A Couple of Vegan Recipes + Holiday Cards

pure mamas no cook marinara sauce recipe - vegan

Last night I made this no cook marinara and it was amazing! I didn't have any miso on hand so I used veg broth and it was still great. I bet it's even better with miso so I'm going to pick some up before I make another batch.

Waves didn't want to eat it because it was orange ๐Ÿ˜’ so I used a jarred marinara from the Whole Foods 365 brand that she really loves instead. I just wanted to add that so you know it was not kid approved over here on the first go, but I think with time she would like it.

spaghetti with homemade marinara

I bought this basil plant at Whole Foods for $2 the other day and it has been wonderful to have! It's from Living Fresh Farm out of Athens, Georgia. They are a hydroponic greenhouse that specializes in basil and lettuce. All you do is put the plant in a shallow bowl and make sure to keep water in it. So easy and so, so nice to have on my kitchen counter - it smells amazing! And as you can see, I've been loading up on it whenever I make spaghetti ๐Ÿ˜œ


I finally made the lentil, carrot, and kale sautรฉ with crispy potatoes from last week's meal plan - we ended up going out the night I was supposed to make it - and it just wasn't that good. It was pretty bland and I'm not the type of person that knows what to add to up the flavor - I have to be told exactly what to do, although I'm trying to learn! I sautรฉed up some mushrooms in veggie broth and added some roasted chickpeas which made it a bit better.

I just realized I never posted the meal plan for this week! Tonight I'm making this curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup. I'm going to stop by the store this afternoon to get a baguette to go with it and it's going to be goooood!

holiday cards for cards for hospitalized kids

Last night, Waves and I made Christmas cards for Cards for Hospitalized Kids. She did such a great job and worked so hard for a solid hour making cards. We ended up making ten cards altogether and it was so nice to just draw and talk :]

We just bought a leaf blower, so I'm off to tackle the leaves in the 30* weather ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Hope you all have great day!

Free Digital Planner Inserts + Stickers | Digital Planning Freebies!

free digital planner spending tracker
I have been having a blast designing again - it's what I went for school for - and I feel so thankful that I'm able to merge two of the things that I love the most: designing + planners. Digital planning has been a game changer for me because it is so versatile. You're able to build a planner to fit your exact needs.

I always had a hard time choosing paper planners because I would love the design, but then they would have features I didn't need or want. With digital, I'm able to choose a minimalist planner page and then add habit tracking stickers or a to-do list or an area for goals. It's great!

Also, and this is going to sound mega crazy but whatever ๐Ÿ˜œ, if I made a mistake in my paper planner and had to cover it with a sticker or mark it out.. sometimes I would just abandon the planner altogether because of the scribbles or that the stickers didn't look right over the mess ups. Now, with digital.. I just erase or select the lasso tool to resize my writing if it's too small or move it over a bit so it's completely centered. Seriously, such a huge plus.

I've been using the Goodnotes app on my iPad and importing letter size JPGS into my notebook and then I'm able to add stickers or write on top of the images. Here's a video of how I have my current notebook in Goodnotes set up: weekly planner (has habit trackers, to-do list, and goals for the week) /// spending tracker /// grocery list + meal plan /// project planner



So you can see how you can have a planner with exactly what you need. For example, I don't like monthly layouts so it's great being able to have only weekly.

I went way more into this than I intended, but I just love talking about it :] Anyway, I've been making a ton of digital planning tools for my Etsy shop but I wanted to share some of the things I've been creating here as freebies so that if you're interested in digital planning, you'll have some pages and stickers to get you started so you can play around with it and see if it's for you! All these pages + stickers are for personal use only, please!
Portrait Orientation Botanical Spending Tracker | I used these beautiful watercolors from Katerina Osa because if you're having to deal with expenses and bills.. you have to have sometime pretty to look at! :] I left some room on the left margin incase you'd like to print this out and how punch to put into a binder.

free digital planning tools | free digital planner + stickers

Hand Drawn Purple/Grey Hearts | I drew these cute little hearts and added a few sayings. I left one blank so you can write whatever you'd like on it.


