Holiday Crafting

I love the holidays. Its true…. I’m indeed one of THOSE people. The people who love to look at the Christmas lights on Candy Cane Lane, wrapping presents, writing holiday cards, putting up the Christmas tree while listening to endless renditions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” while drinking hot cider. I just love it. And part of the joy for me of the season is being able to support local crafters and artists; giving a gift of handmade love and beauty to my family and friends is so magical. And that is why I am over the moon excited to be putting together the Happy Girl Holiday Craft Market.

HGK-HolidayCraftMarket-2013-R2-2This Sunday Happy Girl Kitchen Co. will be teaming with local artisans selling their beautiful goods such as handmade jewelry, local artwork, ceramics, beeswax candles, and so much more. Top it all off with live music, yummy food, and our amazing community… well, I think its going to be a winner! Can’t wait to see you all there, supporting our neighbors and what they do best:  creating, celebrating, and bringing about joy!

Much love,

Steph

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Adventures in Baking: Fall Workshops

Fall is almost here, and I am ready to welcome pumpkin spices, apple picking, and celebrating the change in the season. I have a whole new lineup of baking workshops scheduled… so, take a peak!

scones

2013 Fall Whole Grain Baking Workshops

Bed & Breakfast Baking
Saturday September 28th, 10-3pm

coffee cake
sweet potato rosemary biscuits
homemade chai tea
cranberry chocolate scones

Nutritiously Delicious Treats Vol. 2
Wednesday October 9th, 6-8:30pm

raw almond milk
vegan chocolate chip cookie dough bites
almond butter cups
3 ingredient vegan and gluten free banana ice cream

Cozy Fall Baking
Saturday October 19th, 10-3pm

Pumpkin Bread
Rustic Apple Tarts
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie
Maple Leaf Cookie Sandwiches with Maple Vanilla Buttercream Centers

Gluten Free Baking
Saturday November 9th, 10-3pm

snickerdoodle cookies
coconut macaroons with chocolate ganache
maple cookie bars
double chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

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And thank you to all who came out for the Lilify event! It was so fun and inspiring..

Until next time…
xoxo Steph

8 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Ah, ze sleep troubles. So many people have them. (sad face) Peaceful and restful sleep is one of the best things you can give your body. Sleep is your body’s time to repair and renew itself, so if you are looking for ways to make it happen…here are some tips:

images

1. Create a peaceful, stress relieving nigh-time routine. Routines are a great way to help start signaling to your body that is time for bed. Good ways to wind down include: meditation (free podcasts and audios are available on-line and through iTunes), gentle stretching and yoga, reading a book, making yourself a cup of herbal tea, taking a bath, etc. Experiment with different ideas and create a simple routine that works for you. 

2. Explore the possibilities of Lavender. This wonderful plant has relaxing and sedative qualities that can help you get a better nights rest. Diffuse a few drops of lavender oil in water when going to bed or apply to the bottom of your feet or on your temples and neck for a calming and relaxing sensation. A few drops of lavender in the palms of your hands and cupped over the nose can quickly and easily eliminate stress and anxiety as well.

3. Avoid caffeine and other sleep inhibitors, especially in large amounts and in the afternoon/evening. For those of us who have problems sleeping, caffeine is normally a culprit. Too much coffee or black tea stimulates the system and should be used very little if at all if you have trouble sleeping. Other foods that have the capability of hindering a restful night are chocolate & soda (also caffeinated), sugar, excessive alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. Try switching to herbal tea (i.e. mint, rooibos) and sticking to a whole foods diet.

4. Tryptophan helps! Tryptophan is an amino acid found in certain foods that has natural sleep inducing compounds. Turkey, milk, cottage cheese, chicken, eggs, and nuts (especially almonds) have substantial amounts of tryptophan.

5. Try Valerian Root. If you are looking to go down the supplement path to help with your sleep, know that valerian root has been used historically for insomnia relief. Unlike drugs, valerian root actually helps improve sleep quality and latency (the time required to go to sleep) and leaves no “hangover” feeling in the morning. Suggested uses:

dried root (or as a tea): 2-3 grams

Tincture (1:5, root to water ratio) 5-7 milligrams

fluid extract (1:1) ½ – 1 teaspoon

6. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime. The night is your body’s time to rest and repair and the less food your stomach & digestive tract has to work through during these hours, the better. Let your body focus on repairing itself for the next day, rather than breaking down a heavy dinner.

