5 days of V/GF low waste meals - Yay for Earth challenge Round dos!

5 DAYS OF VEGAN/ GF /LOW WASTE MEALS - YAY FOR EARTH CHALLENGE ROUND DOS!

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There are a couple thoughts that go on in my head when I am writing this. The first one is noticing that I have not written in my blog since June and the second is that I have about 5 drafted topics waiting to be posted. Alas, I apparently cannot find anything more important than doing this dinner challenge again with Amanda (Mama Eats Plants)! If you want to see the first one to get a feel for what this challenge is about, do not look far and wide, just scroll right below this and its the last blog I posted, haha. 

Anyhow, I love that Amanda phrases it as a "free community offering" because not only is this meal plan free, but it brings us altogether every night from around the world. I feel social media can sometimes feel isolating but if we practice these types of things often, we can feel like a family! This is why its important you hashtag #yayforearthchallenge when you are on board with us so we can check out what you make!  Please don't think you need to make every single meal, or that it has to be exactly the same recipe. Alter it freely and do it when you can! This is also up on the blog so you can make any of them anytime you'd like!

Meals include :
MONDAY // creamy butternut soup with spicy roasted chickpeas + simple arugula salad
TUESDAY // greek salad bowl with dill and creamy tzatziki
WEDNESDAY // spiced roasted sweet potato + black bean bowl with crunchy lime slaw
THURSDAY // creamy Alfredo pasta with lentil meatballs
FRIDAY // red lentil ginger + coconut curry

For funsies include:
anytime // dark chocolate granola with vanilla nice cream
anytime // blueberry zucchini smoothie

GROCERY LIST:
PRODUCE
5-8 bananas (for dessert and smoothies)
blueberries (for smoothies)
1 medium apple, any type except a tart green one
1 medium zucchini ( will feed 2 people)
4 medium sweet potatoes (1 for every person eating)
1x 2 lb butternut or other orange fleshed sweet winter squash like kabocha
1 jalapeño
3 cucumbers
2 carrots
1 medium cabbage
2-3 cups spinach or other type of green (1.5 cups for every person)
1 large handful arugula for every person eating
3 avocados (if for 1 person, 1 is fine.  If for 2 people, you’ll need 2.  For 4 people, 3.)
3 limes
3 lemons
½ – 1 cup mushrooms for each person (shiitake/chanterelles/your choice)
2 tomatoes
olives/capers
2 red onions (1 medium + 1 small)
2 yellow onions (1 medium + 1 large)
1 small red bell pepper

SEASONINGS/HERBS
fresh parsley
fresh cilantro
fresh dill
fresh basil
1 large head garlic
2.5 inch chunk of fresh ginger
paprika
oregano
thyme
rosemary
cumin
medium curry powder
crushed red pepper flakes

LEGUMES, SEEDS, GRAINS
1 cup brown lentils (amount will yield leftovers)
3/4 cup red lentils
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup hemp seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (2 tablespoons for every person eating)
1 box brown rice pasta - feeds 2-3 people (or your favorite kind in bulk! I love the Jovial brand if I can’t find bulk) 
3 cans chickpeas (save the chickpea juice too! (aquafaba))+ this equates to 2.25 cups dried if you’re making your own from scratch
2 cans black beans (1/2 can for every person eating) + this equates to 1.5 cups dried if you’re cooking your own
1 cup cashews (this amount will yield leftovers)
optional: Flax seeds or vegan protein powder for the smoothie
optional: 2 cups dried basmati or other long grain rice, to make the curried lentil dish heartier- 1/2-1/3 cup dried per person.

PANTRY:
1 jar of tahini
2TBSP corn starch or arrow root starch
1 small bottle cooking white wine (you’ll need ¼ cup)
olive oil
3 cans full fat coconut milk
grapeseed oil or avocado oil (or any high smoke point oil)
coconut aminos or tamari or soy sauce( your preference)
nutritional yeast
1x 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (or add 4 fresh roma tomatoes to your produce list)
2 cups broth(either DIY or better than bouillon brand comes in a glass jar)

DESSERT:
2 cup gf oats
maple syrup or brown sugar
vanilla extract + almond extract
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup chocolate chips
olive oil or coconut oil
1 can of coconut milk (use the leftovers of one or use any other nut milk and you can make your own HERE)
optional: Dried cherries, pecans or walnuts
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MONDAY:
CREAMY BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS + SIMPLE ARUGULA SALAD
for the chickpeas:
3 cups chickpeas (I used home cooked, but if you used canned, it’s 2 cans), drained well and patted dry
drizzle oil, enough to coat the chickpeas
seasonings- I like chili flakes, harissa, cayenne or hot paprika (anything spicy) and salt and garlic.  The spicy goes well with the sweetness of the soup.  But please use whatever you like!

for the soup:
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large sprigs thyme, leaves stripped, stems composted or saved for stock making
1 butternut squash or other orange fleshed sweet squash, or even sweet potatoes, mine was about 2 lbs.  Cut into small cubes.
1 apple (any kind except don’t use a tart green one), cut into small cubes.
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 cups veggie broth
s+p to taste, start with 1/2 tsp and add more as needed
optional nutmeg or cinnamon to make a more sweet/autumnal flavor

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400, and while its coming up to temperature:
1. Chop onions and squash
2.Toss chickpeas with drizzle of oil and seasonings, place on a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Put chickpeas into the oven and set timer for 20 mins.
4. Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, heat up the oil and then add the onions. Sauté until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Add in the apple + thyme and sauté another minute or two till fragrant. Add in the butternut and veggie broth and simmer till tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the coconut milk and cook until heated through. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
7. By this time the chickpeas should be ready, when ready to serve, add the chickpeas on top of the bowls of soup along with a sprinkle of fresh minced thyme.
8. Serve with a simple salad- I like arugula (1 large handful for every person eating) tossed with plenty of lemon juice and olive oil and either a sprinkle of vegan parm if I have it, or simple s+p.
options:

make it heartier: add a scoop of quinoa, rice, or serve with bread.

make it faster:  peel, deseed and cube the squash on the weekend.  Store in a sealed container like a mason jar in the fridge.

take it to the next level: roast the squash and then proceed with the recipe.  this will deepen the flavor.

less waste: rinse the seeds of the squash, pat them dry, and toss with seasonings and a bit of oil.  Roast on a separate pan while the chickpeas are roasting for a nice snack.
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 Picture from  Shape mag . Not same recipe, but photo will be updated soon!

