This past Easter I was invited to my boyfriend's family dinner. This was our first holiday we spent together. We had just returned from a vacation with my family in Puerto Rico, so I was excited to get back to my routine eating habits of homemade clean and fresh ingredients.
Every Spring I feel myself craving lighter foods, like fruits and salads, in preparation for Summer. As most holidays go, there is usually family and friends + FOOD, and lots of it. This is evident in every culture - food truly brings communities together and allows people to put aside their differences and bond over what is in front of them, providing nurishment and fuel. With all that in consideration, I was determined to find a recipe that I could share with my boyfriend's family, and feel comfortable eating.
There's nothing worse than having the stress of a holiday ruin your appetite, or hold you back from enjoying the food that was prepared with love and the intentions of celebrating together, by having a negative mindset.
Roasted Almond & Salted (Date) Caramel "Cheesecake"
*Note, by gathering and preparing your ingredients at the beginning, the dynamic in your kitchen will be much more organized, and run smooth for each step.
4+ hrs Soaking + 1 hr Prepping + 8 hrs Freezing | Serves 16
10 medjoul dates, pitted
2 cups blanched almonds
SALTED DATE CARAMEL
15 medjoul dates, pitted
2 tbsp roasted almond butter
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/3 cup almond slices
ALMOND CINNAMON CASHEW CREAM
3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup rice malt syrup
1/4 cup roasted almond butter
seeds of 1 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste)
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat your oven to 300º F.
2. Spread the almonds on a baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes (or until golden brown).
3. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
4. Add the almonds and pitted dates to your food processor (or blender) and process for about 30 seconds; this mix should turn into a sticky, fine meal.
5. Scoop out a 1/4 cup of this meal and set aside (for garnish).
6. Line an 8" square pan (or 9" round pan) with parchment paper. Pour the mixture in, and press it down firmly. Set aside.
SALTED DATE CARAMEL
1. Soak the medjoul dates in hot (not boiling) water for 10 minutes.
2. Drain the dates and squeeze out the excess liquid.
3. Add the dates, and the rest of the ingredients to your food processor and process for a few minutes, until the caramel is smooth and there are no chunks of dates left.
4. PouR the caramel over the "cheesecake" base and spread evenly with a spatula.
5. Sprinkle the almond slices over the caramel layer and place the pan in the freezer for a few minutes. Next, work on the cashew cream.
ALMOND CINNAMON CASHEW CREAM
1. Rinse and drain the soacked cashews.
2. Add them to the food processor (or blender) and process for a couple of minutes, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Process until the cashews turn into a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and process at the highest speed for a few minutes until you get a rich, creamy mixture. Be patient. Blend until the cashew cream is silky.
4. Remove the cheesecake pan from the freezer and pour the cream into the pan.
5. Gently shake/tap the pan to even-out the surface and remove any air bubbles that might be trapped in the cream.
6. Place the cheesecake in the freezer for at least 8 hours so it sets completely.
Remove cheesecake from the freezer and slice immediately. Allow the slices to thaw out for 20 minutes, sprinkle with some almond-date meal and a few almond slices, and serve.
P.S. This cheesecake holds in the freezer for up to 6 weeks; You can slice it and freeze the slices separately and enjoy whenever you want.
P.P.S. The above photo is my creation, however, the original recipe itself is not mine. Click here, to find the original creative and vegan recipe goddess Cocoon Cooks!
There are 24 hours in a day - how are you using them? What's your relationship with time?
The most important thing to consider on this topic is how you feel and speak about time. Do you always feel rushed? Like the time flies in your day? Have you ever gone to bed feeling guilty about not finishing all that you had planned?
Let's change your relationship with time, starting now. You create time. It's all about how you perceive time, and how you manage it.
Read on to learn about the nine steps to mastering time management.
9 Steps to Mastering Time Management
1. SIMPLY REMEMBER TO BREATHE
If you're overwhelmed with even just the thought of time management, that is a-okay! Step one, breathe. Deeply. Throughout the day. Don't change anything else yet.
