no-bake nutty protein bites

There’s no shortage of ‘make your own energy bar recipes’ out there, but this one is just absolutely the best and the easiest. It’s sugar free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free and protein packed. The best part is the clean-up (lack thereof) because I make the whole batch of nutty protein bites in one pot, one 9×9 pan and 1 baking measuring cup. In the spring and summer, I make one batch weekly, slice it into squares and keep it in the freezer. These little bites are filling; perfect for early mornings, trail snacks or quick energy boost before teaching a yoga class.

They are packed with protein and have absolutely no artificial anything! I’ve adopted this recipe from Angela Liddon’s excellent Vegan Cookbook Oh She Glows.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1 C rice cereal
  • 1/4 C sliced almonds
  • 1/4 C hemp seeds
  • 1/4 C chia seeds
  • 1/4 C sugar-free dried cranberries
  • 1/4 C VEGA “protein and greens” original-flavor
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C almond butter
  • 1 C brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: 

  • Line 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper
  • Measure dry ingredients and set aside
  • In a saucepan combine almond butter and brown rice syrup; heat over medium heat, stirring constantly
  • When liquid mixture begins to bubble, stir in vanilla
  • Immediately turn off the burner and add dry ingredients to sauce pan, stirring constantly to avoid burning
  • Transfer mixture to parchment-lined 9×9 pan and press firmly with spatula
  • Freeze for 1 hour minimum
  • Remove from freezer; lift parchment paper out of pan and set the bars on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to cut into small squares and keep in freezer
  • Eat and enjoy… they will vanish before you know it!

Happy Mixing,

-lisa

5 ways to beat the winter blues.

5 ways to beat the winter blues.

If I had it my way, it would be sunny and 72 degrees every day of year. (Except during October, when it should be 55 and cloudy for Harry Potter watching parties. Oh, and also, it should snow on Christmas. Oh, and temps should hover between 86 and 88 with partly cloudy skies June through July for optimal relax-by-the-pool time.) But we have four full seasons in good ol’ KCMO (how we love you, 64112) including winter.

And I’m one of those poor souls who is extremely, uncannily affected by dreary. I am a plant: the moment the sun shines I fling open my arms with wild abandon and the moment the gloomy weather arrives I shrivel into a grumpy lady and try to shrink into pseudo-hibernation. Every winter I vow: this winter will be different. I will not let Seasonal Affective Disorder disorder my day! I will be happy, gosh darnit.

But the sun still hides and I still snap at my husband and shrink into the couch and say things like: “I just can’t be happy…it’s winter!” At those pivotal moments when all could be lost, or when I could manifest cheery by bolstering neurotransmitters, I sigh (loudly, ardently) and try to cheer myself up with these 5 ways to beat the winter blues.

  1. Drink lemon and raw honey with hot water. Seriously, it works. I add a splash of apple cider vinegar to mine as well. The lemon helps balance your blood alkaline levels and stimulate your senses.  Drinking this throughout the day may also help you decrease your stimulant (coffee and caffeinated tea) intake, while still feeling cozy with a mug of hot drink.
  2. Dance to Justin Timberlake Music Videos. This just in: music videos are specifically made to get you up, moving, and smiling. Research also shows that dancing eases SAD symptoms, stress and anxiety. I’m a fan of VEVO, but the YouTube works, too.
  3. Adopt a new favorite sugar-free baked goodie. In the winter time, all I want is to bake comfort foods. But sugar reeks havoc on your immune system, your intestines where feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine are produced, and your mood.  My favorite sugar-free baked goodie is a flax-pumpkin-muffin in a mug. It takes about 90 seconds to make and is super cozy.  (Recipe below.)
  4. Lend a loan on Kiva. Kiva is an international non-profit that bridges the gap between lender, loan and entrepreneur. On it, you become a lender and help a borrower grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. Loans are usually $25 and have a 97% return rate. Sharing and practicing gratitude for what you have through generosity is an instant mood-lifter. I usually have two loans active at any given time, supporting women entrepreneurs and students make their dreams a reality.
  5. Meditate on light and love. Sometimes our mind can change our mind.  A few moments of blissful guided meditation focused on our own Light and Love absolutely beats the winter blues. Try my Guided Meditation called “Own Your Light.” (Real talk: I even listen to this myself!)

I hope these little tips help you as much as they help me. Let me know which you try (or try all 5 in one day).

