Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eggs in a Nest!

Was there ever a recipe that just kind of fell in your lap? Literally? One that when you saw it you said, "Wow, I have everything to make this and it is going to be dinner. Right now!"

This was that dinner recipe. It was called Eggs in a Nest. Cozy, right? Midway through last week, it was entirely too cold outside to be Charleston, SC. This made me incredibly sad and all I wanted to do was curl up in front of our fireplace and drink hot tea and read books and cuddle with the cat. Or, the mister. Or, blankets!

While checking out all of the blogs that I keep an eye on, Avocado A Day's recipe caught my eye. About the same time, I was struggling to decide what we were going to eat for dinner. 

So  much for meal planning last week, right? Anyway, I was stuck between a spinach and goat cheese fritatta or orange and oatmeal pancakes with scrambled eggs. Breakfast for dinner in our house is always a hit!

Then, I came across Eggs in a Nest. Short ingredient list. Everything we tend to keep in the pantry. And, I even had some cooked brown rice. 



Ingredients

1 cup brown rice (cooked to the package directions) or 2 cups of cooked rice
1 1/2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped quite small
1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 ounces spinach, roughly chopped (half a bag)
6 eggs
Sriracha and chopped fresh parsley, optional

Directions

~Cook rice and set aside to cool to room temperature.
~Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until carrots are crisp-tender , about 5 minutes. Add brown rice and cook until vegetables are tender and rice is starting to get crispy. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
~Make 6 wells in the rice and crack an egg into each. Cook until the whites are starting to set, then transfer to the broiler. Cook until whites are set and eggs are still runny, which should take just a few minutes.
~Enjoy and know that the eggs will continue to cook for a bit after the skillet comes off the heat, so don't overcook them!

Don't skimp on the garlic cloves! I can only tell you how delicious the house smelled from this quick and easy recipe. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh garlic and it made this dish!

You should definitely give this one a try and feel free to switch it up a bit as you make your way through your own fridge and pantry...

Blessings for a beautiful, sunny Thursday afternoon!!

Lisa Renée xo
 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Chowder


Is it just me or do these chilly days make GREAT soup days? We love soup and during the Charleston winter months, we eat a lot of it! However, soup from  a can truly does not do soup justice. Besides that, it is usually filled with a lot of ingredients that don't serve our bodies too well.

Cauliflower? Yes, please! I love cauliflower. It is humble and filling and full of health promoting sulfur compounds that help the liver get rid of toxins. It also is full of vitamin C! A cup of cauliflower has the same amount of vitamin C as a medium orange~so go savory instead of sweet and still get your vitamins!


This soup is so simple and rich and delicious! I have actually made it twice in the last week and we have finished it all both times. I found the recipe here and the ingredients are ones that most of you probably have on hand already. So, here is the recipe...

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups Almond Breeze Almondmilk Unsweetened Original
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (we used white cheddar)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chopped cauliflower and garlic cloves on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until well coated. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Place pan in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring once. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Finely chop the roasted garlic cloves. Add the garlic, roasted cauliflower, bay leaf, and dried thyme to the pot. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir. Cook until flour disappears.
  4. Pour in the vegetable broth and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the milk and shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and chowder is creamy. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  5. Ladle chowder into bowls and serve warm

I guarantee that once you give this one a try, you will be on a soup making kick! Nothing is as satisfying or as comforting as a bowl of steamy soup straight from your own kitchen.

On another note, if you love to create in your own kitchen and you live in the Charleston area, I would invite you to join The Healing House's new venture....





Through this meetup, I will be hosting fun workshops that revolve around eating, food, family and fun! We just held our first one and created homemade almond milk and cashew chai milk. Delicious!

Next on our schedule is a vegan cooking workshop, a creative foods for toddlers workshop and a Global Kitchen Italian night! Lots of fun stuff headed your way if you are in the Charleston area. It is free to join the meetup and then you will have access to our upcoming events. So click the link above and join us!! You may find you love your kitchen as much as I love mine!

I hope this Saturday morning finds you in cozy pj's with a steaming cup of coffee enjoying the quiet comfort of home. That's where I am today :)

Blessings for a fabulous, relaxing weekend~
Lisa Renée 

If you are looking for more food activities, photos and great recipes, you can find me....


 

Monday, January 25, 2016

A New Role Model~


This morning I became so inspired that I felt compelled to share! Literally, I can't keep this (or her, I should say) only to myself. Phyllis Sues. She just became my idol.

