I know that the majority of the country is dealing with a super harsh winter with snow and crazylow temps, but over here on the West Coast, it’s 80 degrees, and it’s time to start thinking about summer. For me, this means no more convincing myself that I need to eat ravioli every day (because it has protein so it’s okay!).

Luckily, some people out there are expert salad makers, and have lots of different ideas for how to put them together, and even to easily make them ahead in mason jars. What I like about these is that the portions are right, unlike when i toss a ton of foliage on a plate and enough toppings to match.

This is one salad I definitely plan to try soon: Spinach Salad With Mozzarella, Orzo, And Snap Peas

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But there are so many more options out there! Buzzfeed in their wonderful way compiled a list of salads that look delicious and healthy, and best of all, EASY!

I’d love to hear any salad ideas you have as summer quickly creeps up on us pounces on us without warning!

These days, I’m looking for anything that’s quick, easy, and packs in a good amount of veggies. Luckily, I found just that!

For some reason, I decided I wanted to make some cold sesame noodles. I looked up several recipes, and found that a lot of them called for fancy ingredients that I just didn’t have, and didn’t want to buy. So, I got a list comprised of several ingredients, from several different sites, and made my own sauce that is amazing, but most importantly it’s cost-efficient. I wish it was on everything I eat!

And for you meat eaters, simply toss some chicken on this, and you’re good to go!

What I think I like best about this though, is that it’s equally as good hot as it is cold, making it a good addition for dinner, or a cold pasta salad for lunch.

seame noodles

 

SESAME NOODLES

What You Need:

1 package pasta (I used whole wheat pasta, but any thin, stringy kind will do, including ramen noodles)

1 red bell pepper (sliced thinly)

1 orange bell pepper (sliced thinly)

1 yellow bell pepper (sliced thinly)

handful of cilantro (chopped)

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1/4 cup soy sauce

2-3 TBSP sesame oil

1-2 tsp chili sauce (like Sriracha)

1-2 TBSP white granular sugar (the normal kind)

1 TBSP canola oil (for the sake on consistency, can be removed if you aren’t a canola oil fan, just use light  olive oil so it doesn’t change the flavor too much)

1-2 TBSP rice vinegar (optional)

What You Do:

Cook the pasta/noodles

While cooking, mix the garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar (I made it without the rice vinegar and it was still wonderful, so if you  don’t have any, don’t let that keep you from making this) NOTE: start on the small end of the measurements because all of these ingredients have strong flavors. Taste it and decide how much to add of what

Prepare the bell peppers. No need to cook them, just slice them thinly.

Strain the noodles, then toss in your veggies and cilantro, top with the sauce. Depending on how much pasta you used, you will probably need to make another batch of sauce, but feel it out before you do.

 

Messiness – This is actually one of the least messy things I make that tastes this good. Just a pot to cook the pasta in, a cutting board, and a bowl to mix the sauce in.

Simplicity – SUPER simple. The good news is that you almost can’t screw this up. It’s just combining lots of wonderful flavors that compliment each other no matter what. The only things to be weary of are not going overboard on the sesame oil and the chili sauce for those with mild tastebuds.

Budget – This one ranks on my super cheap list. The sesame oil is around $5, so, a bit of an investment, but everything else should be right around $1 each, if not cheaper. The best part is that it makes a lot, lot, LOT of food. I’d venture to guess that I got at least 8-12 servings of pasta out of the package I used, and enough sauce for about half of that. All of this to say, there’s enough for a week of lunches and even dinners if I want.

Deliciousness – So yummy. I think the fact that it’s so simple just makes it taste better too!

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Lately, I have been taught a lot of lessons in a short amount of time. But one of these has been more outstanding than the rest: I have no control over my life.

I’m not a control freak, in fact, I’m far from that, but I like to know what’s going on. I’m a planner, and I have a solution to every situation that can arise. However, I’ve learned that it is impossible to plan for everything. Impossible. We’ve all been thrown a curve ball here and there, something completely out of left field that we didn’t even know could happen.

When this inevitably occurs, what I’ve learned is that God, or whatever it is that you believe in, has the situation under control (personally, I believe in Jesus, and I’m happy to talk to anyone who has questions, but I don’t like forcing anything on anyone. Belief is a personal choice and should be treated individually as such. That’s just my opinion).

For me, I could never imagine the precise way that God has orchestrated my life recently, which made me realize, I need to give up complete control. There’s no point in even trying, when it is so clearly orchestrated, that I can’t even begin to fathom why God would spend so much effort on me.

Now, that also doesn’t mean I’m going to sit here and do nothing, waiting for life to happen. In fact, before writing this blog I made six To Do lists for my current projects.

Giving up control means continuing on with what you think you are supposed to be doing, but being open to variations, instead of letting them stress you out and make you anxious. I’m the type of person where an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment dinner plan can throw off my entire week. Why do I let that happen? A chance to connect with a friend can derail my plans for the week? How does that make sense?

Well, I’m here to tell you that God will derail the plans that you have for yourself, and you need to let it happen.

BUT I’m also here to tell you that if you’re like me, and you need control, you can still have it… over yourself. No matter what you’re dealing with, every day you can control how you react to situations. Maybe it’s an unexpected bill, and you’re not sure where the money will come from. Just trust in the ultimate plan, and control how you react to the situation. Maybe it’s a tantrum from your boss that causes you to stay late and miss yoga class. Again, you can’t control your boss, but you can control how you let the situation affect you.

So, this week, I challenge you to be controlling not of other people or situations, but of yourself. This week, try not to complain a single time about anything, or maybe you need to control giving into your impulses. Whatever it is, know that you can have control, while surrendering at the same time.

