Introducing “Sew-N-Style” By Shaquan Nelson

Firstly, I would like to say congratulations to a former classmate of mine Mrs. Shaquan Nelson on starting her hair accessory business “Sew-N-Style”! Shaquan Nelson, age 23, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin relocated to Saint Louis, Missouri and started her passionate journey as a creative and talented entrepreneur specializing in beautifully vibrant, custom, hand-made hair wraps, scarfs, hairbands, and bandanas. In the words of  Shaquan ” I decided to start my own line of head wraps because I’ve had quite a few days where I felt like my outfit was everything, but my hair just wouldn’t act right! Every time I’d go to the store, I could never find a cute scarf, or hair accessories, so I decided to learn how to make them. People started to notice my work, I started to gain more and more customers, so now here I am! I make head wraps, headbands, etc. for women, men and kids. I have matching “mommy and me wraps” (by request). I also make bandannas for kids and puppies. My goal is to make everyone to feel like Kings and Queens when wearing my products! Consider your head wrap, scarf, or bandana to be your very own crown.” With that being said help me in supporting this upcoming small business, Sew-N-Style. Purchase a beautiful hair accessory, or two 😉 if not for yourself then they may also serve as an awesome gift to family, friends and pets this holiday season! She currently does drop-off to local customers but also ships world-wide (fees apply). Sew-N-Styles products can be viewed and purchased using the contact information below!

Contact

Instagram: @Sewnstyle1

Phone: +1-414-732-9756

Email: ShaquanNelson19@gmail.com

 

 

 

Salty, Sweet, Crunchy, Guilt-free Goodness

Ok, so last week I let you all in on a little secret of mine! Yes, I too eat junk food from time to time but the point of that post was just to relate to those who are reluctant to make the transition into plant-based eating. So yes although those snacks listed on my previous post are considered junk-food they are still in fact made without any meat or dairy products. Now this I would like to introduce two of my healthier favorite go-to snacks, sea salted maple popcorn and dark chocolate drizzled peanut butter granola bars. Both packed than enough flavors to satisfy your snack cravings, easy recipes that won’t take much time, and inexpensive ingredients! Simple, healthy, and delicious, sounds like the perfect snacks to me, don’t you agree? Um hm, I knew you would. 🙂 Below you will find the ingredients and instructions on how to prepare both of these delightful snacks!

Sea Salted Sweet Maple Popcorn

Ingredients: 2/3 cups of plain popcorn kernels, 1/3-1/2 cups of butter (use margarine or oil of choice if vegan), 3-4 tbsp of original maple syrup, pinch or 2 of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot melt 1/3-1/2 cups of butter or margarine on medium heat
  2. Add 3-4 tbsp of maple syrup and a large pinch of sea salt (more can be added later)
  3. Use a spoon to mix everything and wait until the mixture starts to foam
  4. Once it foams add the popcorn kernels and cover pot for 4-7 minutes
  5. Shake the pot regularly so that kernels cook evenly
  6. Take lid off and allow popcorn to cool for 1-2 minutes and enjoy

Add more sea salted syrup if desired, simply recreate mixture in a pot and pour over popcorn, allow to settle and enjoy.

 

Dark Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Granola Bars (no baking required)

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats, 1/4 cup of nuts (finely chopped if you can find if not combined all desired nuts and gently smash with a hammer or canned good), 1/4 seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, etc.), 1/4 cups dried fruits (optional), as many chocolate chips as you’d like (optional…dark chocolate if vegan), a pinch of salt salt, 1/2 cup of sweetener (agave, maple syrup, or honey), 2/3 cups of peanut butter or any nut butter of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Mix oats, seeds, chocolate chips, and dried fruit in a large bowl
  2. In another bowl mix together nut butter, sweetener, and salt
  3. Pour second mixture into oat mixture, and mix well until everything is sticky and combined. (if too dry, add more sweetener)
  4. Scoop and press mixture well into a shallow baking dish, lined with foil or saran wrap
  5. Drizzle with chocolate sauce or syrup
  6. Cover with more foil/saran, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours
  7. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated till ready to eat

 

The bars will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the fridge and one week if left out. Keep covered at all times to remain freshness! I hope you enjoy these easy to make healthy but delicious snacks.

