The Alcohol Experiment, Week 1;Self-Discovery and Tips

A body in balance craves what will keep it in balance

My February intention is ‘sobriety’, and to be completely transparent, I thought this was going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I enjoy a nice glass of dark red wine with a bowl of popcorn- Thanks, Scandal. I look forward to the way it makes me relax, chills my anxiety and dulls my senses. I recently read an article that stated teachers make 1,500 decisions ever single day on average (That is 4 decisions every minute).  No wonder, I look forward to something that can counteract the multi-tasking I do all day.

I am currently reading The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace #alcoholexperiment – a book about how to change the habit of drinking through advice, science-backed information, and anecdotal messages.  Each day is a nice reminder of the intention.


There were signs that made me think that it was time to bring this to the forefront and make it a mindful intention.

  1. My serving size increased- Large wine glasses are the best gifts

  2. Can’t stop at just one- I used to be great with 1 glass

  3. Occasions revolved around drinking – it stopped being about connecting, getting to know people, and catching up

  4. my spell with Vertigo- I’m not exactly sure if these are completely connected, but my body was trying to tell me something

  5. I was using a glass or 2 of wine to deal with negative emotions- instead of using it to celebrate, I was using it to forget a tough day or combat boredom

  6. I wasn’t sleeping well- the dehydration and sugar crash at 2 am kept me up on occasions.

I am one week in, and I have already discovered so much about myself. 

Mondays are HARD!!!!   It takes a lot of willpower.
I have so many more tools in my tool-belt that help me relax than I thought.
I rely on the experience of alcohol to help me step outside of my introvert self way too much.
Sleep is so sweet.
My boys get me; movies, popcorn and snuggles. (great way to relax)

Here are a few TIPS if you are on this journey with me:

Willpower– if you don’t believe you have enough willpower left in your tank to say NO, then don’t even put yourself in that situation.  Graciously bow-out.

Know your WHY – When Monday at 4 hit, I had to remind myself WHY I was doing this.  I even took it a step forward and wrote down my Why and What 1 drink of alcohol does to me. (next blog post)

Find other ways to RELAX– I run, take baths, stretch, go through a yoga flow, hangout with my kids (puzzles, Jenga, spelling) or turn on a Podcast and cook/clean- I have found that I have already been more productive.


Boys and I went out for vegan ice cream one evening

Bring other drinking options- I am talking about all of the great sparkling water choices out there or – my bosses’ favorite- Hint water. place it in a wine glass and enjoy!

Relying on people is really hard for me, but I have already connected and shared with a few of my friends in the last week unlike I ever have. Let yourself be vulnerable (I am trying- this may take a while).

Buddy System– Thankfully I have a great friend who is on this 30 Day Experiment with me. Knowing she is probably going through everything with me, helps me.

Prepare your sleeping space – Burn a candle or incense, make your bed before getting in it, get into a great book, listen to calming music and spray some lavender on your sheets before you fall asleep.  After a week of not drinking, all of the alcohol is out of your system and your body will learn how to relax naturally and stay asleep throughout the night.

I can’t promise after this 30 Day experiment that I won’t have another drink, but I can tell you this restart has already helped me realize how much that glass of wine controlled my afternoons.

If you are following or experimenting with me, please leave a comment and share this post. Thank you




Optimum Hydration

waterAs this month’s intention comes to an end, I can tell you that hydration has become a habit that I actually enjoy because it makes me feel so much better. I have absolutely no digestive issues; and as someone who eats a lot of vegetables and beans throughout the day, this is a huge celebration, my joints feel good – even after my 9 mile run this weekend (my knees did not hurt). I confess-  drinking water in the morning has become an essential part of my morning routine along with drinking 8-10 oz before every meal.  I now have 2 water jugs in my fridge at all times, one carries my sliced lemons and the other is plain filtered water.

in a previous post, I stated that 75% of people suffer from chronic dehydration.  Signs that you may be dehydrated…

Your urine is dark– when you are hydrated your urine is either clear or khaki colored, but remember some medications and foods can affect the color – Watch out for beets!!!!

