“Raw Chick” Curry Stuffed Peppers

Eating more of a plant based diet can be one of the most cleansing things you can do for you body, mind and spirit. I like to give my body a break from refined sugars, lean meats and the occasional glass of wine. I love incorporating raw foods and vegan dishes into my daily meal prep, because eating more whole foods gives me more energy and mental clarity. Hey, not mention I usually drop about 5-7 pounds. However, a raw diet or a vegan diet is not for everyone, especially long term, unless you have talked to a vegan wellness expert, professional nutritionist and/or your healthcare practitioner. My personal and professional opinion on the matter is, I never met anyone that didn’t benefit from eating more fruits, veggies and drinking clean water.

Now, this is a recipe I make often for my vegan clients and one I enjoy when I am cleansing my system. The key to raw cuisine is understanding how you can convert different raw food ingredients, into cooked food recipes you are familiar with. For instance, in raw cuisine, nuts can become a meat substitute, because of their texture and they are high in protein and good omega fatty acids. They can also become a flour base for “raw food” crust, cookies and cakes. The possibilities are endless. But just for now, let’s stick with making this recipe, by using nuts as a meat substitute. The recipe can be extremely versatile based on your flavor profiles. You can season the nuts with old bay and have more of cajun flavor or season them with Italian herbs and give them more of Italian flare. Use your imagination and see what you can discover. I like to serve this on a bed on greens, with a side salad and maybe a yummy carrot and pineapple juice. However you decide to serve it remember to alway Set the Table with Love. Enjoy.

“Raw Chick” Curry Stuffed Peppers

Raw Chick Pate’

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, dry

1 cup cashews, dry

1 cup sunflower seeds, dry

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsps turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup water

3 mini sweet peppers, cut in halves (I used red, yellow and orange)

1 red bell pepper, diced for garnish

chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Raw Chick Curry Stuffed Peppers
  1. Put nuts, seeds, and all the spices into a food processor and process

into a powder. Add water and process until the mixture is well

incorporated. You are looking for more of a chunky consistency than it

being totally smooth.

2. Cut the peppers into halves and stuff the Raw Chick Pate’ into each

pepper. Garnish with peppers, cilantro and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Makes 6 mini peppers

Excerpt From: Lisa Washington. “Set the Table with Love Farm to Table Cuisine.” Apple Books.

Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

What do you do with a large sweet potato and a bag of French lentils and you are just craving home and comfort? Shepherd’s pie and a Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.

So let’s get a bit familiar with this pie:

Shepherd’s pie, common and inexpensive British dish originating from the sheep country in Scotland and northern England. It is a baked meat pie made with minced or diced lamb and topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes. Although the dish is sometimes called cottage pie, that name is usually given to a version featuring beef. It is thought that peasant housewives invented the pies as a way of repackaging leftovers from the Sunday roast. Source :https://www.britannica.com/topic/shepherds-pie .

Shepherd’s pie in my household was actually one of my favorite dishes. My mom would make it in the fall and winter months. My favorite part was was the mashes potatoes and sweet peas and carrots. I wasn’t a big meat eater growing up, but you ate whatever mom put on the table. I remember times being hard for us growing up, but my mother made sure we had a hot meal, clean clothes on our backs and lots of laughs. She was a very funny woman. Shepherd’s pie was special , it was comforting and a time to cuddle up with my family and enjoy a warm hearty meal together. My mother used ground beef, carrot, sweet peas, celery, onions and garlic as the base with lots of thyme. It was so yummy. I believe I have made this recipe only once in my life. Why? Why would I make a childhood favorite only once, because some dishes your mom just makes better, she adds that special mom LOVE ingredient.

This is what brought this recipe to life. Mother’s Day is coming up and I am missing my mom. She has been gone for 16 years now and I this time of the year I miss her so much and I just wanted to feel home. I do not eat meat like that anymore, no I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but my body craves plants more so I listen. Honoring myself and what my heart was desiring birth this lovely and delicious version of Shepherd’s pie. I hope you enjoy it and it brings your soul comfort and a smile.