Happy Shining, even in the gloom.

-lisa

Flax-pumpkin-muffin in a mug Recipe.

In a microwavable mug combine:

  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1- 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • Optional honey if you need something super sweet

Stir ingredients well. Then microwave for 50 seconds. Allow the mug cool once removed from microwave. Eat with a tiny spoon so it lasts longer. So easy and nutritious!

mug-muffin

the multitasking epidemic.

roasted beet and black rice spinach salad

roasted beet and black rice spinach salad

I choked on a piece of spinach, slick with homemade garden-herb dressing. Not the usual choking culprit. I coughed for a good three minutes before slugging back some lemon-water and finding my breath again.

Why did I choke? Multitasking. It’s become an epidemic. I thought I was immune to it, but somehow I caught the multitasking bug. For many years I suffered from multitasking; I deluded myself into thinking that I could, in fact, do four things at once with equal care and attention to each item.  Untrue. As awesome as my brain is, the research still stands that humans are not great at multitasking, even though our deluded grandeur tells us we can master all things.

This particular spinach-choking-day, I was trying to text my Ironman, plug my phone in to charge, talk to my dog, and eat a salad all at the same time. NONE of these things were life-changing, life-threatening, immediate or necessary.  All of them could have happened in a neat, organized, sequential order and I would have lived to tell about it. Instead, I almost didn’t.

Seriously, haven’t I learned that I should do one thing at a time, with full and careful consideration, in order to truly enjoy it? Isn’t this called something like… mindfulness?

I try to practice this during my seated meditation, and during my yoga classes, but mindfulness doesn’t always follow me around like multitasking does. The wise Thich Nhat Hanh even says doing one thing at a time (like eating my delicious breakfast salad) is the secret to my success.

“Sometimes we eat and we are not aware that we’re eating.  Our mind isn’t there. When our mind isn’t present, we look but we don’t see, we listen but we don’t hear, we eat but we don’t know the flavor of the food. This is a state of forgetfulness. To be truly present, we have to stop our thinking. This is the secret to success.” -TNH

Let me repeat: the secret to my success!

So, could the epidemic of multitasking be my downfall? (Ugh, another habit to re-train.) I think it might be. I mean, the other day I was on the phone chatting with a friend, prepping breakfast for the next day, and I started to grind coffee. Not lying: I was so overcome with the need to multitask that I thought grinding coffee would be a good thing to do while I was talking. On. The. Phone. (I can see you shaking your head in disbelief, dear Reader.)

How am I going to cure myself?  I’m not sure, but it may require a change in mindset that approaches all I’m doing as play, instead of work (remember this fun post?). And it may require me to set an intention at the beginning of the day that I am going to practice self-care by giving my brain the opportunity to be present. It may require diligent awareness of how I can heal my fragmented mind-body connection by slowing down, sitting still, and setting this intention:

“Today, I will consciously choose to focus on one thing at a time.”

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“Today, I will consciously choose to focus on one thing at a time.”

And, above all, it will require me to return to Mindfulness as often as I can, calling myself back repeatedly, like the ringing of the Bell calls monks to meditation.

When it starts to work and I feel myself growing more whole, present, and mindful, I will let you know.

When do you find yourself multi-tasking?  What are you missing out on because you aren’t paying attention? How are you going to pay closer attention to all the little things that could bring you joy?

Looking forward to healing with you,

-lisa

 

 

 

 

alkaline enhancing Beet Smoothie (new and improved!)

Inspired by an article in my new favorite magazine, Mother Earth Living, I’ve been on a mission to alkalize my diet.  The more I learned about how food plays a key role in balancing the pH level of my body, the more I wanted to make this happen.

Maintaining a balance pH level is, apparently, not easy. The toxins we encounter daily through air borne pollution and the acidic toxins we ingest tip the scale toward acidity.  On the pH scale, 0 is extremely acidic, 7.0 is totally neutral and 14 is totally alkalized.  Our bodies, born with a neutral 7.0 reading, have mechanisms in place to ensure that our blood remains slightly alkaline for optimal health.  However, as we eat acidic foods (unfortunately, these are the delicious ones on the Standard American Diet like sugar, dairy, and processed grains) important nutrients like calcium and magnesium are leached from cells in order to bring balance back to the blood stream.  This can leave us tired and sore.  Think: the ‘lactic acid’ build up you’ve heard about that makes your muscles sore after running.  Or, for you and for myself: sore after yoga.  (No, Thank you!  Read my tips for recovery to reduce soreness here.)