Painted Pastel Frames + Flags | These are great for highlighting important tasks in your planner!

free digital planning tools | free digital planner + stickers

Landscape Orientation Weekly To-Do List | You can also print this JPG out if you'd like to have a paper copy to use.

free digital planning tools | free digital planner + stickers

Christmas / Holiday Stickers | These have some foul language ๐Ÿ˜… Let's just say if you are also a big fan of watching Die Hard during the holidays, you will enjoy these stickers ๐Ÿ˜‚

free digital planning tools | free digital planner + stickers

Watercolor Moon Days of the Week Stickers | Love these dark + moody days of the week stickers!

I hope that you enjoy these! There are a ton of great digital planning videos on YouTube and so many great designs over on Etsy, including my planner shop if you are interested :]

Currently


LISTENING TO // We finally moved our treadmill from storage to our garage, so I've been doing a lot of running. I'm actually following the MCFIT 7 day training program - which is free! - and I'm loving it. It has a running component and then a strength training part right after.

So, since I've been running a lot more, that means I'm listening to a lot more music. My running playlist on Spotify is all over the place, but here ya go!

WISHING // I could figure out what's going on with my thyroid meds. It's been a pain trying to get my levels stable without any funky side effects. I've read positive things about diet changes helping so I'm doing a little more research on it.


spiced sweet potatoes + black beans with crunchy, spicy lime slaw

EATING // This week's meal plan has been fantastic. The recipes are much simpler than I thought, the grocery bill was lower than usual, and we all feel good. Waves has tried everything, but hasn't wanted to eat any more than a bite or two. I usually make her a snack plate - cucumber, bell peppers, tofu, blackberries, and a few alligator gummies from the Whole Foods bulk bins.

My favorite meal was the beet + quinoa buddha bowl. It just came together so nicely! Also, having things prepped have been a lifesaver for lunches because everything comes together so quickly. I'm loving it so much that I already started work on next week's meal plan :]

THINKING ABOUT // I just opened up my Etsy shop selling digital and printable planning supplies and it is all I'm thinking about. I have a bad habit of starting a project, putting my all in/thinking about it obsessively, burning out, abandoning it, and then feeling lame about it all. Like, uh.. this blog ๐Ÿ˜‘ I have realized I have this issue and am really working hard on addressing it and not repeating it every time I start something.

To help combat this, I'm fighting through the "imposter syndrome" feeling, and trying to push through. I know this sounds dramatic in regards to blogs and etsy stores.. but this has been a reoccurring theme in my life with things more serious than this so it needs to stop.

CRUSHING ON // Essie's "lighten the mood" polish. It's such a beautiful neutral cream/super light pink!

WATCHING // I just finished Schitt's Creek. Love David and especially love his and Moira's outfits. And of course I started up Parks & Rec again, mostly for background noise.. but only through season 3! Ain't got time for the mess once Leslie starts campaigning.

Hope you all have a great Friday :]


This Week's Meal Plan

digital planner meal plan + grocery list
Meal plan sheet available in my Etsy - comes with JPG for your iPad + a printable

I decided with this meal plan that I was going to change things. I'd been relying on quick meals for dinner - hot dogs, frozen pizzas, etc. - every single night. I meal planned last week, but veered from it in the middle of the week so the red lentil chili and tempeh bit's didn't happen, but pizzas and other stuff did.

And when it comes to my daughter, I was giving in to snacks and treats such as Pringles, vanilla wafers, and leftover Halloween candy way too often. I just had to remind myself that it's on me to provide healthier options for my family and I really, really enjoy cooking so here I am.. ready to do better.

We've already switched out those other snacks with apples, bell peppers, cantaloupe, sliced cucumbers, and grape tomatoes. There have been a few tears over not having as much sugary stuff or a piece of Halloween candy after dinner, but it's already better after one day.

