4-Ingredient Protein Pancakes

Benefits of this recipe: pancakes. Protein. Four ingredients. Need I say more???

You know how most blogs make you scroll down for like 5 minutes until you get to the actual recipe? Not this blog. You’re welcome.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Whey protein powder (vanilla, or get creative! I used pumpkin spice protein)

1 banana, ripe (not overripe, that will make pancakes mushier)

2 eggs (medium or large)

1/8 tsp. Baking soda

Optional: cinnamon, vanilla extract

Directions:

Mash banana & eggs together with a fork. Mix in protein powder & baking soda until smooth consistency.

Heat frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pasteurized butter (like Kerry Gold) and when it’s sizzling, add your batter to pan.

Cook on one side until the edges start turning more opaque. Flip, cook for another 2-3 minutes. That’s it!

I topped w pure maple syrup, but you could add peanut butter, almond butter, whatever you have. Get creative!

Oh, and be sure to subscribe below for more recipes & wellness tips! 

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Maca Chai Smoothie

I’ve started incorporating Maca powder into my routine since my hormones seem to be all over the place. Maca is touted as being able to potentially balance hormones, support hormone production, and result in some crazy-sweet benefits, like easing PMS & Menopause, aiding in fertility issues, reversing hypothyroidism, and improving libido (bow chicka wow-wow!). The taste takes some getting used to, but I found a chai-flavored one at Whole Foods that I like (see photo below).

Ingredients:

1.5 cups coconut milk or almond milk

1 sliced frozen banana

1 Tbsp. Almond butter

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 tsp. Maca boost (see product pic below)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in blender & blend to desired consistency. Pour in a glass & drink (it’s more fun with a straw)!

P.S. Here is the Maca powder I used (I got it from Whole Foods):

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5 Easy Habits to Get Healthier Now

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Tongue scraping

This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that Western medicine is beginning to acknowledge as productive to oral health. Did you know that a coating of residue (including toxins and yucky bacteria) on the tongue is what leads to bad breath? You may have learned to brush your tongue, but I have bad news for you. All that does is push the bacteria around. Tongue scraping eliminates it. Getting rid of the coating on the tongue also leads to greater sensitivity of the taste buds; meaning, your food will be tastier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be satisfied with less food? Less food = less unnecessary weight on the body. We all know this. The process of tongue scraping is so quick and simple, there’s really no excuse to not do it. You simply take each end of the tongue scraper in your hands, start at the back of the tongue, and add gentle pressure, scraping from back to front, rinsing in between. Repeat about 5 times. I’m telling you, your mouth will feel cleaner. You can buy a tongue scraper here.

 

 

Switch to Whole Foods

 

No, I don’t necessarily mean the grocery store. You don’t have to drive to another town to find a Whole Foods market. A whole food means a food that is in its complete form, with no additions. Ingredients: 1. An apple is a whole food. A carrot is a whole food. An almond is a whole food. I like what author Michael Pollan says: “eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” What he’s saying is, avoid stuff with a million ingredients. Actually, more than 5 ingredients and you’re going down a road leading to nothing good. If this is too difficult for you, at least start reading the Ingredients on your box o’ food, and avoid anything with the words “hydrogenated”, “palm oil”, “carrageenan”, “maltodextrin”, and “aspartame”. That’s a solid place to start.

 

 

Drink Organic, Fair Trade Coffee (ditch the K-cups)

 

If you’re like most Americans, you drink coffee. If you’re like me, you have a slight obsession that borders on unhealthy. Nevertheless, we’re not here to judge. Coffee is delicious. However, I encourage you to do the environment a favor and stop using the disposable K-cups in your Keurig. I’m not saying to throw out your Keurig…that would be wasteful. Instead, buy a couple reusable, refillable little cups. Buy a bag of high quality, organic coffee. You’ll find that the coffee will last a lot longer, you’ll save money, and you’ll feel good about helping the planet. You can buy some on Amazon here.

