Recipe: Honey & Pistachio Rice Pudding ๐Ÿš

As we’ve established in previous articles, winter is not the time to go on a deprivation diet nor feed our bodies with cold salads or smoothies. Instead, what we want to do is ๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก our bodies with warming foods which will enable it to better perform its detoxifying duties.

This Honey & Pistachio Rice Pudding recipe is just one of many in the upcoming Express Detox: Winter Edition. The masterclass includes recipes and menu-planning for the 10 days. We use real food, no weird supplements or energy powders. Enjoy this pudding as a breakfast, snack or dessert during these cold winter days!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup rice, cooked

1 can coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick (or buy in bulk like we did)

1/4 cup pistachios

1/2 tsp organic honey (optional)

Instructions

Cook the rice or use previously cooked rice (from package in link above or leftovers). In a sauce pan add the rice, along with the coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until flavors have melded. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl with pistachios on top and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!

๐Ÿ’€ Don’t Diet in Winter: Why

It’s been at the top New Year’s Resolutions for at least the past 50 years: “lose weight” or “improve diet.”

At first glance, these goals seem health-promoting and socially acceptable. What usually follows though is a rather rigid set of rules around eating: what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, what to avoid. This is popularly referred to as a diet and, it’s the worst. Especially during winter. Here’s why:

What’s wrong with dieting?

Anyone who has followed these rule-bound ways of eating will probably tell you two things: yes, they are losing weight and how many days left until they can come off of the diet. This points to a few problems with a restrictive diet:

1. The most popular diets are built primarily on deprivation. And absolutes. There is solemnity to the rules, as if divinely written onto tablets like the 10 Commandments rather than one person’s opinion written on paper. As long as you follow the rules of the diet, you’re a saint. Otherwise, you are one of them, the sinners and failures of the world.

2. Diets are often crazy-making in all their rules and even choosing the right diet (as many are contradictory). Is it okay to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice per day or should you be grain-free? Is the paleo diet better than a vegan one? Confusion abounds before even starting.

3. It’s not intuitive or customized at all. For example, most diet books will tell you to eat something specific, like half of grapefruit with a piece of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter for breakfast. It completely ignores the fact that you might be on a medication with which grapefruit interferes, that one of your kids is allergic to peanut butter, and that you are gluten-sensitive. So, is that a “healthy” breakfast? Maybe for someone else, but not for you. Following the diet’s recommendations might just cause more issues than it solves. Also, it usually encourages using willpower to deal with cravings rather than learning how to sate them.

4. We are often dieting for the wrong reasons. We think being thinner or leaner will automatically improve our lives, but we haven’t even addressed our thoughts or the areas of life we want to improve and how to get ourselves to step into the next version of ourselves. Confidence can, and does, come from many other aspects of life that don’t involve squeezing yourself into a smaller size.

5. Lastly, they are not sustainable. Diets don’t work. Once our days of waiting for the 3-day raw juice cleanse or 30-day paleo diet have come to an end, we often slip right back into our bad habits of late-night snacking, sweet treats, having “cheat meals”, or rationalizing stress-induced overeating.

What’s wrong with dieting during winter?

This has got to be one of the absolute worst times to introduce a cold, low-fat, crash diet.

Among the many mistakes of dieting discussed above, the added the layer of this season can cause things to go south pretty quickly.

From an Ayurvedic perspective (here’s a primer), there’s an ancient, time-tested and rather intuitive way of eating and caring for your body in each season.

If we look at what the earth produces in each season, it gives us a clue as to what we should be eating to maximize our health. Spring is a wonderful time to have salads, greens, berries and sprouts. Summer is when we can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables being offered by our gardens and farmers markets. Fall and winter is when the squashes of the season, nuts, meat or plant-based proteins, hearty grains, and root vegetables are best. Cooked, warming foods are key during this cold and dry season.

People generally, in their quest to cut calories, often decimate the fat in the diet. On the face of it, this change makes sense – fat has more than twice the amount of calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein. However, what is often not taken into account is that during the winter season, our bodies need healthy fats to help protect our skin and lubricate our joints.

This is simultaneously an old and new way of looking at how best to fuel our bodies with nutrition. Though we all often act like every day of the year is the same, especially with foods being available year-round in grocery stores and our with temperature-controlled environments, the fact is that we need to live in concert with winter.

The antidote to winter’s cold and dryness is eating warm, nourishing, oily foods. That’s why you’ll find you’ll find the recipes for meals and beverages that support your body’s detoxification processes in our Express Detox: Winter Edition masterclass.

The Organized Closet: 5 Steps ๐Ÿ‘—

The state of your home does have an impact on your outlook, thoughts and feelings. Clutter and chaos often cause sense of overwhelm, oppression, and a lack of control. These feelings can spill over from our homes into our careers and lives.

Unlike a colossally stressful goal of “clean the house this year”, let’s get a specific result that might just fuel you on the rest of your quest. The goal is not to do everything at once – luckily, closet organization can be completed in just a couple hours. Here’s how:

1. Assess the situation. We’ve had tiny closets, long ones, and walk-ins. Your space can help dictate the amount of clothes that can comfortably fit. It might also inform you of the need for a dresser or to store out-of-season clothing elsewhere. Also, evaluate the amount of clothing and shoes you have. Do you need your formal business attire if your working-from-home situation allows for business casual? Is having 40 t-shirts from every club or run you participated in during your college years necessary or might 20 shirts be enough? Do you live in the same clothes week-by-week and ignore all the stuff in your closet because it doesn’t fit or otherwise makes you feel depressed or guilty? Conversely, do you see some of your favorite items – those that always make you feel sophisticated and composed – hidden among the “great deals” that weren’t or clothing with tags still on them? Release your self-judgement for a minute. We’re not going to focus on our sartorial mistakes or weight gain; we’re focusing on the future.

2. Envision who you’d like to be and how your space might be more welcoming to you. If you take a moment and close your eyes, try to conjure an image of yourself a year from now. What activities are you engaged in? What new, healthy behaviors and thoughts do you have? Then do the same for your closet. You’ve assessed the space and the wardrobe you have at-a-glance. Can you imagine how you’d feel walking into a cleared-out, organized, and colorful closet everyday? How might that influence the start of your day and how you show up at work and in life?

3. Declutter and edit. If you’ve seen our other closet organization articles, you’ll see that we agree with Marie Kondo’s method of pulling *everything* out of your wardrobe. Yes, part of it is the shock and perhaps horror involved as we realize the true need for editing down. The other part is that you can see all of your coats, pants, socks, dresses in one place; this makes it easier to decided how many sweaters are truly needed…or to see that dress we’ve always not liked for some reason *still* hanging out in the closet. It’s time to go!

Use your rational mind and your intuition as you comb through the mountain of clothes. Create three piles: yes, no, and maybe. Pull your most obvious favorites and put them into your “yes” or keep section. The clothing that annoys you, doesn’t fit, or has holes you know you won’t fix goes into the “no” pile. Thank it for its service Konmari-style if you want. The tricky part is that the “maybe” pile might get rather large. Rather than allow ourselves to be confused and indecisive for a majority of our clothing, we limit this pile to 10 pieces. Once the 11th item is thrown in there, we have to move another piece to the “yes” or “no” pile. Give it a try. Depending on how many clothes you are dealing with, this process can take 45 minutes or 2 hours.

4. Organize. As you place items back in your closet, organize by type of clothing (e.g. pants, dresses, shirts), length (shorter dresses to longer ones), and color. This will help you find what you are looking for faster and create a beautiful composition of your clothing. Having the same hangers throughout the closet also help. Or you can do what we did and have separate hanger colors for you and your partner’s sections.

5. Think of this as a continuous process of refinement. As you rotate through the outfits in your closet, you might find that you don’t actually like the way the green sweater looks on your anymore. You notice how you’re tired of fighting the pilling of fabric. Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to wait until the next closet clean-out to make a change. Keep a box in your garage for donations and every time you encounter a pair of shoes that gives you blisters or pants that don’t look or feel right, release it immediately. Use your hangers to keep you accountable in your shopping. If you don’t have more than 2 free hangers, don’t buy 6 items. Or release another 4 things to accommodate your new and improved clothing purchases. This will prevent your closet from accumulating too much clutter like before.

Want to see our before and after videos? Use it for inspiration to see how you can create a functional, welcoming wardrobe for yourself!

Recipe: DIY Divine Vanilla Sugar โ„๏ธ

Maybe you know the kind of Italian nonna whose recipe doesn’t include the secret ingredient that takes the dish from “bravo” to “bellisimo!” Though we could keep this up our sleeves as well, we wouldn’t do that to you. This DIY vanilla sugar recipe is divine; it ‘blesses’ pretty much any baked good with a delicate, fruit-floral aroma and taste. Beyond making your taste buds sing, some properties of vanilla can help calm and protect your nervous system – which make it perfect for hectic holidays! Just like the DIY 2-ingredient Vanilla Extract recipe, this one is supremely simple. We recommend doing both at once since you’ll get the most out of the vanilla beans.

We might sprinkle this highly-valuable vanilla sugar into our gluten-free cinnamon bun recipe, Banana Nut Bread, or on top of the Anytime Warm Apple Crisp. Use it as a substitute for regular white sugar and your coffee, tea, cookies, brownies, and other holiday baked goods will have everyone asking for your secret ingredient. It’s up to you whether you tell them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep: 5 minutes

Yields: 6 cups

Ingredients

6 vanilla bean pods

6 cups organic granulated sugar

Instructions

Using a knife, carefully slice a vanilla bean pod length-wise. Scrape the inside seeds of the bean into a small glass container. Remember, you can reuse the beans to make vanilla extract so put them aside to save them if that’s your plan. Put the granulated sugar into the blender/food processor/coffee grinder to blend the vanilla bean with it. When the seeds have broken down and dispersed in the mixture, your job is basically done! You can enjoy the sugar immediately or reap the reward of getting the best flavor by waiting for a few weeks.

You can store the sugar in any container youโ€™d like. We use hinged, glass Mason jars to store the sugar, making sure it’s tightly sealed to keep it fresh. These containers also make it easy to gift some divine vanilla sugar to anyone who likes to bake or add sweetness to their coffee or tea.

๐Ÿ’ My Precious: Pomegranate

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably got the movie reference from the title and ring emoji alone. Gollum, a rather unfortunate-looking character, is so completely obsessed with the Ring that he calls it “my precious”.

Unlike Gollum, we are less passionate about rings than we are about the ruby-red pomegranate seeds that become available this time of year. The fruit is supremely scrumptious and it offers a whole host of benefits to your body. Let’s explore:

When are Pomegranates available?

The pomegranates in the United States tend to come from the warmer parts, such as California. The fruits need the hot, hot heat (not the band) in order to grow well. The delectable fruit becomes available to us starting in late September and extends through November. Fortunately, because pomegranates do well in storage, you should still seem them available in December and possibly into early January. In summary, it’s available now so run and get yourself some!

Nutritional aspects of Pomegranates

These juicy fruits pack a flavor and nutritional punch! They are a great source of fiber, which can help with constipation, weight loss, and balancing blood sugar.

Pomegranates have vitamins and minerals, including: calcium, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. This fruit also has antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties which can help the brain and urinary tract, boost physical performance, benefit the cardiovascular and digestive systems, and assist in disease prevention.

What ice cream can’t do, pomegranates can!

How to use and eat Pomegranate

You could eat the seeds themselves as a meal or a snack. We like to have it as a breakfast on its own, with nondairy yogurt, or with the Amaranth for Breakfast recipe (subbing the fruit in for the strawberries).

Pomegranate pancakes are also really good and they have a bit more crunch than blueberry pancakes.

For lunch or dinner, some like pomegranate in their salads or in a rice pilaf.

For dessert, we’ve even put pomegranate seeds on vegan cheesecake and made a syrup out of it.

You are only limited by your imagination.

Let us know – after having fresh pomegranate seeds are you too calling them “my precious”? How do you like to eat yours?