Constipation– Water is very important for digestion and dehydration is the #1 cause for constipation (and kidney stones). Yes, there are a lot of factors that can cause constipation (travel, foods, health conditions or medications) but if you are hydrated then your stool should be loose and predictable.

Dry mouth- This is one of the first signs of dehydration.

Headaches– When you are dehydrated your brain can actually shrink which causes the headache

Fatigue– When your body is dehydrated your muscles get fatigued

So, when your mother says, ‘ drink water’ as an answer your problems- she was probably right

This past few weeks, I have been focused on eating my water by mixing a couple of smoothies before work to drink when I am starting to recognize some of these signs throughout my day.

2 of my favorite smoothie recipes not only taste great they also 



and are Quick to make 

Green Mango

1c filtered water

1c frozen mango

1 medium frozen banana (once my bananas start to get bruised, I peel the skin and add them to a ziplock bag in the freezer for JUST this occasion)

2c chopped celery

1 handful of parsley  (you can replace the parsley or cilantro)


Spinach Meets Cinnamon

1 1/3c almond or coconut milk

1-2 stalks celery

1 handful spinach

2 pitted dates or 1TBSP date syrup

1 frozen banana

1/2 tsp cinnamon (you can add cardamom for a chai flavor)

  • add a scoop of protein powder if you prefer this as a meal replacement


optimum hydration starts with you and just a few changes: drink 8 oz of your salted citrus water as soon as you wake up, drink 8-10 oz of water before every meal, eat your water, add chia seeds to slow down the process of water leaving your body and ADD smoothies.

img_2716.pngSometimes intentions can be scary because we are always worried about what we are missing out on, but what if we don’t try and we miss out on so much more- Next month begins my very scary intention of sobriety. I am focused on the following books to keep me mindful and smart about the next 30 days.  Please join me on my journey.

Don’t forget to comment and share.

Eat Your Water; Top 15 Hydrating Foods

As you all know, my intention this month has been on hydration, and in just 3 weeks I have already noticed a change in some of my habits.

A. I used to go to sleep dreaming about my 1st cup of coffee 

B. Now, I wake up eager for my glass of salted, citrus water

A. I am used to having a glass of wine 5 out of 7 days of the week (don’t judge). 

B. This last week, I only had a drink 3 out of the 7 days (and I didn’t miss it)- so, I might be ready for my February intention.

A. Drinking water used to be a ‘chore’

B.  Now, it is just apart of everything, and even a little interesting. 

This was a tough week as I have been dealing with, NO battling, vertigo all week.  I was in denial early on in the week, but after three days of dizziness and nausea (and a difficult 15k,) I decided to finally stop trying to WILL it away and get some help.  One of the side-effects of vertigo is dehydration due to the constant nausea and sometimes being dehydrated can be a cause, so I made sure to be very intentional this past week with the food choices I was making because drinking a lot of water made my stomach very queasy. Here are just a few things I did to make this a bit easier and better for me…

  • I intentionally packed soup and salad in my lunchbox every single day for a hydrating lunch
  • took out some of the dehydrating foods from my diet (list is below)
  • Premade my ‘Quench Your Thirst’ smoothie on Sunday for an easy snack throughout the week
    • I purchased an $8 water carafe for my bedside table
    • Added a humidifier to our bedroom (the heater was drying us out)

The top 15  hydrating foods one should add to your weekly diet…

  • Cucumber
  • coconut
  • Celery
  • Romaine
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Green pepper
  • Pineapple
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach

I created 3 recipes this last week that added as much from this list as possible

quench your thirst smoothie 

  • green apple, cucumber, celery, coconut milk, spinach

instant pot cauliflower potato soup

  • spinach, cucumber, tomato

Top 10 dehydrating foods you should cut from your DAILY diet – These should be foods that are used with caution and in moderation. 

  • coffee – Use Coconut milk to cream your coffee
  • alcohol – a great alternative is to add a tonic or sparkling water to whatever you are drinking 
  • asparagus – this is why it alters the smell of your urine
  • bacon
  • ham
  • sausage
  • soy sauce – great alternatives are Coconut aminos or liquid aminos because they have less sodium
  • popcorn (this was one of the hardest for me to hear) – try air popcorn or Quinns sea salt Popcorn – stay away from the microwaveable buttered popcorn. 
  • fried foods
  • sugary drinks (soda, diet soda, Gatorade, Capri-sun, JUICE)

Please, leave a comment and share this post if you find this information useful.

