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Southwestern Pasta

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You know those nights that you get home from work, and the last thing you want to do is cook? This recipe is for those who can relate.

I got home from work last night and immediately took my bra off, followed by throwing on an oversized t-shirt and my beloved plush throw as an accessory. I stumbled out to my kitchen and opened my cabinets; all of them. I then proceeded to open the fridge, and the pantry, and then of course a bottle of wine. I’m telling you, it was one of those nights. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

Standing in my kitchen with a glass of wine and a plush cape draped around my shoulders, I stared at my open cupboards, fridge and pantry and said “f*ck it.” I then began to grab random ingredients and throw them together. I kid you not, people.

I had to give you a background. I had to explain why this recipe is literally made with one of everything in your kitchen. When I tell you that this might be the best recipe I’ve thrown together to this date, it might just be the wine talking. But it could also just be that damn delicious. I’ll let you decide. 😉

 

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 Box, 12 oz Farfalle Pasta

1 Can Sweet Corn, drained

1 Medium Zucchini Squash, Sliced

1/2 Red Onion, diced

1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced

1/4 Poblano Pepper, diced

1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can Chopped Tomatoes (do not drain)

2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced

Spices and Toppings:

Chili Powder

Garlic Granules

Paprika

Salt and Pepper

1/2 Avocado, peeled and diced (optional)

 

 

Directions:

Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiled, add pasta and a dash of salt. Cover and cook pasta until soft. In a large pot, add  all remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Serve over pasta. Top with diced avocado. Enjoy!

 

Holistically Healing: The Common Cold

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‘Tis the season, #amiright? I may or may not be writing this post with a tissue drilled into in my left nostril. I’m sorry, was that TMI? The common cold is something I can’t seem to avoid no matter how healthy I aim to be throughout the year. However, I’ve close-to mastered how to kick the unwelcome guest right in the butt. They call me “sensei cold-be-gone.” And by they, I mean me. I’m the only one who calls me that.

Anywho, here are my top ten ninja moves for holistically healing the common cold.

 

1. Apple Cider Vinegar- I’m not going to lie to you and say that this method tastes good. But I am going to share how to make it taste better. Mix about 1-2 Tablespoons in with some warm water and give it a stir. Add about 1 teaspoon of local honey in and a squeeze of lemon. Stir again and down it. The more ACV you can handle, the better. Take this recipe about twice a day for faster healing.

2. Oil of Oregano- If you’re a frequent reader of mine, you’ve heard me rave about this stuff endlessly. To me, Oil of Oregano is one of the most underrated natural antibiotics. Put a few drops under your tongue and wash it down with OJ. Let the Oil of Oregano do the rest. (do not take if you are pregnant.)

3. Ginger Tea- Ginger has been used to holistically heal for centuries. Peel and grate about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger and put it in a tea diffuser. Place the diffuser in a mug and pour boiling water over it. Stir a few times and let steep for a few minutes. Let cool a bit before drinking. You can also try store-bought brands like Celestial, Yogi and Traditional Medicinals.

4. Local Raw Honey- Honey’s antiviral and antibacterial properties come from its high content of antioxidants. Add about 1 Tablespoon to your tea or simply eat it from a spoon. This will soothe your throat and boost your immune system.

5. Eucalyptus Oil- Put a few drops into your oil diffuser or burn some over a tea light. For a relaxing steam shower, put a few drops in the back of the tub. You can also add a few drops to a large boil of boiling water; lean over the bowl and cover your head with a towel or blanket. Breathe deeply and clear out your chest and stuffy nose.

6. Choose Simple Foods- Your body needs to use the majority of its energy to heal itself right now. Don’t eat a bunch of processed junk that will take more (unnecessary) energy to digest. Stick to brothy soups, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid sugary snacks and beverages.

7. Drink Plenty of Water- Stay hydrated! Please don’t skip out on this one.

8. Boost your Vitamin C and Vitamin D Intake- I take vitamins every single day. When I’m sick, I like to take an extra Vitamin D capsule and I add lemon to everything for some extra Vitamin C. Ask your naturopath or doctor about how much you should be taking daily.

