What my guru taught me…goals for 2017!

 

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Happy new year!!! You may have noticed I have spent a few weeks away from the blogging world. The idea of new years resolutions has never really excited me. This year I decided I wanted to set GOALS. My main goal for 2017 is something my daughter taught me…BE PRESENT. Scroll down for my list of goals for the year!

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In a world where there is constant hustle and bustle, social media, instant gratification–it is SO easy to get caught up in it. We are addicted to our phones, and constantly staying connected to whatever is happening in the world. Studies suggest that technology dependency along with social media sets off dopamine signals in the brain, similar to drugs. Growing up in the social media frenzy, you can actually get addicted to getting likes on your photos and posts. Seems unreal, right?

There’s a number of articles circulating about the negative affects of the selfie world, Keeping up with the Kardashians or having as many followers as possible. Check out, “How real is a social media addiction,” By CBS News here. Although, a simple google search of social media dependency will find several articles worth reading.

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Sofia, my little guru, has taught me so much in just the 28 months she has been here. Our children are constantly living in the present, and joyfully so. They barely think about what they are going to be doing in the next 30 minutes. They allow themselves to be 100% immersed and consumed by whatever task they are doing. I used to find myself getting frustrated if I couldn’t breastfeed, type emails, blog, talk on the phone and plan what I would be making for dinner that night all at the same time. Sofia loves to say, “look at me mama…” and she would put her hand on my face and make me look in her direction and then everything around me would just stop. I was living in the beautiful moment, gazing into her eyes, feeling that deep, deep love that comes from lifetimes of knowing another soul.

And so I began meditating more often, thanks in part to a daily group I participate in. I found myself joyfully living in the moment and finding the child within. We never completely lose the child within us, but we allow our “adulting” to take over and transform our life.

I made several goals for 2017 that I know will be helpful to me, so hopefully they will help you too. Let’s have a great year together!

Hello There 2017, let’s do this:

  1. Be Present, meditate more often. Have you checked out the app: Insight Timer? It’s free and awesome.

  2. Love yourself. We all need to be less hard on ourselves, stop comparing and start loving. Wear less makeup. Buy the bikini!

  3. Stop trying to buy happiness-consume less. Check out the Minimalism Documentary on Netflix!

  4. Speak your TRUTH!!! Stop holding it in and just say it. Release it. It will be okay.

  5. Read more. Watch less TV, get a library membership!

  6. No new friends! Ha just kidding, but seriously- spend more time with the people that mean the most in your life. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

  7. Educate yourself…don’t just listen to the media. Pay attention, ask questions.

  8. Stop caring what others think. Seriously, f em’.

  9. Eat less processed foods and less meat. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!

  10. MOVE! Dance, run, shake it when you brush your teeth, blast the radio in the car and jam in your seat at the red light and smile when you see people staring, and BELT out that song in the shower. Do what makes your body feel good!! Moving and exercise releases those beautiful things called endorphins.

Non-Toxic Fragrant Fall Smells for your Home (DIY, Easy, Affordable!)

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Who doesn’t love a house that smells good? The unfortunate thing is that we are marketed to by companies that put nasty stuff in their products…toxins that fill your rooms and your family’s lungs…yuck. There is an EASY and affordable way to make your house smell good NON-TOXICALLY! I tried this recipe today and my house smells like I am baking a warm apple pie, without actually having to bake it (or eat it hahahaha). I am pretty sure Kiril will walk in being pretty excited and then disappointed, but hey, at least the house smells good.

What you need:

  • Orange Peels
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider (store bought)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Water and a small/medium pot

Directions:

  1. Boil water in pot with 1 cup of apple cider
  2. Once boiling, add apple, orange peel, cinnamon stick
  3. Reduce to a simmer
  4. Set timer for 30 minutes and add more water
  5. You can continue this throughout the day, just keep an eye on it!!

Enjoy your home smelling yummy and fresh!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Yummy Cuban Bowl (easy, vegan, gluten free!)

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I am sooo surprised I have not made Cuban food before. It is SOOO yummy! This is going in our regular recipes for sure because the whole family liked it! Most of the ingredients can be made ahead of time and you can just reheat and add them all to the bowl. I hope you guys love it!!