Have you ever met someone or learned of someone and thought...I want to be just like her?!? I want to meet her. Actually, I want to pick her brain and learn her every secret. She lives this larger than life life and she pushes herself, challenges herself and refuses to allow her age to be a concept that holds her back. I am smitten.

The latest article that I could find was on mindbodygreen. She actually wrote it herself last July at the age of 92! She shares how she has lived and her "secrets" for longevity and brain health but, in reality, she just lives everyday as an adventure, a challenge.


It sounds pretty simple, right? Listen, love and live and allow your body to lead you while keeping the mind out of the way. She has such a list of accomplishments and activities: trapeze artist, Broadway performer, singer, skydiving, studying yoga, writing songs, learning to play the piano, studying french and italian, dancing the tango, devloping a fashion line, playing tennis, hiking, writing blogs and sharing information....

The list goes on and on but the secret? She DOES stuff. She isn't idle. She challenges her mind, her body and her spirit. This is her 90th birthday celebration....


 
Phyllis Sues' 90th Birthday from Phyllis Sues on Vimeo.

Who can look at that and not want to be just like her? I am setting new goals as of today! I want that vibrancy, that ease, that confidence at age 90. Forget nursing homes and walkers and assisted living! Forget medicines and adult diapers and creaking bones, right? Anyone out there with me?

I guess it goes without saying that I am in awe. This woman is an amazing role model for young women everywhere. Don't allow a single day to pass without challenging yourself, trusting yourself and appreciating yourself!

I should also add that I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she struggled to discover ways to honor and love herself throughout her lifetime. Not that I was happy she struggled but it definitely made her even more "real". I could relate to the struggles as most woman probably can. She wasn't born with the knowledge of  her innate strength and determination. She has discovered these qualities at different points throughout her life. Again, I say, what a role model!!

 
 Interested in learning more about Phyllis Sues? You can check out an article she wrote for the Huffington Post about being 90 here, and another one about auditioning at the age of 90 here and visit her own website here. You can also follow her on twitter and Facebook. Amazing-ness to be 90+ and have and USE social media! I truly, truly, truly want to meet this woman!!

We are blessed to have people like Phyllis Sues to look up to! Blessed to have another day to discover our own adventures. Blessed to be able to wake up and set new intentions! So, what are you waiting for? Get moving~

Blessings~
Lisa Renée

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Simplicity.

What a word! Most of us say that we like things in our life to be simple. However, we continuously add habits, people and objects to our lives that do the exact opposite of create simplicity.

The art of clearing out what no longer serves us truly is an art form! For some people, this art form may take the direction of clearing out closets and drawers. By getting rid of what you no longer use or wear, you are actually creating more space for the universe to offer you what you truly need. Keep in mind that what you truly need may simply be an empty drawer. Space. It is in these empty spaces that we have "room" for new ideas to form, new patterns, new endeavors! It is never only about what meets the eye but it is certainly about room to breathe.


For other people, simplicity involves clearing people or energies out of their life. Keeping friends around who do not support you or who truly don't honor your vision for your life is a sure way to bring yourself down. Keep things simple instead of complicated! Don't hold yourself in a stagnant position that will never allow for growth, change or evolution. Rid yourself of those people who are holding you back. It certainly does not have to be an abrupt cord-cutting but you can gradually make room for new friends by spending less time with the old ones, those who don't share your vision of the future. Form new relationships~ones that propel your forward instead of holding you back!

Others can benefit from clearing a pantry or kitchen cabinets. Think~a body cleanse that begins in your refrigerator. If you no longer fill your space with preservatives, nitrites, additives, artificial colors and ingredients or chemicals, guess what?!? You will no longer be eating that stuff or, at least, you will be eating a lot less of it. Make a conscious effort to cleanse your kitchen and each trip to the grocery store, vow to bring home clean, whole foods. From these whole foods, create healthy dishes. Cook from scratch! Learn to nourish your body the old-fashioned way....cook!

I tend to toss things quickly that no longer serve me. I get rid of clothes each season. I donate household items that simply collect dust. I like space. I like emptiness. I enjoy rooms that breathe and are free of clutter. I want that emptiness to be there so when the time for expansion comes, there is room for it! 

Believe me when I say that I TOTALLY understand those who don't feel the same. I live with a mister who likes his "stuff", his memories. I live near a mother who holds on to people who have passed by keeping their "stuff".  I try hard not to judge it and I just don't do it myself. We are fluid creatures. Spirits. We are contained in these physical bodies but when we can remember that our life on Earth is simply temporary, it makes getting rid of the stuff so much easier!!



You may want to check out articles and websites about living simply and clearing out the old:


No matter how you say at it, clearing out, getting rid of, living lighter.... these are all forms of creating space. It is in these spaces, this expansiveness, that we grow, change and evolve. 

I encourage you to go light! Be brave. Allow. Be empty. You can do it. What an amazing year this is already turning out to be!

Blessings~
Lisa Renée








Thursday, January 14, 2016

Breakfast Scramble

This post is for all of you who think you really don't like tofu! For all of those people who maybe have never TRIED tofu but say they don't like it....yep, this is for you.

As I have traveled down this road of veganism, there are very few foods or meals that I actually miss. However, breakfast can be tricky because I like HOT food for breakfast. I know this is ayurvedic related. You know the doshas? Ayurveda is a bit out of my realm but I know my body likes a hot meal first thing in the morning. So, I do try to accommodate that and start each day with what I know my body craves.

Scrambled eggs and burritos and the like have been a part of our breakfasts for years and I really didn't want to give that up but I didn't feel brave enough to jump straight into the tofu realm. Until, one day, I did.  Guess what? TOTALLY worth it and so very simple! This was breakfast this morning.  It took me about the same amout of time as scrambled egg burritos and vegan! No animal products!


Maybe you don't want to be vegan? No worries. Maybe you are just looking for amazing meal ideas? I can't even say breakfast ideas because this recipe is so versatile that it could also be lunch or dinner. Or, even a late-night snack if you are into that kind of thing.

So, I am going to offer you the recipe and then some suggestions...so many options!

Breakfast Scramble

Ingredients:

1 block of organic, firm tofu
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 piece of bell pepper, finely chopped
(We love red/orange  peppers!)
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. nutritional yeast
1/2 tbs. tumeric
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Whole grain tortillas
Fresh, organic spinach

Open the tofu and press it slightly between a few pieces of paper towel. Allow to drain a bit.

Add the oil to a large skillet. Add the onion and pepper and saute until translucent. Add the garlic for the last minute.

Crumble the tofu on top of the veggies and add the nutritional yeast, the tumeric and salt and pepper.

Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Serve on tortillas with fresh spinach and hot sauce, organic ketchup or sriracha sauce.

So, here is the thing....the varieties are endless!! If you don't like peppers, skip them. You could use finely chopped broccoli or asparagus. Skip the extra veggies altogether and just do the onions, garlic and tofu. Add in a half of a can of rinsed black beans and a touch of chili pepper or smoky paprika. To your tortilla add slices of fresh avocado, extra greens, vegan cheese, fresh mushrooms...the ideas are endless.

Here is the best part. If you have any left over (you might if you live alone!), save it for tomorrow's breakfast and add it to fresh hash browned potatoes or make it into a sandwich with some toasted rye. This is also great over brown rice with some steamed sweet potatoes or served over a bed of dressed arugula or greens.

I could go on and on about the suggestions but you really just need to experiment yourself! Don't be afraid of tofu. Do be sure that it is organic. And, because tofu really does not have a taste truly it's own (think chicken without the animal) you can create anything with this kind of blank canvas.

My recipe is based loosely on Kris Carr's Tofu Country Scramble found in here...



I love this book and I would encourage you to try some new recipes. It's a new year, new thinking, new ideas. Be brave! In fact, go to the library and be brave. Pick up some different cookbooks and check them out for a week or two. That way, if the recipes don't work in your house, you aren't stuck with cookbooks that you won't use. Love libraries!!

Tofu can be delicious and you are helping your arteries out and starting the day with a wholesome breakfast. Plus, this recipe makes it so simple to add extra veggies to your diet...Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

I would encourage you to find me on Instagram for all of my foodie pictures and like the Charleston Treasures facebook page so that you never miss a blogpost!

Hope you are having a marvelous day!
Blessings~

Lisa Renée

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Universe Talks. Are you listening?


"Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!" Each morning begins with some warm lemon water and a few moments to read my daily TUT (The Universe Talks). Mike Dooley sends them out and they are often times incredibly profound. It's a message from the "universe" and I LOVE them! In fact, I love this bit of quiet each morning. It is usually a time of reflection, prayer, and contemplation. I give my day over to Spirit. Ask for guidance. Then, hope the guidance is loud and clear and get started!

Today, we are packing and getting ready to hop a plane. The mister has a conference and while he is conferencing, I plan to spend some quiet time discovering what the universe has in store for me next. Don't you love those kind of week-ends?

So many days get busy and we forget to give some time to contemplating, just quietness to allow Spirit to speak to us. We truly do have Divine Guidance if we can quiet our minds for long enough to listen!