Thank  you

Smarter Hydration

This past week my intention was on EZ Hydration Habits with a focus on hydrating at key times throughout my day; when I first wake up, 6-8 ounces before every meal, and a ‘smart’ drink after running.  

Thank you for the comments, the questions, and the inquiry from my last post. I was very surprised with the amount of feedback I received from my last post, and it made me realize how important this topic was for everyone.  I know we are all looking for an easier way to stay healthy, feel better, and manage stress, And hydration is something everyone can start to focus on TODAY. No need for new workout clothes, a membership to an expensive gym, and (The best part) no diet restrictions!

Some of the concerns that came up through my conversations were…

addition of water = increased restroom breaks 

addition of salt into the diet – I thought sodium was bad.

Is Gatorade a good option for quick hydration?

Is there such a thing as Too much water?


Chia seeds aren’t just good family fun, they are THE smartest way to hydrate.  When you drink a glass of water with chia seeds in it (1-2 TBSP), the chia seeds will absorb the water and help the water remain in your body longer.  This allows your body to balance the electrolytes which will aid in stamina and endurance (great for distance athletes) and give your body time to soak it all in!

  • Add 1-2 TBPS of chia seeds to 6-8 oz of water and let it sit in the water for 10 minutes or overnight (even better) allow the seeds to absorb the water and become gel like.  Shake the water before drinking. 

img_2551.pngThis should slow down the amount of ‘potty’ breaks within the day, and it will allow your body to maintain hydration instead of washing out (something that can occur if you drink too much water).

Sodium Confusion

From my last post, I talked about the morning glass of water having a pinch of one of these salts.

Himalayan Salt

Sea Salt

Rock Salt

Celtic Salt

When it comes to adding salt to your diet and your water it is QUALITY not Quantity. These salts contain trace minerals that your body may have lost throughout the night.  This small step allows your body to balance the electrolytes needed to stay hydrated.  Start salting your water NOT your food.

Better Than Gatorade (When Water is not enough)


I have experimented with a few drinks this week to replenish after running.  They both tasted great, kept my muscles hydrated, and helped me recover quickly.  Even if you aren’t a runner, these drinks helped my husband recover from a fun evening and my own children from a day of bicycle riding.

Instead of giving my family a sports drink that contains a ton of glucose (125 calories and 35 grams of sugar), I chose to…

add a Nuun tablet to 12 oz of filtered water and 2 tsp of chia seeds- the                  boys loved the strawberry lemonade flavor.  

I mixed 4 oz of our favorite Kombucha, 2 TBSP of chia seeds, pinch of sea salt, and 12 oz of filtered water after my long run on Saturday.  

Low sugar options that hydrate with fast acting carbohydrates and electrolytes that allowed everyone to recover from dehydration symptoms. FYI – Sugar requires a lot of hydration for your body to process and filter.

Water Intoxication

img_2552.pngThere is such a thing as too much water.  This can cause lowered sodium and potassium levels, muscle cramps, and can strain the kidneys and heart which can make you feel tired.  Who would have THOUGHT?  This does require a healthy person to consume a liter of water within an hour, so I am sure many of you aren’t chugging 33 oz of water, but I just want you to be aware of all the facts.

Smarter Water Options

Switch from Almond milk to Coconut milk

img_2535(Try 4 oz coconut milk with 12 oz of warm water , 1 -2 tsp of Cardamom and cinnamon to your coffee- Tasted like a Chai latte)

Drink coconut water instead of Gatorade

Explore the different flavors of the sparkling water craze- Waterloo Cherry is my favorite


This upcoming week, my focus will be on Eating my Water. (look for my post next weekend.) I plan on adding hydrating foods into my daily diet and pulling out some of the dehydrators that are causing some of the symptoms that are still sticking around.

I hope you are joining me on this adventure.  Let me know how it is going.  I want to hear  about your goals, your swaps and how it is affecting you.

