My Vows for 2014

The beginning of a new year is always a great opportunity to reassess, reevaluate, cleanse and purge. I’m not fond of resolutions, I am more of a believer of setting yearly goals while also vowing to purge and let go of things that no longer serve my well being. 2014 marks the beginning of my 25th year of life. I’m excited because I feel it’s a perfect time for me to embark on many more adventures and really start to figure out who I am spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. 

I am vowing to dedicate more time to doing things that I love. Life is too short and beautifully precious to waste on doing things you don’t love. I vow to cook more and share my amazing creations with all of you. 

I promise to be more selfish, to learn to say no, to really value myself more. We underestimate how important it is to say “NO.” Saying no is empowering, allowing you to feel free. Forget the guilt, why should I feel guilty for simply saying no. I cannot do it all and I shouldn’t have to. I am allowed to say no! 

I vow to get back into being more active. A few of my goals this year are fitness oriented. I want to do Yoga Teacher Training, run a half marathon and complete a Tough Mudder. Sounds a bit crazy but I will make it happen. I want to make my 25th year a great one! 

I promise to trust the universe more. The universe is really intelligent. I think we forget that there is a lot that is not in our control. The more we try to control things, the less likely we are able to control it. By surrendering to the universe, I know that things will work out fantastically for me. I do not need to be in control of every aspect of my life. Repeat it with me: I do not need to control every aspect of my life. There is a great post on Tinybuddha.com on letting go of control. I highly recommend it! 

For now, these are great resolutions/revelations/goals. I am sure I will have more and will be happy to share with you all! 

I wish you a happy and prosperous new year! 

Peace, love and no beef!

Guramrit 

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” ~Proverb

Vegan Tortilla Soup

Happy New Year everyone! I am excited for a whole new year of blogging, eating, dancing, yoga-ing and more! I am thrilled to share that for Christmas my very thoughtful (and smart) boyfriend bought me a Vitamix. As a result, I will be in the kitchen even more than before experimenting with nut milks, smoothies, soups, nut butters, sorbets and more. I cannot wait to share these incredible recipes with you. Here’s to a healthier, happier and more delicious year! 

Let’s get 2014 started with a very simple yet comforting soup. Upgrade your taco night with a soup even the meat eater in your life will love! 

What You Need: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped 
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • One 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped 
  • 3 cups vegetable broth/stock
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (this helps thicken the broth)
  • 1-2 cans black beans (or beans of choice)
  • salt & pepper & crushed red chili pepper, to taste
  • Bag of your favorite tortilla chips (I’m a fan of blue corn tortilla chips)

How to Make it: 

1. In a large pot over medium to low heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes (or until translucent). 

2. Chop the peppers, zucchini, green onion, and remove corn from cob (use a knife and slice off the cob down the four corners). Add the veggies to the pot and sauté for an additional 5-10 minutes.

3. Add crushed tomatoes, cumin, broth, beans and chia seeds. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes. 

4. After the soup simmers, ladle into bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips and your favorite toppings (avocado, vegan cheese, more green onions). Serve immediately and enjoy! 

Peace, love and no beef y’all! 

Guramrit 

Snack Yourself Happy

You wouldn’t put cheap gas in a BMW, so why fuel your body with junk? “People underestimate the connection between their mood and energy levels and what they’re eating,” Holistic Health Coach, mom and founder of Mama Glow, Latham Thomas says. Basically if you’re filling up on fast food and junk, you’ll feel like junk. From running to the next appointment to being up all night doing lord knows what, you’re not only busy, you’re exhausted. Before you start “running on E” reclaim control by nourishing your body with these approved snacks for various situations in your day-to-day, to keep you on top of your game.

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

Grab: Acai Berry Smoothie (1 cup)

Turn your entire day around by not only combating fatigue but giving yourself a mood boost with this smoothie.  This berry duo offers a unique blend of antioxidants and the omega 3 fatty acids in the acai make it a complete protein, Thomas says. As an added bonus, blueberries are known for banishing belly fat. If you can’t sit down to enjoy this smoothie, you can easily take it on the go making it convenient for busy mornings.

1 packet acai pulp, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 3/4 cups apple juice or water, 1/2 banana (reserve other half for topping), peeled and sliced, 1 teaspoon chia seeds (packed with omega 3s and a great source of protein), 1 to 2 teaspoons of granola (optional).

Place the first five ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Place in a bowl or to go cup and top with granola and remaining half of the banana.

Need a quick boost of energy?

Grab: Lentil Soup or 25 plain almonds (about a handful)

Serve yourself a heaping bowl of lentil soup for a nutritious meal or snack. Jam packed with protein, iron, folate and fiber, you’ll not only feel full throughout the day, you’ll feel energized and ready to take on the world. Make some of my lentil soup or check out my friend Peggy Kotsopulos‘, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of Peggy K’s Kitchen Cures (great book, please pick it up) recipe in advance, freeze then heat when you’re ready to eat. Not a fan of lentils? Grab a handful of plain almonds. Rich in protein and healthy fats, almonds give you an energy boost to keep you from feeling that afternoon slump.