Picture from Shape mag. Not same recipe, but photo will be updated soon!

TUESDAY: 
GREEK SALAD BOWL WITH TZATZIKI & SPECIAL SAUCE
Serves 1-2 (Double recipe if you want to feed 3-4)
Ingredients: 
2-3 cups spinach
1/2 cup sliced cabbage
1 carrot sliced thin
1 cucumber
1/4 cup diced red onion
1-2 tomatoes sliced
For Falafel:
3 TBSP grape seed or avocado oil (or any high smoke point oil)
1 can chickpeas ( or 3/4 cup dry chickpeas to cook yourself)
1/2 cup oat flour or oats ( add more if need be)
4 TBSP Aquafaba
1 tsp salt ( or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
pinch of coriander
For Tzatziki:
(Will have leftovers)
1 cup soaked cashews or sunflower seeds (3 hours to overnight is best but 1 hour in warm water is good too!)
 1/4 cup hemp seeds
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP packed chopped fresh dill
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
pinch of black pepper
1 cup cucumber chopped
1/2 cup water
optional : handful fresh finely chopped mint
For the tahini dressing:
3 TBSP tahini
4 TBSP hot (boiling water)
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
pinch of salt to taste
(optional: tsp paprika, cumin, and/or cayenne)

Directions:
NOTE: I would make the tzatiki (and the falafel mix if you want) an hour before eating or earlier if your schedule calls for it. Tzatziki consistency is best when refrigerated and falafel will be firmer for frying if refrigerated first.
For tzatziki:
1. Drain soaked cashews/sunflower seeds and rinse well. 
2. Add to food processor or blender with 1/2 cup water and hemp seeds until smooth and creamy.
3. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper and blend until smooth. Add water if too thick.
4. Transfer into a bowl and add cucumber, fresh dill and mint. 
5. Put in fridge.
For tahini dressing:
1. In small bowl add tahini and hot water and with a fork whisk until really smooth (may take a moment)
2. Add lemon juice and salt and optional spices.
3. BADA BING BADA BOOM! Set aside.

For falafel: 
1. In food processor or high speed blender, add chickpeas, oats, salt, garlic aquafaba, fresh parsley, red onion, paprika, cumin, and coriander and blend well. Taste and add more spices to your liking. If looks too moist, add more oats!
Pop in fridge for 20 minutes to an hour for firmer texture.
2. Take bowl of falafel mix out of fridge and roll into balls.
 In skillet or frying pan with your high smoke point oil - drop balls in and rotate occasionally until light brown on all sides.
4. Assemble bowls - add spinach, carrot, cabbage, tomato, and onion. Add falafels, big scoop of tzatziki and drizzle tahini sauce all over and enjoy!!!

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WEDNESDAY:
SPICED ROASTED SWEET POTATO + BLACK BEAN BOWL W/ CRUNCHY LIME SLAW
Ingredients: 
1x medium sweet potato for every person eating
1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (2 tablespoons for every person eating)
1 jalapeño, sliced thinly, seeds removed if you don’t like spice
1/2 bunch cilantro
approx 4 loose cups cabbage (1 large handful for every person eating)
1 large juicy lime, zested and juiced
1 small red onion
1 small red bell pepper
1 tablespoon oil
s+p to taste
2 cans black beans (1/2 a can for every person eating)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin, 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
2 avocados (1/2 for each person), cubed or sliced
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
While it’s preheating:
2. Scrub, dry, and cube sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks
3. Toss them in oil to coat + the spices and salt
4. Place on a baking sheet and into the oven when its up to temp. and let cook until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
5. Heat up a dry skillet (no oil) till hot, add pumpkin seeds, and toast, shaking pan often, until they start to turn color and pop.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, start on the slaw:
6. With a knife or mandolin, thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large bowl
7. Chop and add in the cilantro
8. Thinly slice and add in 1/2 of the onion + the bell pepper and jalapeño
9. Zest and juice the lime and add to the bowl
10. Drizzle in a tablespoon oil and sprinkle salt and pepper
11. Toss it all together and taste.  Adjust as needed and set aside.

Then, make the beans:
12. Chop the remaining 1/2 onion finely and heat up some oil in a pot.
13. Add onion and sauté until softened and golden
14. Add the 2 cloves minced garlic and sauté till fragrant, about another minute.  Add in the 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I also like to add 1/2-1  tsp ground cinnamon, a trick I learned from @ohdeardrea, but up to you, ground coriander is also great if you have it)
15. Open the cans of beans and dump into the pot
16. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes
-taste and add salt as needed

Now, assemble the bowls with the sweet potatoes, black beans, and slaw.  Add avocado on top and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds.  Enjoy!
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 This photo is the same thing but with different cheese! The alfredo will be marinated with the noodles with the following recipe! YUM!

This photo is the same thing but with different cheese! The alfredo will be marinated with the noodles with the following recipe! YUM!

THURSDAY:
THE VEGAN ITALY : ALFREDO WITH LENTIL MEATBALLS

Ingredients:
Brown rice pasta or your favorite kind of pasta ( I use Jovial or bulk brown rice pasta)
1.5 cups shiitake, chanterelles, or your pick (mushrooms optional)
2 tomatoes (to garnish)
handful fresh basil (to garnish)
Ingredients for Ingredients for lentil meatballs:
1 cup green or brown lentils (cooked)
2.5 cups water
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup gluten free oats (blend into flour- tutorial HERE)
2 TBSP Coconut aminos
4 TBSP aquafaba (or 1 TBSP chia with ¼ cup water)
4 TBSP avocado or grapeseed oil
1 small red onion
1/2 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp of pink salt
1/2 tsp each of thyme, dried oregano, paprika, and cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
Pinch of cayenne (if you want a kick)
Ingredients for alfredo:
Serves 3-4
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Soaked 1 cup of cashews (soak anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt to taste
2 - 2 1/2 cups water
3 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped finely
2 TBSP cornstarch or arrow root starch
1/2 cup cooking white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk (or any other milk)

NOTE: I went ahead and added the directions in the order it should be made in. There are a few parts to this recipe and I find that its a lot easier to make each part in this order! Read over it and adjust if you need.