Oh yes, don’t forget to Set the Table with Love. Thanks Mom for always teaching me how.

Sweet Potatoes

SWEET POTATOES

  • 1  large organic sweet potato (thoroughly washed, peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks)
  • Organic vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp or more of maple syrup, depending on how sweet the potatoes are.
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
The Filings

FILLING

  • 1  cup French lentils, cooked (follow instructions on package)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Instructions

  1. Place sweet potato in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until you stick a fork in it and it breaks apart.
  2. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Use a masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add coconut oil, all the spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
  3. Next heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, onions, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned and caramelized – about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add lentils, vegetable broth, bay leaf and the thyme, and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (20-30 minutes).
  5. In the last 15 minutes of cooking the lentils, add the carrots, and celery. Cook until the carrots and celery are a bit tender, but not mushy. Add in the frozen corn and sweet peas, stir, and cover and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Drain the lentils. Taste and adjust flavor to your preference.
  6. Transfer the lentil mixture into oven-safe baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon.
  7. Set on a baking sheet to catch any juices come from the pie and bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and the edges are bubbling.
  8. Let cool at bit before serving.

Notes

Beet Salad with a Parsley and Walnut Pesto drizzled with Orange Vinaigrette

I adore beets. They are loaded with lots fiber, vitamin C and they help with inflammation in the body, which mean they are good for you, but they also taste amazing. I love to add beets to my salads, smoothies, and they are awesome sautéed, roasted or just raw.

Today I was craving a salad, but not the lettuce type. I looked in my fridge and remembered, I bought diced beets already marinated from my favorite beet company, Love Beets ! They made this salad easy to make, because everything is seasoned and ready to assemble. I just had to slice the red beets.

I wanted this to look a bit fancy, so I used one of my metal rounds to assemble the dish, but you can easily, slice your beets, top with the pesto and drizzle some of your orange vinaigrette on top and toss. However you decide to do it, just remember to Set the Table with Love.

Beets Rock!!!

Ingredients:

1 pack of Love Beets diced marinated golden beets

1 pack of Love Beets marinated red beets thinly sliced

For the Parsley walnut pesto:

Ingredients:

1 cup shelled walnuts, about 3 1/2 ounces

2 cups chopped parsley, about 1 bunch

1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese or if vegan nutritional yeast

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

1. Put the walnuts, parsley, cheese, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pulse again.

2. Drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running just long enough to incorporate the oil, about 20-30 seconds.

Orange Vinaigrette

Ingredient:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a small jar with a tight-fitting cover, combine the orange juice, vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper. Cover and shake well until combined. To store, refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake well before serving.

Place your metal round on a pretty plate. Inside the round, layer the thinly sliced red beets, then top with the diced beets, stacking them on top of the red beets slices, until you have no space left. Add some pesto, then start the process over, until you end with a layer of pesto on top of the golden beets. Place on fridge to set for 30 minutes. Gently remove the metal round and drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately. 💕

Spicy Orange Ginger and Garlic Cauliflower with Orange Ginger Cauliflower Rice

This week it’s all about the cauliflower.

Here’s the recipe, running out for an event, but wanted to share this with you guys. Always Set the Table with Love.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

• 2/3 cup water

• 1/3 cup cornstarch, plus 1 teaspoon

• 1/3 cup flour

• 3 tablespoons coconut oil

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 cup onions, minced

•. 1 teaspoon ginger, minced

• 1 large orange, zest only

• 1/4 cup orange juice, from zested orange

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

• 2 teaspoon sweet chili sauce

• 1 teaspoon brown sugar

• vegetable oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

1 In a bowl, whisk together the water, 1/3 cup of corn starch, the flour, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.

2 In a sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, minced garlic, ginger and onions, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a slight boil.

3 Stir 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water until dissolved. Whisk into the sauce and reduce heat to a very lower simmer.

