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Nourish, Recipes

Zesty Orange Millet Almond Cornmeal Cake

A dinner out should always end with dessert, unless of course you ate your weight in food which, let’s be real, does happen occasionally. I usually am a feen for chocolate. If chocolate molten cake or chocolate soufflé is on the dessert menu, forget about it, its a done deal … Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!

Image (1)I suppose most good things come to an end, and in this case it is my craving for chocolate at the end of the meal. Recently, I find myself replacing my usual chocolate dessert with that of citrus. I am not sure what my body is trying to tell me but I know citrus is bursting with Vitamin C which is great to ward off winter time colds (or at least shorten the length they last), reduces the chances of strokes, and the skin of an orange has been proven to reduce cholesterol. The light and refreshing essence of citrus ultimately leaves me feeling light, even after a heavy meal!

Having parted ways with my job a few weeks ago, I have had lots of time to reflect and enjoy the simpler things in life. I will elaborate on this life moment in a later post, but what has come of this time is transforming my flat’s kitchen into a test kitchen where I have enjoyed experimenting with different grains. I cannot say too much about the concept I am working on, but it is very much an idea in it’s infancy, and I am learning lots! Lucky for you, my newly acquired knowledge will allow for some magnificent morning time recipes, like the one below for Zesty Orange Millet Cornmeal Cake.

super grainsIn doing some research on various grains, I visited my local library and picked up pretty much every book I could find pertaining to the subject. One of my favorites is Super Grains by Chrissy Freer. Chrissy profiles a plethora of grains from chia to farro to barley and beyond offering details on their origin, nutrition, and use. One grain that I found particularly interesting is millet. Millet is able to grow in harsh environments and is thought to have originated in western Africa. Stemming from the same family as Spinach (did not expect that!), millet is a gluten free grain that is and easy to digest. Millet contains a moderate amount of dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper and various phytochemicals. As you well see from this recipe millet has a similar texture as polenta and tastes great in baked goods.

In the mood for citrus based desserts, Freer’s Orange & Almond Syrup Cake is the inspiration for today’s zen morning recipe. A slice of this orange cake with a cup of tea, is a great way to start the morning, or end an evening!

This recipe takes approximately 1.5 hours from start to finish. You are going to want to pre – heat your oven to 350 F, and grease your cake pan. I like using a springform cake pan so I can easily remove the sides.

Using an electric mixer (Or which by hand) beat together the butter and sugar. Whisk an egg in one at a time.Image (2)

Next, fold in the millet meal, almond meal, cornmeal, baking powder, and orange zest. I love how orange zest brightens the flavor and adds a pop of color.

Spoon the mixture into your springform cake pan, and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. I find the back of a spoon works better then a spatula for smoothing cakes out. Place in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cake and cover with foil. Place the cake back in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let the cake cool for ten minutes and remove the side of the pan.IMG_3390

While the cake is cooling prepare the syrup. The cake will absorb this syrup allowing for a chewy yet dense texture. In a small sauce pan zest one medium orange then add the juice of half of the orange along with one cup of sugar. You are going to want the sugar to dissolve over medium heat. Once sugar has dissolved increase the temperature to high. Boil for three minutes then reduce to a simmer for two minutes.

Carefully brush half of the syrup on the cake. Once the cake has cooled brush the remaining syrup.

Cut the cake and serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, a slice of orange, and a little orange zest.

In the comments below, let me know what your favorite zesty morning treat is, and maybe I will try your suggestion next!

