Glossy streets in monochrome in Portsmouth, NH.
Peanut butter + banana + ice cream = one happy puppy!
Jasper’s living his dream!
Spicy, vegetarian (if you’re watching dairy, this one’s vegan) and, of course, gluten free! This recipe can be adjusted according to your liking in heat, spice, texture, and thickness. Meat lovers won’t miss a thing with the addition of crumbled veggie burgers giving it not only the look of ground beef, but the texture as well.
To start – dice scallions and onions and chop mushrooms and bell pepper. I prefer red peppers for the sweetness and baby portobello mushrooms for their intense flavor.
Sauté until all is soft and the mushrooms start to give off their juices. I always cook with extra virgin olive oil because I love the fruitiness!
A crumbled veggie burger or two will up the meat factor and boost the flavor. I used a portobello veggie burger here.
Sauté together with oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper.
And finally beans: I used cannellini, red kidney beans, and black beans. The protein in this dish is through the roof!
3-1 water and vegetable stock finish it up. Use less liquid for a thicker consistency.
Let simmer for about 30 minutes.
I hope you try this dish. Spoon into a pretty bowl with a couple slices of jalapeno pepper and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.
Here we go again! Another attempt at cutting the carbs and another successful, healthy addition to my growing stack of no-carb comfort food.
The prep work started with one head of cauliflower cut into chunks.
I love cheese! So I took the cheesy flavor to another level by replacing plain old cheddar with equal parts of seriously sharp cheddar and fontina cheeses. The cheddar has a delicious bite and the fontina is smooth and creamy.
I still wanted to up the veggies and thought going for greens was the best nutritional choice. I added chopped spinach and sprinkled in some frozen peas.
I mixed it all up with a couple of beaten eggs, cream, and plenty of black pepper.
A good sprinkle of paprika before baking.
Creamy, cheesy, and yummy!
I’ll definitely make this one again!
I’ve been busy in the kitchen lately and still trying to lighten up for summer. I don’t make soup very often; I like texture and having my teeth sink into deliciousness.
However, this soup just might turn me into a soup enthusiast. It’s velvety creaminess is rich and chunks of tomatoes gives it texture. It’s a satisfying meal that’s comforting enough for winter and light enough for warmer months.
I started with chopped tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil tossed in oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
After roasting for about an hour, the house smelled heavenly!
I roughly mashed with a potato masher but it could be blended in a food processor for a smoother consistency.
After transferring to a saucepan, I added veggie broth, light cream, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and simmered for about 20 minutes.
And finally…the perfect cup of soup!
I’m looking forward to trying this with fresh garden tomatoes come summertime!
I’ve wanted to try this for a while and in my efforts to eliminate heavy carbs from my diet, this is a great way to lighten up veggie fried rice. So here’s my version of cauliflower rice.
The main ingredient – one large head of cauliflower, pulsed and ready for the frying pan.
The veggies: Spinach, broccoli, broccoli slaw, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, peas, red bell pepper, and onions. Seasoned with garlic powder, curry powder, ginger, basil, sriracha pepper flakes, and sautéed in olive oil.
Finally. Added the cauliflower, two eggs (slightly beaten), a good splash of soy sauce, and stirred it all up.
A meal in itself and I didn’t need a nap after eating this – a keeper!
Being a vegetarian is easy; cutting the carbs requires a little more effort. Tonight’s dinner was a tasty spin on the very popular sliders popping up everywhere.
A grilled veggie burger tucked between two grilled portobello mushroom caps replete with the fixings was filling, low-cal, and carb-free. A side of grilled broccoli helped keep this dish healthy and low-fat.
For a healthier version of pub grub and an addition of carbs, baked potato fries would be a perfect side for this dish!
This is a new one for me. Eggplant Lasagna vs. Eggplant Parmesan. I’d definitely make this again – bubbly, cheesy, comforting, delicious!
