photo friday (thursday): 1

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Those cat workout photos just slay me.

I’m taking a break this week from the “What’s on your face?!” series. I have a few exciting ideas brewing, plus an out of town trip planned for the weekend but I’ll be back with the series in the next week or two. Check out my Instagram if you’d like to see my adventures over the next couple of days. Going through some personal changes at the moment, trying to look inwardly and focus on good self-care. I’m deepening my yoga practice, taking some good alone time but not without a bit of time with family and friends. Looking forward and feeling positive these days.

It seems as if spring has suddenly switched to summer. Days with temperatures in the mid 80′s have started popping up. I’m definitely not ready for this!

Creamy sweet potato stew with chickpeas, red kale, and rosemary

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It’s recently gotten COLD again here. Cold and rainy seems to be the trend in these last days of late March. What better way to warm the soul than with a deep bowl of delicious, thick, hearty stew? This recipe is rich and delicious, simple yet elegant. Hearty, creamy, yet chock full of nutrient rich textures to delight your palate and your belly, warming you from the inside out.

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Creamy sweet potato stew with chickpeas, kale, and rosemary over creamy polenta

For the Stew:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 shallots, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 spring fresh rosemary, chopped

2 vegetable bullion cubes + 4 cups water or 4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

1 purple sweet potato

1 sweet potato

2-3 large red kale stalks, shredded

4 Tablespoons olive oil

pinch of dried thyme

Cube both sweet potatoes, toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees until tender. In a soup pot, sauté shallots in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, chickpeas, and rosemary, thyme, and tamari/soy sauce stirring to incorporate. Dissolve bullion in warm water and/or add 4 cups veggie broth to the pot. Lower heat and allow to simmer. In your food processor, combine cashews with just enough water to blend until smooth. Scoop cashew cream into the soup pot, then add sweet potatoes and kale. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the polenta:

(adapted from Brian Patton‘s The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home)

1 cup cornmeal

1 cups water

1 teaspoon salt + more to taste

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 small clove garlic, minced

pepper to taste

Bring water to a bowl. Whisk in salt and cornmeal. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, until mixture has thickened but is still pourable. Add salt and pepper to taste, garlic, and nutritional yeast. Ladle into a bowl, top with stew, serve immediately.

 

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 If you’d like a firmer polenta, you can make it ahead of time and allow it to thicken as it cools or bake it in a baking dish before serving. I love this polenta and it makes the perfect base for a rich and creamy stew filled with fresh seasonal ingredients mostly bought from our local farmer’s market. I couldn’t think of a lovelier way to spend a chilly spring evening, could you?

 

What’s on your face?! Top Home remedies

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There are always those kind of quirky home remedies you grow up with as a kid that the older people in your family are always telling you about. From cuts and scrapes to bug bites, stings, burns, and bruises, it seems there’s some off the wall way to heal them all. While we’ve probably all heard of some down right odd ways to heal skin abrasions in our day, there are several that I trust to work and that I return to time and time again.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil massaged onto the temples will help alleviate headaches. A couple drops with your epsom salt bath water is invigorating and uplifting. Peppermint oil is also delicious in various cooking endeavors. (I’m thinking add a couple drops to your black bean brownies to give ‘em a little umpf.)

Citrus

Yet again, LOVE citrus for skincare. This is a great list of uses for citrus, in and out of the kitchen. My favorite–squeezed into tea with fresh ginger to help digestion. I always keep a lemon in a sealed container in the fridge–I cute off a wedge every time I need it and reserve the rest for later use. Lemon water in my trusty insulated water bottle has become one of my favorite beverages these days.

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Tea tree oil

I adore tea tree oil for many reasons. I love its smell, its healing properties and how affordable it is. I have a large bottle that seems to have lasted me ages. It’s a great toner for your face and can be used as an astringent. It’s good for banishing blemishes, and has powerful antiseptic properties. I first began using tea tree oil after a nasty cat bite. Now any cut or scrape I have gets a smear of tea tree to help it heal up nicely.

Baking Soda

The household uses for baking soda are truly endless! From cooking, to cleaning, even whitening fabrics in the washing machine, baking soda is a great product to keep around. I’ve been lucky to avoid beestings and insect bites for much of my life but the few times I’ve gotten stung I always make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it over the wound. This greatly reduces pain and swelling and helps with the initial discomfort associated with a sting or bite.

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Salt

Epsom salts are truly cure-alls. Soaking in them is not only purifying for your skin but also reduces swelling and inflammation. If I ever have a splinter, I’ll often add just plain table salt to a bowl of warm water and soak my splintered appendage in it for a few minutes. This always makes the skin softer and less swollen and helps the splinter to ease out.

What are you favorite home remedies? Have you heard of any especially wacky ones?

spring

2014-03-20 13.10.48 2014-03-20 12.42.53 2014-03-20 11.05.46 2014-03-20 10.55.09 2014-03-20 12.43.17 2014-03-20 12.48.17 2014-03-20 15.31.41 2014-03-23 16.16.28 2014-03-23 16.16.42 2014-03-23 16.17.09It’s been somewhat of a rainy, soupy, mess ’round these parts of late. I find myself, more often than not, venturing out in my gently used rain wellies that were regifted to me. I’ve discovered that one of my favorite local eateries now specializes in gluten free pita bread, something that has made my world all the brighter. Now, when I go in to eat I don’t have to skip the time honored practice of scooping up dishes with a crispy, delicious slice of flat bready goodness.

Deepening my yoga practice has made this season so much more significant to me. Like “awakening” from corpse pose, the little town in which I live seems to be stretching and waking up for spring. Tiny flowers everywhere, still a lingering cold in the air, mossy greens and light violet colors staining the landscape. Lately, I’ve been walking EVERYWHERE, weather permitting. The other day it was a romp around town, including a little detour onto my favorite part of campus, my old art department. It was hard to believe it’s been over a year since I have walked its halls. During undergrad, that building was my haven the hustle and bustle of an enormous campus.

This time of very early spring is perhaps one of my favorites. Nature seems to hold her breath, waiting for the long sigh of relief that is a full-blown spring. I’ve embraced my love of the color yellow in recent months. With all of the proper wintery weather we had this year, yellow was a cheery color in the midst of gray. Yellow flowers have always been among my favorites–daffodils and sunflowers. This time of the year, they seem to glow from the backdrop of a a half-wintery world, and in summer their yellow hue might seem commonplace but it is vibrant nonetheless.

What parts of spring are you loving?