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of uncooked rice (I chose wild brown rice)
  • 1 sweet potato cubed
  • 1 Super ripe (almost black) Plantain!! (not a banana)
  • 1 Can of organic Black Beans
  • 3 small tomatoes or 1 large
  • Cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/3 red onion (instead of the above 4 ingredients you can buy store bought pico de gallo!)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado
  • cumin
  • pink salt
  • coconut oil
  • Cayenne Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook rice from packaging directions.
  2. If you are making your own pico de gallo, add 1 cup of diced tomato, 1 large bunch of chopped cilantro, 1/3 of finely chopped red onion, deseed and devein the jalapeno and chopped into small pieces (be careful, do not touch your eyes or face), add salt!!
  3. Cube the sweet potato and then sauté in coconut oil over med high heat and season with cumin and salt, stirring frequently for 10+ min or so on each side until it is soft (taste before removing from heat).
  4. Place sweet potato in bowl and cover with foil to trap heat
  5. Peel the plantain by drawing a sharp knife along the ridges and removing the peel. Then chop into coins cutting on an angle and trying to get all at the same size so they cook the same time. I like mine thin!
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or more in same pan and then add plantain, cooking on both sides until golden brown or crispy.
  7. Remove and cover with foil
  8. Add beans to same pan, season with cumin and some cayenne for an extra kick.
  9. Assemble the bowls with rice, beans, sweet potatoes, plantains, pico de gallo, avocado slices and a lime wedge for squeezing over top!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Snacks on Snacks… (healthy and toddler approved!)

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Happy Monday, everyone!! Who doesn’t like snacks??? A few months ago Sofie used to call them “nacks” and would constantly say, mommy nack please…please mommy!!! Needless to say, nacks are the best. I find TONS of great options at Homegoods and TJ Maxx. A few online places I shop at are Amazon, Vitacost, and Jet.com.

I thought I would share some of our favorites with you. As a mom to a toddler, I know how important it is to always have some healthy snacks (that she actually likes) on the go. Most of these you can take with you!

Some of Our Favorite Snacks:

  1. Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks…available at most grocery stores and online. Hard to tell who loves them more (Kiril or Sofia, haha!)
  2. Avocado Toast… Literally spread avocado onto a piece of toast and that’s it. If you want to get fancy you can season with pink salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, add roasted garlic, Sriarcha, whatever you fancy…goes great with eggs, too! (EASY BREAKFAST FOR THE WIN)
  3. Organic Dried Mango…Sofia’s absolute favorite fruit in the whole world. We buy the organic frozen mango cubes too and that’s another fun favorite. But these pouches are great to slip into our diaper bag and head on out for the day. I buy them in bulk from Amazon.
  4. Sustainable Indulgence Cookies… These are my favorite of this list. Put almond butter in between two and you have a yummy cookie sandwich. I found this brand at Homegoods–but they have tons of flavors. I recommend ordering online!
  5. Biena Chickpeas…So Kiril and I also found these in the snack section of Homegoods and after trying them he ordered an ENTIRE BOX of like, 40 bags. All different flavors (habanero, sea salt, cinnamon, etc). THEY ARE SO BOMB.
  6. Justin’s Nut Butters (Banana optional!)… These are sold at the grocery store. I like the little pouches but we also have the jar because let’s be honest, a spoon plus justin’s is heavenly
  7. Yogurt… Siggi’s is a pretty good brand of yogurt and Sofia’s favorite is Lifeway Organics. Both yummy and both Toddler Approved!

Hope you guys enjoy this list and have a chance to try some of these yummy treats. Happy nacking’!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Thanks in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

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I am so sad to be writing this post just days after we left with the news of Fires ravaging this area. We stayed in a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN with my husband’s family over the Thanksgiving Holiday and we had a great time! We visited Gatlinburg (notice the tourist traffic above), cooked all day on Thursday which followed with a bountiful feast and went to a Trampoline jumping place on Friday for Sofia. The views were incredible and we had a blast with all the kids and parents. I made sooooo much food — I’m not sure why I didn’t capture many photos of it unless you follow me on instagram stories (@missjessashley) — I made: Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, 2 chocolate pies, 1 Maple Pecan and Chocolate Pie and my Butternut Squash and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Browned Butter Sage. I feel like I am still full!

