Make Something Monday: Vegan, Gluten-free Sum’Bitches [inspired by How I Met Your Mother]

There are some sources for recipe inspiration that are simply too good to pass up. Last week’s premiere episode of How I Met Your Mother was one of them. If you’re not a fan, first of all, you should be, but you should know that this is the season in which we, the audience finally get to meet the long-anticipated “Mother.” There’s a lot of pressure for this character to be the absolute perfect girl for Ted & her first official scene of the season did not disappoint.

sumbitches scene

And with that scene, my love for the Mother character AND the inspiration for vegan, gluten-free Sum’bitches [with chocolate AND peanut better AND caramel!] was born.

How was my first batch of Mother-worthy comfort food? Legen…wait for it…

…Dary. Legendary!

Ingredients

For the cookies:
2 c Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 c brown rice flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 c coconut oil
1 c maple syrup
1 tsp molasses
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 c applesauce
3/4 c peanut butter
3/4 c Enjoy Life chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients [from the flours to salt].
In a smaller bowl, mix together wet ingredients [from the coconut oil to the peanut butter].
Pour wet ingredients into dry & stir until combined.
Fold in chocolate chips until distributed throughout batter.
Spoon tablespoon sized mounds of dough onto a prepared cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cookies are a light golden color.

For the caramel sauce:
Confession: I made about 3 versions of caramel sauce trying to get the consistency just right, but the recipe I ultimately settled on was heavily inspired by Angela’s over at Oh She Glows.
I recommend you eliminate the trial and error from my version & just go straight to her recipe.

Once your cookies have been removed from the oven, immediately spoon caramel sauce over top of them & let cool. The residual heat from baking will melt the caramel and it will then cool into a nice glaze. Enjoy them on a train with Ted’s future wife…or while watching the rest of HIMYM’s final season.

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Now Available for Pre-Order: The Health is Beauty eBook Series!

I’m super excited to announce my latest project: The Health is Beauty eBook Series!

This three-part series will be released over the course of the next year, each book containing it’s own intense focus on an area of whole-being beauty: Face, Body, and [the ultimate beauty secret] LOVE.

At a special discounted price for early bird orderers, you can reserve your copy of the FULL Health is Beauty eBook series today! Or, if you prefer to pick & choose your topics, you can reserve the first book alone: More Than a Pretty Face.

Arriving this winter, More Than a Pretty Face will contain my favorite & most effective secrets to unlocking clearer, glowing skin through food & wellness. Holistic skincare is an area I’m extremely passionate about & I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you!

Bonus: Pre-order today & immediately gain access to my 7 Secrets to Sexy Skin download!

Thankful Thursday: Cleaning Out My Closet

I couldn’t resist using an incredibly dated Eminem lyric for this post title. It was just too fitting since this whole week has been about LITERALLY cleaning out my closet. Nothing feels quite as good as the joy of having my daily fashions weeded-thru & organized.

confessions closet clean out

In fact, my closet clean out felt so refreshing that I’m encouraging my friends to tackle the same task & attend a clothing swap party! It’s my first swap experience so if you’ve ever hosted or attended one, please feel free to share your tips with me on facebook:

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With my newly pristine closet in place, here are a few other things I’m feeling thankful for:

How I Met Your Mother cookie inspiration ♥ my handy shelf-making boyfriend for giving my boots room to breath ♥ weird art on romantic dates downtown ♥ catching up on Boardwalk Empire ♥ finishing the first chapter of my ebook ♥ & even. more. kale.

What are you thank for today?

Testimonial Tuesday: Bethanie’s Newfound Confidence

Today’s Testimonial Tuesday comes from actress/singer/burlesque dancer Bethanie Louise, a recent graduate of the 6 month program who loved her results so much that she signed up for another round!

Here’s what Bethanie had to say about our first experience working together on her wellness goals:

bethanie as the black canary testimonial

Working with Michelle has been one of the best decisions I’ve made with my life! I’ve always had pretty low self-esteem and would handle my personal struggles in unhealthy ways, but being a performer, you need to show confidence and be able to put yourself out in the open. I was afraid to go on auditions because I never felt like I was talented or thin enough to belong there. I’d tried everything from fad dieting to therapy to lose weight and feel happier, but nothing seemed to work.

I went to Michelle at the heaviest I’d ever been. I felt miserable with myself and for once I wanted to try something I knew would be healthy for me. She taught me so much about what to look for in my eating habits. I never realized how much food could affect my mood, but with her help I incorporated healthier alternatives to help me to feel better both physically & emotionally.

