Avocado Key Lime Pie – Vegan Options!

Woah you guys. Woah. I found this gem of a recipe while flipping through a magazine and cutting out words/images for my vision board…and I’m SO happy I tried it! This is the perfect summer dessert. Light, creamy, and refreshing. The original recipe calls for spirulina to give it that bright green color, but I used hemp protein and matcha and it still turned out pretty 🙂 I also forgot to put the sesame seeds in my crust, so I used them as decoration instead. SO choose your own adventure! Let me know how it goes!

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You’ll need….

1 C Raw cashews

½ C Raw almonds

½ C Shredded unsweetened coconut plus more for decorating (optional)

¼ tsp sea salt plus more for seasoning

6 dates pitted and roughly chopped

1tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)

1tbsp chia seeds

¾ C canned coconut milk

3tbsp honey (or agave if you’re vegan, but I wouldn’t recommend it from a nutrition standpoint)

1tsp pure vanilla extract

½ large firm avocado

⅓ C fresh lime juice (preferably from key limes) and ½ tsp zest, plus sliced lime for garnish (optional)

¼ tsp spirulina (optional) <–I subbed ¼ tsp matcha and ¼ tsp hemp protein powder

⅔ C plus 4tbsp coconut oil, melted

¼ C very ripe strawberries or raspberries

Key-Limes

  1. Soak cashews in a bowl of water in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Rinse.
  2. Add almonds, shredded coconut, ¼ tsp salt and half the dates to a food processor and process until almonds are mostly broken down, about 45 sec. Add remaining dates, chia seeds, 2tbsp coconut oil and the sesame seeds if using, and process another 30-45 sec until mixture is uniform.
  3. Press mixture into the bottom and along the sides of a 6-inch springform or round baking pan, so that the edge of the tart is about 1in higher than the bottom and sides are about ¼ in thick. Place crust in freezer.
  4. In a blender, combine cashews, coconut milk, 2tbsp honey, a pinch of salt, and vanilla. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  5. Set aside ⅓ C of the mixture. Add avocado, lime juice and zest, spirulina (or hemp/matcha) if using, and remaining tbsp honey to the blender and process until fully incorporated. Add ⅔ C coconut oil and blend. Pour mixture into crust and return to freezer.
  6. Rinse blender and add reserved creamy mixture, remaining 2 tbsp coconut oil, and berries & blend. Place in freezer
  7. After an hour, pop tart out of pan. Transfer pink frosting to a pastry bag or a ziplock plastic bag with corner cut off. Decorate tart with frosting, adding additional coconut and sliced lime if desired. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve and enjoy the same day!

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Gluten Free Hemp Protein Banana Pancakes

I really try to keep my sugar cravings in check, but sometimes you just need a pancake! Usually when I have a couple over ripe bananas, it’s time to bake banana muffins or some banana pancakes! Today, I chose to add hemp protein powder for a little extra oomf. Because let’s be honest, most of us aren’t getting adequate protein (generally speaking).

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So let’s get right to it! This is what you’ll need:

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

1C gluten free flour

3tbsp coconut oil melted (can use butter if you’d prefer)

1tbsp hemp protein powder (this can easily be removed or substituted for other protein powder)

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2tsp baking powder

1/4c sugar

1/4c water or milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and coconut oil. Cream on low as you add in eggs, vanilla, ACV, and water. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture to the bowl. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix until everything is combined.

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To Cook:

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add cooking oil to the hot pan and begin to measure out pancake batter in 1/4C servings. I usually cook two at a time in my medium sized cast iron. Cook on one side until small bubbles start to form around the perimeter of the pancake, then flip! You can alter cook time or temp depending on your stove, but you want a nice golden brown color on either side. Top with whatever you’d like! I usually go for butter and maple syrup. Piece of (pan)cake! Happy cooking ❤

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For the Love of FOOD

“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
-Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain was constantly on the hunt for new food, culture, and “parts unknown”. He was truly an inspiration in the culinary community and beyond. He always kept it real, raw, and unfiltered no matter who he was talking to. His respect for the art of cooking and feeding people was truly something to be admired…and so, in honor of the passing of a great man and chef, I want to talk about food.

