Let me start by saying this recipe does not contain any sugar or salt. I know, now you're hooked and all curious. To be clear, I have nothing against sugar and salt. They have never once offended me. However, I ventured to make this recipe with my parents in mind, and sugar and salt are a no-go for them. My mom has recently started a strict vegan diet (yay for more vegans in the family) but sugar and sodium are a no go on this diet. My dad cannot have sugar or salt either because he has a super rare disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia. We've known for a while sugar is a trigger for his nerve shocks, but we are recently discovering salt could be problematic and lead to some inflammation (which could cause nerve flare-ups with his disease). So before you @ me for not including salt and sugar, I HAD A GREAT REASON.
Even though it was still above 90 degrees in Oklahoma this week, I have been craving Fall and all the Fall foods. Hence the pumpkin pancakes. This recipe is pretty easy to whip up, and if you skimmed the top and are just now tuning in, it's very healthy too. I had pancakes for dinner with this recipe and was immediately in a better mood.
Drum roll, please!!!! And here we go.
1 1/4 cup of flour
2 tbsp of baking powder
1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (or a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove)
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cup of unsweet non-dairy milk (I use almond)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup (and more for drizzling on top)
1 tsp olive oil (for the skillet)
1/4 cup of walnuts
I hope you enjoy this sweet treat as much as I did. Remember to check out my other recipes or tips on my instagram and blog!
Now, this might sound weird, but our wellness is affected and influenced by so many things, including our environment. Environmental wellness is about both the Earth and your physical environment. We must take care of the Earth because it gives us life. Likewise, your physical environment, where you exist, needs to be healthy and sustainable. Being surrounded by a healthy environment can help us thrive.
Think about it this way, when we go on vacation and get out of the city we always come back feeling better and refreshed. That’s because we are breathing in cleaner air, we typically get more exercise, we ignore things in our physical world that may be harming us (think sitting on your computer working all day), and we can connect again with the earth. When I go hiking or on vacation I almost always sing “Below My Feet” by Mumford and Sons in my head because it truly embodies what I’m feeling.
But what if we could have more of those “being in the mountains on vacation” feelings more often? Living in an apartment, I can’t completely recreate that but there are things I can do to create a similar wellness experience.
Here are my tips for physical environment wellness:
Likewise, there are things I can do to promote the wellness of the earth.
As an environmentalist, environmental wellness has made a rather large impact on my life. However, the physical environment wellness is more of a new concept for me. I am excited to continue to find new and healthy ways to help keep our planet healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I love working smarter not harder. And I am not the type of person who has perfected recipe-making. Maybe someday, but until then I will continue to use recipes from the genius brains of others.
This recipe comes from the genius @amylecreations and I fell head over heals. My sister was the one who first found this recipe and tried it out for me when we were living together. Although she is not vegan, she eats vegan with me a lot! After eating this recipe, you will quite literally die and go to heaven. Amy has PERFECTED this creamy pasta. It's healthy and delicious. What more could you want?
Pro tip: there are lots of steps in the recipe but many you can do simultaneously. For example, while the sauce is first heating and combining, chop up the sun-dried tomatoes for the blender. Likewise, you can cook the pasta while you are blending the sauce. It seems more complicated than it actually is. Just be smart about it and ENJOY.
Thank you, Amy, for this fantastic recipe. I am so happy to *borrow* it and share with others.
Peep below for some pictures from when my sister and I made it last week!
Self-care is a term that’s been thrown around work environments and wellness scenes more prominently within the past couple of years. My relationship with self-care has been...strained in the past to say the least.
I had never even heard the term self-care until after I graduated college. I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t know how to take care of myself from within. I had no relationship with my emotions and didn’t understand my stress in the slightest.
I started hearing about self-care in the sense of doing things for yourself, but it always seemed to be about one’s physical self. For example, people would talk about self-care as getting pedicures, online shopping, going for a run, and meal prepping. Which, don’t get me wrong, those are all great ways to take care of yourself. But self-care is much deeper than that.
It’s true, taking care of yourself can be doing things to relax, like those pedicures or a massage. Or making yourself feel happier through retail therapy (I love it, no shame). However, it can’t be just that. Eating healthy, endorphins from exercise, and releasing tension will all help me feel better, but sometimes (most of the time) I need more.
I’ve mentioned this before, but sometimes self-care means I need to physically remove myself from situations or spaces. Self-care, even dissecting this term, is truly caring for oneself. To look deeply into that, we need to look deeply into ourselves.
To care for ourselves, that means doing what we need to be our very best selves. In our society, taking care of oneself is viewed as being selfish. It’s like if we don’t give all of ourselves to our work, relationships, the world, then we are selfish. If we put ourselves above others, even once, it’s viewed as selfish. I’m not saying we should be putting others down to get to where we want to be. But putting ourselves first is necessary for our overall health. We cannot continue to destroy ourselves for someone or something else.