 

       Happy snacking!

Putting Your Insomnia To Bed With Passion Flower Tea

We all have those nights where we just can’t fall asleep no matter what or how hard we try. Happens to the best of us and it’s completely normal from time to time, however when it starts to become a constant thing is when you should become concerned. Insomnia is caused by stress, depression, anxiety, and so many other things as you may already know. And we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by taking our days (problems) to bed with us but for some reason we tend to make the mistake of doing just that. I know, I’ve been there and it’s never really done purposely. Certain thoughts and feelings always decide to show up in the middle of the night. I’ve suffered from insomnia for 2 years during college and didn’t even really notice it. I would say things like “I’m a night owl”, “I don’t need a lot of sleep”, “I don’t go to bed til 3/4 am” and I honestly thought that was ok and normal…or that it was just me. It took for me to actually want to go to bed early one day because I wasn’t feeling good and I just couldn’t. So even feeling as bad as I did I still was unable to fall asleep and stay sleep. That day is when I noticed that I had a problem, and didn’t have the slightest idea of how to solve it. I tried everything I could think of from sleep music to the whole “no electronics/distractions in the bedroom” thing but would still find myself up just staring and thinking. Nothing was working and the lack of sleep started to take a toll on my physical and mental states. I just wanted to sleep and stay sleep longer than 2-3 hours. I had to find a natural solution (I’m super anti-medicine) and fast. I started googling natural ways to cure insomnia and I discovered “natures sleeping potion”….seriously. Passion Flower Tea! Who would’ve thought that a flower could contain compounds that naturally lower anxiety and stress levels and also improves sleep? After doing my research I decided to give it try; and no exaggeration on the very first night of drinking the tea I’d managed to sleep a full 6 hours! It still took me about an hour or so to fall asleep but once I did I was out for the night. That next morning I woke up feeling magical. I definitely felt the difference in my body and mood. I’d finally slept for more than a few hours and felt on top of the world, all thanks to the extracts of this beautiful flower being turned into tea. If you find yourself in a similar situation I’d suggest going to a grocery store, grabbing a box of passion flower tea, along with some honey or agave if vegan, sipping a full cup before bed and let the tea do it’s thing.

Another method I’d found useful is putting a diffuser in your room and putting a few drops of passion flower oil in the water…that combined with the tea and  you will definitely get the sleep you need! You may need about 6 alarms to get you out of bed lol jk but you are guaranteed to peacefully sleep through the night!

Thank me later! Sleep tight

Having a Hard Time Getting Rid of Dark and or Red Spots?

We all know how annoying and inconvenient acne can be, from popping up at the absolute worst times to the after-scarring it tends to leave. Sure, I could easily throw some make-up over it and go on about my day but at the end of the day those marks and scars will be still be there when I remove it. I’d personally prefer a permanent solution rather than a temporary or quick fix. A lot factors play into how your skin grows and flourishes such as using the proper products for your skin type, regularly changing your bed sheets and pillow cases, diet, etc. But the one factor most people drop the ball on is taking the time to find the right product for their specific skin type. Many people go for store brand or popular products that everyone is using when they should be going the more natural route. I strongly encourage everyone to try experimenting with natural chemical free products to cleanse and protect your beautiful faces before going out spending a fortune on products that will only further damage your skin! Bringing me to my next point, ACV, also known as apple cider vinegar…the products of many benefits. Yes it stinks lol, but it can be safely used all over the body, as a blood sugar balancer, as a cleaning product, as a salad dressing, and as so many other things. So honestly you have nothing to lose by trying this method, it’s extremely cheap and even if it doesn’t work out as a toner for you (which I am 100% sure that it will, unless you’re allergic) you can always use it for something else! All you need is distilled water, acv, cotton balls, and a glass or plastic container for storage.