4 Next, heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 375 degrees.

5 Coat each cauliflower floret in the flour mixture.

6 Carefully place each floret into the hot oil. Fry each piece until golden brown – about 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

7. Toss the cauliflower in the sauce mixture, pour into a bowl and spoon the remaining thick, hot sauce over top. Garnish with some cilantro or sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions, (optional).

Serve immediately.

Easiest Stovetop Maple Granola on top of Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

Who doesn’t love granola ? Okay, put your hand down, Lol 😂. But for us granola lovers, here’s a keep it simple and a bit sweet easy recipe.

You can also find this recipe and others delectable pictures of yummies on my Instagram page Life with Lisa Washington:

Easiest Stovetop Granola: Maple Granola with Pumpkin Seeds: #nutfree

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup gluten free old-fashioned oats, not instant

1 tablespoon virgin-coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon of molasses

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

A pinch of clove

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

1. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add seeds and oats. Toast for 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oats are golden and the seeds are fragrant, but not burnt. Add oil, maple syrup, molasses , vanilla, and salt, mix well to coat the oats. Cook 1 additional minute while string.

2. Remove from the heat and spread on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow to cool completely before adding to an airtight container.

There’s more than one way to use vegetable skewers

How can you take 4 prepackaged vegetable skewers and make several meals?

What I love about using the skewers is they have all my favorite veggies, big plump portobello mushrooms, crunch red bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and red onions. The first day I marinated them in a balsamic glaze with olive oil and herbs and paired it with a red quinoa vegan tabbouleh. The next day I took the two of the vegetables skewers and took off the vegetables and sautéed them in olive oil, herbs, sea salt and cracked black pepper. I put the veggies in a bowl, add kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, banana peppers and chickpeas. I added a little olive oil, balsamic glaze and toss. I chopped some fresh parsley over top and you have your second skewer meal. I took the last one and made a simple stir fry with eggs.

Keto Zucchini Cakes the Vegetarian Way

I had such a beautiful afternoon spending time with my girlfriend Sarah and talking about her amazing weight-loss using the keto lifestyle plan. She has lost 40 pounds using this plan. So in honoring of her big victory, I decided to make her my keto savory zucchini cakes.

We did a Facebook Live, where she was able to talk to about how the keto lifestyle plan has helped her live a more healthier way of living. It’s pretty fun, hilarious and educational, so check it out in my Facebook page under Lisa Washington.

Here’s the recipe. To find out more about to keto lifestyle Magic Pill on Netflix.

Keto Zucchini Cakes

Ingredients

• 1 pound zucchini

• 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt or regular sea salt or to taste

• 2 large eggs

• 1 1/2 tablespoon onions, diced and 11/2 tablespoons garlic, diced

• 1 1/2 teaspoon savory south seasoning by Hillari Moon or herbal garlic no salt seasoning

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 cup almond flour

• 1/4 cup coconut flour

• 1/4 cup grated Vegetarian Parmesan cheese, BelGioioso Cheese is Vegetarian

• olive oil for frying

Instructions:

1. Grate the zucchini on a box grater . Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the teaspoon of Himalayan pink sea salt or regular sea salt. Mix the zucchini gently to distribute the salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini out with your hands and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.

2. Sauté the onions and garlic in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Remove from pan once the garlic is golden brown. Set aside to cool.

3. Add the eggs to the zucchini and the cooled onions and garlic mix together. In a small bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir together. Add them to the zucchini and mix thoroughly.

4. Heat a medium to large pan over medium – high heat. Pour in enough oil to completely cover the bottom surface of the pan. When it looks hot, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and check for bubbles. If the bubbles are moving quickly, then the oil is hot enough.

5. Stir the zucchini mixture one more time and dip a 1/4 cup measuring cup into the batter, level off. Dump the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula/flipper. Cook for three minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then flip, cooking for another three minutes. Add more oil to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.

6. Drain the zucchini cakes on a paper towel before serving.

Honey, how do I lower my carbs, but still have the snacks I love? 🤔

Okay, so my biggest client is my husband. He is in amazing shape… and the Oscar goes to his wife, that’s me, for making him delicious and healthy meals, everyday. Yes everyday, well almost everyday. Lol 😂

He went for his yearly annual and his doctor told him most everything looked awesome, just had to watch those carbs. Of course, I get a call, because my husband is serious about his health and he married his nutritionist.

