Gems, Jewels, Love and Life

Meeting hate with more Love June 27 2016, 0 Comments

Feeling angry and completely heartbroken following the June 12th 2016 mass shooting in Orlando, my husband & I were talking and trying to figure out how to respond to this senseless, hateful act.

It is so easy to let anger turn to hate in those moments, but we both agreed that it would only serve to feed the very thing we were speaking against. The most powerful alternative was Love; fear & hatred can only be transformed by Love. And from Love this collection was born. 

It's a small thing, but small things turn to bigger things when we unite, when we all stand together and celebrate our beautiful differences. I stand with my LGBT brothers & sisters to create equality, freedom, acceptance and respect. 

I stand for Love. #LOVEWINS #LOVEISLOVE

Here are some of the unisex pieces I created:

        

They are sold at a deep discount to spread the word (and the Love). ONE THIRD of every sale is donated to this organization that does amazing work for the LGBT community, and truly, for everyone: free2luv.org

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Here's a little bit more about them and their mission:

"TAKE A STAND TO SPREAD LOVE AND END BULLYING"
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FREE2LUV is an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to rockin’ individuality, celebrating equality, spreading kindness & standing up to bullying through arts & entertainment. We empower, engage & enlighten youth to be their true, authentic selves and know that they are perfect just the way they are.
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FREE2LUV teams up with Celebrity Ambassadors, Youth Advocates and corporations who believe LUV is STRONGER than hate and BRAVER than bullying.
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We hold hands with our partners to …

  • create thought-provoking awareness campaigns
  • support and produce community outreach events
  • create a cool line of cause inspired merchandise designed to create change

Through our FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BULLY® programs, we utilize music, impactful messaging and interactive storytelling to promote kindness, build self-esteem and help youth be more responsible citizens in their community.  We have partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor and hit the streets and highways with our anti-bullying awareness campaign featuring the Champion Seattle Seahawks and Free2Luv Celebrity Ambassadors and Advocates.  The FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BULLY campaign invites the community to unite, take the pledge and use their collective voice for good.

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Please join them and me to spread love and make our world our better place for everyone in it.

Beautiful necklaces in production, and a bunch ready to ship. The response has been great and let's keep it going!


   


Triple Chocolate Mini Cream Cakes (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free) November 20 2015, 0 Comments

Yes, I did say "triple chocolate"... Did I get your attention?

These no-cook, vegan, gluten-free, sugar free cakes are a divine (and healthy) indulgence. And in case you were wondering, they really are as delicious as they look.

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

CRUST

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup pecan or almond meal (or any other nut meal you love)
  • 4 medium size medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder (I use raw, organic)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined. You want the crust to slightly stick together. 

Grab your mini cheesecake pan (removable bottoms - see photo below) and scoop the crust mixture into it. Press down with your fingers to firmly place the crust into the bottom of the pan.  

CHOCOLATE FILLING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (I use organic)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder (I use raw, organic)
  • 2.5 tsp Stevia (powder)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Place the cashews into the food processor with maple syrup, vanilla, stevia and water. Blend for a little bit to get it creamy.

Next add in the cacao powder and coconut oil. Blend until nice & smooth. (scrape the sides a few times, then keep blending)

Once the chocolate filling is blended, scoop into the pan on top of the crust. Fill them to the top. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours (or freezer for an hour or two) and let the cakes set before you remove them from the pan.

Add topping of your choice. In this photo, I used raw, organic cacao nibs and a sprinkle of Lakanto sugar (natural, calorie-free sweetener made of high-purity Monk Fruit extract and erythriol).

Makes 12 mini cakes.

 

* Special thanks to Michelle & Lori for the original recipe (that I modified slightly). You can find more of their amazing healthy recipes on purelytwins.com


Chocolate-Banana Smoothie: Good & Good for you! June 15 2015, 0 Comments

Since I'm one of those people who could live on ice cream (and other frozen treats), this is one of my favorite ways to start the day.

But I'm also one of those people who chooses to eat very little sugar (other than fruit) because it feel so much better. Here's a super healthy and absolutely delicious alternative. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 frozen banana (cut in chunks)
  • 1 cup coconut unsweetened milk
  • 1 tbsp raw, organic Cacao powder
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ -1 tsp powdered Stevia (to taste)
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • Raw, organic Cacao nibs (for a little crunch)

PREPARATION 

Put all ingredients (except Cacao nibs) in a high speed blender and mix until smooth. Add ice if you prefer it thicker. (Makes about 12 oz)

Yes, it’s that easy!