9. Coconut Oil- Would this even be a post of mine if I didn’t mention coconut oil somewhere? I get very dry skin and lips when I have a cold. So this one is for those of you who can relate. Smear some coconut oil on all of those dry areas and let it get to work.

10. Get Your Beauty Rest- Grab yourself a good read, a heating pad, a blanket and a pillow. Or simply take all of those naps you couldn’t take last week. You earned it, dude.

 

 

Vegan Winter Squash Soup

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‘Tis the season for over-sized scarves and cardis, snuggling, and comfort foods. During the fall season, my tastebuds crave everything from pumpkin to apples to crispy marshmallows squished between graham crackers. But most of all, I crave the warmth of a hot bowl of soup in my palm in the comfort of my own home.


 

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 Medium Yellow Onion (chopped, 1 cup)

2 Ribs Celery 

2 Carrots

1 Butternut Squash (peeled, chopped, seeds discarded)

1 Green Apple (peeled, chopped, cored)

3 Cups Vegetable Stock

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Almond Milk

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Garlic Granules, Salt and Pepper (pinches, to taste)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot on medium-heat. Add olive oil and heat for 1 minute before adding chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 10 minutes. If veggies begin to brown, lower heat.
  2. Add the apple, butternut squash, broth, almond milk and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until squash and carrots are softened.
  3. Add spices and stir.
  4. Using an immersion blender stick,* blend mixture until smooth.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days.**

*If you do not have an immersion stick, simply blend soup in a standing blender in batches until smooth.

**You can also freeze to keep longer. 

 

Pumpkin Maple Oats

Am I the only one peer pressuring fall to make its debut already? I am so ready for cooler weather, layered fashion, jewel tones and hot ciders. Did I mention I like fall? Tis the season for pumpkin… well, everything. Oh yeah, I like pumpkins too.

This recipe is the perfect cool-morning breakfast. It’s sweet, warm and healthy just how I like it. The flavors incorporated are pumpkin, spice and maple with a touch of salt for savory goodness. Now that there’s drool all over your lap, I guess I’ll get into the recipe.

 

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What You Will Need:

1/2 Rolled Oats

1 Cup Pumpkin Puree (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin with no additives)

1/2 Tbsp. Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 Tsp. Salt

Maple Syrup (as drizzle)

 

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Directions:

  1. Put oats in small pot with pumpkin puree and about 1/4-1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and allow to thicken.
  2. Stir in cinnamon, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Cover and turn flame down to low, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer into bowl. Top with maple syrup.
  4. *Additional yummy toppings are walnuts, almond milk and raisins.

 

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Camping Diary: Lenoxville, PA

IMG_2309The ride to the camp site was almost as beautiful as the weekend I spent there. The way the trees stretched their limbs towards the clouded skies and how sweetly the wind kissed each and every overturned leaf that desperately hung on to their branch. The lightening wrapped itself around the sky and just as it would let go, the sky would cry loudly begging it to come back. Can you tell I’m a sucker for storms?

When we finally arrived at the camp site, we set everything up and started a fire before the rain had a chance to dampen its spark. We sat around the fire for a while and laughed about  memories we’ve already made at the camp ground. We have been coming to this exact site for many years and there’s no shortage of memories to laugh about. After hours by the fire, we decided to head to bed. We listened to the crickets converse until we fell asleep.

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We woke up to blue skies and sunshine kissing the trees. It was already a hot one. My mom and a few of her friends were staying a camper near us so we all made breakfast and enjoyed it at a picnic table in our site. I munched on fruit and banana cake while we talked about our plans for the day and sipped on coffee.

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By the time we had finished our breakfast, it was already about 92 degrees outside and we decided to take advantage of the camp swimming pool.

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From left to right: Lora (my mom’s lifelong bff), Me, Judy (my mom), Hannah (my bff), Amy (Hannah’s cool sister).

It was so nice to be with everyone for the weekend. Hannah, Amy and I have been going to this camp since we were infants and share so many of the same memories here.