Here's the plan for this week:




Thursday » leftover chili

Friday » mama eats plants spiced sweet potato and black bean bowl with spicy lime slaw

Saturday » Budget Byte's Italian wonderpot - we call it magic noodles ๐Ÿ˜œ

Sunday » tofu lasagna from How It All Vegan! - my first cookbook :]

mama eats plants beet + quinoa buddha bowl

Last night I made the beet + quinoa buddha bowl and was a little intimidated by it all, but it actually came together very easily and quickly. And oooomg was it delicious! I was very happy with this meal. Waves ate a couple of mushrooms and then asked if she could please have macaroni and cheese. I'm never going to force her to eat anything and was happy she tried it on her own, so I made her mac n' cheese. After that she had a snack plate with cucumbers, red bell pepper, and cantaloupe.

mama eats plants flourless chocolate cookies

After dinner I made these amazing flourless chocolate cookies. I also had one with breakfast this morning :] I just realized that I prepped the slaw for the sweet potato bowls yesterday because I thought that's what I had planned for tonight but it's actually the lentil dish soo.. I will probably switch those around.

I still haven't decided what we will have on Sunday. I left it open in case we decided to go out since we're going to get a Christmas tree that day. So that's what our week looks like. Hope you all are having a great week :]

What I'm Cooking This Week

grocery list + meal plan template for digital planners - good notes
weekly meal plan + grocery list | template in my etsy shop
I usually shop on Sunday or Monday mornings, but I'm slacking this week and will go to the store sometime tomorrow. Because of that.. we are running super low on food so it was baked potatoes tonight. I made some potatoes in the Instant Pot using these instructions and put out some Greek yogurt, cheese, jalapeรฑos, veggie chili, butter, etc. Love dinners like that because they are so easy and everyone gets to make their meal exactly how they like.

Here's what the rest of the week is looking like:

Tuesday » Italian Wonderpot from Budget Bytes - Waves called these magic noodles when she was really little so that's what we call it now and why it says that on the picture up there ๐Ÿ˜‚

Wednesday » make your own pizza - just like the potatoes today.. I put a bunch of ingredients out and everyone makes theirs exactly how they want.

Thursday » red lentil chili in the Instant Pot from Vegan Richa. This is a really great recipe! I've made it quite a few times and love it. Waves won't eat it so I will probably just make her mac n' cheese.

Friday » leftovers

Saturday » frozen pizzas.. keeping it easy!

Sunday » tempeh blt's - tempeh, tomato, avocado on toasted bread. So good!

I'm going to finish up my grocery list and head to bed. I finished Schitt's Creek about an hour ago so I don't even know what to do with my night now ๐Ÿ˜œ hope you all have a great week!

Free Weekly To-Do List for Digital Planners + Printable

photo by leone venter

I'm all about planners - absolutely love everything about them. Most people I know use the calendars on their phones but that just never worked for me so I've always stuck with my trusty paper planner. But then I learned about digital planners and have been playing around with them for bit. Part of that has been making my own calendars, stickers, and other tools.

This week I decided to open up a small Etsy shop selling a few of things I've been making lately. All my planner lovers out there know how addictive and fun stuff like this can be :] There are so many things you can do with a digital planner. Boho Berry is a great channel to check out if you're interested in digital planning as well.

One thing I always need to have on hand is a to-do list. I like a big 8.5" x 11" sheet to hang on the fridge so I can see and add/cross off items easily. With the holidays coming up, I know that everyone is super busy and have a ton of things going on so I wanted to share this to-do list that I created this morning. It's undated with a Sunday start and has an empty section for you to write any notes, goals, reminders, etc. for the week.

There's a hi-res jpg for you to use with your digital planner, such as Good Notes. There's also a printable pdf so you can have a paper copy. Let me know what you think and enjoy!



DOWNLOAD » HI-RES JPG /// PDF


My Favorite Zero Waste Bloggers




Stevieyaaaay » Stevie is super fun to follow. She's always positive, shows that zero waste doesn't have to be all or nothing, and has a great sense of humor.