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My passion for food and cooking has really taken off in the past 6 years. As someone who was raised being taught the basics in the kitchen, I always loved helping create a meal. Whether it was thanksgiving lunch, breakfast for my dad’s work friends, or any gathering that we hosted at my family’s house – I was always involved, helping prepare southern-style comfort food. It wasn’t until I discovered my love for making new (to me) foods that I started being comfortable stepping into the unknown and figuring out what my cooking style actually looked and tasted like. I took bits and pieces from family meals growing up, and turned them into something unique to me that still felt like home. Most of what I was raised on were convenience and comfort foods. While they were delicious to me at the time, they weren’t always the most nutrient dense meals. Lots of cheese, bread, and sugar. Like I said, southern. 🙂 Once I began working for a nutrition company and saw how what we put in our bodies can affect literally EVERYTHING, my cooking began to evolve again. The focus became not only flavor and presentation, but also how it could benefit my body and those I was cooking for. It pushed me to continue to find alternative sources for similar flavors that better served me long-term. With the use of the internet, specifically social media, I began to gain support and encouragement from my community around the food I was making. I loved hosting brunch gatherings or dinner parties and feeding my friends. I loved being presented with the challenges of cooking for people with different food sensitivities or dietary restrictions as it really broadened the spectrum of ingredients I was using as well as my skill set. These days I am still cooking for close friends on the regular. I’ve been asked to cater small work events and most recently have been invited to come cook for Steph Gongora and Erin Kelly’s upcoming retreat.

It feels good knowing that I’ve found something for myself that is challenging and effortless at the same time. I feel the most creative and artistic when I’m whipping up something new in the kitchen. I’ve learned to cook with confidence, and to just go for it when trying out a recipe or even winging it. Without any real “formal” training, I’ve been able to use my accumulated knowledge and experience to make meals that everyone can feel good about eating. There’s something so special about nourishing people through food. The sensory experience of it all with the presentation, the taste, the texture, and aromatics is so delightful and profound. The attention to detail, the combination of flavor profiles and variety of colors found in the different elements that make a meal are what keeps me coming back. I love getting people to try new things or experience a particular type of food in a different way. I love the sense of community that can be found surrounding a table of food or even just in the kitchen while I’m cooking. I just love cooking and every joy that comes from doing it and sharing it.

Table with food, top view. (Olga Klochanko/Shutterstock)

They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and I believe that without a doubt. When I put my love into what I’m creating, I hope that it translates and the people eating it can truly feel that as a gift from me.

Blossoming Together

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms”

-Zen Shin

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Photo: Kevin Aragon

Yesterday I was feeling completely discouraged. I had an interaction with a close friend that made me question everything I’ve ever believed to be true about this person, and more importantly – the work I wanted to do. I let that conversation, and all the feelings that came with it, deter me from my plans for my path and my future. I allowed myself to buy in to what they were trying to tell me. That I was being inauthentic and not “curating my own experience”. I stayed home in bed all day hurting, crying, and cancelling all my plans. I made phone calls, I deleted posts from social media and my website, and I closed myself off to the world. I felt the opposite of the support I want to offer to my community…especially to other women. I felt like every intention I had, when I decided to actually move forward with a dream I’ve been considering since I completed YTT, was disregarded and presented to me in the opposite way I’d like to receive it.

In my last post, I  talked about the power of community. I was feeling the love so fully and openly. I felt inspired and encouraged by my tribe. Today, after having conversations with my soul sisters and my mom, I still feel the love. I see the difference in walking the walk vs talking the talk. I see the difference of support vs competition. I see the difference between community and comparison. I feel misunderstood, surprised, and frustrated by those who do not truly see me, but I also feel embraced, loved, and supported by those who do. What a treasure it is to see and be seen fully, and to be able to be excited to move forward in love and unity.

