Friday, March 14, 2014

10 Ways To Have A Great Day

Some days I wake up and just feel...blah.

Whether it be from a lack of sleep, eating too soon before bed, a little too much to drink, hormones *ahem*, sometimes we all need a little pick-me-up. And, no, I am not talking about a third cup of coffee.

These are my top ten methods for sparking my inner enthusiasm and joy when I just can't seem to dislodge my negativity

1. Deep breathing and/or 
There's really nothing that helps me more than sitting my ass down on my meditation pillow and finding my center. It doesn't have to be formal, or even long, just find a comfortable space where you can sit, place your hands gently in your lap and just breathe. 

2. Affirmations
You are going to look crazy and you are going to feel really, really awkward. Do it anyway. Look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself something lovely: I love you. You are perfect. You are brilliant. You embody grace. You lift others up. Your body is bangin'. You are worthy of love and happiness. You have a wicked sense of humor. You don't have to think too much of it, just notice the shifts that happen mid-way. Pretty powerful.

3. Pamper Yourself
Light some candles. Take a bath. Treat yourself to something nice. Get a manicure. Massage. Take the day off and spend it reading or laying at a park.

4. Clean
Our outer world often mimics our inner world and yes, it works the other way around. If you are feeling stressy or scatterbrained or just plain bummed, get out the broom and start sweeping. Organize your closet. Re-arrange your furniture so that it is more zen. Give the toilet a good scrubbin'. You will feel accomplished & more relaxed when your space is nice and tidy.

5. Put on Music & Dance Your Ass Off
Sometimes our mental energy gets stuck. Take it and move it through your body. Dance. Do yoga. Go for a run. Jump rope. Music has a magical way of lifting our spirits and when you combine it with movement, your mood will soar.

6. Send a Love Note
Most of the time our negativity arises because we are thinking about ourselves. When we shift the focus to others, and how we can help them or brighten their days, our internal atmosphere changes. Writing a love note or sending someone a loving text message always lifts my mood.

7. Write A Gratitude List
What we focus on expands. This is a great way to start your day everyday, but especially when you feel kinda meh. Acknowledge any and all of the good things in your life. They can be big or small, personal or universal.

8. Say a Prayer
Or just send out a wish into the universe. Let yourself off the hook a little by trusting in what is provided & watching for the answers or signs.

9. Make something healthy
Healthy food makes you feel better. It's pretty simple. Usually, juicing is what I recommend, but if you don't have a juicer, blend some fruits and veggies. If you don't have a blender...what on earth are you doing…go immediately to a store and get one and then make a smoothie.

10. Indulge
Sometimes a little treat really boosts my mojo. The goal here is to bring awareness to the indulgence, and not to use it as a means to go unconscious and stuff your feelings. My favorite way to indulge is a piece of raw chocolate (I can feel your eye rolls from here), but I also love a slice or two from my local pizzeria, an organic vegan brownie, a nice glass of wine or gourmet homemade popcorn. It's soul food.

I also posted this question to my Facebook page and below are some of the responses I received…

 how do you get yourself "un-stuck" when you are feeling fearful, depressed, insecure, etc.?

  • prayer & meditation
  • sunshine! 
  • engage in something you are passionate about
  • cuddles (I love this one & I wholeheartedly agree)
  • float in a hot spring
  • surround yourself with people who you feel comfortable with
  • ecstatic dance
  • journal
Do you have any suggestions that you didn't see here? I would love to know in the comments below what you do to perk up when your mood is a little low! 

To great days & good moods,

xo Ashley

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Maple Spiced Peanut Butter Granola + Ditching The Recipe

Confession: I am a really, really terrible recipe maker.

I never measure. Most of the time I am not even paying attention. I throw. Play. Experiment. Make a mess. Get lost in the moment. So lost, in fact, that I forget that my intended purpose is to create a blog recipe.

I was getting pretty down on myself, cursing that I would have to eat (yet again...oh life is so terrible) another culinary creation, but that next time I would surely capture the moment and pay attention to ingredients and quantities.

But then I realized that I like my way. It makes me feel free. Less intimidated. I can really explore and create based on my senses and intuition. That is why I fell in love with cooking and food, and I would like to extend that opportunity to you.

Don't worry about measurements.
Take some things out of your cupboard that sound good and go for it.

Yes, I have had to eat some fairly unsavory mashups in my experimentation, but most of the time it turns out so good that I wish I had made more <-- I have a boyfriend that can attest to this fact

So here's is my kinda-recipe. These are extremely rough estimates - my best guesses based on making this multiple times. I encourage you to throw out anything that doesn't sound good and add in whatever does. You are the one eating it, after all.

Maple Spiced Peanut Butter Granola 
serves many (unless you are me, then it serves one) 

4-6 cups of whole oats
A crap ton of cinnamon
1 tbsp maca
1 tsp cardamon powder
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (fresh will yield more flavor but dried powder will work too)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup honey (you can substitute yacon syrup or coconut nectar if you want this to be fully vegan. Agave may work, but you really need something sticky to help clump the granola)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup peanut butter (any nut or seed butter can be subbed)

Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees.

Combine oats and spices in a large mixing bowl. Grate fresh ginger and mix in thoroughly. In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Once fully melted, turn off heat and add in 1/4 cup peanut butter and the honey. Mix well. Combine wet and dry ingredients, making sure the oats are fully covered. If it is significantly dry or not clumping well, you will need to increase your wet ingredients. At this point the mixture should be fairly sticky and slightly clumpy. Add in the rest of your peanut butter (1/4 cup) and mix well with your hands.

Lightly oil two cookie sheets and spread out the oat mixture between both by grabbing handfuls and gently crumbling it on the pan (this should, theoretically, keep it chunky). Place both pans on a center rack for approximately 30-45 minutes, flipping the mixture halfway through. The time it takes to cook fully will depend on your oven, how much moisture is in the oats and how "done" you want it. Use your best judgement.

I like to throw in some toasted nuts, dried fruit, cacao nibs, coconut, bee pollen...whatever I have on hand, really. Again, feel free to use what sounds best to you. Put it in a bowl with some fresh coconut milk, organic greek yogurt, whatever & enjoy!

This is truly my comfort food. I hope you love it as much as I do and experiment with the recipe. If you make this, be sure to tag your photos on facebook or instagram with #megafresh so I can see!

So much love to you, 

xo Ashley