Not to mention, maintaining an acidic state in the blood level kicks in our body’s natural ability to combat this acid by storing sugar in fat cells.  Many health professionals think that maintaining the optimal pH balance is the key to losing weight.  For more information, check out Michelle Schoffro Cook’s book 60 seconds to Slim. 

What’s the easiest way to alkalize your body back into optimal health (and hopefully reduce muscle soreness)?  Green and Yellow: Veggies and Lemons.   

smoothi pic 1

To make it easy on myself and on you, I’ve re-invented my favorite beet smoothie recipe this summer.  I’ve cut out the extra sugars by eliminating apple juice and orange juice.  I’ve added an extra veggie or two.  And most importantly: concentrated on adding alkalizing foods: sour cherries, lemons and limes.  Introducing, Lisa’s totally liver cleansing, red blood cell oxygenating, alkaline enhancing Wonder Beet Smoothie!  (Please note: this is not a juice.  It is full of fiber and will feel like you are eating a delicious salad.)

smoothie finished

Ingredients:

  • 1 green zucchini, cut into pieces
  • 2 small beets, cut into pieces
  • 6 large rainbow chard leaves, stemmed (or 2 Cups other leafy green vegetables)
  • ½ C organic tart cherry juice
  • 1 C cold water
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lime

Add ingredients to Blender in this order.  Blend on low for a few minutes, adding more water if needed.  Blend on high for 2-3 minutes.  (Turn the blender down if the smoothie starts to froth.)

Yield: 4 8 oz smoothies.  For best results, enjoy this treat COLD.  I keep mine in the freezer overnight and then let it thaw in the kitchen sink in the morning so it’s ready for lunch.

For more smoothie recipes, check out my article from 2014: summer smoothies galore.

Enjoy! -lisa

 

Lucky St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie, Green Smoothie Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

smoothie in mugSo… do you need to detox after your St. Patrick’s Day Pint?  (I’m pretty sure everyone and their mom… except for me and my mom… were at the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Westport this year.  Traffic was horrendous!)  We’ve been blessed with sunshine and warm spring weather this year, so it’s time to celebrate the season with something yummy and green!

Here’s my new and improved Special St. Patrick’s Day Green Smoothie recipe.  (Highly recommended for detoxing if you had one too many pints of something else on St. Patty’s Day.)

green st partricks smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1/2 Lime
  • 3 Celery Stalks  (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 Cup Honeydew Melon Pieces
  • 4 Cups Spinach
  • 12 oz Coconut Water

Method:

Nothing to it!  Throw the greens into the blender (I use my Vittamix for smoothies and juices), followed by celery, melon, spinach and lime juice.  Pour in 12 oz coconut water, blend on high for a minute.  Pour into a frosty mug and enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

-lisa

If you have extra celery, try my yummy pear-and-celery slaw recipe.

 

why you should write down your blessings.

Image

So, glass Ball Jars are super trendy right now. Totally ‘hipstipod old 001 (46)er chic.’  I have a million of them in my home.  Not because I’m trendy… but because I’ve recently been nerding out about the possible dangers of plastic and also I inherited 5 boxes of glass jars from my Grandma, who was an avid ‘canner’. (I made that word up… but you know what I mean.  She loved to can green beans, apple butter, peaches, etc.)

I’m using them for everything: bulk dry goods storage, water glasses, spare change holders, holiday decorations, bobby pin containers, you name it.

I’ve found a new use for the beautiful, homey, endearing glassware: Blessing Jars.  Like you, I’m great at starting a new ‘life-changing’ habit in January– writing in a Gratitude Journal, or charting my daily water intake, or recording the minutes I spend walking during the day.  And then, of course, the paper get tucked away in my files and I remember it again in June when I’m cleaning out my desk.  Perfect.

Despite my inability to maintain a routine of writing things down for the sake of accountability, I think the act of writing words on paper is decisively powerful.  When you write things down, energy becomes action.  I recently read this article which taught me that the act of writing leads to physical and mental health benefits including:

  • improved mood and sense of well-being
  • decreased stress and anxiety levels
  • lower blood pressure
  • better memory and sleep.

