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Complete + Balanced Meal Recipe: Kale + Quinoa Salad (Vegan. Gluten Free, Nut Free, Oil Free)

Hi friends! How are you?! Hungry? It's currently 4:59 pm and I'm hungry for dinner. I'm not gonna lie to you, Marlowe and I tend to eat dinner on the very early side. I sleep better without a super full belly and it gives us time to have a snack if we're really wanting it later, haha.

But now lets talk about lunch, shall we? Well, I guess salads could be dinner too-- though I normally like to go for something warm for dinner. But yeah, are you guys salad people? I'm not. Anyone who bought my cookbook can easily see that salads are not a huge part of my life.  Though I will say they have been growing on my lately. I guess the whole trying to go mostly raw thing has helped that. I mean, how do you go mostly raw an ignore salads? I guess if I really did eat only fruit it would work-- but I don't know, veggies are cool too. I'm rambling about nothing right now. The point is, I'm not a big salad person--- it has to be a really good and well developed salad for me to enjoy it. You can't just toss a bunch of stuff in a bowl and be like "this is your salad"--- that will not work for my taste buds. Everything has to blend and balance together.

This salad does that. Not only is it well balanced in flavor, but also from a nutritional standpoint. I am in no way one of those people that believes we need to be pumping protein into our guts with every meal--- I honestly think we over do it with protein in our culture, but whatever. This salad is packed with protein for those who are looking for it. It has loads of healthy fat + healthy omegas + a delicious amount of carbs for energy too.

You know to be completely honest though, if you're worried about food combining, maybe this isn't the perfect meal because it does have the cooked root veggies with the raw greens. But outside of that, I think this is a really, really good meal. We've had it three times in the past week or so. Even Marlowe likes it (though we keep out the sweet potato and tomatoes for her).

This recipe is also completely oil free. I told you guys away ago that I was switching to the high carb, low fat diet (HERE and HERE). But that in no way means NO fat--- it just means less fat-- and only completely natural fats--- no processed oils around here anymore. (Ahem, except when you place a bag of chips in front of me. They are still my weakness--- but ahem, outside of that NO oils in my kitchen cooking. Okay okay, and yeah, when we go out to eat I'm sure I'm eating oil, but again, I do the best I can when I can, so if I'm making food at home, I avoid).

This recipe is also great for a week of meal prep. I like to make a big batch of potatoes + a big pot of quinoa and then toss everything together for lunch. You can also make the dressing ahead of time-- since there is a good amount of lemon, the avocado shouldn't brown too fast. But you may want to eat it within 30 hours or so. You'll probably find that you have most of the ingredients at home. I've written down a lot of great substitution options though if you want or need to sub something out :)

After you've made it, you can eat right away or it's super easy to pack for lunch out or whatever. It's light, but filling and will leave you feeling great after, not heavy and tired. Promise. So ya ready to make a salad that doesn't suck? Cool, lets do it!

You'll need:

-1 head of kale, washed and chopped (small to medium pieces or strips)
-2 cups baked sweet potato cubes -- for this I chop up the potato and bake in oven on a sheet tray (no oil) until tender. sub: butternut squash, delicata squash, carrot.
-1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
-1/2 cup goji berries. sub: raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries
-2 cups diced tomato (optional)
-4 avocados
-1 1/2 tablespoons mustard (we love this brand. But any good quality organic + natural mustard will do. Marlowe always asks to eat it plain with a spoon--- I think thats gross, haha).
-3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1 teaspoon mustard seeds (for an extra kick-- optional)
-salt + pepper to taste

How to:

-smash one of your avocados in one bowl.
-add lemon juice + mustard and blend well
-add salt and pepper to taste
-cut your remaining avocado into cubes
-in a large mixing bowl add kale, quinoa, goji berries (or dried fruit), and avocado
-pour on dressing and mix and massage until well combined and kale has softened
-add in tomatoes and sweet potato (I used a white sweet potato, nom) and toss
-add another sprinkle of salt and pepper if you'd like, or a touch more lemon.
-tada a well rounded and balanced salad for a happy mouth and gut!

