Terrarium Tutorial

 Add a little green to your indoor space with an eye-catching terrarium! Living in apartments in Chicago for 4+ years really made me miss greenery and fresh air. These little guys were a great solution (along with a whole windowsill of herbs but that’s for another day..).

 Making your own terrarium is fun and easy! They should be equally as easy to maintain (however, if you run into issues with mold or growth – don’t feel bad! It’s happened to me before too!) No matter the climate in your home, when given a healthy dose of indirect light and a light spritz of water now and then, your terrarium will be happy as a clam.  Continue reading

Loaded Cookies

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Normally I’m a pure chocolate kinda gal but these babies break that rule. So much  deliciousness. These cookies barely have time to cool before the whole family is rushing to grab a few.

Loaded with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, pecans, cinnamon, and allspice these are the perfect balance of sweet with a hint of savory.  Continue reading

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

You (yes, even you) have the skills, budget, and time to make lunch for a whole week. img_4984

For this delicious Mediterranean-inspired pasta salad, all you need to know how to do is boil a pot of noodles and chop vegetables. Seriously, it’s that easy to eat home-cooked, nutritious meals.

It takes less than 20 minutes and under $9 to feed yourself for the whole week! Your wallet and waistline will thank you for bringing you lunch this week. (travel adventures >> lunchtime carry out.. in my opinion)

Like most recipes on here, please customize as you like!! No red pepper? Use some broccoli. Gluten free? Quick sub of quinoa pasta and you’re good to go. Omnivore? Feel free to add some feta. Continue reading

Cooking Without Recipes

                Knowing how to cook and create in the kitchen (without spending hours or your whole paycheck) is a huge step towards empowering yourself to live a healthy life. 

Whether you’re looking to transition to a plant-based diet or trying to eat healthier, learning how to cook (without a recipe) is a good place to start.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the standard American diet is literally killing us, people still have endless reasons about why they don’t eat a healthy diet. Though there are many variations of them, these excuses are usually centered around three issues –

  1. Not having the time.
  2. Not having enough money.
  3. Not enjoying the taste.

Some of these excuses simply don’t have merit. By saving you time and money (while increasing how much you enjoy your food), learning to cook without a recipe helps solve all three of the root excuses as to why you can’t eat healthy.

If you’ve ever felt frustrated that things aren’t going smoothly in the kitchen and like you’re spending too much time making meals, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there! Like most people, when I began trying to eat healthier, I was relying on recipes for most meals (especially for dinners or entertaining).

Every meal took a few trips to the grocery store, required so many dishes, and took forever. But, I felt like I would end up with an inedible mess if I didn’t consult the recipe every 90 seconds. Relying on the directions so heavily was exhausting and made cooking a chore. Even though I was cooking more and more, I still felt so unsure of myself in the kitchen.

After one too many frustrating 8pm dinners, I stopped searching Pinterest for my meal planning and started with what I knew (the basics..). As I began to gain some confidence at the stove, I started experimenting with my meals. I was the chef and I knew what I liked to eat better than anyone so, why not make it just how I liked it?

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15 Simple Acts of Self Care

Most of us have so many responsibilities that it’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves. This is a major pitfall for our health and well-being. Self care has to come first if we want to live a healthy life and be able to positively impact those around us.

At first, you may feel silly, or even selfish, about prioritizing a bath, yoga class, or 20 minutes of silence. Especially when you’ve got homework to do, or an early morning, or kids who need baths, or any other number of things that seem more important. I’m here to tell you once and for all – Self care is important.

Self care refers to the many, unique ways you respect, restore and manage the different facets of your well-being.

Self care makes you a better friends and best. When you feel happy and confident, you will be able to help others and value yourself. Self care activates the relaxation response (counter to the fight-or-flight response) which helps to prevent adverse health implications of chronic stress. Continue reading

Flavored Water

Admittedly, I haven’t always been the biggest water drinking but learning the benefits of drinking water, buying a few good water bottles, and trying out delicious flavored water have converted me.

