Gardening season is upon us! Use this simple, natural & effective weed killer around your garden
Insert your favorite "it" into the subject line. Ever since I got my juicer (right in time for luscious summer produce) I haven't stopped using it. My juicer has now faded to a color somewhere between green (from all the kale) & red (from all the beets), which reminds me of the Holidays, but let's not think about winter just yet.
Sitting still might seem like a simple practice, but it’s actually very difficult to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts, especially if we’ve been through some traumatic experiences in our lives where even a simple silence can bring up a lot of difficult emotions associated with those negative experiences. Meditation can be a very powerful practice to release those feelings associated with the experiences that might have happened back in our childhood and we are still holding onto it in our bodies & in our minds.
Mornings are a sacred time, where we get a clean slate, a whole day ahead of possibilities. However, the truth is mornings can be hectic & crazy filled with rushing around getting everyone fed, dressed & out the door. That's why it is so essential to establish a simple, but powerful morning routine that is deeply nourishing to prep the body & the mind for the day ahead and to streamline the process and keep everyone sane in the meantime. It's important to begin the day with gratitude & love, which means no emails, text or Facebook first thing in the morning. Here are my five essential morning routines to maintain a happy spirit throughout the day.
Summer is filled with fun festivals and carnivals, birthday parties and BBQs, which unfortunately is filled with sugary drinks and processed foods, leaving you bloated, depleted & still hungry. While it's OK to indulge once in a while, after weeks of over-indulging on these zero nutritious foods, you will start to feel it in your body & notice it in your mood.
I have just the recipe for you to quench your thirst in a natural and refreshing kind of way with a Home-Made Fruit Punch.
We are all racing against the clock here, whether you are battling wrinkles, acne or general aging of the body, we want to stay looking youthful and vibrant every day. We try all kinds of chemicals to treat our acne & smooth our wrinkles, but let me tell you that it all starts from the INSIDE, inside your gut to be exact.
Mantras posses potent manifesting power that lies within the universe. It's important to word these mantras & affirmations from the present moment as if it's already happening. Our words and thoughts are composed of energy and therefore contain extremely potent power to alter our reality.
Breakfast is often my most perplexing meal of the day. Still half-asleep I roll out of bed at 6AM sharp to a house full of screams of “MAMA!” Oliver is a morning person unlike the rest of the household. Even our dog, Ralphie, won’t stroll into the kitchen before 9AM.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It breaks my heart when I hear people say they DON’T EAT BREAKFAST! Breakfast sets the tone of the rest of the day and for me, cereal just doesn’t cut it, a yogurt is not enough. I need my breakfast to be fulfilling & delicious. I’m a big fan of preparing my breakfast the night before and putting it in the oven in the morning giving me time to doquick yoga routine (if the boys are cooperating that day). But there are only so many things you can make ahead and sometimes a freshly cooked breakfast is what your body needs. I came across this Israili recipe and it looked so intimidating and time-consuming, I didn’t even give it a try. However, it kept popping up in my facebook feed from cooking groups and pinterest and emails and I just thought it was a sign. This recipe was stalking me, it was BEGGING me to try it and how glad I did. It is SUPER simple, SUPER delicious, SUPER filling and SUPER customizable.
This is a basic, simple shakshuka recipe, not spicy and kid friendly. For variety, different ingredients can be added to the tomato base—jalapenos, green chilies, parsley, red pepper flakes, or anything else that sounds tasty to you. I sprinkled my shakshusha with nutritional yeast and served it with a side of Horseradish Leek Sauerkraut (not pictured here, but did I tell you my latest fascination with Farmhouse Culture’s variety of Sauerkraut? OMG, they are just so delicious! I eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner). Use your imagination!
Serves: 4 (2 adults + 2 kids)
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Himalayan Salt and pepper to taste
- 5-6 eggs (depending on how many people you are feeding that day)
- 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped dill or parsley for garnish
- 1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
- a spoon full of sauerkraut. Get fancy with flavors like Smoked Jalapeno, Spicy Wakame Ginger Kimchi or my favorite Horseradish Leek.
- side of lox
- Add chopped onion to a deep, large skillet or sauté pan with grapeseed oil, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Sprinkle some turmeric and the onions become this beautiful golden color and are infused with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
- Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).
- Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
- COVER THE PAN! Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes on LOW, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.
Scoop onto plates divided, garnish with some fresh dill or parsley, nutritional yeast, side of lox and some sauerkraut and you’ve got yourself a winning breakfast that will keep you full all the way until lunch.
What's your favorite breakfast dish?
For the past 6 months, I have meditated over 32 HOURS! My meditation journey was a slow one. I loved the brief 5 minutes of meditation I got from every yoga class during the savasana (last resting pose) and I wanted to explore more, but I always came up with excuses such as “I don’t have time”, “I can’t sit still for that long” and a variety of others, but my body was aching for peace and for stillness, among the chaos that I was part of. Yet, I ignored it and went on with my life, until life got so chaotic and so crazy, I was starting to get panic attacks and gasping for air. By then, my body was SCREAMING for attention, it was yelling for me to listen, to tune into what was happening INSIDE. So, I made time, I downloaded an app and committed to the 30 day meditation challenge.
It was very difficult for me to sit still, my back ached, so I decided to do my meditation in the savasana which is how I enjoyed it to begin with. I started to look forward to it every day, my body started to CRAVE it! I love the convenience of the meditation app, because I can meditate ANYWHERE; at home, in the car, on my hammock, in the park while lying on the grass and basking in the sun with my headphones on.
Looking back now, I can’t even believe that such little effort each day of 10-15 minutes I dedicated, has had such an impact on pretty much every aspect of my life: my relationships, my health and my spiritual journey began with this practice.
