Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup (paleo, Whole30 + gluten free)

How do you know when it’s really, truly fall? For me I know that autumn is on when I’m overcome with the desire to make soup. You could even call it an obsession because once I start to think about it I can’t stop until I’m actually in the kitchen making it happen. Soup and salad are likely my favorite things to eat but once fall hits, soup is my preferred way of getting my veggie fix. It’s warm and cozy and my ultimate comfort food.

Soup is also a perfect way to get extra vegetables into your body, not to mention a good way to use up veggies that may have been hanging around in your fridge for a while. That’s how this recipe was born. I had a big ole cauliflower that needed to be eaten so I cut it up, roasted it in the oven, pureed it with a sautéd onion, some chicken broth and a few spices and voila - soup. I’ve now made it several times and it’s finally ready to be shared.

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Exercising the Choice of Forgiveness

We’ve all heard the sayings, Forgive and forget and To err is human, to forgive, divine. But what if you feel like you can’t forgive, let alone forget, or you simply don’t know how?

A long time ago in a state far away I was an angsty twenty-something who was carting around a big ole U-Haul full of righteous anger and “woe-is-me” stories. There was no doubt in my mind that I had been dealt a shitty hand and I would share my grievances with anyone who asked (as well as plenty of people who didn’t). I was often rewarded with sympathy, empathy, and pity, which helped keep my stories alive and, well, it also kept me unwittingly stuck on repeat.

Cut to a few years later, the anger/resentment I was schlepping around was getting heavier. I had no idea how to put it down. The damage had been done long ago and the story of it had become part of my identity. If I put it all to rest and changed that story then who would I be?

You could say I was at a crossroads.

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A Guide to Empty Nesting

When your kids are small the idea of dropping them off at college seems practically inconceivable. First, it often feels like you were the one who was just college-aged yourself, and second, can we just get them out of diapers/sleeping in their own beds/enrolled in kindergarten…before we start talking about college for heaven’s sake? But as any parent knows, this roller coaster ride moves fast and picks up speed as it goes. Even though we know that there's an exit ramp in place, it’s still a bit of a gut punch when you say goodbye to your child and drive away. 

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7 Paths to Essential Self-Care

*Note: in honor of International Self-Care Day, here is a new and improved version of an earlier post. 

As a coach I’m always looking for good metaphors to help make sense of things we humans keep tripping over or bumping into. For instance all know that in case of an emergency, we need to secure our own oxygen masks before we try and help others. If we can't breathe then we are useless to everyone - including ourselves. Daily living in the 21st century can feel relentless and stressful and often keeps our adrenals running so high that our bodies think they are in an actual, ongoing emergency and that ain’t good. What’s a girl to do? For starters, embrace new ways turning down the stress and amping up the self-care. Self-care is not selfish. It’s the metaphorical oxygen mask. Here are 7 ways you can you can add in more self care, without breaking the bank or even breaking a sweat (mostly).

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

It’s almost Oscar time and at our house that’s always a big night. Both my husband and I were film majors at college and we take our movie watching very seriously. We are the ones who always stay in the theater to watch all the credits to pick out any former classmates and see who is really working behind the scenes. We adore movies and watching them together is one of our most favorite things to do. We often go to an Oscar party (last year I was the big winner) and I always make sure I have some kind of healthy and delicious comfort food ready to go so that we don’t have to interrupt the show when it’s time for dinner. Chili is a crowd favorite and this Roasted Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili checks all the boxes.

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Recipe BoxLisa LevineComment
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

If you are a reader of my blog then you already know how smitten I am with my Instant Pot. It’s been a real game changer, not only with saving time but also with meal prep. It’s absolutely perfect for making things like soups, stews, bone broth and more for make-ahead meals that will feed your family.  This past weekend I taught an Instant Pot 101 workshop that was sponsored by Wild Harvest®, a brand I’ve been working with for the past couple of months. Wild Harvest® has hundreds of items across the grocery store that are great to have on hand in your pantry, and they don’t make you choose between your health and your wallet. Organic and better for you foods can sometimes be a bit pricey, but Wild Harvest is dedicated to making better for you choices that are reasonably priced. Plus, their products are free from over 140 undesirable ingredients that are commonly found in many other brands, and nearly 70% of what they make is certified organic. Better for you + affordable = a winning combination!