Really, you could just blend the dressing with kale and then add everything else--- but I like to add the other stuff in there to make it soft and blended in more. You might want to consider adding in the sweet potato before you mix the dressing to smash it up in there. Or you might want to consider adding the avocado chunks after blending, so you can have more whole big pieces, if you fancy that. Play around with it! The key is having the acid + savory-ness of the dressing + the bitterness or kale + the sweetness of fruit + potato. I think you guys will be quite happy with this recipe-- whiter you're making it for lunch, as a dinner side, for a party, or for meal prepping your week :)

Alright friends! I'm off to eat more healthy food.... and probably some chips too. Because: balance ;)

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe! If you'd like to see more salad-y stuff like this, let me know! I make food everyday and eat a lot of food-- sometimes I just don't think to document and post about it. So if you're wanting to see more of certain style of food or a specific recipe, just ask!

You can see more recipes HERE and HERE
and more mostly raw vegan recipes HERE

Alright friends! Have an amazing night/day/whatever! 

Dont Think About Pasta

How are you? How was your weekend? Mine was the right amount of fast and slow. Maybe lacking a bit on the productive side of things--- but only in regards to 'productive' in go-go-go sense. Looking around, my to do list is probably longer than I'd like it to be. There are for sure things that I'll need to do soon. And things that I don't need to do, but probably should do or should have done--- months ago.

But I did make babaganoush from scratch today-- and watched three hours of planet earth--- so that has to be worth something? I think it might be worth a lot. But again, thats all about perspective and priorities. Ya know?

One afternoon this week (I believe it was Friday) I tied the laces on my sneakers and clicked on Marlowe's bike helmet (why yes, I do own sneakers). We went outside. And as she started speeding off on her bike I yelled, "think about what you want for dinner!" And quickly after (almost immediately) I yelled, "WAIT! Don't think about dinner. Think about your bike ride and how much you are enjoying it on this beautiful day!" She shouted, "OKAY!" and continued off, with me, trailing not too far behind her.

I don't want my kid to be put into a multitask- go go go mentality. I mean, it's almost undoubtedly inevitable, but if it's going to happen, I don't want it to be by my doing. She's going to learn how to multitask-- she'll need to in order to keep up with this fast paced tech growing world. But I don't want her to be so programmed to it that she completely overlooks all the joyous details that make up her life. We're not really taught how to be present anymore. (Well, I don't know if we ever were.) As a species we've been so inherently trained to survive, thrive, and succeed (again, 'success' being subjective). And thats cool and all. I mean, I don't want her to be some sort of lump that never gets anywhere and simply sits there all lump like--- and enjoys that. I want her to succeed in whatever makes her happy and is beneficial for our planet. But most importantly, I want her to really enjoy all of it. Every detail of her life. I want her to be present in her current state and not preoccupied with the idea of the future.

There's something to be said about having the ability to finding shear bliss in laying outside and enjoying the nature around you. I truly believe that. I don't want her to lose her lust for learning and constant state of curiosity. Those traits will get her places. And I believe that encouraging her be present will help (her) nurture that. I hope so anyway. If she stops finding awe in the world around her and her very own existence, than I haven't done my job.

So right now and and every day this week--- unless you're currently making or eating pasta, I challenge you guys to not think about pasta--- to go through your tasks (however joyous or painstaking) and enjoy them. You can figure out dinner later--- your endless to do list will be there when you're done spending meaningful time with the people around you, at the end of your meal, when your walk is over, whatever it is that is in front of you -- that you should or could be enjoying. Whats the point in living if we're just fighting for the next step without really living through the good parts that are undoubtedly right in front of us. I mean, don't get me wrong, there is a hell of a lot of bad out there too-- but let's focus on the good. Cool? I'm off to finish some more work and enjoy the rest of my quiet hours before sleep.

Don't let right now pass you by.

I hope you guys have a really amazing 'productive' and wonderful week. <3<3

Super Easy Healthy & Low Fat: Vegan Daal Recipe

Hi friends!