All of these sound like winners.  Yes, please.  Writing is good for you and is one small habit that can lead to a life filled with happiness and health (similar to eating more veggies–try my celery and pear slaw– and getting more exercise- try my yoga classes!)

New Year’s Resolutions are difficult to keep. Remember this post?  Don’t make this a resolution.  Make this a 30 second challenge for your health and your happiness.

Find a small piece of paper.  Write done ONE thing that is a blessing to you and put it in a glass jar.  Do this every day.  Or just whenever you remember.  As the days go by, your glass jar will quietly fill.  One day, you’ll look at it, and realize that your life, like your jar, is FULL of BLESSINGS.

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”  – ray bradbury

Cheers to being full.

Happy writing,

-lisa

incredibly healthy! carrot pumpkin oat breakfast bread recipe.

carrot pumpkin oat breakfast bread recipe.

We bought a post-apocalypse-pack of canned pumpkin from Costco.  That fact alone should explain my fixation with everything pumpkin this winter.  I truly think if it’s below 40 degrees outside, something should be in the oven baking.  It’s been interesting finding, tweaking and inventing recipes using pumpkin, which is low in calories and ultra-nutritious. I’ve made pumpkin quiche, pumpkin scones, pumpkin curry, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes and now this, my new specialty: carrot pumpkin oat breakfast bread (vegan!).

Feel free to add your special touches to this recipe: fold in pecans, cranberries, or raisins carrot pumpkin bread ingredfor extra crunch and flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 C oat flour
  • 1/2 C oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 C shredded carrots
  • 3 tbsp milled flax mixed with 3 tbsp cold water (or you can use 3 eggs for a non-vegan version)
  • 3/4 C light brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 3/4 C packed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C non-sweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 C walnuts

Procedure:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 and oil a 9 inch loaf pan with coconut oil.  (Place pan in oven as it heats to melt coconut oil so it will spread evenly across bottom and sides of pan.)

2. In a large bowl, stir together oat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg.

3.  Mix in wet ingredients: carrots, flax, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and milk.  Gently stir until well mixed and pour into prepared pan.

4.  Press walnuts on top of loaf.

5.  Bake until the top is golden brown, about 50 to 55 minutes.  Let stand (it’s really delicious when it’s hot!) and enjoy a bite.  Save the rest for breakfast!

carrot pumpkin bread

vegan carrot pumpkin oat breakfast bread. you’ll eat the whole loaf in one sitting…

 

You will love it!  Super moist, hearty, and filling.

Let me know what you think,

-lisa

yummy vegan celery-pear-jicama slaw recipe

vegan celery-pear-jicama slaw recipe. (easy! healthy! yummy!)

 

 

 

 

photo 2 (3)

celery-pear-jicama slaw with sesame seeds and raisins.. yum!

 

Raise your hand if this has happened to you:  you grab the Tupperware of celery from the fridge and throw it in your bag for a quick and easy ‘between yoga class’ snack… only to discover hours later that your celery has been in the fridge too long!  It’s bitter and wimpy and not at all worth munching on.  <hands up!>

This seemed to happen to me almost every Saturday. The fix?  Shred that stuff up!  I’m a huge fan of ‘Root to Stalk Cooking,’ where the entirety of the food item is used.  Nothing to waste!  I’m always saving the colorless ends of the celery root when I cut up celery sticks for snacking.  I usually throw them in the next batch of quinoa or soup in the crock pot (even this soup could always use more fiber), but now I’ve got a new favorite way to honor the entire vegetable.  Introducing my newest recipe:  vegan celery-pear- jicama slaw recipe. (easy! healthy! yummy!)  

photo 1 (3)Ingredients:

  • 1 pear
  • 4 or 5 celery stalks
  • left over ends of celery root
  • 1/2 jicama
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • 2 small clementines (juice and fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • optional salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Preparation 

1.  Peel the jicama, and shred it, the pear and celery (salad shooter or food processor recommended). Combine with raisins in a medium bowl.

2.  Squeeze clementine juice into celery-pear mixture.  Add slices of clementine fruit (optional).

3.  Whisk dressing in a separate bowl:  grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt + pepper.

4. Pour dressing over the celery-pear mixture.  Stir.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  Chill to allow the flavors to blend.

5.  Pack your snack and head out the door.  You are ready to go!

It’s super delicious!  Let me know what other variations you try: carrots? apple?

Happy shredding!

-lisa