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Hello again!

Hi All! It’s been so long! Hello!

I recently published a short piece titled “Searching for Truth” via Holstee’s Mindful Matter Blog. The personal essay touches on themes of loss, love, renewal, and rebirth. If you have the time, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

https://www.holstee.com/blogs/mindful-matter/searching-for-truth

 

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Be grateful for even that which is not good.

Even be grateful for the things that you find you do not love, that do not choose you, that do not inspire a quickening of the heart; the jobs that do not challenge you or conversations that do stimulate you; be grateful for the relationships that do not nurture you, and too the landscapes that do not move you to tears. Be grateful as these moments are nothing but sign posts leading you closer to your truth.

Just be sure listen; be sure to respond.

Etching closer to truth.

The other day while I was at work, I found myself speaking to a couple who had moved west to start anew. The conversation I had with them stirred up a memory of a conversation I had seven years ago with a couple while I was working at a restaurant in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I knew then that this was-again– a pivotal point in my life.

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Back in 2009 I found myself sat in the beloved North Star Cafe at the base of Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine, (An institution to the East End for the few years that it thrived-we all still miss you North Star!) when I decided without a doubt or an ounce of fear that I was going to move to the U.K. I spent the following year making arrangements and working two jobs while in graduate school in order to secure the funds needed for my move. I applied to another graduate program in England as I dotted and traced the night sky with my aspirations and long held dreams.

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One Sunday evening while at work, I waited on couple who took a bit of interest in me: “There is no way this is all you do?”, they inquired. About twice a month thereafter, for the next six months, this couple came in every Sunday night and asked me to update them on my plans for moving abroad. You see, I had applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to study and carry out research in the U.K. In the end, I was not awarded the Fulbright, but I was accepted into an exceptional graduate program and I was determined to see this opportunity through. When I told this couple that I was not going to let the failure of securing the Fulbright stop me, they asked me to email them email them a short essay outlining my goals. As I was incredibly impassioned at that time, I did so immediately. Later that week they gifted me a check for $10,000 to put toward my studies; In October of 2010 I sat on a plane out of JFK to Heathrow to begin a journey which would undoubtedly change my life.

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Several years have passed now, and I find myself back in the U.S post masters degree (awarded, thank you!) and Phd-level studies under my belt (I did not get the fancy paper or letters behind my name in the end- and this is a good thing, I assure you.); In those years abroad I traveled; learned; cried; laughed; and loved (deeply). Though, the one thing- the one vastly important thing-that happened was that I lost. What did I lose? Myself.

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I’m older now. Some might even say I “know things”. Ha! Sure, I’ve matured, of course, although now I find that the architecture of my womanhood hangs roughly at the intersections of my biology and desire for freedom and opportunity. I’ve always been the kind of girl who likes to try things at least once; motherhood isn’t one of those things is it?

It’s only come into my awareness now that career means something to me. I remember sitting with a group of friends over a drinks at a cafe in Paris last summer, and while they all proudly discussed their work, spanning fashion, design, and academics, I went inside of myself to hide. I was not keen on being a research fellow anymore. What I was keen for was to write.

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I find that I am in the constant pursuit of trying to decide if I I want to create family and express myself as a nurturer, a partner, and a mother. I still haven’t been able to figure out how to reconcile having goals of developing myself as a person, or as an artist; or more aptly as a somebody to myself and a somebody to and for someone else.

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I made a painful decision to rip myself from my life in Europe to return to the U.S so I could regroup, do some much needed healing, and develop myself as a writer. Countless times over, (old) lovers, friends, even work colleagues have encouraged me to do something with my writing. And yet somehow I find that I continue to stand square in the face of my calling without the will to pursue it.

While abroad, I was in the practice of writing everyday. This is what you do. You commit. You craft. You cultivate. Practice. Learn. You give yourself to the page.

And I am not writing much these days.

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The concept of moving West to start over is not unfamiliar to the American spirit; a romanticized, often fictionalized, sojourn to explore beyond the horizon line of our own fields of thought. I came west to re-kindle my spirit, to re-discover what it takes to make me breathe. I wake every day, holding my breathe, searching for inspiration.

The couple I met last weekend called me out on my dreams much like that couple back in Cape Elizabeth once did. “Clearly you are a writer.”, they said; “So, write.”

I put my notice in at work shortly after, and had a conscious look at my surroundings. I asked myself if I got what I needed here in Encinitas these last months and I did. But now I am looking for something more.

As in love, writing requires a certain alchemy of sorts; I often go down to the Pacific for inspiration and while the sea offers volumes of metaphor, the vastness of it can too be all consuming.

I want to write. I want –need– to breathe.

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Too, I’ve always been a girl more fond of the sunrise.

Dispatches from Encinitas_12.21.15

One thing I ultra miss about my flat in Amsterdam was waking up each morning to write. My morning ritual included a warm cup of joe, and an hour of free writing in view of an Elm I’ve grown fond of; an Elm whose changing leaves saw me through the transitions of my life.
I miss the canal boats, and the cyclists whizzing by, a giddy-up to start the day; I miss the sunrise over the Ij, but not as much as that Elm tree. I could have grown old with that Elm. (In my heart, I may just do.)
Often I find that I wake up in my new studio flat waxing nostalgic for my old life, while simultaneously hot with new dreams in the making. It is then that I am drawn into the present moment when I remember that there is this wonderful view, this mystery-so to speak-only a few steps from my doorway. It is then that I stumble around in the dark to make a cuppa, bundle up, shuffle into my flops and on head down to the beach where I can again be again be a writer, a dancer, a dreamer, and a thinker; here by the oceanside I find that I can be free.