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One of my favorite things about camping is finding small, beautiful pieces of nature. These flowers were just too cute to snap a picture of.

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When Hannah and I were little, we used to find buttercup flowers and determine whether or not we really like butter. According to the yellow glow is would cast on our chins, we both did. Being in place that is filled with happy memories is such an uplifting adventure to me. Laughing about how silly it was that we would let the yellow glow on our chins determine our liking for butter, or poking fun of each other about that time we wiped out while riding our bikes down the steep hill by the lake. Or reminiscing about that one time Amy flipped her brother Zach’s kayak while pulling him in to shore.

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Speaking of kayaking…. When we left the pool, the sun had gone down far enough to hide its beams behind the mountains. We decided to take advantage of the shade and take the kayaks out on the lake.

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Lora, Amy and Hannah in their kayaks. We all hung out in the middle of the lake before heading back to the site for dinner and a fire.

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Dinner was a famous dish that we all hold very close to our hearts (and mouths). This is called “Cowboy Meal.” It’s so easy and delicious! While explaining this dish to people, the best way to put it is “it’s basically the entire cookout in one pan.” It’s hot dogs, potatoes and baked beans topped with ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t knock it til you try it.

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After dinner, we started a fire and things got intentionally deep. A few years ago while at camp, my mom brought up the idea of writing our burdens on a piece of paper and throwing them in the fire. So we decided to do that again this year. We all wrote something, that we’ve been carrying, down on our little torn-off pieces of paper and tossed them into the fire. We all sat around the fire and enjoyed snacks while watching the flashes from the storm a few miles away.

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The next morning, we woke up and enjoyed our last breakfast together around the picnic table before going home. We had fresh fruit, coffee, bacon and of course banana cake.

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After breakfast we began to pack up and get ready to leave our site.

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Sometimes, a weekend away with friends and nature is all you need. I’m so grateful for the wonderful time we all had together. Until our next adventure. ♥

Food Diary: Breakfast & Lunch

Hello!

If you know me, you know I love food. Lately, it’s been soooo hot outside and all I want to eat is ice cream. Obviously, I don’t eat ice cream for every meal (or do i) so instead, I just make every meal taste like ice cream. #winning

 

Breakfast:

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Whoever said sweets are bad for you is a lunatic. My breakfast was sweet, healthy and delicious. I like to keep it simple for breakfast on weekdays because my mornings usually look like me dashing around the house with a toothbrush hanging out of my mouth while looking for something to wear and mumbling “I love you” over and over to my cat.  She’s needy, okay?

But seriously, the mornings are rushed and I know we’ve all been there. So the key to making breakfast? Minimal effort, people.

 

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Ingredients:

1 Cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt

1/4 Cup Pomegranate Seeds (or fruit of choice)

1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

Drizzle of Honey

 

Lunch

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So my lunch hack is to either take leftovers from dinner the night before or at least prepare the lunch the night before. Because let’s be honest, I don’t meal prep a week in advance. I wish I did, but I’m not that responsible. Sunday nights are for couches, sweatpants and multiple cups of tea.

But don’t let the amount of effort (or lack thereof) fool you; I eat healthy. If you take anything from this post, take the fact that you can eat healthy on a budget and you can even eat healthy while in a hurry. It’s about the ingredients. Choose healthy, choose whole, choose organic.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can alter it to whatever you have in your fridge. The only thing you actually need is the quinoa and olive oil as your base. The rest is up to your imagination. Get creative with it! Serve hot or cold for more variety.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Quinoa

1-2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Can Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)

1/2 Cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes

1/4 Cup Mushrooms

1/4 Cup Shredded Carrots

1/2 Lemon

1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Kale or Spinach (if eaten cold)

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to packaging. Once cooked, drain and drizzle olive oil over top. Sautee vegetables of choice in olive oil and seasonings. Once sauteed, add to quinoa and mix with spatula. Squeeze lemon over top and eat hot or chill in fridge over night and eat cold the next day. Mix fresh greens in if eaten cold!

Journal Entry 001

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Here’s a picture of my long and awkward feet for you. You’re welcome.

