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Delicious White Bean & Avo Salad

Hi blog!

In an attempt to get back to posting more often and more consistently, I thought I’d share this yummy recipe we tried out last week. Thank you to Forever After Blog for sharing and, strangely enough, a big thank you to BuzzFeed, which brought this collection of delicious vegan recipes to light. I made a few tweaks, but you can find the original here.

And now, without further ado,

White Bean & Avo Salad

white-bean-avo-saladVinaigrette:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c lemon juice (I juiced 3 lemons)
  • 2 T mustard (can’t have too much! ;) )
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and taste – play with it until you’re happy!

Salad:

  • 2 cans great northern beans
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 Roma tomatos
  • 1/4 sweet onion chopped (optional)

Rinse white beans and chop the avocados, tomatoes, and onion. Mix in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and stir in evenly. Chill before serving (just fridge it for a couple hours)

That’s it! Pretty simple, eh?

What’s more, it’s really yummy! You can eat it with a fork, or you can do what Chris and I did – dip in some blue corn chips and crunch away!

photo credit – Forever After Blog

Paleo-Style Banana Pancakes!

Eat these with butter and bacon!
I’ve promised some serious catching up, but before I dig through photos and emails of the holiday season, I thought I’d share a truly delicious breakfast Chris and I have been enjoying (WAY too much!)

We’re once again doing the Whole Life Challenge – a fun diet & exercise program meant to help us get back to meeting fitness goals – and while I’m mostly revisiting favorite recipes from last year, I thought I’d give these bad boys a shot. I’m SO glad we did!

They’re pancakes, but they’re even better than pancakes. Basically just eggs, bananas, and almond meal, these breakkie treats are worth much more than the sum of their parts.

Paleo-Style Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:

lumpy bananas make for awesome banana bites in the cakes

  • 2 bananas (original recipe says overripe, but I prefer normal yellow bananas)
  • 3 (heaping) tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter (plus additional for the pan)

Directions:

  1. Place almond butter & coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for one minute to soften. Mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl mash up the bananas.
    *Side note! Don’t completely mash the bananas! The texture of the batter will be lumpier, but little bites of banana in the cakes makes it unbearably better! After comparing to blender-made mix, I won’t go back!*
  3. Pour almond butter / oil bowl into the bananas, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Mix in eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda. Add melted butter last.
  5. Heat the pan to medium heat. Add a pad of butter to prevent sticking.
  6. Ladle/pour batter into pan (we found that 6″ diameter cakes were perfect for flipping!) flipping once when bubbles appear in the top. (just like regular pancakes!)
  7. Enjoy with butter (and a dash of salt!)

small bubbles appear when it's time to flip!

...drool

These are a 100% success! Try it at home!

I’ve made some adjustments from the original recipe from pudgytopaleo.com
UPDATE: Unfortunately the blog is now private or I would gladly share the link! ~Emma 06/2015

7 Feng Shui Tips from MindBodyGreen!

I’m gonna share a post from MindBodyGreen today because I think it was something I needed to hear.

Spring cleaning will be more stressful than usual this year because of the wedding. Not only will I need the space for DIY wedding pieces and storage, but we most definitely want to show off the house while family and friends are in LA.

That being said, it’s a lot harder to rally spirits when there’s so much more pressure on the state of things. I’d love to say it keeps me more motivated, but it’s really keeping me more apprehensive. The second I take on a project I have to wonder if it’s the highest priority. Then I don’t know where to start and I end up not starting at all. (Good thing we’re 5+ months out!)

Now these feng shui tips are all very to-the-point; I don’t think there’s anything here that surprised me, but it was exactly what I needed to read today. Hope you can enjoy it, too!

*for the whole article by Dana Claudat, click here!

1. Declutter.

Clutter is stuck energy in your home. This may be the hardest step for many of you, but clearing clutter can be a total life revolution in itself. Examples: papers you have been saving for the last decade “just in case” you might need them, clothes you haven’t worn in years, art you don’t like. I encourage you to dive in and recycle/donate/regift it all!