Instructions on using acv as a toner:

  1. Pour one part acv into container
  2. Mix two parts distilled water
  3. Shake the container to evenly mix
  4. Dip cotton ball or pad into mixture
  5. Apply to a freshly washed face and allow to dry (avoid contact with eyes and inside of nose)
  6. Moisturize your face as normal

*Always dilute acv when using it on the skin, it’s very strong and can burn*

Do this twice a day and you’ll see results in as quickly as two weeks. Store in a dark, cool place, may also be refrigerated. Discard at the end of each month and make a new batch.

Confidently get rid of spotting with a multi-use, inexpensive, natural product.

Cool Showers and Shea Butter 👀💦✨

I love a hot shower just as much as the next person but what if I told you that the constant use of hot water sucks the moisture from your body and hair? Drying out and irritating your skin, stripping away natural oils, basically causing unnecessary damage to both your skin and hair. Thankfully skin and hair sheds and regrows so it’s never too late to stop those bad habits and start over with new benefiting ones that will repair and hydrate your skin and hair like never before. It’s so easy to make the change and you’ll truly see and feel the differences going from from dry and ashy to moisturized and glowing, and going from having dry brittle hair with split ends to healthy shiny and smooth even strands. Implementing two small changes will present big results. Start by taking more cool (notice I didn’t say cold) shower than steaming hot ones. I’m not saying to stop taking hot showers all together because let’s be honest those feel amazing but I feel they should be taken in moderation (let’s say maybe 2-3 times a week versus your usual everyday routine). And immediately after your shower (while your skin and or hair is still damp) apply shea butter. Boom! Simple enough right? I know skin-care can seem tedious especially on those days when we are worn out and exhausted but we have to get better at taking care of our largest organ, our beautiful skin! Unless you don’t care about looking good (lies!!), but if you do like I do then you will stop the neglect and start adopting more beneficial habits.

If you’re in the market for a reliable and authentic home-made whipped shea, argan, or jojoba, butter source/retailer then check out my “feature/promo of the week”   https://theelevationjourney.com/category/feature-of-the-week/ tab for more information! Shipping (world-wide), deliveries, and pick-ups are now available in Bangkok, Thailand and surrounding areas.

Why is it so easy to neglect exercising the mental? *rolls eyes*

Warning: This is more of a rant…please feel free to comment your thoughts though!

Ughhh…I just don’t get it! Why did we ever stop exercising our minds? Why did we stop buying books? Why did we stop having conversations of substance? When, why and how did we become so addicted to technology? Why are we so quick to read a ShadeRoom article but won’t click on someone you know who blogs worthy information website? (shade, LOL) But seriously, last question…what’s up with this constant need to be entertained?

Ok hear me out and listen good!

Scenario: Your mom just made dinner…every makes their own plates (which is fine), but then you all take your plates and go, including mom. You go to your room to watch a newly discovered netflix series and eat, your brother takes his food and continues to play his video game while eating, your sister is recording a video of her plate to upload to snapchat and is watching videos on Instagram while eating, your baby sister has her plate in front but is too distracted by watching other kids play with toys on Youtube to eat, dad is on the living room couch eating his food and watching the game and mom is in her room watching her favorite show and chowing down as well.

So let me get this right 🧐🤔. Mom just made a dinner for her family and instead of eating together and who knows maybe having a conversation we all just decided that the internet is more important, valuable, and entertaining. Interesting…time, not even a lot of time at that, maybe 30 minutes that could be spent with your family was just wasted on something that was literally going to be there as soon as you were done eating. Does this make sense to y’all? It can literally wait, you can pause, rewind, refresh or whatever it is you have to do…I promise it isn’t going anywhere lol smh!