While walking into work this morning, I had the same thoughts I always have whilst approaching the office on a Monday morning; “Turn around, Leesh. Go home.” But right as that very thought crept into my frontal lobe, I came across this beautiful metaphor… made of cement.

I looked down and noticed a cement heart lying on the ground in front of me. A perfectly intact heart. The shape was a result of damage done to the sidewalk. Although the sidewalk had suffered something traumatic, its heart came out of the situation still intact.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all dealt with heart break and trials to some extent. We’ve all been at that breaking point where our souls feel heavy and our hearts tired and defeated. But when looking back at the races ran, battles fought and lessons learned, I wouldn’t change them for a thing. My heart did come out stronger, and although the scars remain, I’m okay. And that’s beautiful.

Now, you’re probably thinking at this point: “What kind of crazy lady finds a broken sidewalk and calls it beautiful?” (And believe me, that thought crossed my mind as well.) But at the same time, I’m grateful that I have the ability to seek beauty in the most bazaar and sometimes ugly things in this world. I hope that you can take away from this metaphor and try to find others in your day to day routines.

As always,

Wishing Happiness and Wellness,

Alicia ♥

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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As a cookie monster, I can confirm that these cookies are the bomb.com. Last night while watching Broad City, I watched Ilana bite into a chewy cookie and instantly craved one…the flavor, the texture, the chocolate stache. While eating healthy is a huge part of my lifestyle, I couldn’t make it work if I didn’t give in to my favorite naughty foods once in a while. ad6f8a2d-1a23-44af-b123-e2cd612f55d1

I don’t want to call these healthy… but I’m definitely going to call them healthier than most. Sound good? C’mon, they’re flourless, butterless and don’t contain any white sugar. 56a4cccd-b9e9-467a-aa2d-e2bdef058169

So if you’re interested in creating a healthy-ish, chewy, peanut buttery, chocolately cookie, keep reading. 😉

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Creamy or Chunky Peanut Butter (I used half/half. Don’t use natural peanut butter.)

2/3 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

2 Large Eggs

2/3 Cup Rolled Oats

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips (You can substitute raisins, nuts, etc.)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. Combine oats and baking soda in small bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream together peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Carefully mix in oats and baking soda with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  5. Gently fold in chocolate chips or other add ins.
  6. With hands, roll dough into 2 inch cookies (or use cookie dropper) and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart, then GENTLY press down on tops of cookie balls until just barely flattened.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 11 minutes. Rotate tray at 6 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes on cookie sheet.
  9. Place cookies on metal drying rack to cool completely.

 

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I’m Back!

Boy, have I missed your face.

First of all, I’ve been receiving endless emails filled with support and virtual hugs during my time off and I couldn’t have appreciated your love more. So thank you. I love you all. You’re the best.

Secondly, I felt it was only fair to explain myself. As many of you may already know, I started this blog on whim. I woke up one day and decided that blogging about my passions is something I want to start doing, so there I went, straight to my laptop and I started writing. The first few months were a breeze, I had new ideas after new ideas and I couldn’t have been happier with the initial success. However as time went on, I found myself struggling to find new ideas and I no longer enjoyed writing as much as I used to. I believe that’s called writer’s block, or something. Anyways, I decided it was time to take some time off and clear my head. To take some time for myself and get some much needed R&R.

Fast forward two months and BAM! I’m back. 😉

I have so many new and exciting ideas for Equanimous Mind and it even has a shiny new look. (Ohhhhh… Ahhhhhh)

So to give back to my readers, I’ve decided to conduct a live chat where they had the opportunity to request future post topics, ask me questions, and three readers are even being featured in future posts!

Some things you can look forward to seeing that my readers requested are:

  1. What I Eat In Day (or food diaries)
  2. Life Updates
  3. Travel Blogs
  4. Food-Travel Blogs

And SO. MUCH. MORE.

 

I hope you’re all looking forward to this as much as I am.

I wanted to leave the opportunity to request future post topics, so feel free to send your questions, love and ideas to my email address: alicia.r.blaine@gmail.com

Wishing Wellness,

Alicia ♥

 

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