Balance: Finding November Focus

Hello lovelies! Lately I've been using this space for Sunday recipes, but I want to break it up a little and share a few thoughts as we head into a new month and the craziness (and loveliness) that is the holiday season. I started writing this post on Instagram, but phrases punctuated by emojis quickly turned into sentences, which even quicker, turned into paragraphs. SO, I instead have come here to talk about one of the most important (and one of the most difficult) players in my life. And that, my friends, is balance. 


You all know my past with food and labels and major imbalances etc. Finding balance is something that has followed me throughout my entire life (and everyone, I think it's fair to assume??). When missing, it seems to pop-up at every transition, highlighting essential elements of your life that you're missing (and possibly ignoring). Its gentle reminders are all too easily pushed aside until the side effects become limiting. 


With the month of October filled with recruiting, school, work, applications, seeing friends, eating & cooking well, planning meals and working out intensely, I was left exhausted. It was as simple as that. It felt like I had no time and that a true break was never in sight. Life felt claustrophobic. Along with a few recent health imbalances that needed addressing, my body was sending me clear signals that it was time to slow down and take a break. In the past, I perhaps would've pushed this off for longer, asserting that I really had no time and that was the sad reality of my life at the moment (completely defeatist. Not cute, Maddy, not cute). But, this time, I did something crazy. I listened. I did lower intensity workouts in my apartment, cooked grounding and simple meals and treated myself to lots (and lots) of nights in (cue rewatching Broad City, lots of yummy candles and lights out by 10:30). And this wasn't just for a day or two before I felt that I was "reset" and could go right back (another habit I used to fall back on). Nope. I gave myself weeks of this cozy and precious time, instilling practices to incorporate as I continue to find balance.


However, it did leave me missing some of my routines. I missed the nights spent getting ready to go out and the adrenaline rush of trying a new fitness class. And that's perfectly okay, and very expected. Instead of restricting this, I took the chance to shift again (hi, balance). The key is in not allowing myself to go all the way back to the high intensity life that I was living a few weeks ago. So, today, after a quiet morning home, I took my first studio fitness class in two weeks at Exhale barre. And, let me tell you, it felt incredible. As I type this, I am ~extremely~ horizontal and can feel the muscles in my legs getting ready to be reaalll sore tomorrow. In the name of this balance, tomorrow might be a day for a walk along the river, or a yoga flow, to give my body the recovery it needs. 

So, with all this said, I want to set the intention for the weekend (and would love for you to join me) to truly listen to my body and give it the nourishment it needs. Not what my mind thinks, not what my workout schedule thinks, not what the recipes scattered throughout my Instagram feed think. What my own body thinks. And, honestly, I'm really excited for it. 


PB & J Chia Pudding

Hellooo! Today’s post is going to be short and sweet. I’m finally sharing one of my favorite recipes, something I’ve been meaning to do for… 6 weeks? Yikes. The past month and a half has been quite the rollercoaster: gearing up for senior year, applying for jobs, getting a job (yay! Side note: if anyone has any SF tips lmk, it’s gonna be my new home starting next fall) and attempting to stay balanced and healthy throughout. But, a calmer couple of weeks are finally on the horizon, and let me tell you, they look ~nice~. With all the ups & downs that have been in my life recently and a cross country move coming (relatively) soon, I’ve been finding myself craving flavors and foods that feel grounding, familiar and cozy. This takes the form of daily morning matchas, roasted squash & root veggies and handfuls of trail mix with rich dark chocolate. All the foods that just feel & smell & taste like home. 


Cue: peanut butter and jelly chia pudding. In my chia pudding kick a few weeks back, I sampled everything. Pumpkin, vanilla berry, chocolate coconut, matcha. You name it, I tried it. But the one that stuck (and is now one of my favorite breakfasts and snacks) was peanut butter and jelly. The yummiest recipe and one that I hardcore ~winged~. The subtle tartness of berries mixed with the creamy richness and slight saltiness of nut butter is nostalgic perfection. There’s really nothing quite like a good pb & j, and chia pudding captures this classic duo perfectly. 