PMS hit you hard this month?

Grab: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (2 palms full)

During your cycle you need to up your intake of iron rich foods, Thomas says. She suggests noshing on some pumpkin seeds for a crunchy nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamins A, B, K, iron, zinc and omega 3’s. Pumpkin seeds also increases serotonin levels, balancing those mood swings.

Just feeling low with no explanation?

Grab: 2 Brazil Nuts A Day

For those days when you’re just not in the mood, Kotsopoulos recommends consuming 2 brazil nuts a day. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, an important mineral for alleviating depression. They also stabilize blood sugar and are a great source of zinc, helpful for nursing mama’s and a healthy immune system (for both mama and baby).

Need a little R&R?

Grab: 4 small squares of dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao)

If you needed an excuse to eat chocolate, here’s one. Just a small amount releases oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), promoting feelings of comfort, relaxation and happiness.    Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, Thomas says, aiding in relaxation (hint: it will make you sleepy).

Peace, love and no beef!

Guramrit

NOTE: I wrote this piece earlier on in the year for Parenting Magazine. Unfortunately the magazine was closed and this super eye opening piece was not used. Please enjoy this incredible piece. 

20+ Things I Am Grateful For

One of the many challenges I am participating in this month is the Elf for Health Holiday Challenge. I did this challenge last year during the holidays but feel more active and inspired this time around. Yesterday, we were asked to come up with 20 things we are grateful for so I decided to share my endless gratitude with you here. 

I’m grateful for: 

1. My family

2. My health

3. My boyfriend Matthew (I love you)

4. My writing (which, I am catching up on as I recover- slow and steady process)

5. My patience with my recovery from my concussion 

6. Yoga

7. Having a place to live

8. Having a well paying job

9. Good food

10. Soy Chai Lattes from Starbucks/Argo Tea

11. Trust in the universe

12. My new found spiritual journey

13. My wonderful friends and support system

14. Cooking ( I LOVE COOKING)

15. Kisses, cuddling, love and affection

16. Christmas 

17. Wine

18. My goals, talents, aspirations and gifts

19. My physical, spiritual, emotional body

20. Candles, incense, crystals 

21. My Erin Condren Planner

22. Green Smoothies

23. My life

24. The beach

25. Vacations

26. Positivity 

27. Water

28. My laugh

29. Smiling

30. Cartoons

31. The snow (I say this as it snows)

What are you grateful for?

Peace, love and no beef,

Guramrit 

Vegan Broccoli Cheeze Soup

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As I continue to heal and recover from my concussion, I am really fond of making soups. I have little to no energy to create extravagant meals and soups are the best. One of the things I miss about pre-veganism are creamy soups so I decided to take on a vegan version of one of my favorites: Broccoli Cheese. This vegan take is sure to have you convinced that this is JUST as good as the dairy version and just a tad better for your health!

Here is my adapted version of a recipe I found on my favorite Vegan blog, Oh She Glows. Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 large heads of broccoli,  chopped (or 2 bags of precut broccoli from Trader Joes)
  • 2 large peeled & chopped potatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
  • Vegan cheeze sauce, divided (see below for recipe)
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
  • Daiya cheese, to garnish
  • Smoked Paprika, to garnish

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil, onion, and garlic over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Cook for about 5-6 mins.

2. Add in the celery, broccoli, and potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Now, add the broth, nutritional yeast, and cayenne pepper and simmer for another 15 mins or so until the potatoes are just fork tender.

3. Meanwhile, prepare your cheeze sauce (see below) while the soup simmers.

4. Carefully transfer the soup (in two batches) into a blender. Blend until almost smooth and place back into the pot. Stir in the cheeze sauce. **PLEASE BE CAREFUL AS SOUP WILL BE HOT**

5. Top the soup with Daiya cheese and serve immediately!

Cheeze Sauce (yields just about 1 2/3 cup of sauce):

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup unsweetened, unflavoured coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp cashew cheese (optional, not needed)
  • 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance or other non-dairy buttery spread
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. In a skillet or pot, melt the Earth Balance over medium heat.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/4 cup milk until all clumps are gone.

3. Whisk in the remaining milk (1.25 cups) as well as the milk and flour mixture into the pot. Now whisk in the nutritional yeast, cashew cheese and Daiya cheese. Reduce heat to low-medium.

4. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste and whisk frequently over low heat until the sauce thickens up, for 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Remove from heat once thick.

I made a few adaptations to this cheeze sauce recipe since I’m not a huge fan of mustard and I really, really love the flavor and creaminess of cashew cheese. I’m sure this will be a hit at dinner tonight!

I hope you all enjoy this fabulous and delicious recipe. I enjoyed it twice, for dinner and lunch! Yum!

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Peace, love and NO BEEF!

GK