I like to eat mine with a spoon (yep, like ice cream) so I make it nice & thick and add cacao nibs for added crunch. But you can make it a little more liquid, skip the nibs and drink it with a straw like a traditional smoothie.

ENJOY!


To The Next Lifeguard Stand May 13 2015, 1 Comment

When I lived in the South Bay, three doors from the sand, I loved to run on the beach. Not initially, as it was so much harder than the streets I was used to, but knowing my joints would be grateful, I slowly trained myself to enjoy it.

I ran 2-3 miles on the soft sand, usually every other day, and did that as my cardio exercise for several years. The funny thing is that even after doing it hundreds of times, the thought of the whole journey still felt overwhelming. Every single time. So overwhelming that I wanted to quit before I had even started.

So I had to do it in small increments, and allow myself the possibility of stopping anytime I needed to. Anytime I thought I’d had enough. The first step was to get dressed and put my shoes on. Once that was done it felt kind of silly not to at least make my way down to the sand. That was step two.

I then told myself I had to make it only to the first lifeguard stand and then I could stop and walk back home. But once I made it there I found I still had some energy in me so I would try and make it to the next lifeguard stand. And that process continued throughout my whole run. 90% of the time I ran the total length of the course I had set out to complete, but I always did it one lifeguard stand at a time, giving myself the possibility of turning around and walking home anytime I’d had enough.

This story came up yesterday in a conversation with a good friend. She was talking to me about a project she wants to embark on that will stretch her out of her comfort zone in a major way. She’s actually already signed up for it, but was questioning her decision. The thought of the whole journey left her feeling overwhelmed and confused. She wanted to back out even though a big part of her really wants to do this. 

Sharing my lifeguard stand tale made me realize how I tend to get stuck in the same pattern with pretty much everything in my life. I get excited about something, I see the whole picture and I have my eye on the final destination, on the ultimate result. Then I start looking at the road ahead and try to figure out every little step, with every possible outcome and likely alternatives. And then I shut down.

The initial excitement gets buried under the overwhelming task at hand and the fear of not measuring up to it. I end up either doing nothing at all or stopping after I just started. Not knowing the specifics of the next step, or whether I’ll have the strength/knowledge/confidence to make it to the one after that causes such a panic in me that I often don’t even “put my tennis shoes on”.

What I’ve been learning over the years, and still have to remind myself of on a daily basis, is that I can take just one step toward a goal without having to know every single inch of the road ahead. What’s even more powerful for me is to imagine that next step as my ultimate goal. Once I get there, I can celebrate & pat myself on the back, which usually generates fuel to start working on the next leg of the journey.

I’m realizing more and more that it’s actually impossible to know all the specific details of a whole, long path ahead. Too many variables. To bring it back to my running analogy, I might get a cramp, or meet a friend along the way and run their path with them for a while, or perhaps I’ll decide I’d rather go for a swim. And. That’s. Just. Life.

The more I trust myself, the more I trust that I’ll either have the right tools to get through the next step when it’s revealed, or that I’ll somehow develop them. I also trust that I will know if & when it’s just too much, and allow myself to stop and make a new decision.

Another one of my favorite analogies (on the same theme) is the one Jack Canfield uses in the movie “The Secret”. It illustrates so perfectly this concept of trust; of knowing that everything will be revealed in the right time, and that it’s not only unnecessary, but also impossible to have all the pieces in place before we set out on a course.

“Think of this. A car driving through the night, the headlights only go a hundred to two hundred feet forward. And you can make it all the way from California to New York driving, through the dark, because all you have to see is the next two hundred feet. And that’s how life tends to unfold before us. And if we just trust that the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, and the next two hundred after that, our life will keep unfolding. And it will eventually get you to the destination of whatever it is you truly want , because you want it.”

I’m not a marathon runner, I’m a sprinter. My mind is wired in a way that I can easily give my all for 100, 200, or even 400 meters, but the mere thought of 26 miles is pure torture. I’ve learned that about myself and I try to live my life in ways that support my nature.

I also know that having very high expectations of myself and come down hard on little ol' me when I fail to meet them is completely counter-productive. I tried it for many years. Bruised & battered, but still hanging out near the starting line, I decided to adopt a much gentler and compassionate approach. It works so much better for me.