See you at Sunrise,

Stephanie

Orange Millet Almond Cornmeal Cake

Orange Millet Almond Cornmeal Cake

Ingredients

  • CAKE
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup millet meal
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cups medium ground cornmeal
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • Greek - style plain yogurt, to serve
  • SYRUP
  • Zest from one medium orange
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a round 8 1/2 inch springform cake pan.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the millet meal, almond meal, corn meal, baking powder, and orange zest.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan, and smooth the surface. The batter will be thick, don't worry about that. Bake for 30 minutes then cover the top with foil and bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven when tooth pick comes out clean.
  4. Remove the side of the pan, and let cool.
  5. Syrup: Place orange juice, orange zest, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until sugar has dissolved. Once sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to a boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes, and return to a simmer for 2 minutes. Remember to continue stirring throughout.
  6. Remove syrup from heat and brush the warm cake using half of the syrup. Once the cake has cooled, brush on the remaining syrup.
  7. Serve the cake with a dollop of Plain Greek yogurt and garnish with an piece of orange and orange zest.
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Steph Face Mask
Nourish, Uncategorized

Oh My Daily Face … Regiment.

I spend a good amount of time taking care of my skin. Skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and quite frankly, I want to age as gracefully as possible. During high school my Mom would let me receive bi – monthly facials, in exchange she made me promise to never pick at my face or pluck my own eyebrows. Deal!

Fast forward fifteen years later and my skin love is paying off as, friends, family, and strangers frequently comment and ask about my ‘secret’… Genetics?!?

Truth be told I am a product maven, and have a few habits that play a key role in my glowing skin.

  • Drink as much H2O as possible… (Minimum of 5 glasses per day altough 8 is recommneded)
  • Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Sleep is when our skin regnerates and soaks up a majority of the nutirents from our skin products. So you nay sayers, Beauty Sleep really is a thing. I also find that a lack of sleep leads to a puffy/swollen face which is not very fun either!
  • I take Probiotics on an empty stomach every morning. Taking probiotics at night before sleeping is also a great option. Probiotics are good bacteria that naturally occur and live in your gut. When you are healthy probiotics aid in digestion, boosting the immune system, and consuming bad bacteria. The gut and skin are both organs used for detoxification, and when the gut has more bad bacteria then good it causes inflammation throughout the body, including that of the skin. I typically have one sip of Bio – K twice per week and then a probiotic supplement such as Garden of Life Raw Probiotic Supplement for Women every morning.
  • NEVER Sleep with MAKE – UP on!!!
  • You are what you eat! Eat for your skin and this will help with the glowing. I challenge you to cut refined sugars, fats, and alcohol from your diet for two weeks. Replace these not so good for you things with fruits + veggies… you are bound to see a difference on many fronts! For some great reciepe inspiration check out my fav blogger, Deliciously Ella.
  • Exfoliate and Hydrate your skin. I like to schlep away dead skin cells with an exfoliater once per week followed by a hydrating mask. Right now I am obsessing over everything Arcona. Note: All of my skincare products are all – natural… no chemicals for this chica!
  • Suncreen is a must to protect from sun damage.
  • Wash face morning and evening. I like to use Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser followed by my Kiehl’s Super Multi – Corrective Cream.

And now for the current face products. I have recently tried to deviate from these four items, it did not work. I pretty much swear by these! I have pretty normal skin, not oily and not too dry. If you have more sensitive skin I recommend going to Nordstrom and consulting their skin experts or your dermatologist. They really know their stuff!

Face Post Collage

  1. Perricone MD, Nutritive Cleanser 6 fl. oz. ($45)
  2. Arcona, Brightening Gommage 100 ml. ($52)
  3. Arcona, Wine Hydrating Mask 2 oz. ($42)
  4. Kiehl’s, Super Multi – Corrective Cream 1.7 fl. oz. ($62)

In the comments below, I would love to hear what your favorite Face go to’s are!

See you at Sunrise,

Stephanie

 

IMG_1248
Journal, Reflection

Birthday Wishes in Austin: Happiness + Life

July 17,2015 marks the beginning of my last year in the 20s. Wow! I cannot believe a decade has almost gone by soo fast! More so, I cannot believe all the mistakes I made, lessons learned, friendships formed, addresses lived at, memories made and Fun Fun Fun had! I am excited the 20s are not over yet, and am going to savor every moment of this year.