7. Make your bedroom a retreat. A clean and uncluttered bedroom promotes a relaxing and calming atmosphere that will create the space for you to unwind and peacefully fall asleep.

8. Eat a nutritious, whole foods diet. Your body is designed to function on nutritious whole foods, and the better and more active you are during the day, the more likely you are to get a restful nights sleep.

Resources:

Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2002. Print.

Carper, Jean. Miracle Cures. Boston: Wheeler Pub., 1998. Print.

Dessert, Revisited.

Lord knows, I love desserts. Not only do I have a sweet tooth (thanks mom AND dad), but I bake the lovelies for a profession. And believe me, I enjoy them on a regular basis. But every once in a while I take a step back and look at the sweets I’m eating and the type of sugars that can be harmful to your health.

Sugar gets a bad rap in our society, for good reason I must say, but there is undoubtably a time and a place for it. Sweets are an amazingly delicious end to a meal and every so often a perfect treat to start the day. I guess we get into a bit of a problem when we eat refined sugar 3 times a day, everyday. Refined sugar seems to be in everything, everywhere : bread, energy bars, juices, breakfast cereals, yogurt….even dried fruit? Excess sugar not only leads to the obvious: type II diabetes and weight gain, but is a host to so many other chronic culprits: comprised digestion, gum disease, osteoporosis, cancer… and the list continues. And while a treat from time to time wont hurt you, moderation seems to be tricky for most. So in between your favorite cake or weekend ice cream scoop, how about a delicious (and I dare say nutritious) dessert. I promise, its amazing.

Raw Lemon Pie

yum

yum

Crust:
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons raw honey

Its easy. Simply place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until the dough comes together; about 2-3 minutes. Press tart dough into a pie pan and move onto the filling…

Lemon Filling:
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 cups cashews, soaked 6 hours, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup raw honey
3/4 cup coconut butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest

This part requires a bit more forethought (soaking the cashews ahead). But when that is finished, place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender (a food processor may work as well) and process until your lemon filling is smooth and silky. Place the filling in the tart shell and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight so the tart can set up. Easy. Delicious. Nutritious. Dessert.

Check out some other healthy desserts over at….

My New Roots: Almond Butter & Jam Sandwich Cookies

Edible Perspective: Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve

Resources:

Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.

On Fall.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Jane Brontë

Gosh darnit I love fall. I love the cozy sweaters, the foggy weather, the pumpkin spice lattes, the candles and their warm scents, the way the air crisps up and the breeze makes you bundle. And as Ms. Brontë so elegantly puts it, there is even something about the dreariness that is actually rather lovely.  I just love it all. Fall is such a special time. I have always identified with it as being a time for new beginning, as summer ends and a wealth of difference is born. The different foods, changing weather, shadows shifting, cozier fashions, new school calendars… everything and everyone is making an important transition…and I just love it. But in the midst of it all, I always have to remember to make time  to take extra care…. more rest, more self-awareness, as we all witness the changing elements within ourselves and throughout the nature that surrounds us. It is at these transitions we are susceptible to sickness and imbalances. So just take a little time to pause… to rest and enjoy all that is happening! There is so much to enjoy indeed.

How do you enjoy the Fall?

Scenes from Seattle

Sometimes you just need a girls weekend. Girlfriends are important I say. So having just the weekend, I popped over to Seattle to visit my friend, KK the great. We ate sweets, drank coffee, stopped for treats again, shopped, reminisced about our glorious temps en France, and yoga-fied. It was delightful.

kk le magnificent

flying apron bakery

vegan chocolate molten cake with coconut cream!

le cafe

pikes place

 

Next stop? NYC. Man I miss you guys…

 

Where would you go for a weekend getaway?

 

 

On Soup.