I omitted breading the eggplant to lighten it up a bit and broiled (instead of fried) the slices before baking in the casserole. Layers of lasagna ingredients with eggplant substituted for the noodles: ricotta, mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce. All ingredients are low-fat and a little piece goes a long way.
Keeping it healthy and delicious the best I can!
A great winter dish and a lighter, leaner, low-carb substitute for lasagna.
Our thoughts, absolutely, influence our reality. We are powerful creators of a beautiful life, or a miserable one. However, not everyone taps into this power and a little self-awareness can provide major insight to our present life experience. Unfortunately, many of us neglect to take the time to reap the rewards of introspection.
In fact, many live from day-to-day quite happily going about business, and play, without any kind of self-reflection. We work, enjoy our friends, and private time with our significant other. And, after a long day, we crash for the night. We wake up and do it all over again. Each day is lived to the fullest on auto pilot.
Still others may do the same but set a little quiet time aside. Some may choose meditation, exercise, TV time, a hike, or maybe visit church on Sundays for a dose of uplifting, (or perhaps self-deprecating), spiritual prose. Whatever works to stop the hustle; to wind down and savor some peace.
Either lifestyle may experience some level of drama. There’s always someone somewhere asking, “Why am I always in the thick of it? Why do I attract this nonsense? Why me?!” Peace is but a distant dream. Our explanation: this is life. But is it really? And does it have to be?
I think we can have inner peace no matter what. External circumstances are irrelevant. I’m not saying it’s easy. But it’s achievable. Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings create our reality. It’s so simple to manipulate our own private world and yet so many of us are living unfulfilled or, more precisely, unrealized lives. Is the fact that we are at the helm the best kept secret? Here’s one way to discover what’s holding you back from inner peace just beyond your reach.
Whatever you’re observing outside of yourself, or drawing into your own life, is a good indication of what’s going on inside you. Whether looking at this from a spiritual point of view or psychologically, it may be worth delving a little deeper into your own consciousness to find some answers and perhaps resolve some problems. You may find that the root of the problem is you. Rumi wrote, “The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you.” If we flip this, could this also indicate the ugliness you see also comes from within?
There was a time in my life when I couldn’t do anything right in the eyes of certain individuals. Nothing would make them happy. Being a people-pleaser, this didn’t sit well with me. And being a perfectionist, it was the source of a lot of frustration.
A problem arises when the people you’re trying to please have their own inner turmoil, and nothing will ever make them happy. And what’s worse is if you’re striving for higher than norm expectations, (a.k.a. perfectionist) the satisfaction you need will never completely be had. In my case, the importance of pleasing people was far from the real issue. It was worthwhile for me to investigate what I was really seeking. What void was I really trying to fill?
It took me some time to realize my fear of being anything less than perfect or living up to someone else’s approval came from something inside me. It’s no surprise that I had surrounded myself with people unable to approve of anything I had done or were less than supportive of any of my accomplishments. In time, I recognized that the approval I sought would never be given until I found my own self-worth and understood the only approval I needed was my own.
I’ll admit this realization didn’t come overnight. I had to remove myself from the source(s) exasperating my problem. An awakening often comes with cutting ties and choosing friends, and even family, more wisely. Our awareness is heightened, and we naturally choose what’s best for our highest good. We repel toxicity and attract more goodness into our lives.
Our thought patterns had been created by outside sources many moons ago. Our upbringing, our childhood, our life experiences – good and bad, the people with whom we’ve shared our lives have created who we’ve become. Our beliefs about ourselves have been ingrained in us and the way we think has become a habit. As we get older, we continue these patterns of our own free will. They shape who we are and, thereby, shape our world and the way we perceive it. Joy begets joy. Love begets love. Anger begets anger. Sadness begets sadness. And on and on and on. Like attracts like.
We can learn a lot about ourselves by using outside circumstances as a window to within. Once we face the truth about ourselves, we can heal. We can then reinvent ourselves and reshape our lives. We can attract only people and experiences that serve us well. No longer will we welcome unhealthy individuals and situations into our lives because we wouldn’t subject ourselves to such experiences out of pure love and respect for ourselves. The result will be a sense of peace. Everything will just flow.