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Every year on or around my Birthday, I reflect on where I am, what I am doing, who I am surrounding myself with, what I want and who I want to become. Life is a constant love affair of getting to know thy self. Last year I felt like I was divorcing myself, this year I feel found and whole again. I have discovered a sense of fulfillment and am happy to identify a life force within me that I did not know existed. I have found a sense of calm, now that I am not at odds with my head and heart. At my core, I have finally realized that I am happiest when bringing others happiness and allowing their light to shine a bit brighter. I have also come to realize that I am over this FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) lifestyle. Participating in social events just for the sake of being social is no longer sexy to me. I want purpose and meaning behind every activity I participate in. I want to surround myself with people I love, that I can laugh with, that bring a deeper meaning to my life and existence. Time is precious, and I want to spend it wisely and in ways that better myself and the world (Boom of Sparkles!)

So on this 29th year of life, I wanted to spend it floating down a river in Austin visiting friends I hadn’t seen in 5 years with my beau. And that’s just what I did, and it was AMAZING!!!

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The anthem for this year is going to be ‘Do What Makes Me Happy… Just Do It … Because Why Not!’

So, in this last year of my 20s as I approach the BIG ‘3-0’, which does not seem soo BIG to me, I want to say ‘YES’ to myself and live to the fullest.

As I reflect, I believe in manifesting my dreams by writing them. While this is normally a personal activity that I do not share, I feel invigorated sharing it with all of you!

  1. Fall even more in love with Life
  2. Show more Gratitude for Everything
  3. Take more time to enjoy the SMALL things in life ie Dogs playing in the park, stars, eskimo kisses
  4. Exercise Regularly
  5. Meditate Every Morning
  6. Practice More Yoga
  7. Do a Hand Stand by the time I am 30
  8. Travel International with Richard (Vietnam, Singapore, Bali, Morocco, Southern Spain + Portugal)
  9. Show my family more Love
  10. Grow and Develop ‘Luff’ a housewares company bringing happiness and life to the world with Richard
  11. Laugh More!!!!
  12. Find a sense of inner peace and deeper grounding
  13. Develop habits that support a healthy lifestyle
  14. Refine my communication skills
  15. Journal
  16. Attend a Silent Retreat, a Yoga Retreat, and a normal Retreat
  17. Rent a house in a Beautiful place and have an open invite to all friends to Enjoy Life Together!
  18. Blog once per week!!

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See you at Sunrise,

Stephanie

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Edison, Amor Fati and Me!

No one could have told me what I was going to be walking into this morning. I woke up earlier than most mornings, to the sound of birds, life and my amazing boyfriend.

I got ready as I do most mornings, and decided to enjoy a podcast on the way to work. On this morning, I was feeling like NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’, and enjoyed the pleasant tunes of Joan Shelley, Widowspeak and PINS. It was nice mixing up my morning radio, routine while taking in the scenic 280 landscape. I was quickly mesmerized by the drive and some fancy smancy new BMW whizzed by peeking my interest. I arrived to the office an hour early. Woohoo Happy Monday!

I was excited to knock out a couple of items on my to – do list ahead of schedule, including a putting together a meeting schedule, drafting a couple contracts and catching up on e – mails that had piled up over the holiday weekend. (Happy belated 4th of July btw!)

ShaaaBammmm! A colleague’s message on HipChat immediately came through upon me turning on my laptop asking to go for a lap aka walk around the block. My colleague, whom I have worked very closely with over the past 1.5 years put in her two week notice.

Being close to co – workers can sometimes be a double edged sword for example you get promoted and they don’t #akward or they need to start reporting to you #gulp or they resign #happy#sad. I am impressed with my own ability to navigate this situation in a positive manner. In fact, I am pretty darn impressed with the poise through which I went through the entirety of my day. Moments after the news was broken to my boss, she pulled me aside to discuss the situation. During this conversation it also came to my attention that a second member of the team had also submitted their notice. A month ago a team of 16 is soon to be a team of 10. Sad, yes! Stressful, you bet! Lots of deep breathing, for sure! Screaming profanities while calling my boyfriend while pulling my hair out and hyperventilating, most definitely NOT (just a few OMG texts)!

 

edison-on-failure

 

I recently listened to an episode of Tim Ferris’s podcast entitled ‘Thomas Edison’s Formula for Greatness’, and this particular episode, focused on ‘Amor Fati’ or the love of one’s fate. Wikipedia explains it best as “an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one’s life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not.” The emphasis here is on acceptance ie the individual does not try to fight or improve the changes/occurrence but rather accepts them with open arms and learns to love these moments turning them into positive experiences and making the most of them. Tim gives an example of Thomas Edison, who believed his experimental lab had walls that were fire proof. Knowing this Edison decided to only insure them for a fraction of their worth. One day someone came to him announcing the facility was ablaze. Instead of freaking out, Edison summoned his family to see the beautiful colors as he knew the chemicals in the building would cause the most beautiful fire they would ever see. With only 1/3 of the building covered by insurance, and losing the empire he spent his life building, roughly $1 million in damages and loss (roughly $23 Million today) Edison gracefully responded. His response was not that of devastation, but rather feelings of invigoration as he had just ‘gotten rid of a bunch of rubbish’ and exclaimed to a reporter that he was “not too old to make a fresh start”. A fresh start, he did, as he made $10 million in revenue that year, approximately $200 million today.

Monk bookThe lessons in this pod cast also closely align with the current book I am reading, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. I am only 50 pages in, but this book is literally what I want to manifest in my life. (I will be writing a review upon finishing) In this novel, Sharma comments that “You truly cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought – not even one.” Negative thoughts only “block the enormous potential of the mind to work magic and deliver into [your] life all that you want, emotionally, physically, and yes spiritually”. Essentially, Sharma suggests that through focusing on the positive in everything, every person and every situation an individual is able to reach maximum potential. In jest, after reading this I have vowed to push negative thoughts away and solely try to cultivate positive thoughts. In practice this is quite difficult, and it will take time to master, but I am all about the baby steps!

Today, my ability to channel positivity and see opportunity in a seemingly negative situation was challenging, but the influence of Edison and Sharma allowed me to keep my stress at bay and see the positive. I will now be able to onboard another amazing employee and potential friend. I can attempt to manifest an even more positive company culture so that employees want to stay longer. My boss expressed the extent to which she values me… it felt good!

PositivityOverall, this new approach was much more fulfilling then stressing out and focusing on the negative. I challenge each of you to try and view the positive in everything, person and event this week, and maybe forever!

See you at Sunrise,

 

Stephanie

AvoCheese
Nourish, Recipes, Uncategorized

Three Minute Breakfast:AvoCheese Please!

One of my favorite topics to discuss with my foodie friends is their current go to recipes. In particular I take note of those that are simple, nutritious, and delicious. While I would love to take an hour to prepare breakfast on the daily, as it is my favorite meal, it is just not happening.

Blog Pic #5My typical weekday breakfast consists of items that I can make ahead or whip up in five to fifteen minutes. My staple breakfast items consist of hard – boiled eggs, yogurt, overnight oats, fresh fruit, cold pressed juice and kombucha. If I am feeling overly ambitious I might scramble an egg and add some greens like spinach or kale and finish with salt and pepper. If I am feeling EXTREMELY overly ambitious then I will experiment with a recipe from one of my many cookbooks. Currently, I am obsessing over Hemsley and Hemsley and Deliciously Ella (Hint! Hint! My rendition of one of their creations is bound to make its way on this page soon). On the contrary though I am not often EXTREMELY ambitious, so eggs have become my primary protein. Let’s be real, while egg porn is beautiful, they become a little dull when consumed every morning.

Knowing my obsession with avocados, my friend Noah shared his latest and greatest BEST breakfast concoction, cottage cheese and avocado with sriracha or salsa. A light bulb went off in my head ‘Oh yes cottage cheese, I completely forgot about that’.Blog Pic #1

“Oh it is the best!” Noah said to me, and if Noah says it is the ‘best’ then it is pretty damn freakin good. According to Noah, the secret to the success of this recipe is a chilled avocado, and I am very thankful my dear friend shared this tip as I had under estimated the difference.

This recipe requires no skill, and is all about assembling. Feel free to scale the recipe to your hunger level. Personally, I use a half cup of whole cottage cheese, one chilled avocado and two spoonfuls of salsa. I start by scooping the cottage cheese into a glass cup, followed by diced chilled avocado and finish with salsa.

Super simple! Super Tasty! A Super way to start your day! Enjoy!

See You at Sunrise,

Stephanie

AvoCheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Chilled Avocado Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Salsa

Instructions

  1. 1. In a glass layer cottage cheese, diced avocado and salsa.
  2. Note: Feel free to substitute salsa with a drizzle of sriracha.
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Door with Fog pic
Nourish

A Superba Morning with a Friend

One hour to the mountains and seven minutes to the beach was the norm for me growing up. My parents settled in Mar Vista, CA (a small community nestled between Venice and Culver City on the Westside of Los Angeles), literally three blocks from my paternal grandparents’ house which is still the house they live in today. As a child, I recall wishing my family and I could move, and sometimes being embarrassed of our yellow house (now a salmon orange…), situated on a flag lot and hidden from the street.

cute_yellow_house_clipart

It is funny how our mentalities change with age. If you asked me at 20 how often I would want to visit home, I would have quickly and easily told you a couple times a year if that and only for a couple hours per visit. Now at 28, three cities later (NYC, DC, SF) I find myself yearning to retreat home every three months. There is just something magical, comforting and grounding to sleep in the same room I slept in through my tiny tot and teenage years.

The house aside, my visits are really about the people. My friends and family are ultimately what have me coming back time and time again. On this particular visit, I quickly discovered that I am friends with a sea of Geminis as I had five mornings and five evenings to fit in three birthdays, one graduation, an Oula class and multiple friend seshes. My time table is always a bit tricky during these visits as I typically work remotely during the day, attempt to maintain my exercise regimen and healthy eating habits all the while balancing my friend social calendar with that of family.

So how did I possibly do it all, you ask?

Traditionally, I view mornings as ‘ME’ time, but with all the people I wanted to see during this trip, I quickly discovered I needed to think outside the box and create time where it was not. One of the best things to come out of NYC for me is the friendship I developed with my restaurant partner in crime, Noah. Everyone needs a Noah in their life. Noah is smart, spontaneous, worldly, ambitious, patient, social and just straight up fabulous! Noah is the type of person who is down for anything interesting and dynamic. So, when trying to figure out when I had time to see Noah, the light bulb went off … an early morning breakfast!

noah + me

And breakfast we did, at 8 am on Lincoln Blvd. at Superba Food + Bread. Venice for me has metamorphosed into an enclave of a little beachy, a little boho, a little sophisticated, a little rich, a little relaxed and a little edgy (pushing the limits with this one) all rolled into one. Overall I LOVE IT! And this morning allowed me to fall in love a little more.

Running out the door to catch my UBER, I entered Superba in my workout garb and a naked face ie. no make – up. I was quickly greeted by the friendly staff and carb heaven behind a glass case. As Noah was running slightly behind I took a seat.

 

 

Superba landscapeSuperba’s design is cubic – centric neo – industrial with high ceilings, a coffee counter cornered opposite the bakery, and with the help of an industrial garage door Superba creates a seamless flow of patron seating from indoor to outdoor patio. I chose to sit in a booth opposite where the garage door was open, with perfect visibility to the outside with light breeze blowing through. It was serene and Zen to sit and watch people start their day, take it all in and just ‘be’.

 

Once Noah arrived we selected our breakfast, a hard decision I might add. I settled on a tasty quiche. Literally, the crust was the PERFECT texture. Slightly crispy with a subtle chewiness where the filling met the crust. Noah went with the ricotta toast and jam.

superba spreadAs we sat there, Noah and I, staring out in the distance, taking in the scene. We laughed the morning away, and it felt SOOOO good!

I was a bit sad to leave Noah, because well for one I have never been good at ‘good – byes’ or ‘see – you –laters’ and for two I suck at good byes especially when it comes to my favorite people. As I hopped in my Uber and headed back home to start my work day, I was happy to reflect on the synergy of mornings and friends. I think this encounter may have started a new trend for me! Try it … I dare you.

Stay tuned for an inspirational morning time recipe inspired by Noah.

In the comments below, I would love to know where you have breakfast with friends!

See You at Sunrise,

Stephanie

cover photo toastilla
Nourish, Recipes

Avocado Toast with a Twist

Last week was Cinco De Mayo, and my local grocery store had some of my favorite things on sale; avocados, garlic, and La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas. I am obsessed with avocados! Literally, avocados make my world go around as they are the perfect addition to every meal in my “cookbook”. I even enjoy them solo with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I find their creamy and rich texture equivalent to that of French butter…. Just divine.

As of recent avocado toast has taken the culinary brunch and breakfast world by storm, and, at astronomical prices might I add. I am talking $8 – $12 for pieces of average toast with smashed avocado, red pepper flakes, and finishing salt. I find this to be nuts, but am secretly happy to see that the world has finally fallen madly in love with avocado as much as I have. Literally its INSTA-tastic!

avocadoAvocados are a great source of protein and fiber. They contain vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Avocados have been linked to reducing signs of aging, regulating blood sugar, and improving sight. Of course avocados are a beauty fruit, why else are they used in all of those fun face masks.

With all of these positive attributes of course I want to start my day off with anything and everything avocado. Avocado + (fill in the blank with any ingredient) equates to a gratifyingly robust and salubrious breakfast that has me full till noon.

 

On this particular morning, I decided to make my own rendition of avocado toast with my Cinco de Mayo steals … and I present El Avocado Toastilla.

veggies uncooked

For this recipe you will need garlic, zucchini, avocado, bell pepper, La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas, olive oil, salt and pepper… salsa is optional. Dice the garlic, zucchini, and bell pepper. I prefer to use orange bell peppers as they tend to be a bit sweeter then green and yellow, but any bell pepper will do.

Drizzle olive oil into a frying pan over medium heat and lightly saute your garlic until it turns a light golden brown. Add your zucchini and bell peppers and saute for four to six minutes until the bell pepper is soft yet maintains a slight crunch. Remove your veggies and place in bowl. Place tortilla in same pan and lightly pan fry. I enjoy a subtle crispness to my Toastilla , but fill free to warm the tortilla up to as crisp or soft as you like.

 

avotortillaNext cut your avocado in half. With a fork scoop out half of the avocado and smash it atop your toasted tortilla. Dust with Salt and Pepper. Layer with veggies, and enjoy! If a little spice is your thing, then don’t be ashamed to reach for some salsa.

 

 

 

 

Note, these are great on the go. Simply warmup your tortilla till its ‘just’ warm, layer everything on and roll it up.

Hope this quick and easy recipe gives you a reason to wake up fifteen minutes early!

See You At Sunrise,

Stephanie

Avocado Toastila

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper
  • 1 La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Salsa (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Dice the bell garlic zucchini, and bell pepper.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into a frying pan over medium heat and lightly saute your garlic until it turns a light golden brown. Add your zucchini and bell peppers and saute for four to six minutes until the bell pepper is soft yet maintains a slight crunch.
  3. Remove your veggies and place in bowl.
  4. Place tortilla in same pan and lightly pan fry. I enjoy a subtle crispness to my Toastilla , but fill free to warm the tortilla up to as crisp or soft as you like.
  5. Cut your avocado in half. With a fork scoop out half of the avocado and smash it atop your toasted tortilla.
  6. Dust with Salt and Pepper. Layer with veggies, and enjoy!
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Crazy Rich Asians
Journal, Morning Reads

Morning Read: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Photo of open book, titled "Crazy Rich Asian" by Kevin KwanJust when I thought I had read the best of the best of Chic Lit, my best friend and fellow English major, Megan, texted me excitedly… “Steph you have got to read Crazy Rich Asians. You would LOVE it!”

Twist my arm Megan… granted I did not have it in me to tell her that the last book I read from cover to cover was oh, I cannot even remember and it probably took me half a year to complete. But Hey! Next time I was at Megan’s house, she passed the book off to me, and I was determined to finish it in a timely fashion.

Finish it, I did, in six weeks! I quickly discovered that one of the best activities to partake in during the morning and the late evenings, just prior to sleeping, is reading. My love for this pastime is reignited! Escaping into a fun fictional world allows my imagination to awaken for a day of productivity while an evening read allows my mind to escape the struggle, stress, triumphs and everything else that crosses my path.

Crazy Rich AsiansA bit about this book that reconnected me to my passion.

Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians… begins with the love story of two NYU professors, Rachel Chu a naive  ‘ABC’ (American – Born Chinese) and Nicholas Young a native Singaporean, who shokiingly partake in a modest New York lifestyle. As the two grow close, Nick invites Rachel on a journey to Singapore for his best friend’s, Colin Khoo, wedding. What ensues in Singapore is, put simply, the life of the rich who are sooo wealthy they do not want to be famous, who travel to Paris and spend hundreds of thousands on couture every season, where every lady has a lady’s maid who never leaves her side and irons all of her clothing with lavender and roses flown in from France, who are so powerful that their investments control the stock markets, and whose many homes are not homes at all but rather museums. This novels drops more designer names then an issue of Vogue  and, literally, my mouth was open in disbelief at the opulent world these people live in! As the story unfolds there is greed, jealousy, friction, family drama, suspense, celebration, love, label dropping and an abundance of wealth. Not wanting to ruin the story I highly recommend this book, as the absurdity of these rich Asians offer a great comic relief plus its a fun read! Oh and might I add, you will learn a few Malay, Singaporean and Chines words along the way … Alamak!

See You At Sunrise,

Stephanie

When Laughter Breaks
Breathe, Journal

Just LOL … The Power of Laughter

Laughter, is so healing and relaxing!

Being blessed or cursed with a type ‘A’ personality, I am all about the making things happens, my to – do list and being on the go. When things at the office get intense, as they have of late, I find myself ‘hyper goal – orientated’ ie I make a very extensive to do list on Mondays and better check everything off by Friday. (I actually find this greatly aids my anxiety.)

Recently, my boss announced that we would be rolling out a new product. ‘Awesome!’ I thought. Until I heard it was going to be launched in 6 weeks, and realized no one other then moi was stepping up to the plate.

Without going into too much detail about the product, let’s just say it involves offices and snacks, I decided that our clients could use a little pick me up and started researching jokes. Little did I know, this menial task would become the highlight of my work week as I sat there literally uncontrollably laughing and posting the best jokes to Hipchat for my team to enjoy. Within 10 minutes half of the office was laughing, and it was one of the best feelings EVER!

The winning joke, which still has me laughing and is slightly vulgar (I apologize) goes like this:

A man kills a deer and takes it home to cook for dinner. Both he and his wife decide that they won’t tell the kids what kind of meat it is, but will give them a clue and let them guess. The dad said, “Well it’s what Mommy calls me sometimes.” The little girl screamed to her brother, “Don’t eat it. Its an asshole!

Hehe!

This is only one of many that I found hilarious.

One of my co – workers hipchatted me:

“OMG, I had the best time just listening to you crack up… it’s contagious”

While another sent me a link to a podcast she listened to that morning on the positive attributes of laughing. Listen to what Les Bloch of KQED has to say about the ‘Power of a Smile’.

 

All in all the silver lining to this daunting project came through… Laughter brought me to life and boosted my team. Lesson…laughing is contagious … partake in it often.

Smile and Laugh every morning!

See You at Sunrise,

Stephanie

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Nourish

7 Morning Apps to Kick Start a Zen Morning

In celebration of finally upgrading my ancient I – phone 4 (hey if its not broke why fix it) to the
I – phone 6 this weekend, here are a few of  the best morning apps for creating a Zen Morning.