“Honey, he says, I need to cut back on the carbohydrates, but how do I do that and still enjoy what I love to eat? ”

Well before we get to that, let’s look at Why Carbohydrates are good for us:

Here’s the deal on carbohydrates, first off they are our friends. We need carbs to function, they give us energy. They help fuel our brains, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. They help us fill full and assist in keeping our blood cholesterol levels on point.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should consume, at the very least, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates, which is 130 grams for adults, 175 grams for women who are pregnant and 210 grams for women who are breastfeeding. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, women should consume 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis, while men should consume 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. Source:WebMD

If you have health issues, like diabetes or prediabetic this number can vary based on your doctors evaluation.

If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor or dietitian who can help you plan meals to control your blood sugar. Though your daily carbohydrate requirements are the same as those for someone without diabetes, it’s important to avoid eating too many carbohydrates in one sitting. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you should limit your intake to about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. SOURCE: WebMD

If you are just cutting back, I like to suggest 100 grams a day for weight loss. Substituting your simple carbs with more complex carbs, like brown rice for white rice, eating more fruits, whole grains and legumes. Eliminating simple carbs out of your diet, like sugary foods, white flour and white potatoes.

Also knowing how to count your carbs is very important. For example, multi grain bread may have 21 grams of carbs, but 4 grams of fiber, you subtract the fiber and you get a true number of how many carbs will be in that slice of bread. Got it?

Enough of the science, here’s some healthy substitutes I bought my husband that I know he will eat.

Popcorn instead of chips, is the big one for all of us:

The Special K bars have 11 g of carbs, the Dave’s Killer Bread, thin slice has 9 g of carbs, for breakfast he toast that and add a tablespoon of Nutella on it ,which is 10 g of carbs. The Smart Food popcorn has 11 g in 1 3/4 cups . We are cutting his desserts down to once a week, because we are not skipping on dessert. 🍮 . He eats some type of protein with each meal. The carbs gives him energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together.

So there you have it folks, my long answer to a question I think a lot of us are asking. Need more low car tips, just shoot me an email. Oh yes, I almost forgot, remember to Set the Table with Love.

Here’s how you can make a better salad to boost energy and help with weight loss

Salads are what you make them, and if you are eating to boost energy and shed a few pounds, you may want to be more conscious of how you are making that ‘healthy salad”. Most people think to throw some lettuce in a bowl with a few tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and some type of dressing and you got yourself a healthy salad. Think again my friend. Don’t get me wrong, everything in that salad for the most part is good, but let’s look at it closer.

So, you are making a salad, most people go for just regular iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce has no real nutritional value, just good ruffage.  When picking lettuce the best rule of thumb, the darker the greens the more fiber, flavor and nutrients they will possess.

Now let’s talk about ingredients. If you are eating a salad as your main meal, which is a good idea, because you can incorporate, good protein, lots of fiber, good carbohydrates and good essential fatty acids all on one plate, if we are conscious of what ingredients you are choosing. A salad that will keep you energized and help you drop a few pounds, if eaten daily, with exercise and other healthy accompany meals would look something like this:

Greens:

Choose 2 to 3 greens:

romaine lettuce

arugula

spinach

kale

Mixed green Medley ( easier way to get several leafy green choices)

You can also add:

Cabbage or Radicchio

Fresh herbs:

Choose 1 or 2 herbs:

basil

parsley

mint

dill

Grains ( optional, but loaded with vegan protein and lots of fiber, just use a little, they are high in carbohydrates.)

Choose 1 grain:

Quinoa

Wild Rice

Farro

Bulgar Wheat

food-salad-healthy-lunch.jpgsalad-healthy-diet-spinach.jpg

Protein 

Choose 1 to 2 proteins:

Organic Chicken ( grilled )

Salmon, steamed or grilled, high in protein and essential fatty acids

Chickpeas, vegan protein and fiber

Eggs

Beans, such as lentils

pexels-photo-196643.jpegpexels-photo-539431.jpeg

Vegetables:

LET THESE BE THE MOST IN YOUR SALAD, LOAD UP!