Besides eating healthy, Michelle has taught me how to cope with my emotional issues in healthy ways instead of reverting back to old habits. She never judged me or made my problems seem insignificant. Not only did she listen, she also helped me set goals to work on between sessions and adapted her program to benefit my needs. Even in between our meetings, she would send me a friendly e-mail making sure I was ok and giving me useful tips to help me achieve my goals.

Michelle is someone who values her clients and wants everyone to succeed in their lives. I have never felt as happy as I have working with Michelle. With her help, I finally have the confidence I’ve been searching for and I no longer feel the need to hide myself or cope with food. I recommend her to everyone and I cannot wait to start my second program with her!

-Bethanie Louise

To learn more about the 6 month program
or to sign up & achieve results like these yourself,
click here button

Make Something Monday: Gluten-free Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can take a recipe from “Oh, that’s good.” to “Oh My God!” Cinnamon is often one of those things. So, the other day when I was searching for a slightly healthy breakfast, but craving the slightly less healthy blueberry streusel cake, I decided to marry the two & make some cinnamon blueberry muffins [gluten-free, of course].

cinnamon blueberry muffins

Ingredients

2 c Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/4 c brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 c coconut oil
2/3 c maple syrup
2/3 c So Delicious coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice or lemon extract
2/3 c blueberries, fresh or frozen

Optional [but delicious!] cinnamon topping: Mix together 1/2 cinnamon, 1/2 coconut sugar.

In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients [flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, xanthan gum].
In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients [coconut oil, syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, lemon].
Combine wet ingredients with dry & stir until smooth. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared [read: greased or lined] muffin tins til 3/4 full.
Bake at 325 for approximately 30 minutes, rotating pan & sprinkling cinnamon topping on each muffin at around the 10 minute marker before returning pan to oven.
Enjoy with a little soy-free Earth Balance and/or naturally sweetened strawberry jam.

Health is Beauty Bonus: Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants which are all kind of good for your skin, protecting you from certain cancers, and keeping that healthy glow. Cinnamon, for it’s part is anti-inflammatory, helping to fight the body’s main cause of wrinkles, acne, & disease.

Relish Tray: Native Food’s Gluten-Free Mac & Trees

relish: verb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.Native Mac & Cheese

Today, after having my #KaleEveryDamnDay serving at work, I headed over to Native Foods Cafe to treat myself to some mac & cheese. Or, in this case, mac & [broccoli] trees.

While The Chicago Diner has delicious mac & teese, it’s neither gluten-free nor soy-free & since I’m doing my best to avoid both, Native Foods was the perfect solution. This quinoa pasta with soy-free vegan cheese was exactly the comfort food I needed after this very long week.

The broccoli was, of course, an added bonus…you can never have too many greens.

And to answer your question, yes, I totally ordered this off of the kid’s menu. 🙂

Thankful Thursday: Votes of Confidence

Despite the crazy emotions of the Full Moon, I have plenty to be Thankful for today:

Twelve Standouts

After climbing to 4th place in the Room for Color Competition in just over 24 hours, we’ve now slipped slightly to 5th, but that’s still plenty to be happy about. PLUS tonight our little blue room was featured by the Apartment Therapy editors as a “don’t miss” entry! We just need to stay in the top 5 until Sept 27th to advance to the next round…so if you haven’t already voted, there’s still time.

Other things I’m thankful for:
Fringe: Season 5 on Netflix instant. Nick & I have been slowly making our way through the series  this summer & now we can finally see the end. No spoilers, please! ♥ Attending a dear college friend’s wedding last weekend where the groom wore eyeliner, the bride wore black, & they served several flavors of VEGAN WEDDING CAKE!Argo Tea’s Pumpkin Chai Lattewriting at bars & coffee shops ♥ Phone dates with friends ♥ So Delicious coconut yogurt [I’m all about the probiotics, baby.] ♥ new blue bedsheets ♥ My lovely Lady Date with Diva LaVidalady dates in real lifekale chipsspending rainy days with Sterling Cooper Draper Price ♥ kitty cuddles ♥ & YOU!

 

 

Lady Date with Diva LaVida – An Interview

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of recording an interview with my dear friend & former client, Diva LaVida on her podcast Lady Date with Diva LaVida. Tonight, it’s finally online.

lady date with diva lavida

 

You can listen in on our lady date over on Diva’s site or download the episode on iTunes.