Share and leave a comment

Quench Your Thirst: Hydration Habits

Eight years ago I suffered from severe dehydration.  I was teaching multiple aerobic classes throughout the day during a 100 day heatwave in Texas.  My husband had to rush me to a Care Now facility after vomiting for a few hours in terrible pain, where I proceeded to vomit and then pass out.  As I sat in the emergency room of the hospital hooked up to an I.V.  shaking from the rush of fluids entering my body, I realized at that moment how important hydration was.

75% of Americans are dealing with Chronic Dehydration

Symptoms may include (are not limited to)…



brain fog



skin’s lack of elasticity

poor circulation – fingers and toes are often cold


This is due to…

desk jobs

fast food laden with bad sodium

SODAs and Sports drinks and Juice and COFFEE

bookI have been reading Quench by Cohen and Bria these past few days and have already learned so much about how to hydrate correctly, when to hydrate and what to eat to keep me hydrated.  This book takes the general rule of 8 glasses a day and flips it completely upside down.




Just a few habits I have tried to start in this first week of my January intention; optimal hydration, include…

A glass of lemon water when I wake up with a pinch of sea salt

I sliced a lemon and added water to a large mason jar and placed it in the fridge. Each watermorning I pour 8-10 oz of water into a FANCY cup (wine glass usually) and add a pinch of sea salt or Himilayan salt to the water.  I gulp it down while my coffee is brewing.

Why lemon?  Helps rid toxins from your body

Why Sea salt or Himilayan salt?  Just a pinch to add sodium, micronutrients and minerals back into your system.  Over the course of the night, a % of that was lost through breathing and perspiration. Stay away from regular table salt – as it does not have the minerals that your body needs.

at least 8 oz of water before every meal

This is two-fold: 1. you get your digestive system running smoother- adding water back into your bloodstream, which gets everything working again.  2. It fills up your stomach, so you aren’t eating on an empty stomach.

only 2 cups (16 oz) of coffee every day

Coffee is known as a dehydrant and mild diuretic but it does affect your hydration levels until AFTER you drink 24oz.  According to my calculations, You can consume 300 mg of caffeine before your body starts to show affects of dehydrations (that is equivalent to 2 tall lattes from Starbucks). I don’t recommend that much, as it is still a diuretic but I get the need for a nice tall latte.

Use of a Brita water filter

fridgeThis is just pure convenience.  If water is cold, and I don’t have to sit for a long time at the fridge door for a full glass, I will drink more.  This filter was only $20- it holds 12 cups and the filters (3 ) were also $20- the filters are good for 2 months each.




Carry around a cool water container 

I’ve had this water container since the start of the school year.  I like the small incremental goals which make me feel accomplished every hour.  I bought this from Uncommon Goods. ONLY $20

bottle picfunny

Humans are made up of about 60% water, and we lose about 10% of that water daily JUST through breathing, sweating, and urine/bowel movements.  Now, if you workout, drink a lot of coffee, or alcohol- it is even more.  No wonder, just a few changes to my lifestyle has helped make a few noticeable differences. 

In just 1 week- actually just 6 days.  I have more energy.  I ran 18 miles in a span of 5 days and never felt that CRASH that I normally do. Believe me, my legs were tired but I had enough energy to organize play rooms, rearrange bedrooms, and meal prep for the week.  I have noticed that I haven’t really been that hungry, and my cravings for BREAD has gone down quite a bit.

I am training for a half marathon and my long run was on Saturday which was completed in record mile pace!  I am not completely sure if that is my training or the hydration- maybe a combination of the two, but I felt really proud.


I am feeling pretty accomplished this week.  Setting my intention was the easy part, Skimming the shelves at Barnes and Noble for a book that would educate me and set me on the right track was also pretty easy. Now I just need to stick with it.




Setting My Intentions

best of 2018.jpeg

On New Year’s Eve I look ahead but also reflect on what 2018 gave to me.

Before I can set my intentions for the 2019 year, I need to look back at what 2018 was.  After scrolling my picture feed, observing my Facebook photos, and making my list (18 for 2018) I was surprised at what I had already forgotten.  We have a tendency to look forward, set new goals, and shoot for the best year… YET all the while ignoring the previous year’s accomplishments, losses, and adventures.  Please indulge me as I take a brief moment to reflect before setting my new intentions.