Directions to begin the lentil meatballs (start here first):
1. In a saucepan, add olive oil, chopped red onion, maple syrup, salt, pepper and paprika. Let caramelize on medium low while stirring frequently for 5-8 minutes.
2. Rinse lentils and then add lentils to saucepan with the onions. Toss frequently and let simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add 2.5 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce boil and let simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. While lentils are simmering, grab big bowl and add 1 cup gf oat flour in along with the thyme, dried oregano, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne. 
5. When lentils are ready (they should be soft consistency and not watery), pour into the oat mixture bowl. 
6. Add aquafaba and coconut amigos. Mix altogether really well.
7. Pop bowl in refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes.
Saute mushrooms:
NOTE: I do this before the alfredo because I don't have enough pans. After I sauté these, I set aside in a bowl.
1. Add olive oil and mushrooms to a pan with salt, pepper, and thyme and then cover.
2. Let simmer. The key is slow and steady - if you cook mushrooms too fast they can turn out gummy.
3. Stir occasionally until they are soft, yet lightly crispy.
4. Set aside
Work on alfredo sauce now!
Directions to begin alfredo sauce (start here second): 
1. Drain soaked cashews and add them into a blender with 2.5 cups water, nutritional yeast, and salt. After blending, leave mixture in blender.
2. In a skillet or sauce pan, put in your chopped garlic and your oil and let simmer on medium until garlic starts to brown a little.
3. Add in cooking white wine (careful it may pop!) and let the wine reduce in half.
4. Then add cornstarch and stir - it will be clumpy!
5. Add your coconut milk (or other milk) and stir and then transfer it into the blender where your cashew mix is.
6. Blend altogether!  Now transfer it back to same skillet or deep pan after mixed and reduce to lowest setting (not boiling at all). 
Finishing it all up (this is third!):
1. Start boiling water for your pasta at this time. Whenever it starts to boil - add pasta.
2. Take lentil oat spice mix out of refrigerator and roll into balls (any size you'd like).
3. In a frying pan, add the grapeseed or avocado oil (or your high smoke point oil) and turn heat onto medium.
4. Add the meatballs and turn them every now and then - should be light brown and crispy all around. You will have to turn them occasionally.
5. When pasta is done, drain and throw into the alfredo already in the skillet/deep pan. Toss well until pasta is coated.
6. Add mushrooms and stir also. DONE!
7. Put into bowl or plate and top with meatballs, basil and fresh tomato! Voila!

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FRIDAY
RED LENTIL + COCONUT CURRY
Recipe originally from HERE
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 2½-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 tablespoon medium curry powder (such as S&B)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ cup red lentils
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus leaves with tender stems for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
Lime wedges (for serving)

Directions: 
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
2. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. Add tomatoes, ½ cup cilantro, a generous pinch of salt, and 2½ cups water; season with pepper. Set aside ¼ cup coconut milk for serving and add remaining coconut milk to saucepan.
4. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft but not mushy, 20–25 minutes.
Season soup with more salt and pepper if needed.

  • To serve, divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and top with more cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

 Photo from  Minimalist Baker

Photo from Minimalist Baker

DARK CHOCOLATE GRANOLA WITH NICE CREAM
Granola adapted from Minimalist Baker

To make granola:
Serves 2-3 (double batch to save for later)
Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp brown sugar/ coconut sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
(Optional: 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and/or 1/2 cup pecans or any other nut, 1/3 cup coconut shreds)

To make nice cream:
Serves 2-3
3-4 Frozen bananas
1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)


Directions to make granola :
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In blender or food processor - add oats, brown sugar/coconut sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt (or any other optional dry ingredients) and pulse a few times to combine it all and chop a bit - if you pulse too much, its too fine. Add more oats if necessary.  Transfer into big bowl.
3. In a saucepan, heat up oil and maple syrup until well combined.
Once liquids are melted, pour over gluten free oats, add vanilla and stir well.
5. Pour the mix into a silicone reusable baking mat, parchment paper or well oiled baking sheet and pop in oven for 20-26 minutes!
6. Let cool, pour into a big bowl and add chocolate chips.

Directions to make the nice cream:
1. In a food processor, blender or other type of mixer (should function well), add all the ingredients. Start off with 1/4 cup of the milk and blend. If its too thick to blend, add more milk. Should resemble soft serve so less milk the better. 
2. You're done!
Note: If you accidentally added too much milk - add a couple ice cubes or enjoy it as a smoothie form.
Top nice cream with granola and enjoy!!!!

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ZUCCHINI-BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE
Serves 1
Note: Peel and freeze your bananas, freeze your blueberries, and optional to dice and freeze the zucchini!!
-1 Frozen banana
-1/2 cup diced zucchini
-3/4 cup frozen blueberry
-2- 3 tablespoons hemp seeds, flax or a scoop of vegan protein powder
-1 tsp almond extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1.5 cups walnut milk you can make HERE or any other alternative milk of your choice

Directions:
1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy and enjoy! Top with granola or your favorite nut butter if you want yum!

5 DAYS OF VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE MEALS!

STEVIE and AMANDA TAKING OVER YOUR DINNER THIS WEEK! LETS COOK TOGETHER! #yayforearthchallenge

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 photo via  @golubkakitchen

photo via @golubkakitchen

I love finding healthy recipes that are good for my body and mind. I truly believe that who we are heavily depends on how we eat and that our system cannot work properly if we do not nourish it properly. In saying that, I love EVEN MORE doing it with people I love ...... YOU GUYS!! I am so excited to announce the best collab with Amanda! Her beautiful and effortless instagram is @mamaeatsplants  and her blog is HERE! We came up with a 5 day dinner meal plan (and some extra goodies) that focuses on vegan, gluten free, and low waste dishes and you do not need to be all or any of these things to participate, you just have to be excited to try some new recipes with us! The unique thing here is that we will offer the grocery list on here, and we can all go grocery shopping this weekend to kick it off together. You, Amanda, and I will all be making them together each night! We have also accommodated generous portions so save it for leftovers for lunches, snacks, sharing with friends etc..!

This is supposed to be fun and setting your mood is a must! Play some music, get your sillies and stagnant energy out before hand and dance if you need to de stress and then enjoy the art of cooking. It's so important for me to embrace everything that goes into making a meal- the chopping, the washing, composting scraps, every part of it is beautiful and so important in making an amazing meal! 

Amanda and I both love to get our sweat on - I love to run and she loves to do yoga so we will both be doing that to keep our heads on for the week, join us! If you want some easy tips on running just keep scrolling my blog and the post is up for some easy running tips! For getting started on yoga, Amanda recommends THIS beginner yoga video by the amazing Ali. 

