Coconut Banana Bread (GF)

Coconut Banana Bread

Banana Bread is magical. This is a gluten free protein packed banana bread topped with shredded coconut. Rather than using refined sugar, I used coconut sugar and added a 1/2 cup of paleo protein powder for some extra protein. Although it was 11:00pm when I finished baking the bread, I had to have a sample.

Coconut Banana Bread (GF) (Makes 1 – 9×5 loaf pan)

  • 2 Bananas (Mashed)
  • 13cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1/2 cup unflavored protein powder (I used Paleo Pro)*
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • Shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease or line with parchment paper a 9×5-inch non-stick loaf pan.
  3. Cream together mashed bananas, oil, coconut sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl.
  4. Add flour, protein powder, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda to egg mixture.
  5. Mix until smooth.
  6. Pour into prepared pan, cover with shredded coconut and a little coconut sugar.
  7. Bake 9×5″ loaf for 1 hour

Enjoy!

*Do not feel like using protein powder? Use 1 3/4 Cups of Gluten Free Flour

How do we return to our natural state of grace?

As human beings, we have free will. We have a choice and the ability to return to our natural state of grace. When we are born, we are full of infinite love, no fabricated self-limitations, just pure love. However, for the most part, not by anyone’s fault, we are exposed to all sorts of things, good and bad – it’s part of life’s journey. We have all observed, listened and have heard stories rooted in fear and naturally start to absorb that information and believe it is our truth. Little by little, we move further away from our natural state of grace, rooted in love and for self-preservation, we move closer to survival mode, rooted in fear. A Course in Miracles says, “ If a mind perceives without love, it perceives an empty shell and is unaware of the spirit within.”The mind is a source of information; it is not the source of our spirit.

While on planet Earth, everything has to have a happy ending – or else it will keep happening.  

“Atonement uproots the source of fear,” ACIM. We must make amends in order to stop the cycle and return to our natural state of grace. As we make amends with our self,  the source of fear is uprooted. Making amends returns us back to our natural state of grace, which is rooted in love.

Trust in the magic of the Universe.

Once we trust in the magic of the Universe, and give ourselves permission to make amends, and uproot fear, we have opened up the pathway to let love into our lives and return to our natural state of grace.

Just realizing that disconnected feeling is the first step to returning to our natural state of grace. Second, is realizing we have a choice, third, is making amends, fourth is trusting in the magic of the Universe. None of this happens over night, for a few lucky people out there it might, for the most part it’s a continual practice of self-reflection.

 

Pulled Pork Bulgogi

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I really hate leftovers but I also really like saving money and having food on hand after a busy day. I also like meal prepping. I made some pulled pork earlier in the week and had enough for another dinner but wanted to make something new and was feeling a bowl / Asian inspired meal. To turn a standard pulled pork into something else, I added another seasoning and made a sauce to go with it (this is a good trick if you’re cooking for yourself and maybe one other person). I have a lot of ladies who cook for themselves and often express the dilemma of cooking so much food for one person.

Pulled Pork Bulgogi

Chinese 5 Spice Pulled Pork

I’m refraining from measurements here, you can add the flavors to taste and it depends on how much pork you have left. We had ¾ of a pound left.

  • Pulled pork (leftovers)
  • Chinese 5 spice to taste
  • A dash Sesame Oil –only for flavor, use it sparingly.

Sweet and Sticky Sauce (adapted from Primal Palate) – Serves 4

  • ¾ Cup Coconut Aminos
  • 1/8 TSP Fish Sauce
  • 2 Cloves of Minced Garlic
  • 1/3 TSP Ground Ginger

Coconut Lime Cauli-Rice

  • Riced Cauliflower about 4 cups (I’m lazy and buy it already riced)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Lime
  • Handful Shredded Coconut
  • Himalayan Salt to taste

Toppings

  • 1 or 2 Chopped Green Onions
  • Sesame Seeds for topping
  • Kimchee
  • Chili Garlic Sauce for spice

Cooking time – 30 minutes

Start the sauce first, in a sauté pan, on medium – medium high heat, add ¾ cup of coconut aminos, the fish sauce, ginger, and garlic, let bubble, reduce the heat and stir so it doesn’t stick to the pan and let it reduce about 10-15 minutes. I was hungry and mine ended up reducing to ½ cup. I’m sure I could have left it on the burner longer. When done, pour the sauce into a container so you can pour or spoon it easily on your pork.