Unfortunately, 2018 Brought us loss…

We lost our first pet- Phinnaeus Charles Steinbrink – a lovable golden retriever that my husband and I got together before we were married.  He was with us to watch us move into our first home, helped us manage two young boys, and brought me solace when I lost my father.  Losing Phinn was a very difficult time for us.

We celebrated the life of our Poppa Charlie- my mother’s father.  He was a tough man of 92, diagnosed with lung cancer 2 different times in his life, but he managed to not just Survive but LIVE.

We traveled…

Luke and I celebrated our 10 year Wedding Anniversary in Costa Rica at a Yoga retreat.  This was everything I hoped it would be and MORE.

We traveled to the Lake over the summer with friends, to the ocean in Portland with family, and to the pool in Kansas to celebrate 4th of July.  Each trip gave us time to relax, recover and recoup.

2018 gave us so much to be thankful for…

My boys have grown up! It happened in a blink of an eye.  Both boys are in school (kinder and 2nd) learning like crazy.  Unfortunately, that does come with some lessons of how to use what they are learning appropriately with Mom and Dad.  They are as different as salt and pepper, what they love to do, what makes them excited are so very different.  I am learning to navigate their differences and learning more about Legos, books, football, and the army every single day. Being a boy mom is one of my favorite parts of 2018.

I also achieved a milestone this year – 1 year as a ‘vegan’ – Again I use quotations because I still follow the 80/20 rule most of the time with plant-based flexitarian as the true definition of my diet, but that is a mouthful and I already get strange looks and comments when I say ‘I am a vegan’ so I can’t imagine what people would say if I said, ‘I am a plant-based flexitarian’  Come on! =Right?

I have a lot to be thankful for- my family is happy, healthy, and safe.  2018 was a great year!

2019 will be even better-  This year I am not creating a resolution or setting goals, I am planning a year of transformation through Monthly intentions; an aim, a plan.  I hope to gain something from each month that will improve my mindfulness, health, and forethought.  I have chosen each intention specifically for my needs, and I have arranged them to keep me driven throughout the 2019 year. (I won’t go into great detail with each one right now, but I will give you my reasons in this blog)

January – WATER!!!! 

IMG_2428.PNGThis should be something I do naturally, but it is not.  I know you have heard this, but if you were to change anything in your diet – WATER is the one thing that should be added- for better health, digestion, weight loss, healthy skin and heart, reduces cancer risk and boosts energy and gut health.  For those reasons ALONE, this is my number 1 intention for the year, so I thought I would start the year off with this simple change to help affect the rest of my year. The key to the correct water intake is take your body weight, divide it in half, and that is the amount of water in ounces you should drink daily.  My intention for this month is to wake up and drink at least 8 oz BEFORE coffee and consume at least 60 ounces throughout the day.

February – No Alcohol- 

I’ll admit, this one will not be easy- AT ALL!  I love a glass of red wine or 2 almost daily.  But with water being my #1 intention, I thought I should try a month without the dehydrator to see how my health can improve.  This will take a lot of mindfulness but since February is the shortest month- I thought it could be doable ūüôā I have also recruited my best friend in making this her intention for February as well.

March – Yoga Challenge

In February, I am running the half marathon and I can only imagine how all that running will tighten up my muscles. Also, March is a very difficult time of the school year for teachers, and I am sure I will need a form of stress relief.

April- Triathlon Training

I have signed up for an Olympic Triathlon for the month of May- of course I will be training in the previous months as well, but my intention this month will be on the training process.

May – carbon footprint focused

I would like to work on my carbon footprint during this month. Focus on what I throw away, making eco friendly decisions and getting rid of the plastic!

June- Book Challenge

As the school year gets wrapped up, I always look forward to my time with books in the summer.  This month I want to focus my time on reading as much as I possibly can.  I have a few trips planned for the month of June, so this will be a great time to dive into professional books, fictional mysteries etc…


July- Weight ( lifting) Challenge

(Update) self careSelf Care; 4 Tips to an Effortless Morning Routine

August- Sugar Detox

I don’t consume a lot of extra sugar, but I do know that sugar is cancer’s best friend.  I have always had the intention of letting my children know the harms of sugar, how it affects our attitude and health.  For this month, I want to be as intentional as possible while the new school year begins.