Beets

Carrots

Onions

Cucumbers

Yellow Squash

Bell Peppers

Zucchini

Mushrooms

Celery

Peas

Olives

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Healthy Fats, for crunch  

Nuts and Seeds of all kind that you can consume:

Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds and Hemp Seeds .

Dressings:

Make your own and the healthiest dressings are one that are not creamy, but more in the vinaigrette family.

Simple and healthy dressings have these 4 key ingredients:

Acid~ Lemon Juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar.

Oil ~ Olive oil, Walnut Oil, Avocado Oil, and Hazelnut Oil .

Emulsifierr ~ which is the ingredient that helps keep the first two ingredients from separating and keeps your dressing stable ~ Mustard, Greek Yogurt, Ground  Flaxseed, Mashed Avocado and Honey.

Herbs and Flavoring ~ Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Cracked Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Chives and Honey .

IMG_7953
Warm Beet, Green Apple and Trio Lentil Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Salad Recipes

Warm Beet, Green Apple and Trio Lentil Salad

Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing 

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

water, to thin ( if necessary)

In a blender add all ingredients, blend and enjoy. 🙂

Store in a glass airtight container in the fridge for one to two days, this is a very perishable item. Use it all in a day if possible. 

So now you are educated about how to make an awesome salad that is loaded with everything your body needs. Now go out my loves and make the world a ” Happy Salad Place.” 🙂

The Power of a Hug

I remember growing up and being taught to not talk to strangers, let alone give them a hug and for good reason with the world we live in and all the violence we see happening to our children, but is that the best way? I don’t think we should force our kids to hug people, we need to teach them to trust their instincts, but we should teach them about the power of a “good hug”. I taught me kids early to give “good hugs”, to the people in our circle of friends and family. They are all grown up and they still give hugs. Life is about balance with wisdom. We as human beings need healthy and healing physical touch. Studies have shown that touch is essential to our well being, even for our mortality .

But touch is even more vital than this: babies who are not held and nuzzled and hugged enough will literally stop growing and-if the situation lasts long enough, even if they are receiving proper nutrition-die. SOURCE:

Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D. is a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. He is the Senior Fellow of The Child Trauma Academy and co-author of Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential—And Endangered.

Maia Szalavitz has published five books and written for The New York Times, Time magazine online, New Scientist, Psychology Today, and other major publications.

So here’s an experiment you may want to try and it may bring a bit of “Happy” into your life. Start a hug campaign in your home, church or community. I suggest to start some where you and the people around you will feel comfortable and open to this experiment of hugging.

Juan Mann, started a very public and controversial hug campaign, that impacted thousands of people. It was so powerful that authorities, banned his campaign. Juan went around and had people sign s petition and they had to remove the ban and the hugging party continued, Hugging is a big deal. Check out his video below and some reason why hugging is so good for us :

Juan Mann Hugging Campaign

Here’s a few reasons that may inspire you

to hug more:

Scientific research shows that a good hug, meaning at least 20 seconds is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin, also known as the “love drug”, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Here’s how a good hug resulting in oxytocin flow affects you:

• It lowers your blood pressure, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.

• It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone), enabling a higher quality of sleep.

• It can increase your social connections and a sense of belonging.

Studies have also shown that couples who hug more are more likely to stay together. Some reports have even shown hugs can reduce pain. So let’s get the hugging party started. SPREAD THE LOVE. 💕

Spa Day ~ The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon

I am truly a spa girl. I love taking time out from the busyness of the world and going to the spa and getting a little pampering. I had the opportunity to enjoy a media day at The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon. I was very excited, but since I go to so many spas. I was wondering what will be different about this one. When I walked in the spa, I was immediately greeted by their staff and surrounded by all natural and organic products. I took a deep breath and was filled with this beautiful calming aroma of their Calming Woodhouse “Escape”, pulling me in to explore this natural French country inspired space with touches of nature perfectly placed .