I’m not saying anything is wrong with the internet because it’s definitely a tool I love and find useful, but I just want to bring awareness to that fact that we as a whole use it entirely too much. And I’m not seeing the benefit or point of it, especially those who aren’t making a difference with it or using it to make money. Just saying it’s ok to go read a book, take a walk, have a conversation, go a few days without the internet…you know just live life without having to use technology or the internet to get through the day!!! Ok, I’m done for now. Thank you for tuning into my ted talk 😂✌🏾 see ya next week!

My Top 40 “Accidentally Vegan” Snacks

If you thought being vegan just meant eating fruits, vegetables, and rice then you’re in for a real surprise. LOL, I actually know a lot of unhealthy and even obese vegans. Just because someone isn’t consuming animal products doesn’t mean that they are always eating healthy. For example, speaking for myself here…I love chips, and all types of chips not just plain potato chips or tortilla chips! I love a flavorful crunch and I couldn’t imagine a world without chips, or snacks at all. Once I decided to make the transition to plant-based eating I thought my options were going to be limited to maybe 2-3 varieties of chips but after doing a littler research I was happy to find out that I was wrong. Not only can I enjoy chips, crackers, french fries, etc but I can also satisfy my sweet tooth with cookies, brownies, candy and even ice cream without cheating on my diet! Below you will find a list (my top 40) of a large variety of well known snacks that aren’t advertised as vegan but I can reassure you that they are.

  1. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
  2. Original Lays & Original Pringles
  3. BBQ & Salt & Vinegar Lays Potato Chips
  4. Cracker Jack Caramel Popcorn
  5. Original & BBQ Fritos
  6. Ritz Crackers
  7. Cap’n Crunch (all flavors..yay)
  8. Keebler Original Club Crackers
  9. Wheat Thins (Buffalo, Hint of Salt, Zesty Salsa, etc)
  10. Wise Onion Rings
  11. Tortilla Chips (Original & Lime)
  12. Snyders Original & Jalapeno Pretzel Sticks
  13. Smartfood Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
  14. Original Sunchips
  15. Kettle  Brand Chips (Maple Bacon…yep I promise, Jalapeno, Red Curry, etc)
  16. Stacy’s Pita Chips (Simply Naked, Italian, Veggie Medley)
  17. McCormick Bac’n Bits (I know I’m not the only one who eats these plain LOL)
  18. Hairbo Sour S’ghetti Gummy Candy
  19. Swedish Fish
  20. Sour Patch Kids
  21. Fruit by the Foot Rollups
  22. Airheads
  23. Jollyranchers
  24. Super Bubble Bubble Gum
  25. Keebler Fudge Shoppe Fudge Pops
  26. Charms Sweet Lollipops
  27. Minute Maid Frozen Juice Bars
  28. Quaker Apple Cinnamon Rice Cakes
  29. Nabisco Ginger Snaps
  30. Oreo Thin Crips
  31. Unfrosted Poptarts
  32. Nature Valley Granola Bars
  33. Belvita Chocolate Bites
  34. Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix
  35. Smuckers Uncrustables
  36. Duncan Hines Whipped Chocolate & Vanilla Frosting
  37. Jello-O Banana Cream Pudding Mix (perfect for banana pudding)
  38. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I’m not ashamed to say that I can eat the entire package for breakfast)
  39. Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-free Ice cream (if you haven’t tried these then please do, you won’t regret it!)
  40. Hershey’s Chocolate & Strawberry Syrup

That’s just a list of personal favorites, there are many other snacks and frozen foods that are “accidentally vegan”. See, told you that just because something doesn’t contain meat or dairy that is isn’t good…I bet you’ve been eating vegan snack all along and didn’t even know it lol ;). Now I’m not saying you should eat these snacks all the time but I’m just letting you know that having a vegan or plant-based diet does not mean you have any limits.