See you at the next lifeguard stand!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free) January 12 2015, 0 Comments

One thing that was clear to me when I decided to take better care of my body and adopt a healthier lifestyle was that I needed to eat less sugar. A LOT less...

My sweet tooth was passed down to me by my mother who, when I was a kid, would often make herself a bowl of icing as a snack and eat it with a spoon. It's no wonder I would most often reach for sugar when I felt hungry. Or when I was sad. Or really happy. Or bored, or stressed... You get the picture.

I still enjoy sweets, but I most often choose healthy options. And I'm always very excited when I create or find new delicious desserts.

Here's a great recipe I found online and modified to make it even healthier. There is Maple syrup in it, so by my usual standards it isn't "sugar free" (I try to use only fruits and Stevia), but still a wonderful option for the health-conscious people.  

And if you're a peanut butter cup lover... you'll be in heaven with this one. Enjoy!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE PIE

 

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 1.5 cup almond meal
  • 3 tsp Stevia (powder)
  • 2 tbsp pure Maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raw organic cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil

Filling

  • 1 cup organic creamy peanut butter (salted)
  • 1/4 cup pure Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3.5 tsp Stevia (powder)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cups water

Topping

  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp pure Maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp raw organic cacao powder
  • 1.5 tsp Stevia (powder)

PREPARATION

Line an 8-inch springform pan or pie dish with parchment paper and set aside.

To prepare the crust, combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add the melted coconut oil  and stir well to create a uniform dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined pan and set aside.

For the filling, combine all ingredients with a mixer (or food processor), and blend until completely smooth and silky. Pour the filling over the top of the crust, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Place the pie in the freezer to set until firm, about 4 hours.

Once the pie is firm, prepare the chocolate topping. Combine the cacao powder and the Stevia in a small bowl, then mix in the coconut oil and maple syrup. Whisk well to combine, creating a smooth chocolate sauce. Use the parchment paper to easily remove the pie from the pan, then drizzle the chocolate over the top.

Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to slice and serve. Store any remaining pie in the refrigerator for up to one week.

* To make this recipe acceptable for a Raw diet, simply use "raw" peanut butter.

 

*Original recipe by Detoxinista.com (thank you!)



    Chocolate-Mint pudding (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free) November 14 2014, 1 Comment

    I don't typically share recipes... because I rarely use them! I mostly cook by adding a little bit of this & that, until I love the flavor. (Yes, I have to taste. A lot.)

    But I often get asked for my recipes, so last night I decided to take notes during my little experiment, keep track of my "this & that" additions to be able to share the goodness with my peeps.

    My hubby & I do a detox twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, and the super-healthy-and-clean eating during those weeks always inspires me to get creative and find new and delicious food combinations to satisfy our palates (and cravings).

    Right now we're on a vegan diet without gluten and sugar (except for fruit). I'd heard about making chocolate pudding with avocado a while ago, and wasn't sure I liked the idea at the time... but right now, anything with the word "chocolate" in it sounds divine!

    So I looked up a bunch of different recipes for inspiration, and then created my own little concoction. And the result was delicious. So here it is my friends. Hope you enjoy it!

    CHOCOLATE-MINT PUDDING

     

    INGREDIENTS

    • 10-12 medium size dates (Medjool are great) soaked in hot water for about 15 min. to soften them. * I like it on the sweeter side, so I always go with more!
    • 1 cup of coconut milk (unsweetened)
    • 2 medium size ripe avocados
    • 1/3 cup of cacao powder (I used raw & organic)
    • 2.5 tsp of Stevia extract (powder)
    • 3 tsp of vanilla
    • ½ tsp of pure peppermint extract

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Put the dates (be sure to remove all the pits), coconut milk and avocados in a high speed blender or food processor. Start blending on slow and slowly raise the speed to high until mixture is smooth (no date chunks). Add the rest of the ingredients and blend some more until super smooth (don't be afraid to leave it in for a while). And voila!

    Be sure to taste your pudding. If you like it as is, great. If you'd like it a little more chocolaty, feel free to add some cacao powder (and blend thoroughly). You can also add some Stevia if you'd like it sweeter. Add a pinch at a time as it's very potent.

    I personally wanted to cover up the avocado flavor as much as possible, and it worked. What remained was only a faint hint and actually mixed well with the other flavors.

    It takes about 5 minutes to make and serves 4.

    Enjoy!

     

    PS: feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

     

    *** HEALTHY DOESN'T HAVE TO BE BORING! ***