This could mean to care for yourself, you need to take a break from relationships. If someone causes you physical or emotional harm, you owe it to your self to take a pause. Self-care can be pausing work. I have heard plenty of stories of people being miserable at their jobs, but trudging through it for years because they think it’s something they have to do. Then they switch jobs eventually and *BAMB* feel better. Sometimes caring for ourselves is moving. Maybe the city you are in is not helping you be your best self. Then, move. Another is allowing others to help. For me, I have a fear of not being in control, and it’s affected a lot of my life and my relationships. Something I am trying to do better to care for myself is allowing others to take on responsibilities.
Caring for ourselves goes so much deeper than just doing little things on the weekends for ourselves. Although this is still necessary and we need to do more for ourselves, self-care is also about making changes in our lives to be happier and healthier.
We need to do what is necessary to take better care of ourselves. So get that pedicure, go on that run, and then dump your partner who makes you cry every night. Let’s do some real self-care and start putting ourselves first sometimes.
This weekend I took a camping trip with my friend, Katie, to the Ozark National Forrest in Arkansas. After an 8.5 mile hike and a humid night tent-camping, we were ready for a well-cooked meal. We drove up to Bentonville to visit the Crystal Bridges art museum (amazing), but before we got there we stopped downtown for a patio meal. After surveying the vegan options (it’s hard to find vegan options during Sunday brunch) we settled on a restaurant called Table Mesa and I had a, you guessed it, quinoa bowl with butternut squash, mushrooms, and spinach.
This meal quite literally brought me back to life and tasted as good as it sounds. The portion was on the smaller side so of course, I was craving more when I finished! A couple of hours later and I am adding it to my meal plan for this week.
Now, this meal was INCREDIBLY easy to make and very cheap. So if you are looking to ball on a budget, then this is a great option. That’s another myth about vegans, everyone assumes it is expensive. Which, a lot of the processed vegan foods like cheeses and pre-made meals are more on the expensive side and can break the bank, but eating like a healthy vegan, what many people refer to as whole food plant-based, and making things from scratch is way cheaper than what my carnivorous friends pay.
-dash olive oil
-2 tbsp of minced garlic
-one package of sliced mushrooms
-two handfuls of spinach
-¾ cup of quinoa (any kind will do but I used a tri-color blend)
-1 bag of frozen cubed butternut squash
-salt and pepper to taste
This meal is great for whole-food plant-based and vegan eaters, but can be enjoyed by anyone else too! Also, it has lots of anti-inflammatory foods to heal your insides and make you feel great all day long.
In my conversations with people who want a more plant-based lifestyle, there is one thing they are never willing to give up: cheese. And I get it. That melty goodness is straight addicting. There are plenty of bad vegan cheeses out there (not naming any names) that just don’t do the trick for me. But HERE is how I make a yummy plant-based grilled cheese to snack on when you’re driving to your 4:25 class OR just as a regular meal.
Start by grabbing a saucepan and turning the heat up to medium. Put a little bit of butter on the saucepan and let it heat up. Once it has melted, place one of your slices of bread into the heated-butter goodness and let it toast for 1-2 minutes. Take it off, set it to the side, and replace it with the second piece of bread, doing the exact same thing. On this second piece, you’ll put two slices of the Chao vegan cheese, and let it cook for a bit. I am not a recipe expert so I always eyeball it. Try 3 minutes, check the bread using a spatula, and if it needs more time place it back down. When it is ready, time for you pre-toasted bread! Grab it and place it toasted side up on top of the cheese. Once steady, grab your spatula and FLIP. Follow the same eye-ball-it-and-guess method as before. Once ready, place it on a plate and voila!
And in less than 15 minutes, your meal is served! Tag me on Instagram if you make your own plant-based grilled cheese here. You never know when you'll need a grilled cheese for the next time you see Sterling Shepard.
What does wellness mean?
In the past, I’ve thought of wellness as being diet and exercise; protein and counting calories. Although protein and calories are essential to health, wellness encompasses a vast wheel. Wellness is health, diet, exercise, self-care, and emotional intelligence. I’m here to go through this wellness journey with you, sharing my experiences, failures, and recipes along the way.
I first got this idea after recently having a few coworkers ask me for recipes and advice on going more plant-based. Around the same time, my dad found out he lost 20 pounds in just a few months after I encouraged him through an anti-inflammatory diet. In a sense, it almost felt like a no-brainer to create a platform where I could share my lack-of-expertise all in the same place.
I do not tout to be a wellness expert but I have spent a lot of time digging into the deepness within me to really understand what I need in life to grow (physically, mentally, and spiritually). I am continually on this cycle with me, of self-searching and understanding. And I fail. A lot. Sometimes I have a meal that every WFPB (whole foods, plant based) doctor would cheer for and sometimes I have meals that would quite literally cause them to faint in horror. I have an addiction to potato chips and one I am desperately trying to knock (HELP ME).
I am here to give and take advice on how to be our most well selves.
Here’s to living life to the fullest and feeling good doing it!