Wake – Up Call

While my body tends to naturally awake at 6:30 am these days, I still will set an alarm to assure that I rise and shine. Remember, that the energy we manifest in the morning creates a foundation that we build on throughout the day. Jolting out of a deep sleep to an obnoxious ‘BEEEEP – BEEEEP – BEEEP’ is not exactly the way to start off on a zen foot.

Deep Relax

I enjoy surrounding myself with nurturing and inspirational music and words early in the morning. I will either set my I – phone alarm to sound off to my favorite feel good song of the moment or awake to nature noises using Deep Relax

Deep Relax, Morning AppsMorning App, Zen Morning App

Deep Relax is great because it allows you to mix, layer and save your own nature sound masterpieces for enjoyment in the morning or any time of day. This app is easy to use and you can unlock the entire array of nature sounds for $3.99.

Oscar Meyer Wake & Smell the Bacon

For those of you who find comfort in waking up to the smell of breakfast, specifically bacon, in the am then you will love the Oscar Meyer Wake & Smell the Bacon app.

Oscar Meyer App Screen Shot

This app makes the sizzling and cackling sounds of bacon cooking in a skillet, AND you can purchase a scent attachment that dispenses, you guessed it, the scent of BACON!!!
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Stretch It Out

Exercising in the morning eliminates the anxiety surrounding completing it after the work day. Personally, I like to partake in yoga or cardio in the mornings as this form of exercise helps me center my mind, set an intention for the day and gently awakens my muscles.

Yogify

Yogify  is a straightforward and easy to use app that guides users through vinyasa flows of all levels and offers step by step illustrations so you can master poses. The app is free with the option of unlocking the partial or full collection of flows for $1.99 – $9.99.

Yogify Yogify

Sworkit

If your road to zen is more along the line of circuit training, I highly recommend Sworkit. Sworkit is a custom circuit training based app that allows you to select target areas and duration of desired workout. The app encompasses Strength, Stretching, Cardio, Pilates, and Yoga, so pretty much every type of exercise. Best thing is that you can do this anytime and anywhere as the workouts do not require any additional equipment. Hope your ready to sweat … I mean swork!

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Take Note

The mornings are a great time to jot down your thoughts or capture your memories. I have always found writing to be a very grounding creative outlet that allows me to release any negatives and highlight the positives. Additionally, it is always entertaining to review past entries both to gauge self-growth and perhaps a laugh or two.

Day One

Day One is a great way to record ‘ah – ha’ moments and invigorating thoughts. The clean design of this app makes it easy to take note of pretty much everything and you can even include pictures. If you fail to journal on the regular, the app can send push through reminders and inspirational quotes to reflect upon. For only $4.99 this is definitely something worth taking note of!

Day One Logo Day One Screen Shots 2

Knowledge Is Power

Circa News

Aside from the fascination factor, being up to date on current affairs often allows me to speak more confidently amongst associates and friends. This knowledge also assists in navigating business decisions and opinion creation. While I would love to read every article that comes my way, I simply do not have enough time in the day, so I either consult alltop.com which highlights top stories across a variety of media outlets or Circa News App.

cLogoCirca screen shot

Circa News compiles key facts of top stories in a daily brief allowing for quick and easy reading. You can also ‘like’ stories of interest and receive push notifications as the stories are updated. I would say this is a great way to get news circulating!

Nourish Your Body

Breakfast fuels our activities for the remainder of our day, thus this is not a meal to be skipped. For an effortless and easy breakfast, on most days, I have a handful of nuts or hard boiled egg, an orange and Kombucha, but occasionally I enjoy making something a little more … spectacular.

Every Sunday, I like to schedule my meals for the week. A slightly old fashioned girl, I will write everything out in my agenda and then generate my shopping list on my phone. I find that planning meals ahead almost guarantees that I am consuming all meals, and spurs my excitement to eat healthy!

Pepperplate

For meal planning and organizing recipes, I really like using Pepperplate. Pepperplate allows me to import recipes and generates my shopping list hassle free.

Pepperplate Logo PepperplateScreenShot4

In the comments below let me know which apps you like to use as a part of your morning routine.

See you at Sunrise,

Stephanie