Better yet, get yourself a French press.  You’ll feel like a badass, and the coffee honestly does taste better.  I got this adorable one that I take to work with me – it’s enough for one cup (there are larger ones as well).  Check it out here.

 

Begin a Daily Gratitude Practice

 

Get a cute little journal. Find 5 minutes to yourself either in the early morning or before bed. Grab a cozy spot, a cup of tea, and light a candle. Create a sacred space, and get to writing. Write what you’re grateful for. If you’re having a difficult time and grasping at straws, start with something very basic and primal. “I’m grateful for shelter and warmth”, might be a nice a place to begin, particularly if you live in New England like me, where the winters are bitter cold. “I’m grateful that my body carries me through the day and moves me from place to place.” It might seem silly, but it has been shown that gratitude and joy are directly correlated. This is no coincidence. The more we acknowledge all that we have, the more satisfied and fulfilled we can feel.

 

Incorporate Yoga into your Life

 

If you’re a seasoned yoga, or know the basics, try to fit 30 minutes in a day. No need to go to a yoga class, or pop in a DVD. Just roll out your mat and flow through 10 sun salutations, surya namaskar A (see photo below for instructions). If you have no clue what I’m talking about, click the menu at the top of this website and go to “private yoga instruction”, and schedule a session with me (if you live in CT). Even if you don’t live nearby, feel free to email me and I’ll give you some personal recommendations. So, 10 sun salutations, followed by 10 dirgha breaths, followed by 10 minutes of nadi shodhana, and finally, 5 minutes of meditating on the breath.

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Sat Nam,

Steph xo

Project Happy

“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.” John Lubbock, whoever you are, you’re a smart man.

I was drawn to this quote in particular, because in fact I used to play the violin, for about 10 years throughout elementary, middle, and high school. And as a musician, practice you must! Although I’m sure there were times in which my parents regretted encouraging me to play an instrument.

My violin is now collecting cobwebs somewhere in the depths of my closet. I always say I’ll take it out to play again one day…

But whether you play an instrument or not, happiness my friends, is something worth practicing.

I’ve never been the cheerleader type. You know, perky and smiley and all those other exaggerated cheerful qualities. Quite the opposite in fact. I was always an inquisitive, thoughtful, serious sort of child. Perhaps even a dark little thing at times. In second grade, when we were asked to write about a particular topic in our daily journals, such as: “What do you like about yourself?” I would write something like, “I don’t like anything about myself, I’m not good at anything.” Holy perfectionism!

No, a cheerful disposition never came naturally for me. Upon seeing a company of men getting all their equipment ready to cut down some trees at my next-door neighbor’s house, eight-year-old little me marched right over there with an 8″x 11″ hand-drawn sign that read: “STOP KILLING THE TREES!!!” The utter horror and injustice of such a crime was real and important to me. I was jaded by the age of 10.

But as I approach 30, I’m becoming that cheerful, happy person.  I’ve still got my edge and introversion, which are parts of my personality that will never go away, and I’m fine with that.  I’ve simply learned that what I focus on has changed.  Now (not all the time, but enough of the time), I focus on my vision.  That place where I see myself in a couple of years time.  Living on my metaphorical mountaintop, yet more connected than ever.

It’s a rad thought.

Lean Into Joy

This is a poem I entered into my school’s poetry contest. My poem placed, I scored some cash, and more importantly, a spot in the next publication of The Beacon, the school’s creative writing magazine. Today I read this poem in front of an audience of people (most of whom were there because it was a class requirement). I’ve never been much for public speaking. But something about sharing it made me feel all squishy and warm inside. Truth be told, I didn’t feel much of a connection to this poem, until I realized what it’s all about (sometimes I don’t write the poem, the poem writes me). It’s about gratitude for yourself. A deep appreciation and satisfaction in your capabilities and gifts. It’s about connecting with your inner flame, your lifeblood. It’s about linking with “your people”, finding the ones who “get you”. Your place in the world is right around the corner, if you haven’t already found it. It’s also inside yourself, if you dare to get that close.