To find out about more vegan snacks and food visit http://www.peta.org , warning you will be surprised!

Introducing “MeowM30w Smooth Butters”

The lovely and extraordinary Sherese Faulkner from Stafford,VA,US is a 32 year old entrepreneur who is currently living and working in Bangkok, Thailand. She just recently started her business “MeowM30w Smooth Butters” and I couldn’t be more excited to introduce her new cosmetic skin care line! In the words of Sherese herself  “I started my business due to the huge void of whipped butters (body/hair) i.e: shea, argan, jojoba, etc. not being available here in Thailand. I sometimes have eczema flare-ups and have always made my own whipped butters/oils. So, I thought hey why not make my butters available and affordable for everyone over here.” And boom there you have it! Natural, now easily accessible products made with integrity and background knowledge are now available in Thailand for pick-up or delivery (she also ships world-wide so don’t miss out on a chance to support a dope individual just because she isn’t down the street). She took her own personal skin issues, created a solution and started her business, a hair and body cosmetic line called “MeowM30w Sm00th Butters”! I personally have had the honors of purchasing and testing out her products for myself about 2 weeks ago and let’s just say I’m almost due for a refill. I absolutely love her whipped shea butter and I literally use it from head to toe every single day! Can’t wait to test out more products. Congrats and I can’t wait to see you and your business grow! Everyone please place your orders at meowm30wbutters@gmail.com . ~meow~ 🐱

The Magical Meat Replacement…Jackfruit!

Oh Jackfruit 😉 my guilty pleasure! Never in a lifetime would I have even imagined using a fruit to replace meat but please believe me when I say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten….EVER! This magical fruit will literally save your life if you’re looking for a cheat code into the plant-based lifestyle. It can be used as a meat replacement in all of your favorite meals such as tacos, pulled “pork” sandwiches, wraps, nachos, roast “beef”, etc the options are endless. Jackfruit is also is very easy to cook and doesn’t take up much time at all to prepare which is another plus!

Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich, Wrap, Tacos, etc.

Ingredients:

Canned jackfruit in brine (drain, rinse and remove seeds)

Salt

Pepper

Seasoned salt (add other seasonings according to meal)

Bbq sauce of choice, taco sauce, gravy, etc (according to meal)

olive oil

Instructions:

1.Open can(s), drain jackfruit, rinse in warm water, remove any seeds.

2. Cut pieces into halves.

3. Place in bowl and season with salt, pepper, seasoned salt etc.

4. Pour 1-2 table spoons of olive oil in bowl then mix the jackfruit around until it’s covered evenly in seasonings and oil.

5. Prepare as you normally prepare your meal. Be cautious that if using a skillet to cook the jackfruit (for example when making tacos) that it doesn’t need to cook long ( so simmer on a medium low heat and add more sauce (or whatever) periodically.

6. Once jackfruit is finished cooking take two forks and further shred it if it is not already shredded to your liking.

Jackfruit can be cooked in the oven, slow cooker, or in a skillet. After “saucing it up” add desired toppings, along with your favorite side and viola! You’re on your way to enjoying one of the best plant-based meals you’ve ever had in your life! If you have any left overs they can be frozen and of course can be turned into another meal of choice 🤤. I can go on and on about jackfruit because I just love how limitless this miraculous plant can be but I’ll stop here. Don’t just take my word for it, try it out for yourself. Jackfruit can be found in almost any grocery store on the canned fruit aisle. Remember to get the kind in brine and NOT syrup. Comment results below!

D.I.Y. Olive Oil & Sugar Exfoliating Scrub (Face, Lip and Body)

If you weren’t already olive oil (liquid gold!) has many uses and it also happens to have many great healthy benefits for the skin. Most oils are known to clog your pores but not olive oil; olive oil doesn’t sit on top of your skin like others. It actually seeps in beyond the surface and deeply penetrates and moisturizes multiple layers of skin. When applying olive oil less is definitely more; just a dime sized portion for any part of the body will do the trick! It’s made up of antioxidants (Vitamin E), can be used as a make-up remover, or a cuticle softener; and it even helps to enhance the exfoliation process.