September – Tidying up challenge

with the new school year starting, I believe this is a great time to weed out clothes, organize kitchen, kid rooms, and make sure I still only have 1 junk drawer! I plan on Marie Kondo being very proud throughout my process.

October – Family Focused
This is one of my favorite months of the year.  After the start of school, We tend to get a little bogged down, a little too in-sync with our schedules and ‘family time’ drifts.  I want to be intentional this month (as I do every month) but this month I want to be as intentional as possible about family dinners, time together, LISTENING.

November – smoothie Challenge

The month of FOOD! Do I need to say more? With a new smoothie recipe every day (that I will post in my weekly blog) I hope to dodge the bloat, the weight gain and the stress of this month.

December – Meditation 

December gets a little crazy with events, travel, buying, food. I wanted to set an intention that would help me navigate through the stress of this month and help me reflect with forethought for the new year.

Each month has a focus, each month has a reason and I hope that each month will lead toward new perspectives, better health, and the best year… YET! Continue to read, and I hope you will follow me or even JOIN me on this journey of set intentions in 2019!.

Taste and Smell of Fall (Vegan Breakfast)

It is Labor Day, and the weather is on my side.  It has been raining since 9 a.m. So, on my way home from my workout I stopped at a grocery store to pick up 4 cans of pumpkin puree.  All I could think about was getting my diffuser going with the scent of Fall; zucchini pumpkin muffins, pumpkin quinoa oatmeal and veggie soup and my Amazon Prime queue going.

I found a great recipe at ‘the pretty bee’ blog for Vegan Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread.

I made a few tweaks to enhance the protein content and make it ‘to go’ friendly for our breakfasts at work.


1 Cup Buckwheat Flour- IMG_1178gluten and grain free with more protein, fiber and B vitamins than oats or whole wheat (cooking with just buckwheat can make breads dry, so add in moisture when you can)

1/4c hemp seed (this adds in extra moisture AND protein)

1/2 c whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground clove

1 tsp Himilayan salt (great alternative to Kosher salt, as it contains many minerals and vitamins)

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp ginger and nutmeg (add more if you like the taste)

( mix these together with  a whisk )

3/4 c pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) (Adding pumpkin to this bread allows me to leave out the egg that most breads and muffins call for, PLUS, the smell in my kitchen is worth using my can opener)

1/4 c Coconut butter  (measure it out, then pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir and repeat until melted) (I love Coconut Manna- you can find this in the aisle) (Since, the coconut butter contains the meat, or copra, of the coconut which adds more nutrition and less cholesterol) * You could also replace this with 1/4c applesauce

1 c zucchini (shred in your food processor (about 1 zucchini)

1/4 c maple syrup

1/4c water

(if you like your breakfast breads on the sweeter side, go ahead and add coconut or date sugar about 1/2c )  I like mine without the sugar bc the dark chocolate chips add a little something extra to my mini muffins.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Fill up the muffin tins- I Use a mini muffin tin for bite size convenience, add 3-4 Vegan Dark chocolate chips before placing in a 350 degree oven. Bake between 30-40 minutes

While the smell of pumpkin was filling my house, I pulled my pressure cooker out of its hiding place for a quick, no FUSS pumpkin quinoa oatmeal recipe I found from Plant Based Gabriel.  Again, I added in a few more items to increase the crunch factor and natural sweetness. Рsometimes the texture of oatmeal deters me from eating it.


2 1/2 c water

1 can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 c steel cut oats- great source of fiber and protein

1/3 c quinoa – adds a different texture to the oats and proteinIMG_1180

1 c almond milk- you can use oat milk, soy milk or coconut milk from a can if you prefer

1/4 c maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp clove and nutmeg (I added more b/c I LOVE both of these flavors)

Place everything into your pressure cooker or instantpot, mix with a whisk and set for 25 minutes and allow for the cooker to release naturally. (so about 30 minute cook time)

Once the oatmeal is complete, I added a handful of pecans, a handful of walnuts, about 1 1/2 c almond milk and drizzled date syrup.  Рthe combination of healthy fats from the nuts, the protein from the oats and milk- I am usually feeling pretty satiated until lunch.