2. Lighten any drudgery!

What chores in your home do you dread? Today, find a way to make them fun. If washing your dishes is a nightmare, can you put an iPod dock in your kitchen? If you can’t stand doing laundry, maybe you get really cool artisanal linen wash and a gorgeous laundry basket? Reduce the drudgery and you’ll embrace the care of your space more artfully.

3. Find a good view!

If you have a great view of nature or the city, leave your blinds or curtains open to bring that expansive view inside. If you don’t have a view, can you create one with a great piece of art? Even an abstract but meditative piece of art, something you like to contemplate, will do the trick.

4. Dim the lights at night.

Bright light, as illuminating and refreshing as it is, can throw your sleep cycles off kilter. If you start to dim lights progressively in the evenings, switching more light off as it gets later in the evening, your body will be able to unwind more easily.

5. Appeal to your senses.

Explore aromatherapy bubble baths, essential oil diffusers and even pure incense to flood the air with layers of sensory goodness. Add a soft knit throw to your sofa. Get some fuzzy slippers! When is the last time you downloaded some jazz with its watery improvisation, or a classical score to steady the rhythm of your mind?

6. Clear the air of static.

One massive amount of clutter we all tend to ignore: Pent-up anger, frustration and hurt feelings that linger in your home. Just because you’re not speaking them doesn’t mean that other people aren’t feeling them. In my personal and professional experience, roommates, couples and families that take the time to calmly talk out their issues have far less stress at home. If you live alone, keep a journal to air out your feelings when you need to relax.

If you find it hard to express yourself, you may want to try clearing more clutter (back to #1 on the list!). Our homes are a mirror of our mind and our life. So if you can clear more space in the physical environment, it often helps open up emotional space in your life as well.

7. Add more nature.

Nature is the ultimate relaxation nirvana. There’s fascinating research underway on nature as therapy, with some studies suggesting that 20 minutes immersed in nature can significantly decrease stress hormones in the body. Psychologist Roger Ulrich’s research, dating back to 1984, has shown that when patients in a hospital gaze out at a garden they tend to heal faster and with fewer complications then those who had no view as they healed.

Plants, trees, rocks, crystals … I’m an advocate of adding tons more nature to your home.

In feng shui, it’s your personal experience of your own space that matters, so feel free to explore and improvise any of the steps above to make them work in your home for you. In pursuit of your own haven at home, you can do no wrong!

Hiking in Placerita Canyon

My boys - Keoki & ChrisSorry world! I have been neglectful! But not to worry; there are plenty of great photos and stories to come! To start, here’s a little hiking catch-up.

Let’s start with Placerita Canyon hiking!

For a number of summer Sundays, C & I went out hiking with a group of our good friends. We hit a ton of great spots – Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon, Millard Canyon, Eaton Canyon, the old Zoo, Crescenta Valley Park, and I’m sure there were more, but I can’t remember. These photos here are from our trip to Placerita Canyon, which may have been my favorite (see: toads.)

Overall, I’m happy to say we were consistent and adventurous with our hiking trips this summer. Sadly, with football season here, the team has dwindled for the season. Maybe we’ll revive it next Spring :D

a cute baby toad

Now, this-here is why I LOVED this hike – Chris and I got there early and ended up at the butterfly pond, which was FILLED with tadpoles and baby toads! (And bees, which were, in fact, larger than the toads!)

baby toad-y in my hand!!

Inside the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, they also had a number of critters that the Rangers have caught in the neighborhood. If you’re interested in their presentations/programs, go to their website! Below is a beautiful red-tailed hawk and one of the Red Diamondback Rattlesnakes they had in the station. Luckily we didn’t see any rattlers in the wild, though Keoki totally tried to divebomb a lizard.

a GORGEOUS red-tailed hawk at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center

an icky, yet awesome rattler at the Nature Center

In all, it was a lovely hike, though maybe a little anti-climactic — the waterfall we hiked to was more of a drip this time of year — but I’m definitely looking forward to revisiting the area and the Nature Center to catch a presentation or two :)

BONUS! A Placerita Canyon Weirwood

spooOOOooky tree we found while hiking