Topics covered include: 
* Website design & digital branding
* How to get glow-tastic skin
* #KaleEveryDamnDay & Vegan MoFo
* My favorite vegan eats around Chicago
* and, of course, Hula Hoops!!!

If you’re interested in the glow-tastic health coaching that I offered to Diva, visit the Health Happiness & Hula Hoops shop for pricing & details.
OR if you’re intrigued with developing your digital brand the way I’ve helped Diva rock hers, you can purchase my branding start-up package in the blog shop.

Want to interview me yourself or just have questions about my services?
Don’t be afraid to ask.

Dinner & A Movie: Eat Pray Love

While I’m a certainly a girly, girl fashionista at heart, sometimes I like my movies to have a touch of spirituality & depth. After reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat Pray Love & feeling fully inspired by her spiritual journey of self-discovery, I was super excited to see the movie of the same title starring Julia Roberts.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

I’ve heard that many fans of the book disliked the film version, but I wasn’t one of them. Yes, the book allows for greater exploration into Liz’s internal journey as she grows & changes during her year of travel, but the movie is still beautifully shot & inspirational in it’s own right.

Julia Roberts as "Elizabeth Gilbert" in Columbia Pictures' EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

Image via Pinterest

Eat Pray Love has a special place in my movie library, I put it on for a pick me up anytime my heart gets weary. The beauty of the landscapes, the excitement of travel, the meditation, the healing of a broken heart, & the finding of one’s self…it’s all like vegan soup for my soul.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Perhaps it’s just me, but I think we’re all looking for that same balance Liz hopes for: earthly pleasures, spiritual fulfillment, & a love that throws you just the right amount off balance.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

So, in honor of Liz’s Italian stop on her journey of self discovery, here’s a pasta-based recipe rewind: Vegan Lasagna. It too has a special place in my heart because it’s the meal Nick made me for our first Valentine’s day together…a part of my own eat pray love story, if you will.

Ingredients [from AllRecipes.com]

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 package gluten-free lasagna noodles
2 pounds firm tofu
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

In a large, heavy saucepan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Place the onions in the saucepan and saute them until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 5 minutes more.
Place the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and parsley in the saucepan. Stir well, turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer covered for 1 hour. Add the salt and pepper.
While the sauce is cooking bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Boil the lasagna noodles for 9 minutes, then drain and rinse well.
Place the tofu blocks in a large bowl. Add the garlic, basil and parsley. Add the salt and pepper, and mash all the ingredients together by squeezing pieces of tofu through your fingers. Mix well.
Assemble the lasagna: Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole pan. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles, sprinkle one-third of the tofu mixture over the noodles. Distribute the spinach evenly over the tofu. Next ladle 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce over the tofu, and top it with another layer of the noodles. Then sprinkle another 1/3 of the tofu mixture over the noodles, top the tofu with 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, and place a final layer of noodles over the tomato sauce. Finally, top the noodles with the final 1/3 of the tofu, and spread the remaining tomato sauce over everything.
Cover the pan with foil and bake the lasagna for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve hot and enjoy.

Make Something Monday: Pumpkin Spice French Toast

This time last week, I transformed my fall weather wishes into pumpkin waffles, hoping the spices would somehow manifest a change of temperature. Today, there’s a cool breeze and crisp autumn smell in the air, so it seems even more appropriate to break out the canned pumpkin once more. Inspired by the Vegan MoFo mastermind herself, I based my gluten-free, corn-free version of this pumpkin french toast on Isa’s recipe in Vegan Brunch. Add to that a little extra fall spice & a dash of agave sweetness & I found a recipe that perfectly satisfied my craving for fall [and, for that matter, my unexplainable recent craving for french toast].

pumpkin french toast

And since I can’t seem to talk about french toast without quoting Leslie Mann’s character from The 40-Year Old Virgin, here’s this:

Ingredients

1 c canned pumpkin [preferably organic]
1 1/2 c So Delicious coconut milk
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 slices Food for Life gluten-free bread*

Place all ingredients except for bread into blender & process until combined.
In a large bowl, soak bread pieces in mixture for at least 10 minutes on each side.
[For more flavorful french toast, soak pieces for several hours before preparing.]
Lightly grease a medium to large skillet with coconut oil or spray.
Fry each pre-soaked slice over medium heat until golden brown on each side.
Top with real maple syrup & a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy.

*Tidbit of Truth: The awesome thing about making this recipe gluten-free is that, while normally it calls for slightly stale bread, even the best gluten-free bread already seems slightly stale even when it’s fresh out of the package. Not hating, just saying…it’s perfect.