**Since we all will be making them each night together, except in our own different kitchens, we really want to see what yours looks like so we have come up with the hashtag #yayforearthchallenge. Tag us in your grocery haul and your dinner if you would like! We want to see!!! SHOOWWW USSS! **

Remember that Amanda lives in California and I live in New York so we both have regionally different produce in season - we understand you do too so work with what you have and you can replace anything you like! 

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Bring your cloth totes and produce bags to make it low waste and always opt for packaging that isn't plastic if you can! Glass, aluminum, cardboard, paper, and compostable materials is all okay and can be recycled over and over! It's okay if you're not perfect with it, just try your best!

GET  SHOPPIN Y'ALL! Here's our grocery list!

PRODUCE
1 small red onion
1 medium yellow onion
2 heads garlic
2 shallots
1 medium portabello mushroom (or sub equivalent of other mushrooms)
2 large sweet potatoes
4 or so small baby (about 2 inch or so) potatoes
1 butternut squash
1 spaghetti squash OR 2 medium zucchini (for noodles)
2 bunches kale
1 bunch chard
1 serving size of arugula
2 beets, golden or red, with greens attached (or buy another green in its place like kale, spinach, chard etc)
2 large carrots
5 plum tomatoes
1 banana
1 apple
2 avocados
1 pint blueberries
fresh ginger
3 lemons
1 orange
SPICES & DRIED/FRESH HERBS
paprika
chile powder
chile flakes
salt (we like pink or other unrefined salt)
pepper
cinnamon
cumin
maple syrup
1 bunch fresh thyme
dried oregano
1 bunch parsley
LEGUMES/GRAINS/SEEDS
1 cup dried lentils (green or brown)
1 cup beluga or french lentils if you can find them, otherwise just get 1 more cup of the same ones as above)
chickpeas, either 2 cans or 1.5 cup dry and then soaked and cooked ahead of time (click HERE for a primer on how to cook chickpeas to have aquafaba leftover too to use for the brownies).
½ cup gluten free oats (to make oat flour)
1 cup quinoa
hemp seeds or flax seeds
3 tablespoons hazelnuts
MILKS & CONDIMENTS
coconut milk (either one can or make your own)
1 cup any nut milk  (optional, for the micronutrient smoothie)
braggs coconut aminos (tamari will also work if you're ok with soy/already have it on hand)
olive oil/grapeseed oil/avocado oil (any will work)
veggie stock (homemade cubes, or store bought plastic free ones like better than bouillon)
apple cider vinegar
red wine vinegar
1 jar tahini
1 glass jar marinara sauce
whole grain mustard (I like the Maille brand and it comes in a glass jar)- if you already have dijon in the fridge feel free to sub that.  Just don't use yellow.
DESSERT LIST
1 cup almond butter
cocoa powder
almond extract
vanilla extract
aquafaba (from can of chickpeas OR DIY from cooking your own)
⅓ cup Coconut sugar
baking soda
coconut oil
chocolate chips (vegan if you can!)
OPTIONAL ADD INS
fermented veggies (kraut, kimchi etc)

OKAY! Now that you have your grocery list, here goes the order of our dinner this week!
Monday:  Lentil meatballs + pasta
Tuesday:  Beet, chickpea, quinoa bowl
Wednesday:  Sweet potato hazelnut salad
Thursday:  Lentil and carrot sauce with crispy potatoes
Friday:  Nourishing sweet potato chickpea soup

Optional micronutrient smoothie- have it daily, once, twice, never, whatever.
Optional dessert - double chocolate chip cookies- have it all day, everyday, or maybe just after dinner! 

RECIPES

MONDAY!! Lentil Meatballs  (with ****spaghetti squash, zoodles, or pasta as base*** see note)
Adapted from www.willcookforfriends.com

Ingredients:
3-4 TBSP avocado or grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion
1/2 TBSP maple syrup
1 cup green or brown lentils
2 1/2 cup water
1 glass jar of marinara (I use Raos) (or home made if you like)
½ tsp of pink salt
½ cup gluten free oats (blend into flour- tutorial HERE)
4 TBSP aquafaba (or 1 TBSP chia seed with ¼ cup water)
1 TBSP coconut amigos
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2  tsp  paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
Pinch of cayenne (if you want a kick)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Pink salt & black pepper to taste (¼ tsp to start)
1 Spaghetti squash or pasta or 1-2 zucchini (depending on what base you want)

Recipe:
1. Rinse and drain lentils. Put aside.
2. In a saucepan, caramelize onions, garlic, maple syrup and a pinch of salt with 2 TBSP olive oil until lightly brown and translucent. About 5-6 minutes on a bit lower than medium heat
3. Add lentils and water to saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 30-35 minutes. Should be mid-soft with chew. Add more water if you need or drain a bit out if it’s ready with too much water. 
4. At the same time the lentils are simmering, process oats into flour using what you have (I used a magic bullet). In a large mixing bowl, put aquafaba (or chia seeds) at bottom of bowl.
5. Add oat flour and the rest of the ingredients besides parsley and salt.
6. When the lentils are done, put with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Mash with fork or masher until lentils are broken up and it’s sticky enough to be rolled into balls. Add parsley and toss in enough to combine.
7. On skillet (cast iron preferably) add grapeseed oil (or another high heat oil) and then add the lentil meat balls and grill all sides of each ball until nice and crispy brown on all sides.
8. Heat up your marinara sauce in a sauce pan.
8. Put your base at the bottom of your bowl, then load it up with your lentil meatballs then top with marinara sauce! 
9. YAY!

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TUESDAY!! Beet and Quinoa Buddha Bowl
Ingredients:

2 small beets, with greens attached
1 shallot, sliced crosswise into rings
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 portabello mushroom or equivalent other mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced or chopped
coconut aminos, about 1 tablespoon or more or less to taste
1 can chickpeas (about 1.75 cups)
1/2 sliced avocado

citrus ginger dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
1 small or 1/2 a large lemon, zested and juiced
1 orange, zested and juiced (you can save your peels to make all purpose cleaner!  recipe HERE)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
grated ginger- amount depending on your spice level, I use about 1 teaspoon- if you have a high speed blender you can just throw a chunk in, no need to grate
1 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons maple syrup, or other sweetener of choice like agave or honey