Which brings me to my next point. Exfoliation! Exfoliating is life, it feels amazing and the results are even better. Exfoliating is significantly important to having healthy skin. And what better way to exfoliate your skin than with a home-made chemical free sugar scrub solution? With this inexpensive, hassle-free, D.I.Y. olive oil & sugar scrub you will be on your way to having clearer, smoother, and more radiant skin in no time!

The benefits of exfoliating includes preventing dry and itchy skin, removing the build up of old dead skin cells that clog pores and cause acne and cysts, and also by producing a beautiful natural glow and softer feel. However, you should also be cautious of over-exfoliating. Over-exfoliating can cause your skin to become dehydrated leading to irritation and dryness. So, I recommend exfoliating skin no more than 3 time a week, preferably skipping a day or two in between scrubs to prevent tenderness, redness and irritation.

Ingredients: (lasts for 2 weeks, after 2 weeks discard and re-make; using fresh ingredients means that the shelf like won’t be as long as store bought chemical filled scrubs but if you’re using it as you should the scrub should only be enough to last you two weeks)

1/2 cup brown sugar (organic or regular)

1/2 of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of honey (organic or regular, use agave if vegan)

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

optional:

1/4 of vanilla extra

Instructions: (can be used all over, face, lip & body scrub)

  1. Add the olive oil into a plastic or glass container or jar with a lid
  2. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of honey/agave
  3. Mix or stir until the two are completely blended
  4. Add the granulated sugar
  5. Add the brown sugar
  6. Stir until the mixture becomes a thick grainy paste (test with finger, add more sugar or oil depending on the texture you desire)
  7. Allow scrub to settle for a minimum of 15 mins
  8. After scrub has settled it is now ready for use!
  9. Scrub a small amount and rub into skin in a circular motion for about 60 seconds
  10. Rinse skin throughly with cool water and pat dry with a towel apply a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil to skin after to lock in moisture

I hope some of you found this scrub is useful, if you decide to give it a try comment your results!

4 Beginner Yoga Poses and Their Benefits

The practice of yoga has many benefits such as elevating mental, physical, and spiritual strengths. A consistent practice of yoga can increase focus and discipline skills, bring you inner peace, enhance flexibility, balance, and overall health. To some yoga may seem intimidating but I believe that’s because people think that they have to be already flexible, or strong or whatever prior thoughts they have about yoga when that’s not the case at all. There are different types of yoga ranging from easy to advanced so please understand that you will work your way up to all the “cooler” poses. We all have to start somewhere so, start slow, keep an open mind, and remember that you have to practice to get results! Below you will find 4 beginner yoga poses, and their benefits…enjoy!

1. Boat Pose – improves digestion and alleviate excessive gas, burns belly fat, strengthens arms, thighs, and shoulder muscles, regulates blood flow and helps to increase ability to focus. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 5 breaths)

2. Warrior Pose I– strengthens your leg, knee, and feet muscles, improves posture, stretches your spine and shoulders while also increasing focus and balance. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 10 breaths)

3. One Legged King Pigeon Pose- stretches the entire body, strengthens your spinal cord, relieves tension of tight hips, stimulates core muscles and organs, opens chest and shoulders allowing a better path for your airways. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 10 breaths)

4. Tree Pose– (best practiced in open air and sun light) strengthens your ankles and calves, elongates the body, improves balance, opens up your hip laterally and loosens the surrounding joints and muscles, decreases back pain and stress levels. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 10 breaths)

Practice these poses again and again until you can remain the pose comfortably and focus on your breathing without becoming unbalanced, distracted or shaky. Yoga is not something that has to be done every day, I recommend practicing poses 2-3 times a week to start off and slowly increase time and intensity!