Using the left over pulled pork, I added a little bit of sesame oil and about ½ a teaspoon – 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice to some left over pulled pork. The pork roast I bought was about 2 lbs and I had about ¾ lbs left. Add the pork to the sauté pan used to cook the sauce and let it cook. The temperature should be medium-medium high. While it’s heating up, cook the cauliflower rice. Heat the pan to medium, add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the sauce pan, add some unsweetened shredded coconut – watch it so it doesn’t burn, add the riced cauliflower, salt and stir, then add the juice of one lime. Cook the rice through.

Remove everything from the heat and plate, topping with the sauce followed by chopped green onions, red chili garlic sauce, sesame seeds and kimchee.

Enjoy!!

Are You Listening?

Active listening has been a hot topic lately. Research shows, we only capture about 25% of what people are saying. As everyone gets busier and more stressed out, we have a tendency to be less present in conversations or want to react.  Below are some helpful tools to help us all be better listeners and be more present in conversations….even if we may not agree with the information we are hearing.
Five Tips’s for Active Listening:

1. Pay Attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly. Texting indicates otherwise. 

  • Look at the speaker directly.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts. (Breathe)
  • Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
  • “Listen” to the speaker’s body language.

2. Show That You’re Listening – Be attentive

Body language and gestures convey your attention, make them feel comfortable. 

  • *Nod occasionally.
  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.
  • Leave your cell phone at your desk or in your bag.
*Some schools of thought feel differently, and suggest not being expressive as a way to be present and nonjudgmental – I tend to think a combination of the two is effective.
3. Provide Feedback

Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions. Breathe through it even if you don’t agree, wait until the person finishes what they are saying. (See #4 and #5)

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is,” and “Sounds like you are saying,” are great ways to reflect back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say.” “Is this what you mean?”
  • Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.
  • This is a self check to ensure you’ve understood the information as well.

4. Ditch the Judgment

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message. By not interrupting, you’ll be able to gain more information.

  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
  • Don’t interrupt with counter arguments, this is distracting for everyone in the room and disrespectful to the presenter.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions.

5. Respond Respectfully

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. Attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down add’s nothing (it makes the attacker look like a jerk if anything). 

  • Assert your opinions respectfully.
  • Be open, and honest in your response.
  • Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated.
(Source: mindtools.com)

Unplugging is Good for You

As ambitious individuals, we want to do our best, earn that promotion, get that raise, close that deal or learn that new skill; but it’s going to be a lot harder to kick ass and take names if you’re burnt out.

If you’re not sleeping, having a tight jaw or your shoulders are pretty much at your ears all day everyday — your body and mind are telling you to unplug. Some other signs telling you it’s time for a break include, making little mistakes you normally wouldn’t make, everything seeming just really difficult, being creatively blocked or you simply hate everything (and everyone).

You may have anxiety about taking time off, or are afraid you’re going to miss out at work (hello FOMO!!). According to an article in Scientific American, “downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance.” And if you’re dealing with an anti-vacation manager, you might want to share the article with them.

So taking a break isn’t a bad thing. Quieting your mind and stepping away from the day to day is advantageous to your success. You’ll come back refreshed with a clear mind and new ideas.

 

What the Funk? How to get out of your funk.

For the past two days I’ve been feeling less than. Kinda like shit to be honest. At first I wasn’t sure why because I went down the vortex and started getting all blue and anxious. Everyone has the tendency to get in a funk. It happens, we’re human. Everyone also has the ability to pull themselves out of a funk.

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When this happens to me, there are a few things I do to get out of it. Not dismiss it, just allow it to happen and move on from it in a healing way.

I sit with the experience, then start to unpack it and make sure to be honest with myself.

