Several weeks ago, my husband and I hosted a BBQ with all the accouterments to make grilled steak sandwiches. Grilled meat (none for me), sliced red onions, crimson beefsteak tomatoes, Swiss cheese, spicy sweet mustard and organic mayo to spread onto warmed sourdough baguette. The spread was so appetizing but to my surprise, hardly anyone ate the bread. This is usually my favorite part of the meal. Instead, our friends ate deconstructed “carb-free sandwiches leaving us with 3 long uneaten baguettes.
I’ve been engrossed in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. In this enlightening book, she illustrates not only the importance of creativity but the idea that there is a touch of divinity or “magic” involved. Thus, it is critical for us to be receptive so when an idea or spark of genius comes flying towards us, we have an alluring vacancy sign attracting it.
Elizabeth is a beautiful writer whose sentences flow together like Tango dancers but she also understands and empathizes with the struggle of being creative. She recognizes the crushing perfectionism and self-doubt that hold us back. She’s been there herself and articulates it with heartfelt validation.
The summer has ended and Fall is in the air. The cooler mornings have me shutting the windows and putting on my heavier robe. I love this time of year. The light is softer and the summer chaos is gone. The beaches clear out and the sun rises a little later. It’s the perfect time for making end of the summer vegetable soups and baking. These Vegan Spiced Muffins tick all the boxes. They are easy to make, taste amazing and no fancy equipment is needed. And the best part is that your house will smell heavenly.
I’ve made these as muffins and bread and each have their merits. The muffins are adorable and self contained in their own little jackets. And really, what’s cuter than a muffin? The bread is slightly more sophisticated and great to slice up anytime of day. Make whichever you are feeling at the moment. I loved serving either with a hot mug of tea and homemade raspberry chia jam.
The first time I tried fresh coconut water I thought it tasted like dirty socks. It was back in 1994 before coconut water became popular in the US. I’d just arrived in Costa Rica where carts of fresh young coconuts or “Pipas” were being sold for 25 cents each. My friend handed me this giant green bowl with a straw popping out of the top that had been hacked off with a machete. The bowl was brimming with a golden liquid which to me tasted “off”.
My friend insisted that I hydrate my body after the flight and she rattled on about how healthy this vitamin rich elixir was. Her enthusiasm was catchy but she sold me on the prospect that these unruly nuts prevent aging and weight gain. Pretty soon, I was drinking one a day and loving how great I felt.
Coconut water is incredibly hydrating and your body will love how nutrient dense it is. The flavor quickly grew on me and honestly – who wouldn’t drink the fountain of youth for that price????
I’ve been exercising a lot lately. I like to work out extra hard in the summer because it’s light out early and I tend to have more energy in general. My routine this summer is to get up around 5, lollygag in bed for 15 minutes, drink a cup of tea (Rooibos chai) and go out for an hour of cardio. I either power up the hill behind my house, take a 4 mile run, or climb the stadium stairs at the local high school. Afterwards, I take a yoga, barre or Pilates class to strengthen my core and keep me flexible.
I prefer not to eat before I exercise so by the time I am done, I’m hungry and ready to replenish my system. If this sounds like a lot of working out, it is. But I’m training for a 5 day hike in the Andes which I will enjoy it a lot more if I feel strong and well-conditioned.
Exercise has always been an important part of my life. Equally as important as eating a healthy diet. I have woven a life around these practices since they are integral to my peace, happiness and well-being. Therefore, I prefer to take active oriented trips that push me out of my comfort zone and provide exciting experiences in exotic parts of the world. Whether I am hiking in the Alps, diving off Maui, or doing a yoga retreat in Fiji, I grow with each new challenge.
We just had a flurry of guests visiting us in Mexico. Our friends are wonderful and it’s fun to share our love of Baja with them. What ends up being hard for me is the consecutive days of eating out. Dining out is festive and offers a plan for the evening but truth be told, I’d rather eat at home. I have noticed that cooking for guests is tricky. Some feel guilty as if they are putting you out, others want the full Cabo experience of dining on the beach. Who could blame them?
I haven’t ventured much into the world of papayas. Mainly because the smell can be off-putting. But here in Mexico they are plentiful and their health virtues make them hard to ignore. I’ve made several papaya smoothies before but tossing in the peppery seeds kicked this one up a notch.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a phrase we’ve all heard before. In the past, I didn’t care for apples. I’d much rather eat a juicy peach or velvety mango. But now, I crave this fruit/seed combo and can’t help but eat an apple a day. It’s my favorite breakfast.
There was a time when I was eating so much fruit that a wise friend gently asked if I was a vegetarian or fruitarian. It was a simple question with a powerful message. I was eating too much sugar.
I learned about chia seeds from a healer I’d seen in Mexico several years ago. She suggested that I add them to my diet to increase my intake of protein. Aside from the infamous “chia pet” growing up, I’d never even heard of these little black seeds. But there they were in a bin in Mexico.
Little did I know, they’d hit superfood stardom. Once I began learning more about them, other nutritionally dense seeds fell under my radar. Eventually, I developed a protein rich seed mix that I can’t resist sprinkling on nearly everything………