Life is not a competition. Life is a beautiful dance filled with inspiration, motivation, and creation. We encounter people and experiences that change our lives as we know it, and allow us to carry with us that piece of themselves. Inspiration is abundant, and no two ideas from separate individuals will ever be exactly the same. Just like no snowflake is the same, no flower is the same, no grain of sand is the same, but they all share similarities that contribute to the whole. Each of us have our own special gifts and skillset, and even though several of us even share many similarities – we are as individual as can be. Let us rejoice in similarities, as well as differences. At the end of the day, we are not only creating our own life experiences, but affecting those all round us.

Life isn’t about just me, or just you, life is about US.

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Photo: Sean Callahan

 

Stay tuned for a re-release of my original retreat page. The show must go on! ❤

The Power of Community

Hello friends!

It’s been a rainy past few days in Denver, and I’m loving it! Finally giving myself the time and space to create here at home, so I felt it was the appropriate time to write!

I’ve been really inspired lately to write about the importance and power of community. Last month, I joined a previous co-worker in Costa Rica for her first sacred self care retreat. She hosted 17 women at a beautiful retreat space to help remind everyone of some ways in which we can give ourselves self care. Being with that community of women for a week was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. We were all so honest, open, vulnerable, and unapologetically ourselves. We laughed, cried, and shared some of the most beautiful and tender moments together. We shared some of our goals and strengths, as well as our fears and shortcomings. Carly created such a sweet container where we could all feel seen and heard, and it really inspired me to bring this sense of honest, supportive community back home with me.

Last night, another powerful woman in my life hosted such a wonderful women’s new moon circle in her home. We each brought some epsom salts, herbs, and essential oils to combine together while setting intentions for the new moon in Taurus. We each took a turn adding in our oils and herbs while sharing what was going on in our lives and what we’re hoping to accomplish, learn, or change during this next moon phase. Again – such an empowering and enlightening experience. I found myself thinking “me too” almost every time one of the women spoke. It was so beautiful to see how similar we all are, and how connected our experiences are to each other. It was also a great reminder that EVERYONE has stuff happening, everyone has struggles or fears, and everyone is constantly going through change. Having these moments of openness and expression was so nice, and to be surrounded by other women lifting you up, identifying with your words, and encouraging you to embrace those changes and keep pressing forward, was truly magical.

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New Moon in Taurus Gathering

The things linking these two experiences together are the fact that they were communities of women, we were all seeking connection – either to ourselves or others, and all of the experiences we shared have rippled out into the world around each of us who attended them. When we come together to discuss goals and ideas for the future, we are collectively physically and energetically supporting those things. We are giving voice to our desires and dreams, and our audience is actively listening and encouraging us to go for it!

So many times in my life I’ve found myself in unsavory relationships with my family, friends, partners, coworkers, etc. because of the lack of real community. I have felt uninspired, unloved, unimportant…and many other lower vibrational feels. I lacked support and encouragement. I lacked unconditional love acceptance. I lacked inspiration and connection to those I was giving my time and energy to. Each of these things have seemed to coincide with one another. If one is out of balance, it can throw the others out of balance. That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to surround yourself with a powerful and loving community of people! When you’re with those who lift you up, who teach you new things, who listen to you and see you for who you are, and who encourage you to be the best version of yourself – your life will transform! When we come together to not only share and inspire but also support one another, shift starts to happen – not just in our lives, but the ones around us. I came home from both of these events with a sense of renewal and clarity that made my relationships and even my day to day life so much nicer. When I’m being encouraged/inspired by others, it helps me feel like I can be of better support to everyone else. When I can be of better support to everyone else, maybe they feel like they’re able to continue the encouragement to the people in their lives. It creates a ripple of compassion, support, and positivity in your community when you can take the time to give and receive from the people closest to you.