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Snack Boards 101: How to build the perfect Snack Board

Snack boards have been all the rage on Instagram and Pinterest for the last year or two, probably because visually they’re so interesting and colorful. They’re great for everything from parties and potlucks to picnics and casual dinners as they offer something for everyone - and in these days of people being gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free or all of the above, that’s a big bonus. Snack boards are different than cheese boards in that they are much more varied. Cheese boards are about the cheese. Snack boards can be about alllll the things and in my house that means lots of veggies, with dips and crackers being the perfect co-stars. 

Here are some basic tips for creating the ideal snack board.

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Gluten-free Gingerbread Molasses Cookies

It’s December - the month that hosts Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and also, apparently, National Cookie Day. Who knew? I suppose it makes sense considering that the amount of cookies that get made in December is probably quite a bit higher than any other month.  This month I also started a partnership with Wild Harvest Organics, a fabulous company that makes a wide selection of quality, organic products at prices that are super reasonable. Nearly 70% of Wild Harvest products are certified USDA organic and free from more than 140 undesirable ingredients. In other words they are a company I can totally get behind and I am super happy to be working with them. In Seattle their products are widely available at Met Market as well as various markets like New Seasons, Thriftway and others. They have a store locator on the website so you can find a place that is close and convenient to you.

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Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup (aka a few of my favorite things)

It’s November which means it’s the month of Thanksgiving and if you know me at all then you know that Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. Ours is more of a 'Friendsgiving', although family members are allowed to attend if they behave. I start planning the menu in October - as soon as the fall magazine covers hit the grocery store checkout lines. I even have a special folder of recipes printed or torn out of magazines that have been accumulating for over a decade. 

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Sautéed red cabbage with pecans, dill and goat cheese

One of my all time favorite fall and winter side dishes is red cabbage. It’s versatile, stores for ages in the fridge, easy to whip up and it’s so dang pretty! This dish is a longstanding staple at our house and I always make enough for leftovers because it’s even yummier the next day. I honestly can’t remember where the recipe originated from as it’s scrawled on a little notecard that is stained and well worn. I’ve adapted it over the years but here it is in all it’s glory.

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The Power of a Morning Ritual

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder it can be a real challenge to get ourselves out of bed in the morning. Our beds are so cozy — especially on grey winter days! It’s much easier to roll over, take your phone off the charger and start scrolling through social media and email, all the while telling yourself that you’re only gonna take a quick look - like, just to feel caught up or only until you feel “more awake.” But then 5 minutes becomes 30 minutes or more and before you know it you’ve fallen into a hole of looking at someone else’s vacation pics, admiring your best friend’s sister’s baby or puppy, checking to see what the weather is like in NYC, vaguely planning a menu for a dinner party you haven’t even scheduled and comparing your mom life/work life/fitness life to pretty much everyone else’s (which, PS, - feels like sh*t). Add that to the stress of checking the latest news headlines, realizing that you have scores of unanswered emails plus mentally reviewing the day’s commitments and suddenly your morning vibe gets fully zapped. You feel rushed and out of alignment that is not at all how you want to start your day.

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Lately I've been thinking about what's real and what's perceived. We all know that many of the things we see on social media are chosen or curated to get the ultimate response. And while sometimes we feel inspired, connected or amused, lots of times we get triggered into "compare and despair" and end up feeling like our lives, our bodies and our selves are somehow lacking. We keep scrolling through, trying to shake off the feeling, forgetting that we're seeing only only a part of a story, not the big picture. It's not a whole truth. 