Breathing deep into your lower abdomen engages your parasympathetic nervous system, aka your rest and digestive system. Taking deep breathes engages the relation response and makes you feel more calm, present, and centered.
When you feel calm internally, everything externally feels much less abrasive and chaotic. You're able to handle bumps in the road, deadlines, and anything else that comes your way with a greater sense of ease, intuition, and presence.
2. CHANGE THE WAY YOU TALK ABOUT TIME
If you ever catch yourself talking about how you don't have enough time in your day, and your weekend went too fast, ground your energy and acknowledge that time is exactly what you make of it.
Say out loud the following affirmations:
"I Create Time" and "I Have As Much Time As I Need"
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, okay I said them out loud but that was a total lie?
Even if these affirmations don't feel true for you yet, start focusing your energy to operate this way, and time will expand naturally for you.
3. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU CURRENTLY SPEND YOUR TIME ON EACH DAY
This list should include not just work, or exercise, but also personal care like showers, family responsibilities, internet and/or TV time, reading, and anything else you spend your time doing. There is absolutely no judgement here, so be honest and specific.
If this isn't a natural activity for you, or you feel like you're not being totally honest, track your activities for just one day this week. Every scroll through social media (from the time you pick up your phone, to putting it down) should be noted as well. Do this for everything you do. This will give you an accurate picture.
This list should be "bigger picture" things. Here are some examples:
1| Inspiring, conscious work
2| Optimal physical, mental, and emotional health
3| Authentic, loving, supportive, truthful friendships
4| Positivity in all actions
5| Travel and cultural immersion
Once you've made you list, compare your top five value focuses with those in your list of activities you spend time on daily. How do they contrast or line up? If you're surprised at the difference, eliminate one activity that's out of alignment. Then, continue eliminating actives and obligations as much as you can until you're doing things that align with your top five priorities.
5. FOCUS ON THREE PRIMARY PROJECTS EVERY DAY - DO THE TOUGHEST FIRST
Create your ideal day. Ready, set, go! Focus on your chosen primary projects daily, and not just those related to work. For example, your ideal day might be working out, and making dinner for your family; anything else is a bonus!
If you're worried because you have more than three things to do every day, get as close to this goal as possible. Your top three can be completed first, and if you still have time, then move on to the others. Completing the most challenging one first each morning, preferably before lunch, can give you a great sense of accomplishment and fuels you with momentum for the rest of the day.
6. USE A CALENDAR INSTEAD OF A TO-DO LIST
Writing on a calendar, makes you much more likely to get it done. you'll also be more realistic about how much time it takes, especially if you're using a digital calendar and have the option of factoring a specific time slot.
Now break your projects down into groups. For example, if you need to work out more during the week, break it down into pieces, like cardio days, arm days, legs, etc.
Most projects have multiple aspects, and it's intimidating to just write "work out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. . " on your calendar
7. DELEGATE AND AUTOMATE
I hate to break it to you, but you are not, nor will you ever be, a superwoman/man! Relieve your thoughts of beings able to do it all. Everyone, including superwoman/man, has a support team - utilize them. When you delegate and automate activities you don't love doing, you free yourself and open the space for your specialties and main focuses. This leads to flow states where work feels easier and the outcome has a much greater sense of happiness.
This can be scary. For most, we have the perception that delegating and automating is only for those on a high scale, ranking, or larger pay rate. That's completely untrue. You can get support at fairly affordable prices.
Here are some ideas to consider:
1| Drop your laundry off instead of doing it yourself. At a good place, it should only cost a few dollars more than doing it yourself and saves you hours. A lot of places offer pickup and delivery options as well.
2| Hire a smart, mature college student to help you around the house a few hours a week for $10-12 an hour.
3| Set up your finances so you bills get paid automatically.