Recipe: 
1. Cut 2 beets into wedges and place in a steamer basket, cook until tender.
2. Wash and add the beet greens to the steamer the last couple minutes.
3. Sauté shallot and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and salt for a few minutes until softened.  Add quinoa and water and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook 15 minutes or until tender.  Turn off heat and set aside.  (can be made ahead of time).  Save 1/2 for tomorrow's lunch if desired.
4. Meanwhile, slice your mushroom(s), and the onion (save the other half of the onion for tomorrow).  Place in a pan over medium high heat and cook, adding oil or splashes of water or broth until tender, then drizzle in the aminos and stir around until absorbed.  Set aside.
5. Drain and rinse your chickpeas.  If you have time/prefer crispy chickpeas, you can toss with a little oil, smoked paprika, and salt and bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes while the quinoa cooks.  You probably won't eat all the chickpeas but you can save leftovers for lunch the next day with your leftover quinoa!
6. Blend all the ingredients for the dressing until super smooth.  You can also whisk it (really well) if you want.  This should make extra for lunches!  Keeps up to a week in the fridge in my experience.
7. Assemble bowl and drizzle the dressing on top and add avocado.

totally optional add ons: toasted pumpkin seeds and pickled/fermented veggies.

WEDNESDAY!!! Roasted Sweet Potato Hazelnut Salad
Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, cut into cubes or slices
3 tablespoons hazelnuts (small handful)
1 cup dry french or beluga/caviar lentils
handful parsley, either chopped or left in whole leaves
serving size of arugula

mustard vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
optional: bit of sweetener like maple, agave, honey etc (about 1/2-1 teaspoon)

Recipe: 
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Roast sweet potato (either drizzled with oil and salt or without, up to you) on a lined baking sheet (parchment or silicone mat) at 400 until tender, about 30 minutes. (alternatively, do this ahead of time to reduce overall time till dinner).  In the last 10 minutes, add the hazelnuts to the oven (either on a free spot on the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes, or a separate baking sheet.  Depending on the size of your hazelnuts, you may need a bit shorter or longer time to toast.  Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
3. Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Cover with plenty of water and some salt in a medium pot, cook till tender (about 15-20 minutes), drain and set aside.  This can be also be done ahead of time.  Save half of the lentils for tomorrow.
4. In the bottom of a medium sized bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
5. Roughly chop a handful parsley.
6. Roughly chop the toasted hazelnuts.
7. Into your bowl, add a few big handfuls salad greens.  Add as much or as little lentils as you like and toss to coat the dressing over.  Add the sweet potatoes on top and the parsley, and sprinkle hazelnuts over.

THURSDAY!! Lentil, Carrot, Kale Saute with Crispy Potatoes
Ingredients: 
4 or so small baby (about 2 inch or so) potatoes
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped (I don't remove stems but feel free to if you  prefer)
1 tablespoon oil
1 large carrot, shredded/grated
1 large garlic clove, pressed/minced/crushed
leftover lentils
1-2 tablespoons coconut aminos
chili flakes
1/2 sliced avocado

Recipe:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees if baking- or not, if sautéing.
2. Into a pot with a steamer basket, add your potatoes and cook till fork tender.
3. On a lined baking sheet, place the potatoes and take a flat bottomed cup or glass a gently press down to smash them to a 1/2 inch or so thickness.  Brush with a bit of oil and bake until crispy, about 20-30 minutes (alternatively, you could pan fry if you prefer for a shorter time till dinner).
4. Put a dry (no oil) skillet over high heat and let heat up for a minute or two empty.  Add in your kale and let cook without stirring for a few minutes until the edges start to get a little toasty.
5. Now add in your oil and stir fry the kale around the pan, tossing until tender- about 3 minutes or longer depending on how soft you like it.
6. Add in the grated carrots and garlic and toss constantly for about 30 seconds until you start to smell the garlic (don't let it burn).  Add in the leftover lentils and aminos and toss to heat through.
7. Serve with potatoes, leftover citrus tahini sauce, avocado and chili flakes.

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FRIDAY!! Nourishing Sweet Potato Chickpea Soup
Recipe from @leslie.bish
Ingredients: 

3 TBSP oil of your choice
1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
1 ½ tsp maple syrup
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large sweet potato (small cubes)
1 butternut squash (cut in half long ways)
4 plum tomatoes or one can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Coconut milk (either ¼ can or home made before)
2-3 TBSP Braggs coconut aminos
1 cup chickpeas - either 1 can (save the aquafaba juice!) or make before from dried
5 kale leaves (chopped in small pieces)
3 chard leaves (chopped in small pieces)
salt/pepper/paprika/chili powder/cumin (about 1 tsp each and adjust  to taste)
4 cups gluten free veggie stock (homemade cubes or glass or paper bought store condensed ones)
1 cup water (if you want it more soupier)
optional: top with avocado

Recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop everything as directed.
2. Slice a butternut squash in half and place face down on oven sheet at 400 degrees.
3. In a big pot caramelize onions by adding oil, onions, spices, & maple syrup until onions are lightly browning and translucent on medium heat. Stir occasionally. 
4. After about 10 minutes add cubes of sweet potato, garlic and braggs coconut aminos, sautee for 15 more minutes on medium heat. Cover with lid stirring occasionally.
5. Add veggie stock, tomato paste and diced tomatoes and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
6. Take out butternut squash, dice and scoop out of skin.
7.  Add butternut squash, coconut milk, chickpeas, and all the greens, and water if you want it to be more soupy. Let simmer a bit longer so the flavors can all hang out and party together.
8. YAY!!! Enjoy!

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MICRONUTRIENT SMOOTHIE (optional)
Adapted from Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Ingredients:

½ -1 frozen banana
¼ apple
½ carrot
½ tomato
⅓ avocado
2 leaves kale
2 leaves chard
2 big handfuls spinach
½ cup frozen blueberries
2 TBSP hemp seeds or flax seeds
1 cup alternative milk (home made nut milk/coconut milk or just water)
1 tsp cinnamon
3-5 pieces of ice
Recipe: 
1. Add the kale, chard, spinach, and choice of milk or water to your blender, bullet, or food processor (whichever you have). Blend until smooth and no big green chunks present.
2. Add rest of items - frozen banana, apple, carrot, tomato, avocado, blueberries, hemp or flax seeds, cinnamon and ice.
3. Blend until smooth and creamy! Enjoy! This yields a really big 32 oz jar, it’s filling and a perfect way to get a big dose of micronutrients in the am!