As soon as I entered further, I was greeted by one of the owners Kelly Bachtell with the most gorgeous and pleasant smile and southern hospitality, she handed me a glass of champagne and delicious snacks accompanied by some yummy desserts.

We engaged in a conversation about why they opened up The Woodhouse Day Spa- Avalon, but we talked about me and my needs. I felt so encouraged about how she was interested in knowing who I was and what interest me.

I love that it’s owned by a married couple, that’s a residents of the community. They decided to open up the spa to give their community a place to come and unwind and feel at home at the same time. I know I felt like that, at home, from the decor to the warm staff, but especially from the owners Justin and Kelly Bachtell.

The Woodhouse Day Spa- Avalon officially opens March 12th, 2018 with 18 treatment rooms and offers over 50+ different services, from massages, body treatments and something we all need sleep treatments. But here’s what makes them different in my opinion and spa jet-setter, lol. 💕

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y offer Shirodhara – Shirodhara is an intensely healing and relaxing technique that begins with lavender essential oil combined with warm, nutritive oils that flow onto the center of your forehead from a beautiful copper vessel to release mental tensions and mind chatter. A soothing head and scalp massage follows to continue this uplifting experience and encourage a state of wellbeing. It’s a traditional Indian technique that I have been looking for in spas for years and The Woodhouse Day Spa-Avalon is bringing to us. Please check out their website and book an appointment today for an incredible day of relaxation and a moment to just unplug . The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon

Hello Fear, Why are you here?

Feeling afraid is very natural and sometimes very necessary.  Fear ~ an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. We are wired with fear, it serves a purpose, like all things in our lives.  It’s here to help us be safe, it keeps us alive during the times of danger.  Our ancestors lived in a world where imminent danger from wild animals and the elements of their environment was always a life or death situation, but even now people live in societies with constant war, and physical danger around every corner.  This launches us into The fight or flight mode. 


The truth is most of us do not live in extremely dangerous environments, where we need to be in fight or flight mode, all the time But, when you think about it, we are often there in our minds. We are practicing self preservation, we are trying to keep something, SAFE. We are trying to preserve our idea of what life should look like.

When life for any reason doesn’t look the way we would like it to, fear pops up and we panic!

Our minds begin to wonder, and our “what ifs”, start to flood us like a dam that has been broken and now is taking over a calm and peaceful forest, disturbing all of life within it. What if they do not like me? What if they see me for who I truly am? What if I do not get the job? What if I am not good enough? What if he doesn’t call? What if this relationship ends? What if it’s not what I expected?  There is no obvious physical danger here, but our “idea of life”  has been threaten. I love this quote by Mark Twain, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”  Most of the time we are living in fear of things that will never happen.

When we constantly live like this we can be do serious harm to ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

pexels-photo-568027.jpegHere are a few ways that chronic fear can impact our lives: SOURCE: Impact of Fear and Anxiety
Living under constant threat has serious health consequences.

  1. Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
  2. Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
  3. Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
  4. Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.

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We do not want to stay in a chronic state of fear, but when it comes, you can allow fear to serve you.

A few months ago my fear was over taking me and all I wanted to do is run away and put my son in a room, so he would be safe. I was in the flight mode for sure. It was about my son driving, he is 17 years old and he has been driving for a year. He is a pretty good driver, but it’s a scary thing to see your kid growing up and getting behind the wheel, with all the teenager driver accidents I hear about.  I also have PTSD.  Years ago I saw a guy killed in a car accident and his body laid in the road for awhile before the paramedics came to remove him.  This put me in the hospital and I couldn’t speak for three days.

Trauma can give the mind references to pull up, when those similarities show up in our lives and our bodies and mental state can feel as though it’s happening all over again.