I know, I know, I’m probably the only fool person on the planet (other than my deeply revered friend KK) that is longing for the long summer days to come to their annual close. Don’t get me wrong, I love (love, love, love) the endless produce, the few extra hours of sunlight, reasons to vacation, etc etc….. but I love every other season so much more. I’m a comfort girl after all. I love putting on woolen socks, sitting by the fire, baking inside whilst the fog lingers outside; and thus, i love the welcoming of fall. Become, yes, of its colors, and the pumpkin, but frankly because it is getting that much closer to Christmas and Hanukkah season. And to me this means the Nutcracker ballet, cookie parties, and funny times with family. I just love it.

le soup

So, I just couldn’t wait until summer was over to make my first soup to welcome the new fall season. Maybe I was thinking if I made it, it would tantalize fall to come out beneath its covers for a serving or two just a bit earlier. But anyways, back to soup.  J’adore le soup. A good soup to me is hearty, yet healthy, and can be enjoyed warm with bread by its side. Another lovely point for le soup… it beckons the call of good bread. Not the same stuff that a good PB&J might call for, but something heartier, something (dare I say) better made. So here I give you… one amazing soup….

 

Curried Split Pea Soup

serves 4 lucky people

 

2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil

1 chopped onion

2 chopped carrots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

12 ounces green peas

5 cups water, or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon curry powder

zest of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons coconut milk, optional

salt and pepper to taste

Place a soup pot on the stove and turn heat to medium/high. When the oil has melted and is fairly hot, add the chopped onions and let saute for 1-2 minutes. Let the carrots join the soupmaking and continue cooking until onions become translucent. Then goes the minced garlic for about a minute or so. Just watch it carefully so it poor things don’t burn.

After preparing your base, add the split peas, water, curry, lemon zest, and coconut milk(if using) to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce it to simmer with the lid on for about 30-45 minutes. The soup is ready when the split peas are very tender and are mushy in texture. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Take an immersion stick blender or transfer the soup into a blender and puree the mixture until very smooth. Serve warm with delicious, hearty bread.

What is your favorite thing about the transitioning seasons?

Inspiration

Somedays you don’t want to move. For me those days are typically called Sundays. And yes, sometime certain Mondays, Tuesdays, (you get the picture) feel like Sundays as well.

I have found that in a world that constantly pushes us to be productive and to push ourselves to be constantly doing, it’s no wonder that sometimes it feels as though one day to rest just doesn’t seem like enough. (especially when Sundays don’t even equal rest sometimes!)

But not I! I am a the queen of lounging. I love cuddling, cozy time spent on the couch, books and tea in hand, enjoying rest. Its a huge part of my wellbeing. I find that I get rundown from time to time and that it is the utmost importance to take rest seriously. When I am resting, preferably in a supine position, I find that it is also the time that I am most open to inspiration. Here are some great ways to combine the wonderousness of rest and inspiration….

Wellness Reads. I am continuously so inspired by authors out there who have found the best ways to lead their lives. I like to read all the books out there and then pick and choose what works for me. I like to call it my cocktail of well-being. Current reads? The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberley Snyder, Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

My Google Reader. I fill my reader with people who are living beautiful, healthful lives. When I read their posts I am so delighted to be reassured how many people are out there doing amazing things. There are some who make me laugh, others who are deeply reflective, and many who inspire me with innovative recipes. When you read about people who are doing healthful things, you are more likely to feel inspired to be that way too. Some of my Google Reader favorites: healthy.happy.life., the Healthy Everythingtarian, Roost

Tea and OWN Network. Sometimes you are just too tired to read, its true. So why not watch something feel good, instead of the feel bad reality shows. (I’m so guilty of doing that too) OWN Network has some full episodes online that are geared toward better living in general. Recently I watched a Lifeclass with Bishop T.D. Jakes…. I laughed so hard I cried, and then I cried so hard because I was actually inspired. Well, ok, I didn’t really cry that hard, but it was entertaining and really uplifting. Ah yes.. and brew your nice self some yummy tea while you do it!

Restorative Heart Openers. SAY WHAT??? Don’t be afraid, it is actually very simple. Restorative yoga poses are like lying on the plumpest couch in the world but 100 times better. Heart openers bring yourself to a more positive, uplifted state, and you just simply feel great after. You just might leave the posture more inspired than ever. This is my favorite….

supported reclined bound angle pose

to get into the posture: Place a long pillow (or two) lengthwise at the base of your spine. Gently lower yourself down onto the pillow, making sure that your head and neck are supported as well. You should feel a slight backbend in your spine and your heart lifted. You may place blankets or other forms of support under your knees for added comfort and relaxation. Lay here and focus on your breath for 5-20 minutes. When you are finished, gently rolled over to your right side and then up to a seated position. Amazing!

What are some ways you like to restore and/or inspire yourself?