So why infuse your water? Well, one, it tastes great. That’s a plus in itself but also means you’ll be more likely to get in your 8-10 glasses of water today. Two, nutrients from the fruits leak out of the fruit into the water, especially water-soluble vitamins like as B vitamins and vitamin C! It’s like making your own “vitamin water” without the cost or hidden chemicals.

These delicious combinations liven up the flavors and provide some great nutrients! Mix the flavors and concentrations to create a water you really enjoy.

For all of these recipes, just fill a jar or small pitcher with filtered water (maybe with ice). Then add in fruits (maybe crush them if they’re enclosed, like blueberries). Finally, add some herbs if you’d like! Just a note, the herbs really infuse in the water so start with less and then add more if you want.

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Roasted Root Vegetables

This dish couldn’t be simpler and more versatile. You can use whatever potatoes (or any root vegetables really!), spices, and oils you have on hand.

It takes about 10 mins of prep (from washing to potato to doing the dishes). Then you just pop it in the oven and do whatever else needs to get done! After 45 minutes or so, a healthy real dish is ready (plus it’s vegan and gluten free to boot!).

This dish naturally makes a great side. But with a few simple adjustments it can easily be served as an appetizer or entree (just add a big salad or serve yourself a plate full and you’re all set). Continue reading

Easy Spice Mix Guide

A huge misconception that people have is that healthy food is bland or unsatisfying or just plain boring… Not true!!

Spices really elevate a dish into something fantastic. These spice mixes can serve as a base for many dishes. They’re great to add to ROASTED VEGETABLES, mashed potatoes, SOUR CREAM (makes a great dip), pasta, and more.

Cajun Spice Blend

2 tbs cumin + 2 tbs coriander + 2 tbs paprika + 1 1/2 tsp salt + 2 tsp pepper + 1 tbs oregano + cayenne pepper to taste

Chili Seasoning

2 tbs chili powder + 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp coriander + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp onion powder + 1/2 tsp salt

Taco Seasoning

@ tbs + 2 tsp cumin + 1 tsp onion powder + 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper + 1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp oregano

Greek Spice Blend

1 tbs garlic power + 1 tbs dried basil + 2 tbs oregano + 1 tsp salt + 2 tsp pepper + 2 tsp dried sparsely + 2 tsp rosemary + 1 tsp dried thyme

Pumpkin Spice Blend

1/4 c ground cinnamon + 3 tsp ground ginger + 2 tsp nutmeg + 1 tsp ground cloves

Corn Black Bean Relish

Can you use a can opener? Can you chop a few vegetables? Then you can make this.

Shout out to my mom for showing me how to make this way back when. It’s so so simple (and affordable!). All you have to do is open a few cans, chop a few veggies, and top with your favorite spices or hot sauce. Then mix and enjoy a big (lunch all week big) bowl of deliciousness for less than $4! Continue reading

Chicago Diner

Chicago Diner is heaven on earth. The menu is all meat-free (since ’83)! Tons of options are gluten-free and all of them are easily made vegan.

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Reuben and Sweet Potato Fries (V) My all time favorite. The flavorful corned beef seitan, grilled onions and peppers, tangy sauerkraut, vegan creamy thousand island and cheese, on marbled rye make this a knock-out. ($12.00, served with pickle and side) (5/5)

Your fire

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” -Ayn Rand

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Warm Lemon Water

So, I’ve become a huge fan of water, particularly lemon water. Warm lemon water in the morning wakes up me up and gets my day started on the right note. It wakes me up (sans the caffeine jitters I get from coffee) and rehydrates me after my 8 hours of shut eye!

Beyond tasting great, there’s a ton of real benefits to drinking warm lemon water (especially first thing in the morning!)

  1. Aids digestion. Drinking warm water first thing in the morning helps to flush the digestive system, re-hydrate the body, and encourages the production of bile.
  2. Easy, natural flush. While you sleep your liver is busy! Drinking water in the morning helps to make sure your liver and lymph systems are functioning. properly. Think about it – after sleep you haven’t drank anything for 6-8 hours!
  3. Vitamin C. Lemons have about 30-50 mg of vitamin C. Drinking lemon first thing in the morning increases the body’s absorption of the vitamin C, which can provide a slight immune boost, improve adrenal function, and improve skin.

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