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DESSERT (optional)

FLOURLESS DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Ingredients:
1 cup almond butter
2 ½  tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp Aquafaba
½ tsp cinnamon
½  cup Coconut sugar (you may want it more sweetened, try dough and then sweeten to taste)
⅓ cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 ½  tsp baking soda

Recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In big bowl, mix all ingredients together. Stir until it is all combined and place in freezer.
3. Leave in freezer anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours! (I’m not patient so 20 minutes is just right for me and it's delicious)
4. Form into golf sized balls and place on a reusable silicon baking mat, parchment paper, greased aluminum foil or greased cooking sheet.
5. Let bake for 10-12 minutes
6. ENJOY

COLLARD WRAPS ARE LIFE

Collard wraps have literally changed my life

I'm not going to lie, sometimes I am really, really bad at getting all my veggies in for the day and I also get in the habit of only sautéing or baking instead of eating them fresh. My life changed one day as I decided to prep my veggies. I bought collard greens with those big beautiful leaves to put in my smoothies and when I chopped off the bottom half, realized that the top half kind of looked like a big green tortilla. I know what you're thinking. "Stevie you didn't invent collard green wraps", and I'm going to disagree, just kidding! However we all get inspired at different times and its a matter of situation.  Here are a couple recipes that I really fell in love with but to be honest I find that you can throw so many things in, even laying around your fridge, to make it so tasty! This prevents food waste, getting a healthy amount of protein & nutrients in, and fills your tummy! For eco friendliness, source your ingredients local, organic & from the farmers market! Bring a cloth produce bag when grocery shopping to prevent using the plastic bags they offer. I buy mine from Simple Ecology!

MY FAVORITE OF ALL TIME - The Shitaake Peanut Wrap

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INGREDIENTS:
Peanut sauce:

-2 tablespoons peanut butter
-1 teaspoon tamarin or gluten free soy sauce
-1 tablespoon coconut amigos (add more to taste if you need)
-juice from 1/4 to 1/2 lime (add to taste) (compost or reuse lime rinds!)

Veggies:
-2 Collard leaves or whatever you think you can eat (chop the ends off and reuse for smoothies or salads!)
-5 shiitake mushrooms sliced
-3 kale leaves chopped or big handful spinach
-1/2 carrot chopped into long slices
-1/2 cup sprouts ( I use sunflower seed sprouts but any kind works)
- 1-2 green onion chopped
- handful cilantro chopped
Note : Feel free to add anything you want in this! Hemp seeds would be good for more protein, any other veggies etc...

DIRECTIONS:
For the sauce: 
Add all the ingredients to a very small bowl and whisk or mix altogether with a fork until its smooth and creamy! 
For the filling: Saute mushrooms with olive oil or coconut oil on medium low with light salt. Shiitake can be tricky sometimes because it can get rubbery if you don't cook it right -  so the longer you cook it on a medium to lower setting, the better it gets. Be friendly with the oil you put in, it makes it so buttery and yummy!! After about 5-7 minutes, add spinach just for 2 minutes. 
1. Spread the peanut sauce in the middle of your collard wrap.
2. Add the mushrooms and kale/spinach then add the rest!
3. Take the edge of your collard leaf over the middle part over the filling and start rolling! 
4. YUM and YAY!
5. Make sure if there are any scraps to compost or reuse for smoothies/soups/etc. Zero waste win
 

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Running Tips!

How running saved my life
and
10 easy tips to get started and stay motivated!

 

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Yay we are talking about one of my favorite topics. Running! If you want to get started but don't know how or if you have energy or stress you don't know how to expel, I would suggest running as an avenue of aid. Here are some easy tips to get you started. Below that, is my story on how it changed my entire life, so feel free to read it if you have the time! 




                                                                                   TIPS
1. Go into it with no expectation except to be in tune to how your body is all working! Go at a conversational pace and take it slow. To start, don't focus on pace, just distance. (2 - 4 miles to start!)

2. Do you have the right shoes? It's so important to invest in a good shoe. I used to have really thick soled shoes because they were recommended to me and it caused me a lot of troubles. My Iliotibial band started hurting, my ankles kept rolling, my hips were misaligning and it took me a while to figure out it was because of my shoe. I swear by Newton Running . Have used their shoes for the past 7 years.

3. If you're a morning runner, what your last meal was will heavily weigh on your performance. For dinner, make sure you eat a fairly carb heavy meal, as it will help with energy. I don't eat breakfast before morning runs, but if you do, make it light! 

4. The first 15 minutes is to recalibrate. Your body is trying to bring back a homeostasis and that takes time. The oxygen in your blood is heading to your muscles and your muscles make more enzymes to turn fuel into energy. So your body which is your factory is working hard, make mental room for that!

5. When breathing, make sure you inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth at a smooth and constant speed. Your lungs will operate better when it gets consistency.

6. If you're trying to make it weekly a habit, start a training schedule and start with 3 days a week. Pick 2 days of the week where you run (walk when necessary) for 20-30 minutes then pick a day on the weekend where you can run (walk when necessary) for 40 minutes! 

7. Don't think you have to run the whole time! Walk breaks are still incredibly needed for me and it gives your body a little break. Walk breaks during my run help me to not get burnt out in the future.

8. Treat yo-self after! Make sure you eat something after your run that is going to be exciting and filling. I also love drinking daterade. I'll post the recipe in my blog this week! Also, I usually make a smoothie or sweet potato toast. (A frequent smoothie for me is banana, mixed greens, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and a nut butter or my ultra micronutrient smoothie!) 

9. Stretch afterward. I forget this step a lot but I think its really important for recovery and prevention of future strains and pulls.

10. Remember that your rest days are equally important than your running days. When you rest, you let your body adapt to the stress you are putting on it, which in turn makes you perform better, faster, and stronger. HAPPY TRAILS!!!!




MY STORY!

 It's been a long and loving road and running has benefit me in more ways than I can count so I wanted to tell you how it began for me so maybe it can spark some excitement for you to start too! 

I believe that life has a beautiful ebb and flow where everything falls apart so it can come back together to make more room for positivity and growth. I was an extremely different person 10 years ago and am so thankful life brought me those times of turmoil. During senior year and right after high school, these "falling apart" moments started. My stomach would constantly be bloated and in so much crippling pain no matter what, I started to get severe verge-of-panic-attack social anxiety and it was often hard to even talk to my mom (the only thing that would help was alcohol), I was breaking out really bad on my cheeks and they were so painful, my parents abruptly got divorced, I could NOT get over a boy I was head over heels with (sounds trivial now but the struggle was so real haha), I was teaching at a private daycare at the time but didn't know my life direction, I would get brain fog so bad that I couldn't even finish a full thought or sentence, and I was gaining weight. 