Here are some amazing benefits I started reaping from my daily meditation practice:
- I sleep like a baby (or like a koala). It may not necessarily be longer, but it is better quality sleep. I fall asleep quicker and stay asleep through the night without tossing and turning like before. Most people toss and turn because they start to analyze their day, plan for the next day ahead, reflecting on thoughts and emotions. That all makes it very difficult to fall asleep. Meditation offers you that time to be able to sort through your mind so you are not battling with it while trying to sleep.
- I have more patience. With two rumbustious toddlers in the house, there is always whining, fighting and writing on the wall. It is sometimes difficult to keep my calm, but I have noticed my patience increased as I dug deeper through my meditation. I’m by no means 100% Zen at ALL times, but I’m definitely more aware of my surroundings and when I’m about to lose it, I know just the actions I need to take to bring me back to Zen.
- I appreciate every moment. We have started a gratitude jar where we (and by we, I mean me, myself & I. My husband has written in it ONCE!) write all the things we are grateful for in our lives; as little as I love my fence and as big as I love my husband for being so open and understanding in difficult situations. Meditation helps to expand the window of perception, allowing you to see the value in every experience and every relationship.
- You don’t need external validation because you love yourself for who you are, just the way that you are. I used to need my parents approval of my choices, then my husband’s, then my in-laws. I felt like it was a never-ending game of “Please Love Me” and “Please Accept Me”. Meditation has allowed me to tap into the source of fulfillment, a satisfaction I have never experienced in my life before.
- I have less "FOMO" (fear of missing out). I used to be guilty of this ALL THE TIME. I wanted to be everywhere at once. I was always rushing from one thing to another, trying to experience as much as possible. And as much as I love the “hungry” part of me, I was getting run-down. Meditation helped me to SLOW waaaaay down and really enjoy the journey to the destination.
- I have less fear. I used to be afraid of taking chances; big changes scared me due to an unforeseen outcome. Even though I was lucky enough to have friends who have pushed me to take leaps, internally I was a chicken. After meditating, I have finally started to listen to what makes me happy. I have gotten my Reiki certification, so I can bring more healing into this world and I have finally signed up for my yoga teacher training. I still have fears about the unknown: I don’t know if these endeavors will bring success, I don’t know if I will be a great teacher but what I know is I followed by heart on these choices and that sure will bring an abundance into my life.
- My desire to drink alcohol has diminished significantly. In fact it is pretty much gone. My friends would often hear me say “I need a drink” after a long day. Many people consume alcohol as a way of alleviating stress, but meditation helps you release your stress and boost immunity, so the need for alcohol begins to decline.
- My communication with others has improved. By mastering my emotions, I’m now able to clearly explain my point of view and be emphatic towards others. I’m able to actually LISTEN to others and respond in a calm manner.
- I practice guilt-free-self-care more frequently. Let’s be honest, as mothers, in the midst of kids and chores and errands, if you are not taking time for yourself, you will get burnt out. Meditation has allowed me to tap into my needs and being able to act upon them without feeling guilty about it. If my body is aching for an Epsom salt bath tonight while husband puts the kids to bed, then I make it happen.
- It has helped me be less judgmental. This may apply to any culture, but I feel like the Russian culture is very judgmental and critical, especially the older (babushkas) generation. This form of “communication” and “bonding” has been engraved into me since childhood and I can feel how meditation is starting to break down those patterns. I find myself more understanding towards people’s differences and their circumstances. I complain less about why people do the things that they do. I accept them for who they are.
- I watch less TV. The mindless shows I used to look forward to watching are now replaced with activities such as reading, exercising, gardening, writing, working on my hand stands etc. I use that time that used to be wasted on TV to engage in activities that feed my soul.
- I savor my food. This may be obvious to some, but I used to chow down food so fast to hurry to something more “productive”. I’ve often engaged in thoughts such as “what if we didn’t NEED to eat, how much time we would have for ... more busy-ness”. Only after practicing the art of being mindful did I start to really ENJOY my food, to really taste it! Not to mention all the digestive benefits of chewing your food slowly and thoroughly, I was starting to see food in a different light resulting in more mindful, healthier and more fun grocery shopping trips. Now my thoughts gravitate towards statements such as “I can’t wait to cook and taste this!”
Wonderful things start to happen when you tap into that amazing mind of yours and really observe your thoughts, reflect on emotions and connect to the deeper parts of soul that are screaming to be heard.
I absolutely LOVE salmon. I crave it! And if I could eat it every day, I totally would. It is so versatile too; you can have it for breakfast as lox on toast, for lunch on a salad or for dinner as a main dish. You can make it once and eat throughout the day or week. It's just simply amazing and the best thing it is SOOO simply to make.
And did we talk about salmon's benefits?
It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12) but it is their content of omega-3 fatty acids that receives the most attention. And in case you forgot what omega-3's are, they are these are essential oils (EPA and DHA) that contribute to healthy brain function ,the heart and the joints.
Now, there is always a lot of debate regarding whether to buy farmed or wild. To tell you the truth my opinion has been swayed towards wild for a while, because of all the bad rep farmed fish has gotten. But then I dug deeper into this and found out that buying farmed fish may not be so bad, because responsible farmers set high standards for their farmed salmon; and I think it tastes milder, but it is recommended to vary your options between wild and farmed.
So here is the recipe for this amazing salmon:
- 2 lbs salmon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or more! I love garlic for its taste and health benefits)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves (or you can use dried dill weed)
- Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together honey, garlic, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper
- Place salmon onto prepared baking sheet and fold up all 4 sides of the foil. Spoon the honey mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon, covering completely and sealing the packet closed.
- Place into oven and bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with some more fresh dill and prepare for an orgasm in your mouth!