D.I.Y. Aloe Vera & Lemon Mask

Benefits of the Aloe Vera  & Lemon Mask: clears up clogged pores, kills acne causing bacteria, lightens dark spots, smooths out rough skin, naturally moisturizes skin.

D.I.Y. Instructions:

  1. Cut aloe vera plant into 4 pieces horizontally
  2. Use a spoon to scrape the gel from inside the plant (2 pieces)
  3. Scoop gel into a clean container bowl that has a storage lid
  4. Cut a lemon in half, remove seeds.
  5. Squeeze the juice from one half of the lemon into the same container bowl
  6. Use a spoon or a fork if the gel is more solid and mix the lemon juice and gel together until it is no longer separated
  7. Store in the fridge for 2-3 hours to let settle
  8. Remove mask from fridge and apply a thin layer to a freshly washed face
  9. Leave the mask on for 30 mins minimum (can also be used as an overnight mask, it’s very light weight just make sure it’s dry before going to bed)
  10. Rinse face with cold water and repeat each day/night

Mask should last for 7 days, after 7 days discard and remake.

Left over aloe vera and lemon can be frozen until it’s time to be used again to retain freshness. Comment and let me know your results!

3 Delicious Meatless Fall Recipes

Eating plant-based is not only salads and smoothies…the possibilities are literally endless! You have no idea how many times I hear “I don’t see how you get full eating only vegetables” or “vegan/ vegetarian food is boring or nasty” along with one million other uneducated closed-minded comments. When I first started eating plant-based it was actually much easier than I expected! I simply recreated my favorite meals by including more fresh ingredients and excluding the processed ingredients such as dairy products, canned foods, and etc. So not only is the food I cook and consume comforting and fulfilling but it’s also fresh and if I say so myself delightful.

I’ve put together 3 fulfilling meal yet simple recipes guaranteed to make your tastebuds smile this Fall season…thank me later 😉

  1. Mexican Inspired 3-Bean Chili

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of Kidney beans, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup of pinto beans (soak beans overnight before, it’s ok to soak them all together), 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of tomato puree, 1 tbsp of olive oil 1 packet of chili powder, paprika, cayenne , salt, pepper, 2-3 medium tomatoes diced, 1 finely chopped clove fresh garlic, 1 finely chopped small onion, 1 cup of corn (frozen or freshly cut from cob), jalapeños (optional), 1/3-1/2 cup of fresh bell peppers (red, orange, yellow or green any will do)

Instructions: Serves 3-4

  1. After boiling beans, drain excess water and pour into a bowl for later.
  2. Heat a large wide pan on medium heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic and peppers to oil and sauté for about 10 mins.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir for 30-60 seconds, then add cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper to taste and stir fry for about one minute.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, corn and soy sauce, bring to a simmer, cover and leave on low heat for 10-20mins, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, beans, packet of chili powder, corn, and jalapeños then stir and bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes until beans are hot. Keep an eye on the chili and add a couple of tbsp of water if it starts to become dry.

Add toppings if desired and enjoy!

2. Veggie Shepherd’s Pie (Pot Pie)

Ingredients:  Store bought or home made biscuits or pie crust, 1/2 of cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk, 1 cup of chopped mushrooms, 1 small onion chopped, 1 clove of garlic chopped, 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn, 2 small potatoes peeled and diced, 1 cup of chopped carrots, 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas, 1 chopped celery stalk, 4 cups of vegetable broth (store bought stock or boil 4 cups of water with a few bullion cubes), 1 bay leaf, 2 tbsp of margarine, 3 tbsp of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of unbleached flour, seasoned salt to taste.