So recently I got caught in the comparison game. It happens, I’m human.  I went down the vortex – it was a combo of self deprecation, jealousy, and paranoia. Real dark. Went next level and told myself and believed it for a minute that I’m going to be broke, poor, unsuccessful and my coaching and energy healing business isn’t going to thrive. WHOA!?!? What the Funk?!??!!

Feeling like this kinda feels like a hangover! 

I sat with “it” (aka the funk) for a moment and decided it was time to clear it out. Sometimes with this stuff we can be stubborn and hold on to negative thoughts and feelings for a long time. In this case I went to bed in the funk and woke up in the funk. It was time to get out of the funk.  Taking a few deep breathes, I “looked” around at the funk and visualized what it looked like and where it was in my body.  Being able to sit with it, locate it and visualize it helps unpack the funk, which is ultimately someone else’s story.  Then, I asked myself,  to think about what triggered me. Who around me was feeling like they are broke, unsuccessful, and not good enough?  I asked myself if these feelings I was having were these persons? I asked myself if I wanted to hold onto these feelings? Obviously no! Then I gave myself permission to wash those feelings away and let them go, knowing that they aren’t mine. I then told myself what I needed to hear. I call this the nurturing cup of tea moment.

Throughout the day, I try to do nice things for myself. Listening to music, opening the windows, buying flowers, engaging in a hobby, getting outside, sweating a little bit. It keeps the momentum. I also will give myself permission throughout the day to release the energy that is not mine.

The mind is like a computer, it freezes and needs to be restarted. 

So when this happens to you and hopefully it doesn’t, here are some tips to get through the funk:

  1. Be nice to yourself.
  2. Sit with the funk.
  3. Be honest with yourself – admit if you’re feeling jealous or angry, it’s okay, you’ve gotta be honest with yourself. No one is going to hear your inner dialogue.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Know it’s totally temporary and your mind is a generator of information.
  6. Unpack the feelings. Ask yourself if the feeling was familiar? Ask yourself, who were you around that might have been feeling that way? Don’t feel guilty if it’s your spouse, mom, best friend – it’s okay. Everyone has a tendency to pick up other peoples energy without realizing it. It happens. The key is to ID it and wash it away.
  7. Give yourself permission to wash it away.
  8. Ask yourself how you want to feel.
  9. Give yourself that nurturing cup of tea, the pep talk, the caring words.
  10. Do something nice for yourself – a cup of coffee, a walk, a hobby, listening to music.

You’ve got this! It’s going to be okay!!!!

Getting Back into the Meditation Game

I think that “meditation” is having a moment. Kind of like kale and avocado toast had their moments.  The thing with meditating is that it’s been around forever. Millions of people do it daily all over the world. In some places around the globe, I’m sure people meditate more frequently than they have access to bathing (my opinion). You don’t have to be some spiritual guru, yogi or ultra crunchy enlightened being to do it. Any one can do it. You can be liberal, conservative, living in a mansion, living in the projects – you get the point. You really don’t need statues of the Buddha or Ganesh, or an altar, or a special pillow – I think that’s  western consumerism creeping in to the actual practice. Which is fine, but that stuff isn’t needed.

Meditation can be helpful during stressful times. For me it’s been key to navigating through stressful times. I’ve used it during a career change, family illness, stress at work etc.  However, as the stress eases, I’ve noticed the frequency of mediation tapers off. I’ve gone from meditating daily, sometimes twice daily to eventually a few times a week, to once a week to not at all. Sound familiar? The edginess and the stories creep right back in. Yep, we’re human. Meditation is new for a lot of people. It’s not something a lot of us in Western culture were raised with. So we’re learning. We have a beginners mind. Which is one of the core elements to meditating.

Another aspect of meditating is observing without judgement. For me I’ve observed, that I’m coming up with excuses to not meditate — the “oh I’ll do it later,” I’ve started checking social media in the morning, instantly stimulating my mind, rather than waking up, stretching and meditating for 15-20 minutes. Right, we’ve all done this. It’s escapism and distraction. The key is to not judge or beat yourself up. Otherwise, that puts major road blocks in the way of actually get back in the meditation game. Been there done that.