Although the history about Thanksgiving is one that is quite horrible and painful especially for the native people of this country, I feel that it is important to remember to be grateful for our abundance. I’m not sure if it is ironic what is happening in Standing Rock at North Dakota right now with (once again) the Native people being victimized by the agenda of big business and US politics…namely the Oil industry. If you do not know much about this story please message me so I can help inform you! Water is life.

I hope you all had a healthy and happy thanksgiving – more recipes will be coming soon!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Thanksgiving Butternut Squash and Spinach Stuffed Shells w/ Sage Browned Butter (gluten free!)

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Ok if you have any vegetarian guests to your Thanksgiving this year, you HAVE to make this dish. I made it for our Friendsgiving a few weekends ago and it is now one of my favorite recipes. These are not as sweet as traditional butternut squash ravioli, they are salty and savory and the SAGE BROWNED BUTTER IS THE BOMB.

I made these with gluten free brown rice shells however, you can easily make it with regular shells if you <3 gluten. Let me know what you guys think!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 container of butternut squash, precut (to reduce time, but you can always buy and cut yourself) **COSTCO sells the perfect size and it’s ORGANIC!!!**
  • 1 Box of Pasta Shells (gluten free if you’d like)
  • 2 Cups of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1 big handful of spinach, chop after measuring with your hand
  • 1 Lemon (zest plus juice)
  • Pink Salt/Pepper
  • 10 FRESH Sage leaves
  • 1 Stick of Butter (original recipe calls for that, however, I chose 1/2 stick plus 1/2 cup olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the cubed butternut squash with 1-2 TBSP of olive oil, pink salt and pepper and roast in oven for 15-20 min (should be soft and able to mash with a fork when done)–As soon as the squash is ready, take a handheld blender and make sure it is whipped up nice and evenly- place in fridge to cool to room temperature.
  2. Reduce oven to 400 degrees
  3. Boil Water for Pasta Shells and cook according to the box directions
  4. In a bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, room temperature squash, garlic, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, and the fresh lemon zest from 1 lemon. MIX WELL!
  5. Spray a 9×13 inch pan (I used glass!) with coconut oil non stick spray
  6. When the pasta shells are finished cooking, run cool water over them and begin to fill them with the butternut squash and cheese mixture – you might not use all the shells depending on how much mix you use– I opted to make a quick fix with remaining cheese and spinach and made a few w/o the squash!
  7. Place stuffed shells in oven for 18-20 minutes, until hot all the way through
  8. While shells are baking, take a small sauce pan and place the stick of butter OR 1/2 stick plus olive oil mixture depending on your preference. Add the sage leaves, juice of one lemon and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Heat over medium low heat for about 10-12 minutes making sure to frequently stir the mixture. The mixture should be a darker color when it is finished and the leaves should be crispy.
  10. After the shells are finished cooking, pour butter mixture over top and serve with crispy sage leaves!

Enjoy!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

Ancient Ayurvedic Practice: The Neti Pot

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Have you heard of the Neti Pot before? It’s one of the more popular Ayurvedic practices in the Western World…you can even find them sold at Wal-Mart (I know, shocking!). It may be thousands of years old, but it is one of the best at-home remedies to cure or prevent a cold!

Now that Fall is here in full swing, I can’t help but hear people with the sniffles. Our bodies are AMAZING-There is an ENTIRE universe inside of us that operates on its own. Creating new cells, fighting off bad bacteria, making sure our heart beats, and our lungs breathe oxygen and convert it to carbon dioxide, etc. Our nasal passages are one of the first defenses combating illness, allergens, irritants, and even pollution! There are little hairs in there that trap the bad stuff and try to get rid of it via mucus production.

The Neti Pot is a nasal saline irrigation therapy. Neti pots can be made of plastic, ceramic, glass and other materials–My opinion on the bacteria alone is to stay away from plastic. (Although you may remember my views on plastic in this old blog post here.) My neti pot is ceramic and I love being able to put it in the dishwasher for a deep clean.

During the fall/winter time or when it’s your allergy season I would incorporate the Neti pot into your morning routine every single day. I know it’s tough to incorporate yet another thing into your morning regimen especially when it’s cold and your bed is beckoning you to stay for a few more hours, but this will truly help prevent illness and clear out the sinuses for the rest of the day. If I am feeling under the weather I will incorporate the routine morning and night.

