Raccoon + Leaves + Acorn Squash

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We just moved into our new apartment and I am falling in love with living here.  You can’t beat waking up with sunlight streaming into the bedroom, doing yoga and watching the birds bounce around in the trees, and meeting our new neighbor who lives right outside our window. (no joke)

I went on a run in Prospect Park this morning, where I marveled at the trees and all their brilliant colors.  Then I stopped at the farmers market for some ingredients for our first meal at home.

        

I made acorn squash, a kale + apple salad with toasted pecans, with quinoa piled somewhere.  It was minimal prep, and super tasty and healthy.  Here’s what it looked like:

And here is what I did:

ACORN SQUASH:

Preheated oven to 450

Cut acorn squash in half, removed seeds, drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper (or you can make it sweet with brown sugar / maple syrup)

Baked it for an hour

(So easy!)

GOT QUINOA READY

KALE + APPLE SALAD:

Tore kale off the stem

Massaged with dressing: combination of  olive oil, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, salt & pepper to taste

Toasted chopped pecans

Cut Apple into bite size pieces

Mixed and Viola! Dinner is served.

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Clarity

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‘Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful.  Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you.’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Clarity is something I search for every day.  When I get clear I become efficient, I get things done.  You may have experienced moments of clarity where everything seems aligned.  It feels magical.

When I am clear I move towards the life of my dreams.  When I take the time and space to arrive into my body, into my breath, and into my mind, I am able to create clarity and I find my intention.  When I nurture and feed my body the best food that I can, I feel light and aware.  We have this body that we use as a vehicle daily, but how often do we take the time to maintain it?  Check in with it? Really be in it and feel what is going on?

There are many ways to get back into your body but I have found there is something so powerful about yoga, about its ability to align the body and the mind.  As I move my body in a meaningful way, I am able to connect to my breath, which opens up space in the mind and leaves me feeling clear.

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My Evolving Healthy Story

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I want to eat what I want to eat, and that is that.  I don’t like diets, or the word RESTRICTION, so I just ate what I wanted to eat.  Which was all fine except for the occasions when I found myself wiggling into my pants, or when I looked at a photograph of myself and then asked my husband that loaded question “Do I look fat?” (which normally ended up in me giving him the silent treatment for a few hours.)

Both my body and my mind was in constant fluctuation.  I thought I was eating healthy, and I kind of was, but clearly something was stuck.  My stagnant diet started to reflect my then stagnant life.  I wanted to shake it up a bit.  So I spent three months working with my wonderful friend and health coach Alaina Muckell.  I started to learn about the power of food.  My perspective on what I ate shifted.  And instead of

‘I can’t/shouldn’t eat _______’  it became

‘I don’t even want to eat ________’

My 4:00 snack attacks shifted from a cappuccino and a biscotti to an Amazing Green Bowl, with blended kale, spinach, acai, banana, and almond milk.  I became obsessed with super foods, in love with Whole Foods, and maybe slightly addicted to reading the ingredients of my food – for better or for worse.  I found myself extremely passionate about what I was discovering and I soon realized I wanted to take this to another level.  So now I have started my journey to become a holistic health coach, and thrilled about the possibilities.

Although, even with my new relationship with health I still occasionally find myself eating many, many chocolate covered peanuts at the end of the day.  But the thing is – that happens less frequently, and I realize the craving is coming from a much deeper place.  So maybe one day I will maybe be chocolate covered peanut free, but I doubt it, and I don’t think I’d really want to be.

 

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A Thoughtful Read

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It’s not often I find a magazine that has rich and meaningful content on nearly EVERY page.  So when I stumbled upon Origin Magazine I knew it was something special.  With meaningful musings about YOGA. ART. MUSIC. CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE. HUMANITARIANISM. &  SUSTAINABILITY,  it is jam packed with interesting and inspiring articles.  I haven’t even finished this issue yet, but here are some of the gems I have found so far.

On Yoga:

“We watch our depths rise to the surface, and if we are sensitive enough, allow that which does not serve us to be released without judgement or disdain.” – KK Ledford

On Life:

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi

On Food:

“Energy is like money; once spent, it’s gone. – Will the nutritional return justify the digestive energy expenditure?”              – Brendan Brazier

So pick up your copy at Whole Foods and see what you find.  :)

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Chocolate

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Some people’s eyes light up when they go shoe shopping, but my eyes light up when I browse through chocolate bars.  But not just any collection of chocolate bars.  I have left my Hersheys and Nestle for something way better – organic chocolate.  With actual cocoa beans as the first ingredient rather than sugar, and with only about five real ingredients rather than ten questionable ones – it makes for a much more satisfying treat.

Today I picked up a 70% dark chocolate that was beautifully packaged by Madecasse Chocolate.  It was deliciously smooth, and perfectly paired with almonds.  So go ahead and take a stroll among the organic chocolate bars and see what treasures you find – and let me know!

 

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Falling IIN: Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash

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I have officially started my journey to become a holistic health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and it is exciting.  I have become really passionate about health and wellness and I am looking forward to sharing what I learn along the way.  Tonight’s dinner deserved to be shared.  I can tell when I make something really good when my husband compliments me profusely throughout the meal.  So that means this meal isn’t just healthy but super tasty.  I found this recipe on IIN’s Facebook page, it called for kamut, but I used red quinoa instead.

Side for 4, Generous main dish for 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small leek, sliced
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/3 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2.  Get your quinoa or any grain you choose to use ready
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, place the cubed butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. When the quinoa is almost done cooking, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and shallots, then season with salt and pepper. Sauté gently for 15 minutes or until golden, but not browned.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high and add mustard seeds, curry powder, cumin and cayenne, if desired. Cook and stir for one minute to bloom the spices. Add the white wine vinegar and cook for two minutes more.
  6. Remove from heat and add to the cooked quinoa.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice, roasted squash and fresh parsley. Add salt and pepper, as desired. Toss well and serve warm or at room temperature.

Take a deep breath and enjoy!

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