Instructions: Serves 4

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat then add garlic, onion, mushrooms, a pinch of salt of pepper and then stir for about 3 mins.
  3. After stirring add carrots, celery, and potato and saute’ them until tender,  so about 5-8 mins then add flour.
  4. Slowly mix in the broth, then add almond milk and bay leaf and stir well.
  5. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook until it thickens, about 5-7 mins.
  6. After mixture starts to thicken add peas and corn, seasoned salt to taste, and cook for an additional 5 mins then take from heat and let settle.
  7. Roll out the dough or biscuit and cut into 4 equal pieces. Place the dough flatly on base of mini pan, or if using a cup or bowl to make individuals cover inside with dough (if there is excess trim off and use for the top covering)
  8. Once pan(s) are lined with dough add filling to each and add more dough on top.
  9. Press the edges slightly and brush the tops of the dough with melted margarine and cut 1-3 slits in the top for venting.
  10. Place the pan in oven and bake until the dough is a flaky golden brown for about 45-40 mins.

Allow pie(s) to cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy! ( If there is left over filling it may be frozen)

3. Creamy rosemary tomato soup 

Ingredients: 12 small tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes), 3 gloves of peeled garlic, 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1/3 of hot water, 1/3 cup of almond, coconut or soy milk, 3 tbsp of margarine, salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste.

Instructions: Serves 2-3

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, remove any hard sections and place on baking sheet evenly spread out
  3. Add rosemary and garlic cloves, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and onion powder on the pan and drizzle with olive oil all over.
  4. Roast the tomatoes, rosemary and garlic for 35-40 mins (the tomatoes should look very soft and should be starting to turn brown)
  5. Add tomatoes, garlic, juices from pan, hot water, almond milk, and margarine to a blender and blend until it is completely pureed.
  6. Boil 1/3 -1/2 cup of water or milk depending on the flavor and thickness you’re going for and add mixture from blender to the boiling water/milk along with more pepper, salt, and onion powder if desired.

Allow soup to cool and enjoy with toast or crackers on the side.

If you decide to try a recipe make sure you comment and let me know how if turned out for you!

Mantra Meditation

Meditation can take a while to master, simply because your mind naturally wanders, especially when you’re first beginning the practice. From experience mantras have helped me remain focused during meditation and also give me a better overall feeling afterwards. And what’s a mantra you ask? Well a mantra is a phrase or word that is repeated/chanted over and over again. For example my first mantra was a quote I read and fancied by Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and I would get into my pose, close my eyes & repeat those words over and over while meditating (unfocused breathing). I would focus on those words and at first I would see visions of how I saw the world and then visions of how I wish the world actually was. Eventually, after weeks of repeating the words they for a lack of better words became me and I became them. When I said those words I no longer saw any visuals but instead I felt relaxed and comforted by the mantra, I felt at ease, and my heart was noticeably less heavier than before. So not only did repeating the mantra prevent my mind from senseless wandering but it also helped me to relax. It helped me to believe in the words I was saying and it also gave me another level of consciousness. I would honestly say that the mantra changed my entire view on meditation although I don’t need to use them as much now days. However, every now and again when I am feeling overwhelmed or a bit somber I will incorporate a new mantra into my practice to lift my spirits and fill my mind and body with positivity! So if you are having trouble meditating then I suggest finding a mantra and using that as a new starter point. You can google quotes that make you feel good or you can find some actual ancient hindu/buddhist mantras (this would probably be more helpful because it’s not in a language your brain could correlate anything to).

Here are a few positive mantras that I’ve found helpful in the past:

  1. “I change my thoughts, I change my world”~Norman Peale
  2. “I send myself love.  I send love to those who need it”~Unknown (This mantra is to be said in two parts: *inhale* “I send myself love.” *exhale* “I send love to those who need it.”)
  3. “Everything I need is already within me”~Unknown
  4. “Life is not a rehearsal but a gift so I must treat it as such”~Dr. Wayne Dyer
  5. “I accept myself, my flaws, my past, my present and my destiny”~Tena Desae

Please comment and let me know if mantra meditation works for you better than normal meditation or just comment to let me know how meditation in general has made you feel!