Mama Eats Plants » This is my go-to when I need meal inspiration. Her blog is awesome and I love looking through her meals plans and recipes. Her and Stevie do these fun 'yay for earth!' challenges where they will post a grocery list and a weeks worth of meals to go along with it. Here is the most recent one which looks fantastic!


Paris to Go » Ariana's blog - check it out, it's amazing - was what got me interested in zero waste living. She has a post for anything and everything you could think of. Some of my favorites are zero waste makeup, mise en place (inventory of and organizing a zero waste kitchen), and building a zero waste pantry.

Please share any of your favorites in the comments! I love finding new bloggers to follow :]

Trader Joe's Haul

trader joe's hi-protein vegan veggie burgers

trader joe's hi-protein vegan veggie burgers macros

Hi-Protein Vegan Burgers /// The macros are fantastic on these, but the texture is just something I can't get into to. It's so different to any veggie burger I've ever had that I'm having a hard time comparing it to any existing ones out there. I've only made these in the microwave so that's probably my problem, but they are very mushy and fall apart easily even after letting them sit ~5 minutes after cooking. With that said, I'd still buy these again because they're perfect for when I need a lot of protein but don't have much carbs left.

trader joe's silver dollar pancakes

Frozen Silver Dollar Pancakes /// These have been a lifesaver on busy mornings! Grab a few out of the freezer, put them in the microwave, and breakfast is done in a minute. They taste great and my daughter loves them. She eats them plain because she doesn't like maple syrup on pancakes or waffles.. I don't get it either ๐Ÿ˜œtrader joe's organic strawberry smoothie

Organic Strawberry Smoothies /// I'd never bought these before, but my mission on my last Trader Joe's visit was to get some new things that my daughter might like in the mornings because it's tough to get her to eat breakfast sometimes. I bought these strawberry smoothie bottles and she loves them! I figured she would because she's a big fan of kefir. I used to make her smoothies in the morning but our blender broke awhile back and I haven't gotten around to replacing that yet. These are a good substitute in the meantime. Sugar is high in these - 26g a serving - and sugar is the second ingredient after milk, so these are definitely not an every morning thing.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups /// The perfect thing to have on hand for when I'm craving something sweet. I'm really good at limiting myself to 2 or 3 of these a day unlike if I bake cookies or something myself.. I will most likely end up eating half the batch myself so I stick to these. I keep these peanut butter cups in the fridge and they're delicious!

trader joe's cowboy caviar

Cowboy Caviar /// I love this stuff for when I make nachos with Beyond Meat crumbles. It's great alone on chips, but the perfect topper for nachos. It's not spicy, but slightly sweet and so good.

trader joe's red lentil sedanini

Red Lentil Pasta /// This pasta is awesome! Each serving is 190 calories / 13g protein / 0.5g fat / 32g carbs / 3g fiber so it has great macros as well. I pair this with a Tofurky Italian sausage and Newman's Own marinara to get a cool 45g of protein in one meal ๐Ÿ‘

trader joe's plantain chips

Plantain Chips /// If you haven't had these before, definitely try them! I snack on these all the time. I wouldn't compare them to chips or anything - especially macro wise, they're essential the same there - but they are a lot heartier and satisfying to me. Good stuff!

What are your favorite things to get at Trader Joe's? I'm already making a list so I can stock up next time we drive to Knoxville :]

3 Shoulder & Back Strengthening Exercises I Learned In Physical Therapy



A couple of years ago, my shoulder and back was a total mess from holding Waves, my daughter, on one side constantly and always reaching back to hand her things when she was in her car seat. The pain radiated from my shoulder all the way down to my elbow most days. It got so bad that I couldn't ignore it any longer and began my search for a physical therapist.

It took me almost an entire year to make a physical therapy appointment. If you're in pain, don't be like me.. make the appointment now! And if you're in the Chattanooga area and need a recommendation, e-mail me and I'll give you the info for the fantastic PT I went to.