Once everything has cooled, I place each of these in our take out containers and add fruit to the muffin tin and Kite Hill yogurt to the oatmeal (I love mixing my yogurt into my oatmeal for a rich and creamy taste and texture)

Fall is not here until September 23rd, but this girl was certainly grateful for the rain and cooler weather today.

sidenote- —— If you don’t know what DATE syrup is- GO out and find it now.¬† Someone had the genius idea of taking Medjool dates, soaking them in hot water, smashing them, filtering out¬†the pulp, and boiling the liquid until it becomes syrup.¬† Even if you don’t like dates- this is worth the¬†trip to the store or Amazon to purchase a container to add to breads, oatmeal, recipes to replace honey etc… DELICIOUS and the fiber content – and since the syrup is plant-based, you can feel good about¬†using it.¬† A great recipe at shows you how easy it is to make. ¬†

Plant Based Snack Time: (Kale Chips, Bruschetta, Hummus, and Salsa Recipes)

Recently, I had the pleasure to join my friends on an adult trip to the lake. The babysitter was scheduled, boat and jet ski rented, and snacks were planned. ¬†It had me thinking about the top plant-based snacks that I try to keep around for a quick pick-me up. Of course, some of those snacks include no preparation …

  1. Fresh fruit- I like to keep grapes washed and stemmed for a quick handful for easy access.  My kids and I eat melons of all kinds; watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew.  Berries line a shelf in my fridge for smoothies, a quick snack or just a side to a quick lunch.
  2. Vegetables- In my fridge you will find prepped cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, snap peas, and broccoli in large mason jars for an easy go-to snack.  I strategically place these at eye height for my two boys to see first (trick of the trade). I also like to keep tomatoes; Roma, cherry, steak, vine-ripe sitting out at all times for snacking with hummus. (one of my favorite things) My husband will grab a tomato and eat it whole just like an apple.
  3. Nuts– We keep raw and roasted nuts of all kinds in our ‘snack drawer’ which both of my boys can easily access. The combination of protein and healthy fat makes this a no brainer. * a handful of Raw cashews are great in a smoothie in the morning.¬†

and some snacks that take 10 minutes or less to prepare…

  1. Homemade salsa– The other day, I noticed my garden was getting a little img_0722overgrown with cilantro and jalape√Īos (a ‘terrible problem to have, right) even with the 21 days of 3 digit temperatures. ¬†This is one of my favorites to make at home because it is quick, I have the ingredients on hand for most of the year, and my husband and I can add salsa to just about anything.

fullsizeoutput_58bHummus-¬†Hummus can be found at any grocery store in almost any flavor; chocolate (great with pretzels), red pepper (my favorite) and beet (haven’t ventured out that far). ¬†But, this is also one of those snacks that can be prepared on the fly- if you are plant-based, I guarantee you have all the ingredients.homemade_salsa-2

Bruschetta– This is made very Quickly and another bonus- basil is so easily grown and img_0723once it is in your garden or pots it takes hardly any effort at all to keep alive. – The basil in my garden has almost taken over an entire plot- can’t complain because the smell when I water it is pretty amazing. I like to add bruschetta to toasted French bread, baked sweet potato, pasta for dinner, an avocado for a quick snack or mix with chickpeas for a salad. A very versatile condiment and stores easily in the fridge for over a week in an airtight container- I like using a mason jar.


Kale CHIPSРI love everything about kale.  I love how it regenerates in my garden, how easy it is to grow, the earthiness it adds to smoothies, and the way it makes me feel when I add a few chips into my day.  I have never found a bag of kale chips from the store that I have liked, but I have discovered how easy it is to make them at home. Plus, the flavor options are endless; salt and vinegar, parmesan and garlic, red pepper (my favorite) coconut oil, and hippie dusted (nutritional yeast and garlic powder mix).