Lean into joy
In its simplest form.
Find it in the questions
You commit to memory and
hold in your heart.

Maybe some things
Are meant to be unseen.
Maybe, we focus our attention
on what sustains us.

Look, I mean truly look,
Deep down into the well of your soul.
If you drop a coin and make a wish,
Will you hear the pleasant plop
of the penny reaching water?
Or will it land among dust and debris,
Where water was once abundant?

Seek out moments,
Experiences that energize and delight.
Learn what fills your well again.
Wealth is not found in material form,
But in the ecstatic joy and passion
That fills our well to overflowing.

Our hearts have no time for the trivial
When there are wondrous landscapes to discover.
Untold stories,
Unwritten memories,
Pieces of personality,
Fragments of our true essence;
The hidden corners of our being
That we guard and conceal from the world.

Take this brief life in stride.
Gather all the brightest pieces
into your box of jewels,
And lean into joy.

Trusting Your Inner Compass

Remember the times before GPS?  Yeah, me neither.  I do remember typing my destination address into Mapquest’s magical navigator, and scribbling down the directions on a scrap of paper, dashing in my car, and whizzing on my way.

Many times, I still got lost.  But that was half the fun of it, wasn’t it?  It was part of the adventure and emblazoned anxiety.

Now, we set out on a journey and it’s no longer really a journey.  We’ve become so reliant on information systems outside ourselves, and lost touch with our own inner compass.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  We try to control the events of our lives, set reminders on our phones, tweet and post and scroll, clutching fervently to whatever seems to be working for us.  Distractions from ourselves.  Whatever it takes to get us to our pre-determined destination crafted by the thinking (vs. intuitive) mind, that’s what we’re going to do.  Steps A-Z.  In sequential order.

Well what happens when our plan runs off the tracks?  When T comes before B?  When someone throws a wrench in our perfectly prescribed timeline to “Z” destination?  I can tell you what happens for me.  I become disappointed, confused, angry, bitter, sad, and usually, defeated.  I forget the entire journey, throw away the destination, and move on to devise another plan.

Maybe I don’t need to do all that planning.  Hmm, there’s an idea.  Maybe it makes more sense to follow signs, landmarks, breadcrumbs, garden gnomes.  (Ok, probably not the last one).  At least I won’t be so attached to a rigid outcome.

I think by allowing myself to stray, to wander, to try different hats and shoes and scarves on, I can free myself from the anxiety of reaching that pre-set destination.  Maybe I’m already where I’m supposed to be, in every moment.  And the more I’m fully here and awake in each moment, the easier it will become to follow the flags, lights, and arrows pointing me to my next excursion.

This of course, requires trust in some force greater than myself, and also great trust in myself.  I used to ignore, shove aside, and snuff out my intuitive sense.  I’d shush that hushed voice that was actually guiding me.  I did things that didn’t align with what felt right to me, or true to my essential nature.

The more I denied my inner compass, the more lost I became.  But now, I feel like I’m starting to rest in the knowledge that I will listen to ME, and also take some hints and nudges from God/Universe/Spiritual Law/whatever IT is…because that resides in me.

The answers reveal themselves like dominoes clicking gently against each other, spiraling and weaving and knowing exactly where they are headed.

Steph xo

Mindfulness Challenge

 

In my garden, the rose opened. But I was in too much of a hurry, and passed it by. Love remembered me and said, I will make a rose bloom in your heart. -d. Chopra

It’s #mindfulnessmonday.  A reflection is in order.  How often do you not remember your drive home, because you’re consulting the to-do list in your head, or blasting the radio to drown out that same list?

There’s something very powerful and compelling about silence, and mindfulness.  I think some people find it intimidating, and need to fill the spaces with conversation, music, white noise.