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The connections I’m seeking out most these days are those based on love, vulnerability, non judgement, and encouragement to be the best I can be. I’m so grateful to have been blessed these past couple months with the presence of powerful amazing women, sharing space and time together. I hope that I can continue to bring this energy out into the world around me, and that it will continue a cycle throughout my community and beyond.

Keep Pushing Forward

“Mountains are only a problem when they are bigger than you. You should develop yourself so much that you become bigger than the mountains you face.”

– Idowu Koyenikan

 

This one is hard to write.

We are leaving our dream home in the mountains to move back to the city of Denver. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, as it was not exactly my choice to leave. There is too much of a story to recap in this post, but this has been a difficult transition. When you’ve decided on a place to call home, invested your love and energy into making the space your own, and really root down…then have it ripped from your hands, it is very unsettling.

So, now, the practice of acceptance begins. Accepting that the space you thought was right for you, didn’t turn out to be right. Accepting the fact that nothing is forever…and for some reason, this home was only to be enjoyed by us for one year. Accepting the challenges that came with moving there, living there, and moving away from there and knowing that each step in this process is necessary. It’s been a challenge for me to meet this situation with acceptance and understanding. At first I was hurt, and then I was angry, then came indifference. Indifference towards my health, my relationships, my work, and my living space as we finish out our last few days. Resentment is another emotion that came up. I found myself unable to even appreciate the beauty I was seeing all around me from day to day. Music didn’t sound the same, food didn’t taste good, I didn’t feel like cooking or moving my body. I was basically on autopilot…floating through my life, unable to recall how I got from one place to the next, but just that I had arrived there somehow. I got caught up on all the things I was upset about with my life instead of all the things I have to be thankful for. As you might have guessed, this isn’t the healthiest cycle to find yourself stuck in.
Instead, I began to think of all the things I am thankful for. I am thankful that I got to enjoy my first home with my partner for a year. I am thankful that I came home every day with gratitude for the space. I am thankful my parents and some of my nieces and nephews got to come experience our little mountain oasis with us. I am thankful we have somewhere to go next. I am thankful to be out of an unsavory business partnership, and to be closer to town so I can be more involved with a community. I am thankful for new business ventures, and for the way uncomfortable situations have pushed me to reach for the things I deserve. I know that there is a reason for all of this transition, and that eventually I will look back and understand why this all had to happen in exactly this way.

Right now, all I can do is keep pushing forward. My focus is on my growth. What lessons can I take from all of this? How can I improve? Where can I grow? Which patterns can I let go of that no longer serve me? Which opportunities can be seized here? I’m looking forward to what the future has in store…and will continue to roll with the punches, adapting to life instead of being a victim of it. With change comes new opportunity, and each day is a chance to completely turn your world around. How will you play the cards you’ve been dealt?

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Okay you guys. This is my favorite, go-to recipe for a sweet treat you don’t have to feel guilty about!

I don’t know about you, but I can never make it through a bunch of bananas without at least 2 of them becoming overly ripe. I almost always make some sort of muffin/pancake/pudding with them, and this one is always a winner! I use it so frequently, I’ve got it memorized. Perfect for gluten free, easy to substitute eggs if you’re vegan, and a different nut butter if you have peanut allergies. Win – win – win! 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

2tbsp sweetener (I typically do 1tbsp honey & 1tbsp maple syrup)

1C peanut butter

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2tsp baking soda

*OPTIONAL

*chocolate chips and/or shredded coconut

*chia seeds and/or flax seeds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a regular sized muffin tin with nonstick spray. Literally throw all of the ingredients MINUS the toppings into a food processor/blender/whatever and combine it all together until smooth. Top with whatever you’d like. For regular sized muffins, I tend to do 10 chocolate chips/muffin and a sprinkling of chia seeds/coconut/flax seed/pecan…whatever. Bake for 15 min or until golden brown. Let cool, enjoy! So simple!