 

“The storm may rage without, but it cannot affect us if there is peace within.” – James Allen

I must admit, this recipe has been a long time coming. Not sure why it took me so long to post, but let’s just say it’s worth the wait.

It’s a new year, which means more people are trying to watch their waistlines than they were two months ago. For lots of people, this will mean cutting carbs and upping your foliage. Since rabbits and I have the same diet, I’ll try to be of service to you.

Over the last year, I became a fan of dehydrating things and making other stuff out of them. Like cauliflower and zucchini crust. Let me be frank here: I failed A LOT. So, rest assured that this recipe is the most fail-safe of them out there, and you can use the dehydration process to make not only tostadas but pizza crusts too. Now, they don’t taste like your normal tostada and pizza crust, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. In fact, they’re delicious! But I just want you to be prepared. Is there anything worse than thinking something tastes one way, and then it doesn’t?

So, here’s an easy, healthy, and pretty cheap meatless dinner option (but feel free to add some chicken, steak, etc.)

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CAULIFLOWER TOSTADA

What You Need:

1 cauliflower (I used two because I was making them Lakers-themed)

1 egg

3 tomatoes (diced)

1 can black beans (rinsed)

1 orange pepper (optional, the Anaheim Ducks were also playing… it was a festive night in my kitchen. It can really be any kind of pepper, or none)

1/2 red onion (diced, optional)

1/2 cup cilantro (optional)

1 avocado (chopped, optional)

Grated cheese (your choice, it’s for the toppings!)

Wax or parchment paper

 

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What You Do:

Okay, here’s the hardest part. Take the cauliflower and cut it up into pieces. Not small, but manageable. You can either put these in a food processor, or if you burnt yours out like I did, you can just use a grater. The gist is to get the cauliflower into tiny crumbles.

Put the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl, and micro it for 2 minutes, mix, 2 more minutes, mix, and 2 more minutes if you feel it’s necessary. Then, using a dishtowel or paper towels, get every remaining bit of water out of the cauliflower (this is crucial! If they’re wet you’ll have soggy tostadas and no one likes that).

Mix in the egg, and shape your tostadas on the wax paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through

While this is baking, you can heat up your beans in a pot. If you want to add even more flavor, mince a garlic clove, and add that along with chili powder. This isn’t a MUST DO though.

Then top with all of your goodies and you’re good to go!

 

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Messiness – Lawdy! This can get pretty messy, especially when you’re shaping the tostadas. BUT let me just say that it’s TOTALLY worth it! Mostly, the messiest part is all of the separate dishes for the toppings though. If you can manage that, you’re in business.

Simplicity – Once you get this down, it’s really simple. No harder than making hamburger patties. However, if you’re an anti-microwave person, this may prove a little bit more difficult. I personally like to nuke stuff as little as possible, but frankly, it’s necessary with this recipe to get the most amount of water out (my refusal to do so is why I failed my first few attempts). But if you’re feeling determined, you can definitely wring out the cauliflower on your own (I just hope you’ve been saving up your elbow grease all day!).

Budget – Each of these ingredients shouldn’t be more than $1-2 no matter where you shop! And one cauliflower head will make a good amount of tostadas, as long as you aim for the normal corn tortilla size.

Delicious Factor – I have to reiterate here: these don’t taste like your normal tostadas, but they’re still great! So, as long as you have that in mind, you’re going to be just fine! And as far as healthy substitutes go, these are one of my favorites.

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In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a BIG James Allen fan. While his diction is, shall we say ‘classic,’ what he has to say is right on.

Over the last year, I’ve grappled with my anxiety a lot, but this meditation guide has without a doubt helped me become mentally stronger and overall more loving, understanding, kind, and patient.

You can buy the book for 99 cents on Kindle, James Allen’s Book of Meditations. Or, I also found this link for you too http://james-allen.in1woord.nl/daily.php

Either way, if you are trying to be the best version of yourself, it’s worth the 2 minutes a day!

Every time I go home, my dad has some new kinds of alcohol that we’re going to rope someone into helping us have a taste test with. And every time, without fail, my dad picks the scotch, and I pick the whiskey. Well, this year at Christmas, I tried possibly the best whiskey I’ve ever had. Now, I haven’t had that many kinds of whiskey, but after trying this, I don’t really care to try any more.

Tullamore D.E.W. is the best whiskey I’ve tasted. It’s flavorful, but with zero burn. And no, they aren’t paying me for this, but if they want to pay in whiskey, my flasks are pretty dry ;)

Anyways, I realize that not everyone likes their liquor neat, so, here are some of the recipes on their website. If you like what you see, go HERE to find the full recipe, and enjoy!

 

whiskey

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It’s Monday, January 5, 2015, and do you know what? I have broken some of my resolutions (but my resolution to floss is still holding strong! Mom should be proud). I didn’t work out on the 1st; in fact, I barely even left my bed. So, that whole, “Attack the day” resolution: not happening. Also, I ate four gobstoppers, two Twizzlers, and a handful of potato chips, so, that whole “strict diet” thing is done with.

Psych!

I’m here to tell you that even if you’ve broken one or all of your resolutions, it’s okay! The idea that we can suddenly wake up one morning as a superior version of the person we were at 11:59pm 12/31/14 is silly! Give yourself some grace, and understand it’s a process. The point is to learn the process, and eventually it will become ingrained in your life.

And to show you real numbers about how NOT alone you are in achieving your goal, here’s a study done last January by University of Scranton, and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology:

chart

 

As you can see, you are FAR from alone in breaking your resolutions! But as the chart says, people who at least made them are more likely to achieve their goals than people who didn’t. So, you’re already getting a head start, even if you did just eat an entire tub of peppermint ice cream because it’s seasonal and I can’t have it until next year!

You still have 360 days to make this the best year of your life!

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