For me, the key has been to find really easy ways to integrate it back into my life. Like using the snooze button as an automatic timer.  My snooze is nine minutes. Those nine minutes are pure uninterrupted deep breaths, noticing the sounds in the morning, my cat purring, dog snoring, checking in with myself, being still — by the time the snooze button goes off, I take a moment to express gratitude for the practice and always know my breath is my anchor. Ironically enough, as much as I want to stay in bed and snuggle with my pets and husband, I feel more awake than hitting the snooze button 3 more times.

So, if you’re trying to get into meditating, have been doing it for a long time and fell off the wagon. Use that phone of yours as a handy tool. Set the timer or use your snooze button when the alarm goes off, sit and breathe for a few minutes. You’ll feel clearer and start to notice you’re becoming more present vs. focusing on other things.

 

WTF Are These? Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Cookies. aka a Dream Come True.

After two margaritas and some tacos I decided it was time to bake cookies.

I’m not down with grains and refined sugar, but I am down with chocolate and peanut butter (best combo ever). I’m also down with brownies and cookies. You see where this is going. I wanted both. So I made cr-ow-nies.

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I trolled the interwebs and found two recipes that fit my vision: didn’t take forever and didn’t call for a ton of ingredients. I was able to add my spin on them and out came these sexi nuggets of pure chocolaty chunky peanut buttery goodness. When I asked my husband to try them, he chewed, went silent and said…whoa WTF. That was a good sign. I’ve also had 3 in less than 12 hours.

If you have nut allergies – look away. These are not for you. I’m sorry. The cookies are a combo of raw cashews, cocoa powder and peanut butter. If you’re full on paleo, omit the peanut butter – tahini could work (although I haven’t tried it). The best part: they take max 30 minutes, start to finish.

I used my Vitamix for these. So you get little chunks of cashews in every bite. When you’re blending, you might need to stop, push the mixture down towards the blades and blend again. Just check the mix to make sure you are good with the consistency. It’s chunky, but raw cashews are pretty soft so they break down. I’m thinking a small food processor can do the job for the wet stuff + cashews. I worked really hard for a C in chemistry, I’m not super precise in measuring things — so you’ll always see a little wiggle room / go with your gut directions.

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These make about 20, 2″cookies, I used a teaspoon. I’m sure if you are super precise you can get 24 out of the batch.

On to the baking!!!!

1 cup raw cashews

1 egg

1/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted – get your MCT’s)

2 tablespoons peanut butter (try to avoid peanut butter with palm oil – environmental reasons)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

handful of chocolate chips ( I use Enjoy Life)

To cook:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F, line a baking sheet with a spilat (one of my favorite kitchen things) or parchment paper and a few sprays of olive oil or coconut oil so the cookies won’t stick, add the cashews, egg, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla to a blender or food processor – the mix won’t be velvety smooth, blend until kind of smooth, add the cocoa powder, baking soda, blend a little more, add the peanut butter and blend a few seconds longer.  Spoon the cookies onto the baking sheet and top with the chocolate chips (I also stirred some into the mix, but found topping the cookies with the chocolate chips looked better). Bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Updating Your Resume + Why it’s Important

A colleague and I recently started a women’s networking group. After searching out ways to network and really coming up with nothing, we took matters into our own hands and created our own group. So far we’ve had two meetings and they’ve been a hit. We’re looking forward to hosting more, which is really exciting. So for our last meeting we discussed why it’s important to keep our resumes and bios updated.

The majority of us at the meeting happened to wrap up annual review season, some members of the group were entrepreneurs and some were creatives. In what ever form your resume is – we decided if you’re working for a company, even if you’re not looking for a job, the best time to update your resume is around review time. Your resume is your selling point, it is meant to highlight your skills and accomplishments. Your annual review is a summary highlighting your skills and accomplishments throughout the year, so it makes sense to copy the information from your review on to your resume, because you’ve already done the work. Who doesn’t like saving time?

For those of you who are self-employed, it’s equally as important to update your bio. As one member of our group pointed out, you may need to submit a bio to attend a conference. What if you don’t have a bio? Or your bio is 5 years old and you need a current one? Obviously you didn’t go into business to write bios, but you’re skill is your money maker. For business owners, take a look at your bio, update it based on any new skills, achievements, awards, or continuing education that may happen over the course of a year.