After my initial appointment, I found out what was going on and also that my back was extremely weak. The plan was to do a set of exercises at home that would strengthen everything. The PT I went to filmed me on my phone doing all the exercises in her office with her instruction so that I would have something to reference when I was home. That was so awesome because it guaranteed my form was perfect so that the exercises would be effective.

I wanted to share some of my favorite exercises from my sessions - it only took 4 of them until my pain was manageable, btw. And if I ever feel any pain creeping back, I do my exercises and it's taken care of.

Now, obviously I'm not a doctor or PT myself and you should always consult a medical professional before you begin any exercise program.

So, here are my top 3 shoulder and back strengthening exercises:

One of the things that was stressed to me was the importance of activating the scapula before beginning any of the exercises. It gets everything in the right position so you can perform all the moves safely and properly.



The Four Cardinal Planes /// I loved this one! You can do this while you're watching tv which is my favorite way to exercise :]



Stability Ball L's /// This one seems like it's not doing much, but believe me.. it is!



Ab Wheel Roll Outs with a Foam Roller /// This one is great at strengthening, plus the stretch feels soooo good! I bought this foam roller on Amazon ~3 years ago and it's still in perfect shape. Definitely recommend it!

Again, don't wait on seeing a doctor or PT if you're in pain. They can make a plan tailored to your specific needs and get you healed quickly. But if you're looking for a few new shoulder and back exercises to add into your routine, give one of these a try!

Currently

WISHING // Friday the 13th wasn't so rough on me this year ๐Ÿ˜œ I seemed to have mishap after mishap while I was out doing coffee deliveries on Friday. Just totally weird stuff involving falling ceiling tiles ๐Ÿ˜ณ, no one answering doors for 15+ minutes, deserted warehouses.. very unusual stuff. And THEN.

I finish work, do school pick up, pick my husband up from work and when we open the front door we get hit with the smell of natural gas. I grab Waves and run across the street and call the gas company. They are asking questions like.. is there a school within a mile of you? Are you within a mile of a hospital? And then telling us to make sure that we don't go back into the house and that someone from the gas company will be there in 30 minutes to an hour. Thankfully, they got there in about 20 minutes.

They used their meter and confirmed a gas leak, turned things off and on, found the leak, and fixed everything, thank goodness. We had to hang out outside for a little over an hour and luckily the weather was great so I was able to keep Waves occupied easily. I'm glad everything was okay and fixed. I'm super anxious about it happening again. We are going to go out a pick up a carbon monoxide detector/alarm which is important and will hopefully ease my anxiety about it all.

EATING // I made these black bean enchiladas the other night and they are amazing! I actually had already made a batch of this cauliflower taco filling, so I added that in with the black beans which made it too thick to strain for the sauce.. so I added a can of Aldi brand enchilada sauce I had on hand instead. So good!
THINKING ABOUT // This is a bit of a downer and I apologize, but this has been on my mind ever since I read it. Stefan Karl Stefansson is an actor who was recently diagnosed with an inoperable cancer and tweeted the following before deleting all social media:
‘It’s not until they tell you you’re going to die soon that you realize how short life is. Time is the most valuable thing in life because it never comes back. And whether you spend it in the arms of a loved one or alone in a prison-cell, life is what you make of it. Dream big.’

It's just so sad. Life is so short and I know that's not something you should dwell on.. but it puts in perspective that holding onto to anger, silly arguments over nothing, thinking about the past too much, worrying about the future, etc. is just all such a waste of time. I could feel myself getting worked up during a traffic jam over the weekend and his post popped into my mind and I was just like.. chill out. This doesn't matter. 

CRUSHING ON // Of course the first thing I thought of was food ๐Ÿ˜œ I am loving Trader Joe's mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups! We went to Knoxville over the weekend so I was able to make a TJ's stop. I'll make a haul post soon!
WATCHING // I started watching the 808 documentary on Amazon Prime and made it about halfway before I couldn't hang any longer. I really enjoyed the first half so I'm looking forward to finishing it tonight. 

Have a great Monday!

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