Homemade almond butterРThe BEST part of this snack is that it only requires 1 ingredient Рroasted or unroasted almonds.  Add 2-3 cups of almonds to your food processor and process for at least 5 minutes, scrape the edges process for 3 more minutes, scrape the edges and process for 3 more minutes. DONE!!!!! Add to baked sweet potatoes, Artisan bread, pretzels, bananas or JUST grab a spoon.  The fat and protein combination makes this a perfect snack- plus, the kids LOVE it.

So, if you are anything like me or my family- you LOVE to snack.  I hope that you find some of these recipes and snack ideas helpful.


On the beautiful boat, Sueno.

On our boat trip yesterday I was able to bring the salsa, hummus, and bruschetta. ¬†I can tell you the bruschetta was a hit. ¬†The funniest thing about the entire trip was when I realized how ‘adult’ I was when I thought of making jello shots, but I chose to make homemade plant-based snacks instead. ¬†You know you are an adult when…



“So What Do You Eat?” A Day in the Life of a Vegan

As I continue to strive toward a Quality Life, I have been asked many questions- and I truly enjoy sharing what I have learned. The number one question is, “So, what do you eat?”

With my first full year of being plant-based under my belt (Happy Anniversary to me!!!) I can tell you what I eat has become purposeful and, like every cook, I have found a few ‘go to’s’ that keep the family and me happy.

Coffee Lover  

With all of the research claiming that coffee has so many health benefits including cognitive ability (my #1 reason), protection from Parkinson’s, and type 2 diabetes- I haven’t shied away from filling up my mug in the A.M. ¬†My cup a java adds just an extra two or three benefits due to the tsp of Turmeric creamer from Laird superfoods ( and the 1/4 cup of almond milk I add in.


  • turmeric ¬†= curcumin ¬†which has been proven to stop the growth of fat tissues, may reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and much more
  • almond milk= adds protein, calcium and a bit of fiber

*after enjoying a nice warm cup, I can then embrace the idea of dishing up a nutrient dense breakfast

Breakfast – ‘Break the fast’ Ideas

I grew up with the mantra ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. ¬†This is your first opportunity to break the fast from the long night of sleep and recharge correctly. ¬†Breakfast has to be something that can be simple and quickly made. ¬†It also has to contain good fats and protein to start me off on the right foot.

Some of my favorite breakfast options include…

sweet potato with banana, nut butter and almonds

IMG_0599overnight oats with nuts, nut butter and fresh fruit

Avocado toast with balsamic glaze and tomatoes

Smoothies with frozen bananas, almond milk, protein powder, spinach/kale, and fresh fruit

Lunch Break 

It is very important that I take a half hour for lunch every day no matter how busy, preoccupied I am at the time. ¬†I mean sit down, take my time and enjoy it. ¬†This has helped my digestion, my cognitive abilities, my evening dinner intake, and my mindset about food; enjoying it instead of thinking of it as a ‘means to an end’.

Some of my favorite lunch options include…

IMG_0581spring mix salad with a black bean burger, shredded carrots, tomatoes, nuts with balsamic/oil

black bean tamales from the farmers marker and guacamole or half an avocado

buddha bowls with brown rice/quinoa, roasted veggies with chickpeas

Dinner Stop

If it sounds like lunch is important, dinner is even more. This is our family time and growing up it was the only time we sat around the table and actually spoke to each other. I still remember going around the table and getting the undivided attention from my family to tell them my “2 goods and 1 bad.” ¬†Even today, when my siblings and mother get together, dinner is an 2 hour or more EVENT that we all look forward to. ¬†I want to carry that tradition with my own kids, so eating together (even if we are eating different foods- as my boys aren’t quite 100% plant-based… YET) is important.

Some of my favorite dinner options include…

IMG_0524black bean, sweet potato tacos

spaghetti with lentils and mushroom bolognese


white bean puttanesca

  • Purple Carrot has some great plant based recipes if you are looking for ideas

At the end of a long day, I also enjoy a nice glass (or 2) of red wine- a nice long pour. ¬†This may no be the most ‘Vegan’ thing to do, but it is plant-based and I am good with that ūüôā

Cheers !