Creative types have resumes highlighting their technical skills and education, but the proof is in your work. Portfolios are digital and technology is changing, fast. Your artistic talents are your money maker. Before updating that reel, portfolio or deck, make sure the work you add to it gets clearance from your boss or clients — much of creative work is under NDA, or rights are owned by the company. You don’t want to get yourself into legal hot water, so do your research first. And always give credit, where credit is due.

Doing all this is a total pain, right? Ugh! Who want’s to come home after a long day, and update this stuff? No one. The idea is, to chip away at it little by little. Even if it’s a few sentences here and there, or a small edit to your reel. Every little bit helps. Another key take away is making sure you’re in a good head space. It sucks having to update your resume when you’re spent, pissed off and have one foot out the door from a job that you’re ready to leave.

Alternatively, if you’re not big on updates or writing, or have a hard time selling yourself; hire a resume writer. A good one is worth the money and they have a way of using language that can really sell a person. Bio’s, resume’s and reels are ways to show off your talents, your skills and how amazing you are. As one person in our networking group said, “if you’re resume isn’t current, you might be missing out on jobs you’re not even looking for.”

I’ve done a fair amount of recruiting and scanning resumes and there are a few things that stood out to me, which are I think are important to share:

  1. Less is best. That busy header, with the headshot and cool infographics on your resume, takes up valuable real estate on your resume. The infographics are great, but it’s a canned template and the person scanning your resume wants to see your talents.
  2. Presentation is everything, font’s should be in order of priority and don’t use more than 2 fonts and 3 sizes / formats. Otherwise it’s busy.
  3. Larger companies have resume scanners, so submit your resume in Word and make sure there isn’t fancy formatting happening, other wise the scanner won’t pick up your resume.
  4. Proof read, proof read, proof read. Have someone you trust review your resume.
  5. Always, submit a cover letter. Even if it’s a few sentences, which is even better. When you’re reviewing 200+ resumes, a couple of paragraphs get glossed over.
  6. Explain gaps, career changes, job hopping in your cover letter, do it in a few sentences but remember, it’s all in how you spin it.
  7. It’s okay to have a 2-page resume. If you’ve been working at a job for awhile and got promoted through the years, or have some technical experience — it’s fine. If you’re just starting out though, keep it to one page.
  8. Everyone says this: use key words. What are key words?? I’m not really sure, but I’m thinking they are simple words related to what you do.
  9. If you are applying for jobs, make sure to tailor it to the job, you don’t have to spend a ton of time doing this, but your resume and cover letter will stand out. It’s really obvious when a resume hasn’t been tailored.
  10. If you are updating your bio, make sure you have a great headshot to go with it. My bio is obviously lacking one 🙂 Do as I say, not as I do, right?

Breathe, this can be overwhelming, but try to keep it as simple as possible. When all else fails, use the internet for inspiration. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

 

It’s Retrograde Season

Retrograde season is upon us, which means we’re heading into Spring with longer days, more sunshine and warmer weather (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). In the southern hemisphere, it’s time to nest, go inward and appreciate the shorter days. As the planets move into retrograde, take a look around you and become aware of yourself. Being mindful of your actions or reactions is a step towards upgrading your life.

The Universe has always been in a constant state of change as have we — which makes life so special. Think back to where you were in life 10 years ago, what are you still holding on to, what have you let go of? Personal growth goes beyond the material and the tangible accomplishments, it goes beyond the career, the car, the house, the balance in your bank account or value of your stocks. Sure all that stuff is nice and there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting yourself up. However, in order to fully enjoy all that stuff, you must be okay with you. All that stuff does not define you. You the whole wonderful being that you are, goes beyond the material.

Retrograde is a time of self-reflection, of really paying attention to what’s serving you and what’s not serving you. What seems to be working and what doesn’t. Have you given yourself permission to let go of any feelings that are no longer serving you? If not, have you asked yourself how those feelings are serving you?