So when those past thoughts start to overwhelm me, I prayed and meditated. Suddenly I heard a gentle whisper, ” Why do I have to be something you avoid, something you fear or allow to consume you?  I am here to serve your highest good.” I just sat there in tears, blown away by these words, that just washed over my soul.  Fear is here to serve me. YES!!! It was put inside of my being, to help me stay safe and survive the elements of my world. The thing is, I do not live in an environment that is constantly threatening my physical body, but I do live in a world that is constantly threatening my emotional, mental and spiritual body.  I continued to meditate and pray. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and this came to me, “Ask me why I am here?’ “Why did I show up?” So I took another trembling breath and asked fear ” Hello, fear why are you here?”

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Fear said, as I continued to meditate and pray:

I am here to remind you that you have stepped away from where you should truly stand. You have stepped away from the spirit of truth and love. I feel so strong and so forceful, because I need you to move from this place NOW.  I grip you so tight, because I need you to pay attention and listen to why I am here.   I am here to show you where you have not surrendered.  I am here to get you to look at the place deep inside you, where you first experienced me so intensely, so we can go back there and find your healing. I am here to get you to ask, Why am I scared? What do I truly want and am I afraid I will not get it?  I am here to remind you to get back to GOD, back to LOVE  and back to TRUTH.   IF AM HERE, THEN FAITH CAN NOT BE and you will not have hope. I do not give hope, I am just a reminder that you need to take care. SO LET’S DEAL with it. There is work for you to do. I am your teacher. I am a hard teacher, that will consume you until you surrender, learn and move forward.

So many thoughts flooded my mind during this time of prayer. I had moved away from God, love and truth in my thinking and I was afraid of my son getting into a bad car accident and being killed like that guy was. I had to go back and deal. I had to give that fearful thought over to God. I had to trust and plug into the million other probabilities out there, like this one, my son can be safe on the road. You see we allow fear to take us over, because we do not honor it’s presence.

We push it away, we try to avoid it altogether, but I am learning to stop, pause, breath, pray and ask fear, Hello, fear why are you here?  What do you need me to know? Where do we need to go? Once you have done that, the light comes back in, the soul feels safe from the dangers of the emotions we have not dealt with.   It maybe something in childhood, a bad relationship, a real physical trauma, a negative thought, whatever it is, we must not be afraid of fear. pexels-photo-748870.jpeg

We need to face our fears like a old friend that knows us really well and is trying to get us to see the truth. Resistance only feeds fear’s call and it starts to consume us, so surrender with lovingkindness and ask fear, “HELLO, FEAR WHY ARE YOU HERE,” so we can be FREE.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Valentine’s Day is all about making that special someone in your life feel appreciated and loved. My favorite way of expressing my love is through food. However, not everyone wants to be in the kitchen cooking up a five course meal all day.

No worries I have a beautiful salad you can prepare in under 20 minutes and your love will be very impressed. This recipe uses peaches , but you can easily substitute them for pears. You can have this salad as a main course or serve along side a piece of grilled salmon.

No matter how you decide to serve it, remember to always Set the Table with Love.💕💕💕

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Ingredients:

Prepackaged Organic Arugula Greens, (tripled washed)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp organic honey

3 medium peaches, sliced

1 cup almonds

1 tsp harissa seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

Fresh Burrata ( Whole Foods or Fresh Market )

Balsamic Glaze

Very Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instruction:

Add enough arugula on to a beautiful serving dish, set aside.

Add oil to a sauté pan on medium heat. Once heated add sliced peaches, drizzle 1 tbsp of the honey over them and stir until they are coated with the honey and a pinch of sea salt . Sauté for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Using the same pan on medium heat, add your almonds, the rest of the honey, harissa and sea salt to the pan and stir constantly, until the almonds are covered completely, about a minute. Remove from heat, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Take your Burrata and put it in the middle of your bed of arugula, open it up with a knife gently in the middle, to expose the curd, add the Organic Waikiki Honey in the middle of opened Burrata. Next add the peaches on top of the bed of arugula, then add the almonds all around, creating a beautiful salad, drizzle the entire salad with olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Sundried Tomato Risotto ~ Easy Elegant Entertaining

What I love about entertaining at home, is spending time with my friends and family, so that means, not being in the kitchen all day, while everyone is having a good time in the other room. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the party?  I even bought our new house with that purpose in mind, to be with my guest, while I am preparing food for them. We all sit around our 8 foot island and just connect with one another over an excellent bottle of wine and eat as each course comes out.