Neti Pot Benefits*:

  • Reduces snoring!!!-every gf should gift this for Christmas!
  • Cleared nostrils resulting in improved breathing
  • Reducing dryness in your nose
  • Helping with sinus headaches
  • Improved sense of taste and smell
  • Allergy relief
  • Allowing deeper breathing
  • Prevention cold/illness
  • Reduces the need for over the counter medications or going to see your doctor

*Benefits are from SpiritScience’s article, seen here.

The most important part of using the neti pot is using distilled water–I boil mine extra and then let it cool down to just warm before using in the netipot.

Let me know if you guys have any questions!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

Maui Helicopter Adventure

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I am having major Maui withdrawal today!! I wanted to share the AirMaui helicopter experience with you. It was by far the most incredible adventure we have done together. If you haven’t been in a helicopter before – Don’t be scared! I was surprised with how smooth the ride was. When you are ascending it feels almost like going up in an elevator. We were required to watch a mini safety video and to wear life jackets (pictured above). Our pilot, Richie, was awesome! He provided so much knowledge of the land as we flew above it — from pointing out Maui’s waterfalls which are home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, to learning about the Hawaiian heritage and history…we can see now why Maui is consistently rated a top island in the world.

I know this blog is mostly based on health — it’s important to do things that invigorate and excite you. Traveling and experiencing new things definitely fuels my spirit. Hope you guys enjoy the photos and let me know if you end up taking a helicopter ride sometime! I am deeply, deeply grateful for this experience and being able to share it with Kiril.

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Avocado, Tomato and Cheese w/ Balsamic Drizzle Sandwich (gluten free, quick and easy)

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Happy Monday! Did you guys see that moon last night? It was HUUUUUGE! We came back from a “Friendsgiving” weekend spent in a Cabin in the mountains and were too tired to cook a meal from scratch so we opted to make sandwiches. Kiril adds smoked turkey or chicken to this sandwich but mine is Vegetarian (obvi.) This is so so so good. The KEY is to use FRESH and Organic Ingredients and to SEASON w/ salt and pepper. It pairs really well with a warm vegetable soup or some sweet potato chips (recipes to come).

Hope you guys enjoy…I have something yummy in the oven right now that I can’t wait to share with you guys soon xoxox

What you will need:

  • 2 Slices of Gluten Free Bread (or bread of your choice)
  • 1-2 Slices of Organic Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 3 Slices of Organic Tomato
  • Organic Mayo
  • Balsamic Drizzle (one without any added sugar!)
  • Pink salt and pepper

Simple ingredients, but tasty sandwich!

Directions:

  1. Toast the bread
  2. Place cheese on bread
  3. Spread Mayo
  4. Add Avocado, tomato
  5. Drizzle balsamic reduction
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper
  7. Eat up!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you xo

Caramelized Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad (vegan, gluten-free, healthy!)

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Always my little helper!

Salad can be fun! I used to think restaurant salads were so much better than salads you made at home. While I was right on a certain level, mostly because they use tons of sugar to make you like their salads– I just didn’t understand you can think of a salad less traditionally. This WARM, toasty, CARAMELIZED sweet potato, quinoa salad with organic Arugula, Italian basil and white beans is by far one of my favorites. It’s a great dish for the fall but in a pinch, can be a quick cold lunch salad!

What you will need:

  • 1 Can of organic white beans
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Organic Arugula (or greens of your choice)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Handful of Italian basil, ripped
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1tbsp of Annie’s organic balsamic salad dressing
  • Balsamic Reduction
  • Olive oil
  • pink salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degree f
  2. Chop sweet potato into small cubes
  3. Prepare quinoa as directed, add salt to water it cooks in
  4. Place cubes of sweet potato on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 17 min, for 3 minutes broil on high, remove from heat right away
  6. In a pan, saute onion, garlic and beans until onion is translucent
  7. Add cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, basil, season with salt and pepper
  8. Wash and dry arugula or your choice of greens
  9. In a large bowl, place arugula and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
  10. Add Annie’s dressing and 1 tablespoon or more of balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to the hot pan with cooked arugula, beans etc…
  11. When it is all mixed, remove from heat and add directly to the arugula bowl
  12. Mix and drizzle with balsamic reduction, plate!

I hope you guys like this recipe, I came up with it last night in a pinch…Enjoy!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo