Let’s Talk About Being Stuck In a Rut…

“But there was a difference between being stuck and choosing to stay. Between being found and finding yourself.” ― Martina Boone

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As humans, we have a habit of trying to plan exactly how our life should turn out. We don’t just set goals for ourselves, we plan and we plan and we plan until we have an unrealistic expectation in our head, this end goal that we work so hard for, and when it doesn’t end up turning out exactly the way that it was expected to, we beat ourselves up over it because we it didn’t go as planned. In life, sometimes things just happen. Sometimes things happen at the worst times, things that we couldn’t have planned for, and sometimes these things completely throw off  the balance of our lives leaving us with absolutely no idea what do. In these situations, we have a choice. We can either sit and dwell on the fact that things didn’t go our way, or we can fight back and make the most of what life has handed to us.

As I’ve said before, I’m someone who loves health. I get up at 6 O’clock in the morning, go to the gym, eat a healthy breakfast, and then go on with the rest of my day. I do this because the healthy lifestyle and going to the gym is what calms my anxiety. Since I’ve been starting the day off with a workout, I’ve noticed that my anxiety is so much more tolerable and I’m able to be my carefree self throughout the day. A few days ago, this took a slight turn when I was running on the treadmill and I strained my ankle. Since this incident, I haven’t been able to walk properly, I’ve been in pretty intense pain, and I haven’t been able to do my workouts. Yes, I can do a workout without my legs, but being someone who loves cardio and feels the happiest when she’s running or getting a real sweat on, it just isn’t the same for me. I’m lucky enough to not have done any serious damage, and I’ll be back on my feet soon enough, but I didn’t realize how hard being stuck would hit me.

The past few days have been full of me questioning “why did I have to get hurt?” “why is the universe against me?” which was all fine and dandy for a second, until I realized that dwelling on the fact that I’m hurt and that I can’t do what I normally do isn’t going to do me any good. Life is what I make of it and if I sit on this couch crying and acting like my entire world is going to end until I get better, I’m just going to be miserable. I realized that I need to focus on the good that’s surrounding me. I have such a loving family that is constantly giving me support and helping me feel comfortable, I have such a loving girlfriend who has been checking up on me and making sure I’m mentally stable throughout the last few days, I’m able to write this, to get my creative juices flowing and my emotions out in a way that makes me feel the happiest, and as cliché as it sounds, I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on my back. The universe is not against me. This is just a small bump in the road, a little learning lesson that will give me the opportunity to grow.

In the midst of this slightly depressing week, the small revelation of “my life is not as bad as I’m making it out to be” was what I needed in order to get my life back on track. If you’re ever stuck in a rut, or you feel like you’ve hit this bump in the road and you don’t know why the universe would do this to you, take a step back, look around you, and try took look for the positive because I promise, the light will shine through the darkness.

Let’s Talk About These Apple Cinnamon Muffins…

“It’s all about a balancing act between time, temperature and ingredients: That’s the art of baking.” Peter Reinhart

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As the end of July approaches, my cravings for all things cinnamon, pumpkin, caramel heighten. When I saw these Apple Cinnamon Muffins made Healthier that have a cinnamon streusel on top, you already know I jumped on the opportunity to make them.

APCINCOOKRECI

(Shout out to Erin of Texanerin Baking for this amazing recipe!)

This recipe calls for numerous ingredients, which I’ll list off now!

For the muffins:

  • Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Spelt Flour, or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (I used Whole Wheat Flour)
  • Baking Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice (I didn’t have allspice so I made some using 1/4 teaspoon of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon)
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • An Egg
  • Honey
  • Olive Oil or Canola Oil (I used olive oil)
  • Plain Yogurt or Buttermilk (I used plain greek yogurt)
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Apples (This ended up being 1 apple)

For the streusel:

  • Whole spelt, whole wheat pastry, or whole wheat flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar
  • Melted Butter (I used vegan butter)

The first few steps of this recipe are pretty simple, ya pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, line your muffin tin with, what she says to be 8 liners, but I ended up only having enough batter for 7 muffins, and then things get a little different. You have to then whisk your egg well, then add your honey, olive oil, and vanilla. This will look very weird, like Erin says in her instructions, but just keep mixing until everything is well combined and trust me, it’s all going to fall into place. To this, add your yogurt or buttermilk and once that is well combined, add your dry mixture. Be sure to not over mix in this step because you still have to mix in the apples, which will completely combine the mixture.

After you’ve folded the chopped apples into the mixture, it’s time to make the yummiest streusel. This part is super simple, basically you just combine the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour, mix, mix, mix, and it’s done! Pour your batter into the liners, sprinkle some streusel on top, pop them into the oven for about 16 minutes, and let them cool for about 5 minutes before indulging!

These were probably the best muffins I have had in the LONGEST time and if you’re someone like me who tries to push Fall and misses those Autumn spices, these are perfect for you!

 

 

Let’s Talk About Yoga…

     “Yoga is the art work of awareness on the canvas of body, mind, and soul.” -Amit Ray

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At the age of six, a woman my mom worked with asked me if I wanted to join her cheerleading team, promising it would be full of good times and high energy performances. Me being the young, optimistic adolescent I was of course jumped at the opportunity and joined right away. The beginning of my cheerleading career was of course fun and games, but as the years went on, it got more and more competitive. The girls became more unkind with age, the topic of social class and money was top priority, and the only way to be relevant is if you were apart of that group. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I had my revelation. This isn’t the life I want for myself.

I didn’t have my spiritual awakening until the summer before my junior year. This is when I realized that I was almost letting myself go; I wasn’t eating the healthiest, I wasn’t exercising anymore, and I didn’t have my usual hunger for life. Realizing this, I knew that it was time for a lifestyle change. I had heard through the grapevine that yoga was a beneficial way to relieve stress and become one with themselves, which of course led to me giving it a try. Turns out, this was the best decision I could have made for myself, my body, and my life.

I’ve always been an artistic person, as well as athletic, and the fact that I am able to practice an art form that allows me to get a lil sweat in makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world.  The practice of yoga is one of the few things in my life that is one hundred percent just for me. I do not do yoga for anyone else, I do not practice to please anyone, I practice in order to gain self-confidence, self-love, and self-respect. The amount of freedom I feel when I light my candles at 8 P.M. when the sun is going down and I can just be myself while I do my practice is an indescribable feeling.  It’s a never-ending learning experience, seeing that I know that I will never be a master of yoga. I will forever be learning more about the art form, I will forever be learning new poses, new breathing techniques, and new ways to love myself.

I’m going to leave things off with this; if you are searching for new ways to start off a healthy lifestyle or if you are having a hard time with your self-confidence, give yoga a try. It is not for everyone and I cannot guarantee that you’ll fall in love with it like I did, but at least you can say you tried.

 

 

Let’s Talk About My Morning Routine…

Summer is usually the time for most teenagers to catch up on their much needed rest, but let’s start off by saying that I’m not like not like most teenagers.

My mornings start off at 6:30 A.M. when the calming sounds of Oh Wonder play through my phone, waking me up from my usual eight hour slumber. After getting out of bed, I’ll normally go through a series of three minute stretches that starts with a pike stretch and ends with the lotus (which, by the way, took me about a year to learn how to do). Once my morning stretches are complete, my workout clothes are thrown on, the hydro flask is filled, the sunflower backpack is prepared, and I head out the door to my community gym.

I’m one of those rare species that actually enjoys using the elliptical. Every time I say that to anyone, I get a series of strange looks followed up by an “absolutely not”. When I get to the gym, the first thing I do is turn on inspirational videos (ex: how to stop comparing yourself to others, how to be confident, etc,) because it allows me to get into the right head space, then it’s time to use the elliptical for about twenty-five to thirty minutes. Once that is complete, I use the bike for thirty, then it’s weights, legs, and then it’s time to go home!

Getting home from the gym is probably the most peaceful feeling because it’s usually around 7:50, I’m able to open all of the windows, light some candles, and just be. Making breakfast, my go to being egg whites, mushrooms, whole wheat toast with vegan butter, and a cup of cinnamon coffee with coconut milk creamer, with music on allows me to wind down from the gym and clear my head for a bit. After breakfast then comes my shower, but I’ll spare the details.

After my shower is usually the time I like to sit down with my laptop and start to write for my blog. I’ll either have music or a video playing in the background, being that I’m not one to work in silence, and write my new post for the day, which then concludes my morning routine!

 

 

Let’s Talk About These Peanut Butter Cookies…

WOW!

Now, when I look up on Pinterest “healthy vegan peanut butter cookies,” I don’t expect much to come up. One thing that everyone NEEDS to know about me, is that I am such a peanut butter gal. It is such a guilty pleasure. While I have tried to make the switch to almond butter and cashew butter, I can never be separated from my one true love. I stumbled upon these lil guys which not only were advertised as healthy, but also vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar free, so instantly I thought I had hit the jack pot, which I did.

pb cookies

(Shout out to Liz of I Heart Vegetables for creating this lovely recipe.)

This recipe only calls for six ingredients; oat flour (blended up oats), coconut sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt and peanut butter, of course! I ended up not using salt because the peanut butter had enough already in it. After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I sprayed my baking sheet with a bit of pam because I didn’t have the parchment paper that was suggested (whoopsie) and started mixing up my wet ingredients. This is where I changed up the recipe the first time, instead of using the creamy peanut butter Liz called for, I used Laura Scudder’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, AKA the best peanut butter of all time, and lemme tell you, the crunchy peanut bits in these cookies CHANGED MY LIFE. I mixed together one cup of the crunchy peanut butter, 1 cup of coconut sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla that I’ll admit, I eyeballed. This next part is where unless you already own oat flour, you are going to have to put a cup of oats in the blender and blend it until it becomes a nice flour consistency, which only takes about 45 seconds when on high. After that’s blended, add that into the wet mixture and this is when I realized mine was slightly dry. Because of this, I decided to add about a tablespoon of almond milk and mix, mix, mix until it has a stickier consistency. Roll em into little balls, press down with a fork to make the cute pattern, and pop them into the oven for 9 minutes!

PB instructions

Fair warning! These cookies will be very crumbly and will require being cooled completely before being picked up, but they are absolutely delicious!