In the Client Spotlight with Teresa Curtiss! ๐ŸŽ‰

How did this program change things for you?

This program was a game changer for me. I knew I had food sensitivities and thought I had cut all of them out of my diet, but yet I was still sick. I learned that I had a reaction to some of the healthy things I was eating daily [emphasis added]. I finally have a list of foods to stay away from, no more guessing at what might be the issue. I stay clear of these, plus some additional food intolerances, and I feel great. 

What surprises and new strengths have you gotten from this experience?

I have my health back. Iโ€™m starting to enjoy food again instead of dreading eating and getting sick. I was just sticking with the same items that I thought were safe, not wanting to try new recipes.

My diet has opened up to more options now that I know what to avoid. Iโ€™m surprised at how much more variety of foods I can eat now. Even though there are quite a few foods I need to steer clear of (for now), I still have more options than I did before. Iโ€™ve just recently gone back to recipes in my cookbooks that I loved in the past, but thought they were making me sick. I can eat them again with no issues.

What is the thing you benefited from and/or enjoyed the most so far?

Getting my health back!

I had hoped to find out all the foods I had a food sensitivity to and to relieve my symptoms. I didnโ€™t know I could feel this good again! Itโ€™s wonderful to be able to consistently feel good and not have to worry about my symptoms interfering with my day and holding me back from the things I want to accomplish.

I really appreciate our time together and definitely hope to stay in touch (I just referred someone to you last week).

Thanks,

Teresa Curtiss


Imagine something ‘healthy’ you eat almost everyday – like a banana or maybe some kale – and it actually being the culprit behind your symptoms! This is one of the reasons why it’s important to assess for food sensitivities and intolerances – a problem food could be flying beneath the radar because it’s a ‘health food’. Luckily, Teresa has figured out some of the major ones and her symptoms have improved! Could identifying potential food sensitivities do the same for you? Find out here and schedule a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started!

10 Healthy, Plant-based Fall Snacks ๐Ÿ‚

Maybe it’s all the autumn activities or just the season of our lives, but we’re probably not alone in feeling like a squirrel on a sugar-high. Scattered. Busy. Trying to maintain a mental map of the yards where we hid our nuts. Okay, maybe not the last one.

Still, the increase in activity, even if just shopping on Early Prime Days, tends to lend itself to eating more snacks. And that’s okay. Let’s try to have some that land on the healthier side of the spectrum. Here are healthy, plant-based fall snacks that run the gamut from no-bake and about 10 minutes to delicious, baked goods that might have you salivating at the ding of the timer after 45 minutes of somewhat patiently waiting at the oven door.

Gold Mine Pudding

Celebrity Couple! Choco-cado Cookies

The Anytime Warm Apple Crisp

Gluten-free Cashew Coconut Bread

10TV Recipe: Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls

Just another Mochi Monday

Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies

โ€˜Nachoโ€™ Average Nachos

Death-by-Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Roasted Root Vegetables

Enjoy!

Recipe: Just another Mochi Monday ๐Ÿก

*Reference to an 80s band, hints below!

What is mochi?

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from short-grain glutinous rice. Let’s take a moment to define the term glutinous; it sounds like it would have gluten in it, but it actually means having a gummy or glue-like quality. As long as your mochi is made from rice, without any added glutenous (which means gluten-containing) ingredients, this is a perfectly good dessert option for those who are gluten-free. In making mochi, the rice is pounded into paste and a desired shape.

Is mochi healthy?

For a treat, mochi is definitely a healthier option than most out there. It has carbohydrates from the rice and nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, niacin (B vitamin) and some potassium and iron.

What does it taste like?

Plain kiri (rectangular) mochi tastes like a sweet, chewy marshmallow-rice mix. It’s stretchy like bubblegum and has a soft texture.

How does one eat mochi?

A multitude of options await one who is eagerly staring down some puffed up mochi. You can choose to make it into a nori sandwich by placing the mochi in a sheet of nori and adding some tamari or soy sauce. Mochi can be cubed and added to soups as dumplings. It’s known as a cheese substitute that could be grated into lasagnas or quesadillas (we’ve not tried these yet). As a simple, salty snack just dip mochi into soy sauce or tamari. For those who prefer a sweeter version, try it with some maple syrup and nuts (recipe below).

