The Magical Mood Boosting Powers of Chocolate Cake Chocolate cake makes everything better. Fact. And what makes the most better-making chocolate cake even better? Making it paleo. And making it on a Monday. I woke up with a serious case of the Monday Blues yesterday. […]
Lessons in self-love from Aladdin Yes, I’m working Aladdin into a Valentine’s Day Post about self-love. Stay with me here. So my friend got free tickets to see the show on Broadway last night and invited me along. Of course I said yes. Because the […]
Raising Awareness and Hope Today is #worldcancerday – a day meant to raise awareness of this silent but deadly disease about which we know so little. Because really – cancer can impact anyone (like me!). And a diagnosis can hit you out of the blue […]
The Peanut Butter to my Chocolate It’s been ages since I’ve made brownies. Because brownies are just too delicious. I try *not* to bake all the time these days, because when I do it’s hard *not* to eat the whole batch in two days. And […]
Dreams of Cream Sauce
Oh for the love of food, please go make this. This vegan cashew alfredo sauce has been on the agenda for ages, and my only regret is that I am only getting to it now. Life. Changing.
I don’t know about you guys, but a creamy pasta dish was one of my ultimate loves in food-life. But it’s SO heavy! I loved every bite in the moment, but always felt a twinge of regret afterward. And that was before I (more or less) nixed the dairy and gluten.
It was a rare treat, reserved only for when I went out to eat at an Italian restaurant in the winter. But when I did indulge, the more cream sauce, the better. Topped with a little parmesan, and oh my taste buds were in heaven. I’d usually get chicken alfredo and ask for broccoli on top if it wasn’t already part of the dish. Because broccoli made me feel healthier about it, but let’s be real it’s the perfect vehicle for that much extra sauce.
But once I eliminated dairy and gluten, my beloved pasta alfredo was relegated to my dreamworld. Or so I thought. Enter zoodles and cashews – two saviors of the clean eating food world.
Clean-Eating Hack: Raw Vegan Cashew Cream Sauce
I’ve made plenty of recipes using cashews in place of something or other, including cashew butter and my vegan queso dip. I knew that paired with right ingredients, it would blend up to make a perfectly smooth cream sauce. But oh my gosh seeing it transform and tasting the final product was pure magic.
I threw the cashews in a food processor thinned them with water. Then I tossed in some garlic, lemon, sea salt, and nutritional yeast to make it savory. Bam, done.
I ribboned some zucchini to stand in for the noodles, steamed up some broccoli, then warmed it all together for a few minutes on the stove. Violà – the perfect balance of decadent flavor with pure, healthy ingredients.
No joke, this is meal perfection. And I have lots of extra cream sauce in the fridge to top my zucchini, kelp, and shirataki noodles. For real, creamy noodles for days, and zero heaviness, bloat, or guilt.
Public service announcement: your taste buds, bellies, and beloveds will all love you for this.
Cashew Health Benefits
Cashews are obviously – for those of you familiar with my blog and my recipes – full of health benefits. They are high in healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Fat is an essential component of our diet, but not all fats are created equal.
Unfortunately all fats have been seen as the enemy for decades, when really they are crucial for optimal functioning of our body and our brain in particular. Healthy fats from plants like nuts and avocados reduce cravings and can even boost metabolism and help in weight loss.
Cashews are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They’re rich in vitamins K, E, and B6, which support healthy blood, metabolism, and hair skin and nails, plus provide antioxidant power.
Perhaps even more important is their mineral content: cashews contain copper, iron, magnesium and selenium. Minerals are just as important for body function as vitamins, yet are often forgotten. Copper is important for blood health, while magnesium is crucial for immunity and stress-management. Selenium also functions as a powerful antioxidant.
Fun fact: cashews are not nuts, nor are they legumes. They are drupes, aka a form of seed in the stone-fruit category! And they are indeed paleo-friendly.
Vegan Cashew Alfredo Cream Sauce
A delicious non-dairy version of your favorite cream sauce, made clean super-easy with cashews! Raw, vegan, and paleo-friendly.
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional
Soak the cashews in filtered water for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse the cashews in fresh.
Place the cashews in your food processor (or high speed blender) and add the water, garlic, lemon, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. Blend on high until smooth and creamy (Be patient – will take at least several minutes.) This should result in a smooth, creamy consistency, but if you feel you want to thin it further, add more water, one tablespoon at a time.
Done! Heat up and serve with your favorite vegetables, zucchini noodles, or gluten-free pasta. Store leftover sauce in the fridge and use within a week or so.