The first awakening for me was traveling to Africa (that has a whole story of its own) and then immediately after I moved to Boulder, Colorado. I moved up there with no job and I remember I was completely out of money.  I didn't have any furniture, mattress, phone, tv or laptop, all my friends were away for a month and I would just lay on my floor in the middle of the day and wish I was sleeping. This was before I even knew what meditation, yoga, or unwinding was, which honestly sounds so crazy now. Anyhow, all I had was a small suitcase with an old pair of running shoes and some clothes. After a week or so of driving myself crazy, I stopped pitying myself and decided I was gonna be a runner. So I took some borrowed gear and my old shoes and drove to a mountain in Boulder. I started at the bottom of the trail and just started sprinting like a mad man up the hill. It wasn't until about 30-45 seconds where I was freaking out. How do people do this for even 5 minutes? 30 minutes? WHAT! I was perplexed so I went home and thats when my obsession began.

My feet connected all the way to my heart and then into my brain and I HAD to solve this puzzle. I found a short and even trail I used to walk on and made that my practice grounds. I'd go everyday and test myself. 1/4 of a mile without stopping. Then a 1/2 a mile without stopping. After 2 months, a full mile without stopping. I took it extremely slow because I didn't want to push it til exhaustion because I was honestly enjoying the high I would get with every tiny success. After a year I finally made it to 3 miles without stopping and then I worked on speed. It was one of those things where you realize no one can take this from you. Just you and the pavement and theres no such things as right or wrong. Too slow for who? Too fast for who? Every moment I started, I celebrated and it didn't matter how far or fast I was. I was a runner and no matter what else I did that day, I felt accomplished. 

Now this is where everything else fell into line. In order for me to perform well for myself on the trail, it was important to figure out why I was in so much pain with my stomach. Long story short, I realized I was Celiac and my entire life changed when I cut it out of my diet. My break outs stopped, I no longer felt like I was going to die after a meal, my social anxiety was gone, but the biggest thing for me was my brain fog. I could finally think clearly again and no longer was a prisoner in my own head. 

So what did running do for me? It connected the dots and realigned my body with my mind and all back into my heart. It rebalanced my reality and gave me a new perspective on my worth and how to feel my best. Once I found my outlet, I found my answers. No matter what is stressing me out at the time, I have a more clear path on how to work through it! 

Hair care!

MY HAIR CARE ROUTINE ( 7 days of no washing or products)
&
How to train your hair to not depend on shampoo and conditioner!
 

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 I remember in high school and even years after saying "why can't my hair just be shiny, flat and pretty?" I would like to describe my hair as thick strands like a horse, very wavy and huge, and I've always thought it was so unmanageable. No matter how many or what type of products I would use, it would always take me (not kidding) 2-3 hours to get it to a manageable point and even then I couldn't stop trying to fix it every second. Not to mention if it got wet or humid even a little, my hair would frizz up like a fluffy poodle. It wasn't until I decided to embrace my big waves and stop relying on what I thought was the "perfect" products that I started actually loving my hair. It took some time to figure it all out but it was all worth it. 
 

How do you even start training your hair not to rely on all these products that your hair has depended on for all these years? Well I believe it all really all has to do with picking up these habits.

-Comb out frequently! For those with crazy curls or big waves like mine, you know its hard to do that and present ourselves to society. So take 2-5 minutes every other night before bed to really comb from roots to end to distribute the oils. Our hair pretty much produces a natural conditioner and keeping the flow is important. We don't want any clogged pores. 
- Do not over-condition y'all! In saying that our own natural oils are its own conditioner, using conditioner just doubles up that grease. So if you do want to do a longer time without washing your hair, I would skip the conditioner or do about 1/2 of what you normally do. In training your hair, eventually we want to not rely on conditioner since our bodies do the same thing except better!
-Manage that mid way awkward stage- So about 3 or 4 days in, my hair gets weird. A bit greasy, and the curls (or if I wear it straight) seems stale and hard to manage. At this point there a few roads to take:
1. The Stevie road. Before my shower, I comb it REALLY well and hop in the shower! This makes it easy for the oil to distribute and then wash away. Afterward, my hair does this shiny curl thing that I absolutely love! You can also make a simple fragrance mist with essential oils diluted in water to make it smell nice.
2. The apple cider vinegar rinse.  I used to use this as conditioner but found a new wash, but I hear a lot of people use this as a nice mid way gentle clean! 
-Embrace an updo or hair accessories sometimes! I can wear my hair down about 3 or 4 days out of the entire 7. With that being said, I really like undo's and I don't mind wearing hats ( I have a greek fisherman hat that makes me feel like a bad ass lol) . Down in a low bun with twists, or braids, high pony tail, messy high bun. All of that can disguise those days where you can't quite manage your hair. Sometimes it feels too greasy, sometimes it gets stiff and I always find that these choices really refresh everything.

I documented 7 days just to show you what I did with my hair!
 

 DAY 1

DAY 1

 Day 2. To be honest I just woke up and did nothing to it that day, haha. It was a bit too poofy for my liking but when I lightly curl the ends and put some almond oil afterwards, its a lot better. 

Day 2. To be honest I just woke up and did nothing to it that day, haha. It was a bit too poofy for my liking but when I lightly curl the ends and put some almond oil afterwards, its a lot better. 

 Day 3. Updo's, wraps or hats on this day usually!

Day 3. Updo's, wraps or hats on this day usually!

 Day 4: Didn't have time to wash it and was in a rush so I threw it up in a pony tail even though it was definitely ready for a wash!!

Day 4: Didn't have time to wash it and was in a rush so I threw it up in a pony tail even though it was definitely ready for a wash!!

 Day 5: I really love this day. My hair is still wet from the shower but it dries so nice and curly and I curl a bit of the top to accentuate my underneath curls and I love it! 

Day 5: I really love this day. My hair is still wet from the shower but it dries so nice and curly and I curl a bit of the top to accentuate my underneath curls and I love it! 

 Day 6: Loved this day too! A nice low bun with twists. It felt nice and shiny and laid really well. 

Day 6: Loved this day too! A nice low bun with twists. It felt nice and shiny and laid really well. 

