos/soy sauce, and stir until mixed. Add in the remaining dressing ingredients, and continue to stir. If you find that by adding water, your dressing has less “zest”, feel free to add some more coconut aminos or soy sauce. It should be somewhat thin like pancake batter, so as to coat your kale. Set aside about 3 tbsp of dressing for your quinoa.
    3. Separately, in a large bowl, for your salad, add your kale. Add in the rest of your vegetables and mix.
    4. Once quinoa has cooled, stir your set-aside dressing into your quinoa and mix thoroughly. Add into the kale. Pour your remaining dressing in and use tongs to mix thoroughly.

    Chill in the fridge until serving.

    Enjoy!

    -S