How are you? Hungry? I'm tremendously full. We just got home about an hour ago from feasting at one of our favorite Indian places :)

I'll be completely honest, I like daal-- but I don't crave it like miss Marlowe. I'm not huge on the whole grains thing-- I'd rather eat a giant plate of veggies (like this easy saag recipe for instance) But Marlowe? Gosh she loves daal---- or really almost any sort of lentil dish-- no matter the country of origin. If we go to an Indian place for dinner she gets daal (like tonight). If we got for Ethiopian she gets yekik alicha. Any variety of yellow lentils are a hit. What makes a good or a great lentil dish will be the spices. There are ten million ways to do it and flavor it--- and it can be as easy or as hard as you make it. I would say overall, this is on the easy side of the cooking spectrum but maybe on the medium side of the lentil cooking spectrum. Does that make sense? I'm under-rested today so bear with me.

The first and most important step when cooking lentils (or any sort of grain) is soaking. This removes some of the phytic acid on the grain. Grains certainly have their benefits, but phytic acid is not something beneficial--- at all. It destroys the gut lining and uses up your calcium + iron stores. So even if you're eating a ton of calcium and/or iron, its not going to do you much good if you're consuming a lot of grains. So always soak. Then drain the water. Then cook. K?

We love having our garden. We don't cook from it everyday-- but its helpful to have things growing that we can reach for when we want. That being said-- this recipe does not require a lot of fresh ingredients-- at all. It's one of those recipes perfect for when you open the fridge and realize you've totally spaced on the whole shopping things and you're sh*t out of luck in the produce department. I like to mix in some greens from time to time. Or pair this with another veg dish and you've got a filling dish for you and/or your fam :)

We like to use fresh curry leaves sometimes. But this is totally not a necessity. If you can buy fresh curry leaves from your local Indian market, then try them! If not, no biggie, just skip it. We have a curry tree, so we just snip some from there :) Also, I wrote about asafetida on my last recipe, it's super yummy (and slightly weird, haha), but if you're into trying new spices, check it out :) Again, skip if you can't find it. If you skip it, consider adding a few cloves of garlic. Okay, ready for the recipe? Lets go!

You'll need:

1 small onion, diced
1 thumb ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons ground or grated turmeric
1 medium tomato diced (or a cluster of small tomatoes, diced)
2 tablespoon mustard seed
about ten fresh curry leaves (optional)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon asafoetida
1 1/2 cup urad daal lentils, soaked
4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro (optional)

How to:
-drain and rinse lentils
-add ginger, turmeric, lentils + water to large pot and bring to boil
-lower heat and simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes until lentils are cooked and the water height has been reduced to the height of the lentils
-using a potato masher, lightly mash lentils (or use blender if your arm is lazy)
-meanwhile, in a small skillet, on high heat, toast mustard seeds and add onions, saute until cooked
-add curry leaves to skillet, then the tomatoes. cook a bit longer until very fragrant and tomatoes are softened
-add sautéed ingredients to pot of lentils, mix, and simmer until desired consistency.
-salt and pepper to taste.
-optional: garnish with fresh cilantro
-voila: easy no fuss food!

nom, right? super easy and filling. Great for chilly winter months, but also nourishing for all seasons. Pair with rice, or maybe your favorite saag recipe, and/or a salad if looking for something light. And enjoy.

Alright friends, it's not 11 pm-- I am off to bed! I hope you guys are having a wonderful and delicious week. Take care!

see more recipes HERE. :) 

Happy Pictures

Hi guysssss. How are you? I just got out of the shower after a cloudy day at the beach. Things have been good and easy around here. Overall I feel okay, though my stomach--- and I guess my hormones(?) seem to be upside down. But I do feel pretty good, so I guess that doesn't matter too too much. I saw that some of you guys tried my saag recipe and liked it! That makes me so happy. I do love when you guys tag me in your cooking fun-- I like to see you guys enjoying the recipes I make. And its great when the kiddos are eating it too :) 

I think I'm going to answer a few emails and take a few minutes to read (I've been reading and enjoying THIS book this week). I need to find the homeschool book I bought to finish reading that one soon. Sometimes I'm amazed by how much Marlowe can read-- and then other times, I'm like, "oh yeah duh. I could live in a book if allowed the time." I'm glad she has that love for reading (and learning) too. Alright enough talky--- here are some happy photos I've collected in the last bit of whatever amount of time. Happy pictures. I'll be posting a second recipe tomorrow :) Hope you guys had a great holiday weekend! 

a happy moment captured by Rebekah. 

face plants. 

afternoon light. 

flower paths. 

that sun spot must be cozy. 

a waiting ballerina. 

balloons leftover from our rental guests. 