As in all aspects of life, I believe, love is the answer. So, I take heed to my joyful moments and my less than celebrated ones. I’m now more aware of my thoughts and feelings. I understand that each moment is a reflection of what’s going on inside me. The cause and the effect.
Use your power within to create your own reality. Monitor your thoughts and practice self-discipline when old habitual thinking creeps in. It’s up to you. Choose to see a reflection of beauty. In time, you’ll see you’re free to create a beautiful life, too.
Sharon – Embracing My Joy
Another year is coming to an end and a fresh start is on its way in 2019. I’m not kidding myself here, 2018 was a tough one for me. I was blessed with abundance in all things that mattered, yes. Optimum health – always most important, I enjoyed seeing my business continue to grow, I made new friends, attracted some former friends back into my life (good ones!), and kicked a couple of toxic ones to the curb – best decision ever!
But this year was also replete with disappointments, headaches, heartbreak, and overall an emotional roller coaster in all things related to my beloved heart. Credit card theft, checking account hacks, a breakup, loss of friends – (yes, the toxic ones), betrayal by those who claim to care about me and, also by those who hardly know me, if at all. You name it, I was blessed with a myriad of life lessons to lead me on my journey of growth in this crazy thing we call life.
Looking back, I get the gist. Coming out of a toxic relationship is one thing. It’s a blessing when it’s over. A sigh of relief. A “praise the Lord!” moment! But this one, this time, this was different. I received my message from the universe loud and clear. Coming out of a beautiful relationship which I thought would last forever, the only one who could get me through that heartbreak was me.
I realized this was probably the most valuable relationship I had ever had. Why? Because it was total bliss that ended in my worst nightmare. It was the most heart-wrenching. Its bitter ending made me aware of just how little I had practiced self-love throughout my entire life. In all honesty, it was very seldom that I remembered putting myself first, if ever. I knew deep down that love was the only thing that would bring me out of this. Love is, after all, the most powerful force in the universe. And I was the only one who knew what I was feeling, what I needed, and could provide what I needed to come out healthy and whole. It was all me.
Throughout my life, my mother, my father, my brothers, extended family, friends, boyfriends, bosses, anyone connected with me always came first. I realized this past year how little I gave to myself, or at the very least made sure I was OK, before tending to the needs of others. I was always on the back burner but very rarely received this VIP treatment from anyone else. So, as I cried virtually streams of tears for a few months and tried to find my “feel good vibes” again, I focused on me. It felt both foreign and refreshing and was long overdue.
Why does nobody teach us how important it is to love and respect ourselves? I do realize that we’re living in a different world now and it’s all about self-entitlement and safe spaces which is a completely different concept than self-love. But growing up in my generation and before, we’re told at a very young age to be kind to others. But why aren’t we taught to be kind to ourselves? Some of us need to be educated on how important this ingrained survival trait is. Instead we’re taught to feel guilty for being selfish. At least I was. Well, newsflash! Loving yourself isn’t selfish! As a matter of fact, it’s THE best thing you could do for not only yourself, but for anyone who’s part of your life.
In loving yourself, you’re given an abundance of love to offer others. And although I’ve always been a loving and caring person, my inner being has suffered immensely for the lack of love for which I’ve craved. Yes, my friends, love starts from the inside. It starts with you.
Something magical happens when you radiate genuine love from the inside out; you begin to attract that genuine love back to you. I now understand why I’ve attracted needy people into my life who have drained buckets of love out of me. They’ve been unable to return love because they’re going through their own journey of learning to love themselves. I was more than happy to oblige because I love to love. Never did I think, “Hey? What about me?” Well, I finally asked. And then it happened; my journey of self-love had begun. It hit me like a ton of bricks but, I think at this point the universe was left with no other choice. It was my time to receive. So how did I do it and what continues to work for me?