What are my products?!
Almond Oil: I use this when my hair is frizzy and it smooths out the frizz so well, all day. Do NOT use this before you take any sort of heat mechanism to it (curling iron, blow dryer, flat iron). You are essentially cooking your hair if you do that, which will compromise the quality of it (obviously, haha). I do it after, if I do use any of those.
Shampoo: Vermont soap has an all purpose, palm oil free lavender cleaner that I purchased in bulk at my favorite food co-op in Manhattan! 
Hair brush: I use Bass bamboo hair brush with wood bristles and a 100% bamboo handle! I love it so much! You can probably find it online but I bought mine at a whole foods with all recyclable, and no plastic packaging.

Now heres my documentation of the 7 days with notes that may be helpful. Dang, this may be my lengthiest blog post yet! I feel like there is just a lot to cover and this information could be helpful to some! 

1st day is WASH day: Only a quarter size amount into palm of my all purpose cleaner from Vermont Soap. Rub together til all foamy in hands then get the roots. My hair is typically really frizzy and wavy but ever since I’ve done the  5+ day thing, its tamed itself.  I won’t comb the first day, since the oils aren’t building up quite yet.

2nd day: Easy to manage and it acquires a certain shine. I just woke up, curled the ends a bit and that was it! In the evening I take about 2-5 minutes, play some music and just comb my hair from roots to end. This distributes the oil evenly and conditions the entirety of my hair. I also find that combing my hair gets rid of dandruff at the roots and any unclogs sebum glands.

3rd day: A great updo day for me! I usually throw it up in a bun with a hair wrap, maybe in a hat in a low bun or something like that. I comb 2-5 minutes before bed too!

4th day: Didn’t have time to wet it or style so I dragged the straight hair another day and threw it in a pony tail! At this point there is signs of grease and my dark hair hides it pretty well! These days usually consist of another updo, hair wrap, or hat day.

5th day: Time to change it up! When in the shower I’ll get it all wet! I may take my body/face soap bar and wash just my hair line just to avoid any breakouts along my face or my forehead. My hair is naturally big and wavy and it looks at its best in the later days of my wash timeline (4th or 5 day). I will curl the strands that are being a little flimsy. If there is some frizz on the top I will put a bit of almond oil in my hands and rub my palms together then smooth it out (a really small amount! about the 1/4 size of my pinky nail.)

6th day: Really easy to manage, it looks nice and has shine to it, I couldn't wear it down but it looked really nice in a low bun with yesterdays slight curl.

7th day: Wash! Or not, if it still looks good!

Zero Waste Toothpaste!

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ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE! 

Once you make this toothpaste for the first time and you buy your handy bamboo toothbrush, you will realize how easy it is to make a huge difference everyday in lessening plastic consumption, landfill pile up, and not supporting resource sucking industries! Knowing what ingredients go into your everyday teeth, face and body care also means voting no on deforestation and saving species from habitat destruction. So lets do it!

A good bamboo toothbrush brand is
-Brush with Bamboo

For floss I use
- Dental lace  (no plastic, a re-usable container, and commercial composts accept it!)

NOTES:
-It's important to never use metal or stainless steel of any kind when using bentonite clay. Bentonite clay has some amazing properties and draws out bacteria as well as remineralizes your teeth. If it touches metal, it loses all its charge and will then be a pointless ingredient in your toothpaste.
- Sometimes if it gets cold, your coconut oil may harden in your pipes, clogging the drain. An easy fix is to just pour hot water down it and it will melt it all down!
- You are not supposed to ingest these essential oils unless diluted properly so I would advise not to add any to toothpaste intended for children unless you are certain they will not swallow it. Using non-diluted essential oils is completely okay for toothpaste since it will mostly be spit out. 
-Spearmint/peppermint keeps your breath fresh, cinnamon essential oils is antimicrobial, tea tree is anti fungal, and clove has germicidal properties and obstructs pathogenic bacteria! 
A good essential oil brand that focuses on sourcing sustainably is Mountain Rose Herbs


TOOTHPASTE (makes 4 oz)
What you'll need: 
1. 4 oz jar or any small glass container (no metal)
2. A wooden spoon or stir stick ( I reused a wooden chopstick). No metal or steel - the bentonite clay will lose its beneficial charge.

Ingredients:
4 tbsp Coconut oil
1.5 - 2 tbsp Baking soda (baking soda can be harsh on gums, and if you experience this, lessen the amount)
1 tbsp Bentonite clay
Drops of essential oil (peppermint, cinnamon, or spearmint ) 

Directions:
1.  Add room temp coconut oil to your jar
2. Stir in baking soda and the bentonite clay with your wooden spoon
3. Add your essential oils to your liking. I do about 10-20 drops.
4. VOILA!!!
5. I store at room temperature for easy use! 

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Vegan/GF Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread

VEGAN/GF CINNAMON APPLE PIE BREAD

This recipe makes one delicious & guilt-free apple pie bread. You will feel full gratitude for life, for food, and for the planet. Don't you just love when food can do that? Awaken your senses and your present being? Am I being too emotional about this loaf of bread?

I say guilt free in every way because its palm oil free, no refined sugars, no animal products being used to save resources and it feels way good for your soul. The apples are local and organic and all the ingredients I bought in bulk or had all recyclable and no plastic packaging!

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INGREDIENTS:
 2 tsp ground cinnamon
 1 cup maple syrup (or coconut sugar or another sugar you prefer)
 ¼ cup coconut oil (softened, not liquid)
 ¼ cup applesauce
 2 chia eggs  (for one chia egg mix 1 tbsp chia with 3 tbsp water)
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract      
 1½ cups Gluten free flour (see note at bottom of ingredient list for kind I use) 
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 ⅓ cup almond milk (or milk you prefer)
 1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped

*Note: I use Pamela's Gluten Free Baking and Pancake mix (choose the non-dairy one for vegan) for most of my baking! I ordered the 25 lb. bag one because its the only one that comes in all paper and zero plastic. It has lasted me about 6 months and I'm only half way there so it's the best purchase ever!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine small bowl with 1/3 cup sugar with cinnamon and set aside
  3. Mix together (I used my magic bullet) 2/3 cup sugar and coconut oil until blended and semi-fluffy. Then mix in apple sauce, chia eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Stir together flour and baking powder and then add flour and almond milk to mixture.
  5. Stir to combine and do not overmix.
  6. Pour half into greased and floured loaf pan. Sprinkle in 1/2 of the apples and 1/2 of the cinnamon mixture.
  7. Stir rest of the apples into the remaining batter and pour rest into pan. Top with the rest of the cinnamon mixture.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top comes out golden brown and until knife comes out clean.
  9. YAY!!