4| Ask you kids, husband, partner, or roomie for more help. Work out a system that's beneficial for all parties; remember to voice your needs in a respectful manner.
5| Schedule all your personal appointments for the next six months, i.e. haircuts, manis/pedis, massages, or anything else you do regularly. Take out the guesswork and put everything in your calendar in one swoop.
8. GET ACCOUNTABILITY
Write down a few potential accountability buddies now and reach out to them in the coming week. Set a memorized appointment to talk with them weekly, and hold each other accountable for your intentions and calendar items. This is the definition of "walking the walking, while talking the talk".
9. RELEASE PERFECTION
Time is chaotic and might not always feel or be perfect. Let go of the need to be perfectly scheduled and productive on a daily basis. You're a human, not a robot. Use gentle language to bring yourself back after straying off path. talk to yourself like you would speak to an innocent, sweet, intelligent child. Don't judge yourself - that can cause a negative affect very quick. Stay positive and keep supporting your physical, mental, and emotional health through primary food and secondary food.
2 cups unsweetened coconut, almond, or soy milk
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1 Tbsp fresh turmeric, peeled & grated
3-4 black peppercorns
Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Strain. Add a sweetener, if desired. Enjoy.
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With every new month, I want to make more of an effort to set intentions. Similar to New Year's resolutions, but less of a commitment - one's that are more reasonable, more easily obtainable.
So. November, equals Autumn; the day's are getting crisper, and the night's are getting colder. My schedule at work has changed to 6:45am to about 3:15pm, per my choice, and boy is it getting harder to wake up with motivation when the sun doesn't rise until I've already been in the office for an hour. The perks: out early = gym early = home early = bed early!
Last month, I accepted a new position in my office, and while I don't feel stressed with my full time job, I am noticing more and more that my relationship with time is not the greatest. Two days ago I was chatting with a co-worker and found myself saying, "Ya know, time really flys by here. . like, before this full time gig, I really didn't pay attention to time, but here- I mean one day it's Monday, and the next it's Friday! Or worse, one second it's 2:30pm, and the next it's 10pm, and then it's 5am the next day and we're back here again!"
This November, I want to set the intention to BREATHE. To really not just evolve in my life, but be present. To feel present.
I created a list this week of my intentions for November, and whenever I feel like I need a reminder, I can look back - and breathe of course, while doing so. I'm not making any promises here, and I won't beat myself up if I'm not able to accomplish the following, but at least I have put my intentions out there. I am #manifesting what I want. It is now up to me to figure out what #actions I need to take.
1. Be lighthearted in the face of stress and change
2. Be mindful of indulgences and comforts in excess
3. Be compassionate towards others and avoid giving advice
4. Be flexible and ready for anything; bend; grow with the flow
5. Take time and pause
7. Focus on breathing for 5 minutes a day
8. Hydrate to fuel the body
9. Be grateful ~ reflect: for what? for whom?
10. Keep it simple
NEW MONTH . NEW MINDSET . NEW FOCUS . NEW RESULTS
If you're on any form of social media, then I'm sure you've probably come across the name Kayla Itsines before, and if not, keep reading and you will.
Kayla Itsines is a 24 year old from Australia who has pretty much single-handedly taken over the fitness world....okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not too far off! Anyway, she's a personal trainer who has created two 12-week workout plans that are designed to kick any body (or booty) into shape. I'm serious though, anyone!
The workouts consist of three HIIT days a week + 2 LISS days + one day of much needed stretching.
I have gone through the first 12-week program, or BBG1 as it's referred to, multiple times now, and BBG2 once. It's changed the way I work out 100% and given me a brand new outlook on exercise. I like that I can continue my love for running, yoga, and other gym classes, while getting in extra strength training from the HIIT sets in the program.
I've definitely noticed results. I never took a "before" photo, but I notice in current photos that I have muscles I never used to have. Everything is a work in progress, and this guide is a perfect tool to improve your fitness goals.