If being quiet, meditation or  getting still seem to be a problem for you, I would highly encourage you to start slowly. Begin by doing small things that reinforce the idea of being present or mindful. When I first began this process, I was reading The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. 


There is a very short story in the beginning of this book entitled Eating A Tangerine. It is four paragraphs long and it changed my life. I even went so far as to tattoo the symbol for mindfulness on my inner right arm. And, I don't have any other tattoos! What a reminder!!



Begin present in our daily existence is so powerfully profound. I would encourage you to take some time at the start of this new year and begin a mindfulness practice. Some quiet time just for your mind to slow and your thoughts to welcome in the Divine.

If you are interested in receiving a daily TUT, stop by Mike Dooley's website and register. You will be surprised at how often the messages speak directly to your heart.

Blessings for a beautiful day~
Lisa Renée


 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Home-made Almond Milk!

Have you ever accomplished something that you just wanted to keep talking about? That you felt like sharing with the world? I spent a lot of time cleaning out our pantry and fridge yesterday. (That's not really what I want to share with you.) A new year. New goals. I have said before that I am not into making resolutions. They usually aren't kept for the long haul anyway. However, I do believe in fresh starts. And, one of these fresh starts is returning to the basics in the kitchen. Everything, and I do mean everything, can be made from scratch. Right? And, if it can't be made from scratch in our own kitchens, well, we probably shouldn't be eating it!

It's been a two year process but we have gradually gotten rid of most processed food items but there were still a few things hanging on. Bread. Easy fix but it does take time. Orange juice. I ordered a new juicer and got it in the mail today. More on that later. And, almond milk. We have eliminated most dairy products and have switched to plant based products but why haven't I tried creating almond milk at home? I really didn't have a good answer to that one!

Then, I picked up this book...


This one is full of brilliant ideas for families with kids. This doesn't preach kale salad and green juices all day either! It is full of recipes that are family-friendly and easy. So, I dug into it and read it cover to cover. And, then, promptly decided to make my own almond milk. Guess what? It is totally amazing!! So much better than what we have been buying for the past year.


I am still in awe over this one! It is so delicious and well, almondy. Is that a word? It should be! Anyway, I would challenge you to give this a try. Granted, it is not cow's milk and if your family drinks a lot of milk, they will certainly notice the difference. But, it also is something that can be gradually worked into your kitchen and the health benefits of drinking something like almond milk compared to cow's milk are h.u.g.e.! We weren't meant to drink cow's milk anymore than we were meant to drink pig's milk or dog's milk. Are you laughing at that image? It's true!

So, here is the recipe and I would love to hear how this one goes in your household.

Almond Milk
(from Plant-Powered Families)
 Makes 3-3 1/2 cups

1 cup almonds,
soaked 8 hours and drained
3-3 1/2 cups water
2-3 tbs. pure maple syrup (optional)
1/2-1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Optional add-ins: few pinches cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg

Combine the nuts with the water in a blender. (I prefer 3 cups for a richer, thicker milk) Add the extra 1/2 cup for a thinner milk. Blend until smooth and frothy.

If desired, strain the milk to remove the nut pulp (a nut milk bag works best but a fine strainer may also work). Taste, and sweeten/season as desired with maple syrup, vanilla and spices. Refrigerate in a covered vessel. Use within 3-4 days. 

Use this any time you would use dairy milk, soy milk or store bought almond milk.

I still am amazed. I probably shouldn't be this excited over home-made almond milk but it was just so easy and it tastes delicious. Give it a try! You don't have much to lose on this one and you and your family may find something new to put in your oatmeal! 

It always feels like such an accomplishment to study a processed food and then recreate it at home. The nutrition benefits are always great and it just feels better. Leaving the preservatives and the additives on the grocery store shelves makes our bodies run cleaner, smoother. One last suggestion?

 
As parents, cutting out processed foods and recreating them at home is a challenge but there is help! There are many great cookbooks and blogs out there. Alana Chernila writes the blog eating from the ground up and I would encourage you to check it out. She is full of ideas for great sauces, homemade ketchup, pop-tarts...my kids LOVE them! 

It's good to know what is in our food. Cooking at home and involving the kids is beneficial in so many ways. I hope you will consider this for the new year. Spend more time in your kitchen. Get to know some great cookbooks. Make them your spare time reading so that you are excited to create new dishes at home. 

Have a gReAt Sunday and let me know how your almond milk turns out!

Blessings!
Lisa Renée
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