When is the best time to enjoy some mochi? Pretty much anytime really. While walking down your street, like an Egyptian. When a hazy shade of winter falls around us. Though we’ve eaten it during every season, autumn is a perfect time to have this nice, warm treat

All we can say is that this treat will probably ignite an Eternal Flame of dessert desire in your heart. Get it?

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: about 13 minutes

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Ingredients

2 mochi, kiri type (we used the Eden brand, individually wrapped)

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

1/8 cup organic pecans

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and then the mochi on top. When oven reaches designated temperature, transfer baking sheet onto top rack. Bake for about 13 minutes or until mochi “puffs” out sufficiently (turn on oven light and watch the baking ‘magic’) and is nicely toasted.

*Did you figure out the 80s band? What do you think of mochi? Let us know in the comments below.

Why you Need to Eat Honeynut…Squash?!

Truth be told, the only ‘honey nut’ food item we had heard of, before a couple of weeks ago, was of the breakfast cereal variety. Luckily, one of our favorite organic produce stands at the farmers market added to our lexicon AND our playing with a new, rather cute food in the kitchen.

What exactly is honeynut squash?

Honeynut squash is the ‘child’ of butternut squash and buttercup squash. This crossbreeding gives it a flavor and shape akin to butternut squash, but it is sweeter and more the ‘pocket-size’ version of its parent. Perhaps think of honeynut squash as your own personal butternut squash.

Why you’ll want to eat it

It’s delicious. As mentioned above, it is sweeter than butternut squash- and spoiler alert! – even more so if roasted. And we haven’t even dove into why it’s great for your health yet…

What honeynut squash does for you nutritionally

As with most winter squashes, honeynut squash contains a high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene (which gives it the yellow-orange color). It’s also a wonderful source of minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, calcium and zinc. Known for helping with energy production, B vitamins are in good supply here in this squash too.

How to incorporate it

One of the best, and easiest ways to cook honeynut squash, just like butternut, is to roast it. Then you can turn it into caramelized cubes of golden-orange sweetness that can be added to a salad. It can also be added to pasta and even turned into a quick, blended soup.

Stay tuned! We’ll have an easy, delicious recipe for you coming up in the next few weeks.

Top 11: One-minute Energy Boosters ๐Ÿคฃ

Unless you have the exuberance of a young child, most of us could use more energy – whether to fulfill our dreams or even just our quotidian responsibilities. The good news: there’s no need to artificially jolt yourself into action with another coffee or energy drink. A few of these natural energy boosters can provide enjoyable, longer-lasting energy for you. Give them a try!

  1. Bouncing or jumping in place and shaking out your hands can be a nice way of shaking off a negative feeling or worries and giving you a bit more energy.

  2. As your shower comes to an end, turn the knob for cool or cold water and let it run over your head, each raised underarm and on your lower back.

  3. Drink a glass of water – this can boost your energy and your detoxification processes.

  4. A minute of laughing can be an excellent mental health and energy booster. Prepare for tears of laughter with this.

  5. For a little pep in the afternoon, place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in your palms, cupping hands over your face. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

  6. Sing the chorus of your favorite song, aloud if you can. Today’s pick was the oldie-but-goodie “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

  7. Go outside – stand in the sun (if it’s out) and notice the temperature, breeze, smells, the birds communicating, colors of leaves and whatever else your senses are picking up.

  8. Play with your pet. A laser pointer or dangly toy for your cat or hide-and-seek with your dog. We like to play ‘tag’ with our bunnies then ‘catch’ and provide cuddles.

  9. Squats. One minute of these will get your blood flowing to and from those large muscles (quads). This can be easily done during breaks from desk work.

  10. Have a small snack – perhaps DIY Hippie Granola with yogurt, a banana with nut butter, or a small handful of nuts.

  11. Engage with a friend or loved one who lifts your spirits. Even a quick text during the day can boost both of you.

Which ones worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.