So cheers to coziness, cheers to home and cheers to tomorrow’s breakfast. 


PB & J Chia Pudding (Makes 2 servings, or more as a small snack)

For the “jelly”:

.75 cup frozen blueberries

.5 t vanilla

1 t maple syrup

.25 t cloves

1.5 T chia

.25 cup water

For the “peanut butter”:

3.5 T chia

2 T peanut butter

.25 t salt

.5 t vanilla

.75 c almond milk

.25 c water

1 T honey

.5 t cinnamon

To top:

Fresh berries

Chopped nuts

1. Combine all jelly ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Let sit until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir as needed. Set aside.

2. In a blender, add all peanut butter ingredients (except chia). Blend until well combined. Pour into a small bowl and add chia. Let sit until thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside. 

3. Once both mixtures have been mixed and let sit, pick a large jar or container. Add one third of the peanut butter mixture. Add half of the jelly on top, then another third of peanut butter and so on until you’ve used up all of the mixture. With a butter knife, swirl gently, just to slightly combine the layers. 

4. Let sit in the fridge overnight, or at least 6 hours. To serve: top with fresh berries and chopped nuts.

If you try it out, let me know how it goes! And, if there are other chia flavors or other recipes in general that you’d like to see or have me try out, send me your suggestions! I always love fresh ideas. Happy Sunday, lovelies. xx

A-Little-of-Everything Toasted Muesli

Hellooo! So, at this point, I think it’s pretty clear that breakfast is ~kinda~ my thing (I’m currently working “elaborate breakfast food” into the interests section of my resume…). There’s something in the ritual, in the quiet peace of morning that makes food shine. Smoothies loaded with berries and spinach, oatmeal topped with cooked apples and plump raisins or crispy fried eggs perched atop perfectly toasted sourdough: I love it all. 


Part of this love comes from elevating breakfast into a ritual of self care. I like to start my morning with a glass of warm water and a pause to open my shades and my windows before I tackle cooking any kind of breakfast. This delay not only eases me into my day, but allows for time to listen to my body and what it needs on that particular day (an opinion that we can sometimes forget).


After some time with this practice, you can predict what your bod will need, but it’s always nice to check back in once and a while to make sure. Is that smoothie bowl really what your body wants or would a hearty bowl of oats feel better?


However, this can be hard to do everyday (we all have lives to get to and don't always feel we have oodles of time to ponder breakfast choices). For those kinds of days, it’s time to call on something healthy, prepped the night before and seriously yummy.


Cue: toasted muesli. Loaded with my favorite things (ginger, sweet spices, coconut, raisins, flax…) and inspired by my all time favorite blogger (Joy is a rockstar), this muesli is perfect for an on-the-go morning. It’s packed with fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants and takes approximately 30 seconds in the morning. I also love that, though simple in practice, it feels elevated and sorta glam (in a loaded-with-seeds-and-healthy-things kind of way).


It’s also ~extremely~ customizable, so have fun and play with you own favorite spices, seeds, fruits etc. I think a little bit of pumpkin puree instead of blueberries could be unrealllll. Let’s get to it.


A Little of Everything Toasted Muesli

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 

1 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted almonds

1 cup roasted seeds (I like pumpkin and sunflower)

1 cup dried fruit (I like raisins, but cranberries are good, too)

1 cup coarsely chopped uncrystallized candied ginger

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup flax meal

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

a few shakes of ground nutmeg and cloves

frozen blueberries (to serve)

almond milk (to serve)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oats, coconut, seeds and almonds on baking sheets. Bake until coconut is toasty and golden. This can go quickly so keep an eye on it, stirring around the tray as necessary. This takes about 5 minutes.

2. Add cooled oats, seeds and coconut to a large mixing bowl. Chop almonds and add. 

3. Combine the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix evenly. Store in a large airtight container. 

4. To serve: place .5 cup muesli (or however much you’d like) in a jar topped with .5 frozen blueberries and add almond milk to cover. Let sit in the fridge for at least a few hours (preferably over night). And, that’s it! 

Happy Sunday, loves!