There are times where I want to listen to a podcast, or jam out to some 311.  But in silence, I start to notice more of what’s all around me. Particularly in this season, when the trees are exchanging last hugs with their leaves until spring introduces new friends to embrace. The colors, well I can’t tell you about them. It will never be like experiencing them.  I am grateful for the mindfulness that allows me to bask in the beauty of the landscape all around me.

This is a practice.  Being mindful doesn’t always come naturally, especially to those of us who are chronic worriers, or have active, analytical minds.  I myself have a total monkey mind, as it’s referred to in yoga.  My mind swings from one thought-vine to the next, hardly pausing to notice, to take a breath.  So you can see why I meditate.

I have new experiments I’m beginning.  I’ve got 3 so far:

  1. Simplify my life.
  2. Get rid of stuff I don’t need.
  3. Blog daily.

That is all.  I’m practicing number one right now.  Less words.  Less thoughts.  More living.

Until tomorrow,

Steph xo

Feeling Fully

  

Let’s be real: we’ve all encountered someone who’s words or actions grate our nerves, irritate us, etc. Look for the opportunity in that experience to grow as an individual. What can you learn from them? You might become more mindful of your own words and actions. Maybe you make a commitment to be kinder, more lighthearted, tolerant, or non-judgmental. Next time you come into contact with that person, and feelings of anger or annoyance start to emerge, allow yourself to fully feel that, and delay your reaction for a moment. Consider that there are a whole host of reasons this person might be acting in the way that angers you. If you reframe the story in your mind, you can feel less anger, and more compassion. 

 

Anger and irritation are perfectly normal emotions. They may be uncomfortable, and we may feel aversion toward them and try to push them deep down inside ourselves. A teacher of mine from Kripalu, Aruni Nan Futuronsky, said: “The only way past the emotions, is through them.” In other words, we have to be willing to feel our emotions fully, in order to release them. Have you ever tried to push a beach ball under water? Doesn’t it shoot right back up? This is the same with our emotions. If we push them down, they will eventually pop up again. Alternately, we can feel the tension, and then say, “thank you anger, for providing me with this lesson, but I no longer need you.” Take this practice in stride. We don’t create sustainable change overnight. Give yourself the space to emerge from a place of compassion slowly. Give yourself permission to feel anger, so you can ultimately release it, and come back to a state of equanimity. Thich Nhat Hanh, in a recent interview with Oprah, said, “the lotus flower grows out of mud. Without the mud, we cannot have the lotus.” That is the nature of duality. Without anger, we could not feel harmony. Without sadness, we could not feel joy. 

Namaste,

Steph xoa

Vegan Apple Crisp

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My mom’s apple crisp is amazing, and I will never attempt to re-create perfection.  So I decided to experiment with a vegan version of this cozy fall treat.  You will not miss the butter!  My husband devoured a giant bowl in 5 minutes, so it couldn’t have been that bad 🙂

Vegan Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • About 6 Cortland apples, depending on size; freshly picked or organic preferable
  • Cinnamon (eyeball this)
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, organic if possible
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (if you don’t have it, all-purpose works)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Earth balance spread

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel & Core apples.  P.s. I am terrible at this, I basically just hack away at them with a small paring knife, more or less.  I wish I could be Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, where she expertly peels an apple in one, long, swirly strip.
  3. Chop apples into 3/4 in. cubes.  This doesn’t have to be precise, just make the pieces roughly the same size so that they cook equally.
  4. In a bowl, combine chopped apples, cinnamon, 1/3 c. granulated sugar, and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch.  Mix well, and pour into a 9 x 9 baking dish.
  5. In the same bowl, combine oats, flour, more cinnamon, brown sugar, 1/3 c. melted coconut oil, and walnuts (if using).
  6. Mix topping with your hands until it starts to come together and resemble wet sand.
  7. Spread evenly over top of apples. Dot pieces of Earth Balance Spread over topping.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly browned and apples are bubbling.
  9. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Love,

Steph xo