I like your face too. 

light from another angle. 

homeschool days in pjs and crowns. 

I want that smoothie right now. 


Super Easy Healthy & Low Fat: Vegan Saag Recipe

Happy Friday, friends!

Is everyone excited for the weekend? I'm going to spend time with family, but outside of that I don't have any specific plans. Thinking of making a fruit pie for Sunday (easter), but what else? Who knows. As promised, I made two recipes this week. I don't have step by step photos since the sun was setting and I wanted to get this done--- but the recipes are seriously easy enough where you can picture each step in your head without visuals. Promise.

We make Indian food often. I think we make soups most around here, then Indian food probably comes in second. Well, Marlowe and I eat a ton of kale chips-- almost everyday, but outside of that-- its soup and Indian all the timeeee.

Indian food can seem scary to make if you've never dived into it before, but its actually really easy. There are a few basic cooking rules when it comes to Indian cooking-- but outside of that it's usually just a quick switch up of spices or vegetables.

We like this saag recipe because it's super tasty-- and because almost all the ingredients should be right in your pantry! Frozen spinach has become a staple around here--- it's easy to have a bag or two stored away in the fridge for when you want to use them-- and unlike fresh spinach you don't have to stress about using the spinach right away. Keep it stored away for a rainy day when you're looking for something healthy to make but lacking fresh produce. Grab that potato thats been sitting in the bowl, unloved and unused, and make some saag!

Some of you may be asking, "wait, potato?" Well, yeah, sure! Saag is often times vegetarians dish, but not necessarily vegan. We use the potato in place of the paneer (cheese) or the protein like chicken. You can always use tofu too! I like using both, but have been leaning more towards the potato and saving the tofu for other dishes instead.

So yeah, this isn't the most traditional and authentic Indian dish-- but it sure is tasty. Eat as is or pair it with an Indian feast!

Spices! They're super important! We have a cabinet PACKED with spices. Not only are spices incredibly tasty, but their also REALLY good for you! They flavor a dish like nothing else--- and you don't need to worry about them going bad (not for a long, long time anyway). I mean, yes, fresh spices will pack the most flavor, but even spices that have been sitting around for a while will bring delicious and incredibly flavors to your dish.

Most farmers markets will have a spice guy (or lady). If yours doesn't,t you can always pop into an Indian market-- and most supermarkets will of course carry a decent variety. Be sure to buy pure, organic spices--- you don't want any binders, fillers, or salt in the spice. Just the pure spice, as is-- and especially make sure that they are non-irradiated! (aka. you want spices that have not gone through radiation!) And of course, there is always the option of buying spices online. I like this brand a lot for online buying. They're organic with no irradiation. We always buy whole spices, but if you do want o buy a blend, I like this company. Our spices are a mix from everywhere--- farmers markets, the supermarket, the Indian market, and some we've bought in bulk online. I think it's a very good investment to buy ten of your favorite or most used spices to keep on hand.

Alright, ready to make some saag?

You'll need:

1 small onion, diced
1 large thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
1 medium - large tomato (or a handful of small cluster tomatoes), cubed
2 Yukon potatoes
1 lb frozen spinach (use fresh if you'd like of course!)
2 teaspoon black (or brown) mustard seeds
2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
2 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hing/asafoetida (optional)*
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (fresh is always great too, but dried is so easy, ya know?)
salt + pepper to taste
optional: coconut milk**
optional: coconut oil***
optional garnish: cilantro

*hing/asafoetida is an amazingly intense spice. It will stink up your entire pantry, haha. It's a flavor like no other and hard to really describe, sort of musky, maybe? It is often times used in place of garlic and onions in a recipe. If you can imagine a recipe with garlic and onions and then without-- it's sort of like that. It just adds another level of flavor. It's not a necessary spice, as this dish will still be good without it, but if you're super into cooking and trying new foods, then you might want to check it out! It also has a ton of health properties! And it aids in digestion and is overall a great healer for your gut. But seriously, you're warned-- it'll overpower your spice cabinet!