‘Cheesy’ Broccoli Soup For the Win: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo Recipe For real guys. This creamy cheesy broccoli soup is hands-down the most satisfying soup I’ve ever made, or ever tasted for that matter. All the creaminess. All the cheesy flavor. None of the dairy […]
Nourishing Mind Body and Soul with Soup Yep it’s the new year and guess what that means – time for souping! It’s WAY too cold outside to even consider juicing. But soups? Nourishing, warming, and cleansing all in one. It’s my favorite approach to clean […]
New Year Reset
What goals do you want to accomplish next year? What visions do you hope to manifest?
2017 was a weird year for me and for many of us. I have a lot to be grateful for, but a lot I would like to release. This little down-time between the holidays and the New Year is the perfect time to reflect and re-evaluate – to take a step back and assess where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you want to go.
How to Manifest What You Want
Most of us set resolutions and begin the year with the best of intentions. But if we don’t have an action plan in place, the odds that we will follow through are not great.
In order to manifest those visions and accomplish those goals, we have to clear space in our lives and make time in our schedules for activities dedicated to achieving those goals.
And then we need to break down those goals and structure our lives so that step by step, our goals, dreams, and visions eventually become our reality.
Part 1: Practical Goal-Setting
Define Your Big-Picture Goals
Now is the time to reflect and re-evaluate. What do you want most? What do you want to accomplish in the new year? Is it to finally change careers? Write a book? Start a new business? Do you want to focus on cultivating meaningful relationships or spending more time with loved ones?
Whatever you want, write it down. Putting down on paper your goals is the first step to turning that dream into a reality. Want proof? Read about a study on Harvard MBAs and the surprising difference between those who set goals versus those who didn’t, not to mention the astonishing findings on those who actually wrote them down.
Break Things Down
Once you’ve honed in on your main goals, break them down into specific, actionable steps. The more specific you are, the more you are likely to follow through with each task.
Many of us tend to bite off more than we can chew. It’s best to focus on one major goal at a time. Block schedule your days and put major deadlines into your calendar, working backwards to break down the tasks necessary to complete each task by that date.
It’s also best to schedule your most important tasks into your planner. It’s easy to get caught up with the mundane yet necessary tasks like going through emails, but if we don’t schedule specific times in our day to deal with each task, the larger, more important tasks often fall by the wayside.
Part 2: Strategies for Success
Clearing out your physical space is an important step in making the space to accomplish your goals. When you declutter your environment—be it your desk, a closet, or your kitchen—you shake up any stuck or stagnant energy. This helps you think more clearly. You eliminate perceived obstacles, and bonus – getting organized saves you time spent looking for things lost in the clutter!
Assess How You Spend Your Time
What occupies your day? Is your time spent actually being productive, or on mundane housekeeping and distraction? In order to clear up space for the big, important projects, identify and eliminate “time drains” in your life—tasks that take up time but produce minimal results or benefits.
Things like mindlessly checking email, social media, Netflix, and attending to headlines and news alerts take up a surprising amount of time. Over the course of a day (or even better – a full week), make a detailed account of how you spend your time, in 15 or 30 minute increments. (I suggest using a spreadsheet like the ones available here).
Once you are aware of how you actually spend your time, you can be more deliberate about setting up your schedule and making sure you stay on task for each time block. Make every minute count!
Learn to Say No
Do you constantly feel ‘busy’? Perpetually find yourself pressed for time? This is a good sign you need to start saying no. Even if you become incredibly efficient in time usage, it is impossible to keep up with every single demand for your time. Prioritize the activities that are most productive or support you in your overall success – like self-care and spending time with friends and loved ones – and be very selective about everything else.
Unless the task or event is meaningful, enriching, or will move you forward in your goals, don’t feel bad about saying no. Be protective of both your time and your energy!
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal might not sound like a ‘productive’ use of your precious time, but it can actually help to free you up mentally. Writing down your thoughts can help you to organize them, and can help end the thought loops that distract you from your tasks. Take a few minutes each day to jot them down, and perhaps consider keeping a separate ‘ideas’ notebook or folder on your computer which you can return to later.
Be Intentionally Efficient
While this might sound like a no-brainer to some and odd to others, complete each task and don’t be lazy or careless with even mundane things like putting away your clothes or hanging your keys on the hook when you walk through the door. Put your clothes in the hamper or on a hanger rather than letting them pile up on a chair, sort through the mail as soon as you get it rather than letting it pile up, and wash and prep your produce at the beginning of the week. Completing simple daily tasks as efficiently and completely as possible can help you stay organized and save time.
With any goal in life, it’s all about taking small steps in the right direction. Start by clearing out your desk or workspace, and then identify what it is you want to accomplish this year. Create an action plan and write down the steps that you need to take in your calendar and/or planner.
With a little practice and intentional effort, you’ll soon find that you’re spending more time on the things that matter most.