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How to make a smoothie bowl + my favorite recipe

I love smoothies but I’ve found that when I drink them the whole experience is over way more quickly than I’d like it to be. Things go down fast with a straw! Plus I‘ve been trying to eat more mindfully, i.e. sit at an actual table, focus on my food and eat with no distractions, and smoothie bowls are great for this. They are cold, creamy and the toppings add all kinds of good crunch and flavor.

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How to spice things up (for audacious aging and overall wellness)

Typically we think of herbs and spices merely as things to make our food taste better but the truth is that they are so much more than that! In addition to being bright and flavorful, they contain vitamins, antioxidants and all kinds of other health boosting benefits, making them an essential component of living and aging audaciously. Bonus: because spices can be thermogenic, they may also naturally (and slightly) increase your metabolism and even increase feelings of satiety. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite herbs and spices and how to use them…

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How to make the perfect salad

The main thing to keep in mind when you’re making a salad is that anything goes. There really isn’t a ‘wrong’ way to do it and salads can differ according to taste. I, for one, can’t stand raw onion or garlic in my salad and raw shallots are only barely acceptable. But if you like them then by all means use them! I add crunch in the form of toasted nuts and seeds instead of croutons but if you're a crouton fiend then have at it.  I typically opt for lots of avocado instead of cheese but if you can’t imagine a salad without some feta or parmesan then don’t let me stop you. Here are some of my favorite salad guidelines and suggestions, but the most important one is to have fun and feel confident that you are doing something wonderful for yourself in the name of good health!

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30+ Ways to Nourish Yourself (that have nothing to do with food)

I’ve developed a real crush on the word “nourish” over the years. Could be that whole “Jewish mother” thing but it feels deeper than that. Yes, there is something about cooking and feeding people that fills me with joy. It's become a part of my inner and outer identity that I cherish. I use the healthiest ingredients and the food I cook is nutritious, delicious and full of love. But nourishment can be about more than just the food we eat. Living a healthy lifestyle involves nourishing all your parts: body, mind and spirit.

I believe it’s important to find things that feel nourishing even if they have little or nothing at all to do with food. The more nourished we feel, the less likely it is that we’ll wander off in search of a quick distraction in the form of food that we’re often not even hungry for in the first place.

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Super Simple Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

There was a time in my life when the idea of making my own almond milk would have been unimaginable to me. In fact the idea of almond milk in general would have made me laugh and possibly even roll my eyes. But those times are long past and now I love and appreciate almond milk and all it's "sister milk" alternatives like hemp, cashew and especially macadamia nut milk (or "mylk" for all the dairy purists out there). 

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How to Adjust to New Normals

Fact: life is constantly throwing us curveballs. There’s always gonna be something, oftentimes unexpected, that will come along and shake things up in some way. Also fact: The way we choose to deal with the curveballs is entirely up to us. Whether it’s hormonal changes like menopause or adrenal fatigue, emotional changes like a break-up or becoming an empty-nester, or physical changes like a sprained ankle, a bum knee or even an unwanted diagnosis, the more resilient we are, the easier it will be to adjust to new normals - whether they’re temporary or permanent. The more we cultivate resilience the faster we can bounce back from those inevitable curveballs and return to the business of living our lives. I’m not saying you have to like the change, but learning to acknowledge it, grieve or heal as long as is necessary and not allow it completely derail you is part of being resilient.

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Crunchy Kale Chips

Leafy greens are a panacea for lots of what ails us these days. They are anti-inflammatory, full of fiber, loaded with antioxidants (i.e. help keep cancer at bay), good for your gut, help your hormones stay balanced, support healthy aging and the list goes on. When my clients are looking for more ways to add leafy greens into their life I always include this recipe for kale chips. For people who think they don't like kale, this is the gateway into a greater appreciation and, dare I say, maybe even a love of kale.

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