**we sometimes add coconut milk to this recipe, sometimes now. I really like the coconut milk added in, it balances out the dish with a touch of creamy sweetness. If you have a can on hand, try it out, if not, water works too.

***coconut oil: so as you guys may or may not remember/know, I've gone mostly oil free. I'm working on a high carb, low fat diet right now. I use coconut oil often, but externally. I think the only time I really use oil for cooking anymore is for kale chips, thats it. Maybe you still love cooking with oils, well, if you do, then use the coconut oil to sautéed onions and toast your spices!

How to:

-In a small pot: boil whole potatoes until tender. Once potatoes are soft, drain water, allow to cool, and cube. (you can obviously cube, then boil, but they do tend to be more tender by boiling first!)
-Bring a large pot to medium-medium high heat. Once warmed, (add oil if using) then add diced onions, sauté until translucent. If you're not using oil, you may need to add a splash of water every few minutes so that your onions don't stick to the pan.
-Once translucent, add your whole spices (mustard and cumin) and allow to toast for about a minute, being careful not to burn.
-Now add your ground spices, mix into pot. Add a splash of water if necessary.
-Add your ginger and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes start to break down a bit.
-And frozen spinach. Mix, then place lid on top for a minute to cook.
-Once frozen has been mostly thawed you can add your liquid. Mix in either 1/2 cup coconut milk or 1/2 cups water. You can add more or less liquid to the dish-- depending on the consistency you want. If we're eating with rice, I tend to add a bit more liquid. Without rice, I like it a bit thicker.
-Add potatoes and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Check to make sure it's a consistency you like and salt and pepper to taste.
-Serve with rice or eat as is. Garnish with cilantro if that doesn't taste like soap to you ;)

note: I'd say this recipe is pretty mild in regards to the spice level (flavor and heat). Feel free to double the spice amounts for a deeper flavor. And add some cayenne for some heat if you want ti spicy. We keep our Indian dishes mild so that she'll eat them too :)

Alright friends--- I'm actually off to make more Indian food. We have leftover daal from the other night (we made a lot) and I'm going to make something else to pair it with for tonights meal.

I hope you guys are well and good :)

Happy friday and have an amazing weekend!

ps. this recipe is totally post c. diff friendly. (see more c. diff friendly recipes HERE).  Especially with the hing. It's a great way to get some greens in your gut. Considering adding garlic to fight off gut bacteria. And maybe remove the whole spices from the recipe too-- stick to the ground ones <3


How are you guys? I'm happy to say that sun has started peeking out just now. Perfect timing really. I got to roll around, lazy, in bed for a little while longer this morning-- or it felt that was with the sun behind the clouds-- like an excuse to do it. I pulled myself up to get some work done, and just as I sat down, the sun was like, "hey! here is motivation in happy form for you." (I mean, the sun did that for me right? ;) Either way, I'll take it.)

I think it'll be one of those days where the sun comes out for a few minutes before hiding behind another fast moving cloud again-- back and forth teasing us with rain all day. I'm okay with it. I ended up deep cleaning the house on tuesday-- and planned to get more work done on Wednesday, but then at the last minute (literally -- just twenty minutes before jumping in the car) we decided to head down to Miami. I was invited to lunch down there and my friend Claudia was in town for just one last day-- so it seemed like the necessary thing to do-- you know, in order to have a random, happy, go-with-the-flow type of day.

I guess I have a few questions for your guys. I've had a lot of conversations in the past three days. Different people, different topics. Some with people I've known forever, some with people I've met on a few occasions, and some with completely new people I've never met before.

Are you guys big planners? Do you need every step arranged and in line before you can make a big move? Or do you believe in jumping? I'm pretty sure that if you've been here long enough you definitely know I'm a jumper. I'm a strange contradiction. I've had three people this week alone tell me how complicated my brain works-- how they'll never figure me out. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in a "whoaaa Drea" way, haha. Because on one hand, I do like to have a lot of control over my life and know what I'm doing (not a huge fan of surprises over here. Okay, I actually still dislike surprises)-- but on the other, I jump. And I jump quickly, without too much concern. I've had conversations with people this week who find it hard to take a leap into the next step. They need careful planning to take place before they can make any sort of move and people who were like, "it just felt right, so I'm doing it. And I'll figure it out when I get there"-- no weeks or months of over thinking-- just going for it-- and with it.