My mission to begin my practice of self-love started with the physical me. It’s the least painful and requires the least amount of inner work. There’s no shame in enjoying a little pampering so I’m somewhat familiar with it but decided to make it more of a ritual. I began scheduling time to nourish and nurture myself. In the beginning, I did all things “girly.” I started with home spa treatments – routine facials and manicure Sundays. I made sure to turn off my cell phone and avoid all social media during designated me-times. I committed to a once-a-week girls’ night out where laughter was mandatory. I listened to my favorite “happy” music whenever the mood hit. HULU binging consisted of my new favorite, This is Us, and any movie that focused on falling in or out of love. Through all of this, I once again vowed to come out still believing in love. One broken relationship would not keep me from the joy of future love. After all, this wouldn’t be the first time I’d be determined to be better and not bitter!
I started reading more. I wiped the dust off my library card and borrowed books about spirit, energy, the law of attraction, and the importance of keeping our frequency up on a daily basis. I browsed Pinterest for a few minutes every day where I pondered inspirational and spiritual snippets, and I discovered the uplifting poetry of Rumi which is simply beautiful. I researched healthy recipes and was motivated to get back into my healthy eating regimen. Even now, at 49, I still find comfort food all too comforting and I had gained a considerable amount of weight prior to my self-love journey.
I began journaling affirmations which defied everything I was feeling at the time. Affirming “I am happy” while sobbing uncontrollably is no small feat! But, in time, I came to realize that the essence of me really is happy. I was moving through the bad, slowly healing, and bringing myself back into the flow of the good.
My morning ritual now starts with a cup of coffee and YouTube. I listen to one of many inspirational and uplifting subscriptions delving into self-love, the law of attraction, and my recent fascination on the healing power of crystals (or so it’s believed). This has led to my on-going weekly self-readings with my oracle cards which has contributed to my intuition becoming stronger and more accurate. I love my quiet Sunday mornings of sitting down, picking up a deck of oracle cards (my collection is growing!), and tuning in. It’s my “church” and it keeps my line of communication with Spirit open. It’s been a great source of comfort and clarity for me.
Most nights I’d fall asleep to a meditation consisting of healing or I Am meditations from YouTube. I’d wake up feeling refreshed and in a positive frame of mind. It was a huge help in my healing process and I continue to do this. I’ve learned what feeds your mind and spirit at night is a big influence on your experience the following day. And in the morning before my feet hit the floor, as so many wise teachers have preached, I say thank you and begin my day with gratitude.
And so, I returned to my healthy lifestyle. Home cooking brought me back to consciously eating and I then began to drop the weight and feel good about myself physically again. Since beginning small self-love rituals (more than just an occasional treat) to heal my broken heart, I’ve come to add other comforting habits where the focus is only me and so a lifestyle of feeding myself all things healthy has evolved: I thrive on nutritious food, soulful literature, uplifting music, yoga, and surrounding myself with loving, supportive friends. These are things I’ve always done but I’ve learned, somehow, they have more meaning the more I practice them. Making myself a priority has given me more time for self-reflection and I love the person I’ve become. I’ve finally made myself a priority.
What I’ve learned through this phase of my joyful journey, this phase of learning to love myself, is that the deeper I connect with my higher self through simply taking time to care for my own needs and listen to my heart, the deeper my relationship with God becomes. And through that relationship, I’m blessed with even more love. The true miracle is that our relationship with God starts inside of ourselves and so many of us search for this outside of ourselves.
I’m now entering the 5th decade of my life. I know there’ll be more learning, healing, and growing along my journey. I also know there’s an abundance of love in my future coming from all different sources which now includes myself. My most recent past has given me new tools to help recover from the rough times and, also, to enhance the joyful times.
So, farewell 2018! And here’s to 2019! This year I’m welcoming more self-love. This new year is more about caring for my own heart. I’m looking forward to radiating this love for I know, through it, I’m now attracting only healthy and positive relationships back into my life.
Sharon – Embracing My Joy
“The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.” – Rumi