Creating recipes that are loaded with flavor and doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make your guest feel like it did, is the key. My to go to recipe, my Sundried Tomato Risotto, because it seems, difficult, it looks fancy, but psst… IT’S NOT and it’s pretty darn delicious.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can truly make it your own, you can flavor it with all kinds of mouthwatering possibilities, with spinach, sweet peas and mint or you could do butternut squash and fried sage with just a pinch of nutmeg. Just allow your imagination to run wild, serve it with steamed veggies or a nice salad, some crusty bread, excellent wine, and you will be the hostess of the year, will maybe of the month, it is risotto and not coq au vin, LOL, 🙂

So here’s the recipe I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family as you Set the Table with Love.

Sun dried Tomato Risotto

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Sundried Tomato Risotto photo by: Noi Tran Photography

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, I used pre sliced ones)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

finely chopped fresh basil leaves for sprinkling the risotto after cooking

Directions:

1. In a saucepan add the water and the bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it at a bare simmer. In a large saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil, and stir in the tomatoes.

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Sundried Tomato Risotto Photo by: Noi Tran Photography

2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once you have added all the water and broth liquid add the 1/2 cup of white wine remember to allow each portion to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente)

3. Stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the risotto with the fresh basil. I like to drizzle a little olive oil over it all at the end. Makes 4-6 servings

Five things you can do to stay on track for the New Year

 

Today I am talking about “food for the soul”, but will be back to our regularly scheduled food program tomorrow. 🙂

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Does your surroundings reflect your goals?

Did you know According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Source: Business Insider

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Drink more water. Keep a filled water bottle next to your bed at night. A great reminder in the morning to drink up.

Wow! Really?  That means we only have a couple of weeks before most of us stop going to gym, our closets look like a hurricane hit them, and that plant based “What the Health” diet, has us pulling up to the closest fast food chain. LOL. 🙂 Okay all kidding aside, staying true to our goals can be pretty challenging,  if you do not start off with the right intention, as well as, giving ourselves a bit of grace and lots of support. I wanted to share on this blog a few things I do to keep myself focus and on track. It’s not going to cost you tons of dollars, maybe not even a dime, just a moment to breath, slow down and make some conscious decisions . So, here we go, are you ready! This is a big one!

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Keep your goals visible

  1. Be determine to not give up! Keep trying!
  2. Do not be so hard on yourself. Remember this is a journey and along the way we have to pace and reset. Give yourself grace and take time out to go back and look at your goals. Ask yourself a few questions: How is this going? How is this making me feel? Do I need to reevaluate a few things or maybe change this goal to something more realistic? We can easily be pumped up by the beginning of the year with all the it’s “A New Year, so you much become a New You” talk. There’s nothing wrong with growing in all areas of our lives, but do it with lovingkindness.
  3. Make sure you have encouragement around. Get a goal buddy, or join a Groupme, an amazing app where you can find like minded individuals, moving in the same flow of energy as yourself.
  4.  Set yourself up to win. I have throughout my home mantras, affirmations and positive words to remind me of my goals. My fridge, pantry and counters, reflect my goals for healthy eating.  My yoga mat is laid out in my yoga space, so I can see it. I put my water jug on the side of my bed every night, so I can make sure I drink my water as soon as I get up.
  5. Reward yourself appropriately. If it’s about eating healthy, do not reward yourself with a bucket of ice cream, maybe reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of shoes, and if you want the ice cream or cake, just a  few bites and PLEASE enjoy it. How we feel about food affects how we digest our food, so be happy eating that cake.

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A Bonus Tip:

Stay positive, making goals can be so much fun! It allows us to open up our minds to all the possibilities out there waiting for us. We get to try new things, connect with people moving in the same direction and possibly change our lives for the better.

YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