It's weird how my anxiety can or can't play into this.

Speaking of which I was interviewed for a magazine on anxiety yesterday. I'm interviewed often-- I'd say at least a few times a month-- but it's usually on food, travel, design, those sorts of things. This was my first time very openly being asked about my anxiety. It felt foreign, but also comfortable (you guys know that if I'm good at anything its being an open book). On the drive down to Miami yesterday I spoke about my deep struggles that I once had with anxiety. About how there were times I could hardly leave my house-- or even my room. And how I at one point-- and up until pretty recently, I couldn't walk into a place where I didn't know anyone. That it made me too nervous, uncomfortable, and anxious. And now--- how I've slowly over come that-- or how I am currently overcoming that.

And the funny thing is-- this conversations took place on a way to a lunch. Lunch is always a great idea-- but for me, I guess it's more of a opportunity to work on the personal anxieties I struggle with. A test to walk into a room where I know absolutely no one--- to have more conversations. And within minutes (seconds really) I was meeting strangers and being asked questions and talking about how I would have never been able to do this (walk into a room without knowing anyone), even three years ago.

(Funny enough, the first question I was asked was how I come up with topics to write about each day-- well, this is how).

Do you like conversations? Do you like them with family and close friends? Do you love conversations with strangers? Honestly, I'm starting to love both. Or I've started too not too long ago. I'm still nervous to overstep my place in conversations though. What my place is though-- I'm not actually sure, but I still have struggles in speaking out and asking questions to the people I'm with. Not because I'm lacking interest or questions. I almost always have ten million questions I want to ask the people I'm with, but because I find myself often too timid to raise my voice. Is it my anxiety? Or is it actually an insecurity? I'm not sure. It often feels like insecurity-- though I don't necessarily consider myself insecure.

I wish at twenty years old, that I had the confidence that I do right now. And I wish that right now I could have the confidence in. myself that I plan to have in ten years. I don't yet, but thats okay.

I'm working on it. Things that help (me): getting older, breathing in and out, traveling (SO much), and accepting the fact that I am a completely goofball, and not everyone will enjoy that. Some will hate it, while some find it absolutely entertaining and endearing ;)

Ask me a question and I speak. Making it a point to not over speak. Have you seen that moment in a conversation where someones eyes just sort of -- I dot know, glaze over? And you realize they've lost focus and have moved to another topic in their head? I hate that feeling. I never want that feeling If I even think its abut to happen, I get choked up and start tangling my words to shorten my thoughts. I'm working hard to never do that--- the tangling of my own words yes, but mostly being the one who glazes over. And for someone like me, who has ten million thoughts in their head at any given time-- it can be hard. Again, not because I've lost interest--- but because well, I don know, I guess I haven't worked on and advanced my focus enough yet---- I'm working on my conversation (skills).

Have you guys thought (too much) about conversations? Do you go back and play and replay every moment in your head? Or does a conversation happen and pass? For me, I play back-- again and again. And I store everything. I'll probably revisit each conversation half a dozen times more-- whether it was about something superficial (but amazing) like goats (haha) or deeply meaningful like giant life changes.

So how do you work on conversations? (If you do work on them). For me, a lot of it has been accidental. Just changes that came with working on my anxiety. But a lot of it has been intentional with working on my mindfulness (I still hate that term, btw). But I don't know, I guess it always goes back to the whole 'life is short' thing--- I want to take in every single moment and feel it-- learn from it. Because at some point, none of it will be here. And what will it all have been for? I don't know.  So right now (and for my entire life) I want be completely and totally intentional in every moment that I am here.

And it's maybe weird how someone who would have been/was so anxious and so depressed for so long could want to feel everything so deeply-- instead of completely numbing it out. But it's really good too.

pps. one more topic: I watched a ted talk a few months ago on introverts vs. extroverts and it said how introverts use so many more words such as "possibly, maybe, perhaps" etc. While extroverts are more decisive and to the point with their statements. Re-reading this post I can see that ten million times over. Cheers to all you fellow introverts! And cheers to you extroverts too, cause you guys challenge my comfort zones in the best way.