On finding what I am, and what I am not.

“… The clearer you understand on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realise that you are the limitless being.” – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Hello Lovelies, it’s been a while….

When I last wrote, I was about to detach from my life in the Netherlands in search of a space of healing and renewal. While I was rather clearheaded and determined in my decisions, I had no knowledge-no internal sense- that leaving the life I had safely wrapped myself in would unearth a rather deep soul-level feeling of hopelessness and fear. My personal compass was off, and even though I was the captain of my own journey, I was absolutely unprepared for the turbulent waters which lie ahead.

To unzip oneself from old patterns of thought, and more importantly perceptions of the self, is a rather painful experience. Instead, I believe it is a rather common practice to cling to ideas of the self- the I am “this”, per say, as if the ideas themselves were life supports. However, this practice essentially fails our ability (or capability) to imagine ourselves outside of our minds and instead grounded in our truth: the I am, versus the I am that. When the time came for me to make a change, the knowledge to do so rose up inside of me with such an intensity I had no choice but to act. The dismantling of my previous life echos the following quote by Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”, as it were aptly so.

Over the last 6 weeks I have been traveling down the west coast of the U.S, where I have visited with friends who were long missed, been inspired and healed by all requisite elements of nature: the expanse of wide farmlands and mountains tops, the earthy rich scent of pines, and horizon lines extending for incalculable miles, all while visiting cities I’ve always wanted to see in the desperate search for what I am.

When I started this journey I was certain that I needed to make a new agreement with myself: Instead of plugging into solutions, I would endeavor to be open to the answers–which was for me, initially, a rather uncomfortable process of being. On the path of uncovering the I am, uncovering the ‘I am not’ has also guided this self-study; I have found this to be a rather reductive process which, while requiring heaps of patience and love, has carried me toward an energetic alignment with the my authentic self and my surroundings. 

On this path of deeper self study, I have found that it can be a rather useful tool to attach to sadness, and to look rather critically at how the mind perceives you to be. I have found that first, the exercise of claiming ownership over your own experience and emotions enables a process of healing rooted in a space of forgiveness, self -love, and compassion. Though to forgive and love, as well as be compassionate toward oneself too has to be taught, learned, cultivated, and practiced, a process so turbulent for some that it could be likened to a storm out at sea. (For a beautiful meditation on how to recover from rock bottom read here:http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-move-forward-once-you’ve-hit-bottom/). In addition, I find that acknowledgement (of) – and further acceptance-that the perceptions of either yourself or what you view your circumstances to be are not entirely grounded in reality, and more importantly: they are not your truth. They are problems of the mind, but not entirely a reflection of the divine you.

Author Zadie Smith was quoted “You are never stronger than when you land on the other side of despair.” While (contextually) I would agree to this statement, I would amend it further by suggesting that the cultivation of strength and knowledge doesn’t quite begin, nor end there. There is no rigid before and after line from which we approach-and respond- to life. The circumstances we find ourselves in physically, emotionally, result from a cumulative process over time. Thus, arriving at and further reaching the other side of despair can be viewed as springboard for profound awakening, soul-level revival, and from there great opportunity to make change.

My path has led me to Southern California where I have started to anchor in an area that I like to deem as the center of a spiritual vortex: Encinitas. I have linked up with a wonderful yoga community here, and have started to develop new connections in this town. My new theory for living is ‘Gratitude breeds abundance’; in other words gratitude also creates opportunity. Without fail, the Universe will always conspire in your favor; it’s up to you to speak through your heart what you most desire and also-rather simply– you just have to listen: you’ll know when the alignment has arrived.

Next week I will head to Nosara, Costa Rica, for a yoga-retreat which will be the start of a several month yoga-study back here in Encinitas. As I am finding my strength again, I hope to continue to write and be a source of wealth and inspiration to anyone that takes the time to read this blog.

Until then, be well my lovelies.

Joce ❤

I haven’t forgotten you, Lovelies!

Hello Lovelies!

It’s been quite awhile now since I’ve posted on the blog, but don’t worry: I haven’t forgotten you!

I am in the midst of a great deal of change, and while I have continued to write every day through the process, I couldn’t help but draw pause when I considered how to reflect what was going on for me in the public arena. As I used to post rather often, I could imagine it appeared that something was amiss. For those who might have wondered, I assure you I am happy, healthy, and all is fine. I still eat my daily bowl of oatmeal. I still make my protein pancakes. And I still think a lot about Living Well.

So with that said, the way I had designed my life was no longer (totally) working out for me; More importantly, I felt as if I was no longer thriving in areas I once loved. As I am great proponent of self-revival, I decided to cut the proverbial cord on a few things and shake it up! I’ve decided to leave the Netherlands for an undetermined amount of time, and will do some traveling with a woman for whom I am filled with such gratitude to call my friend. While I have my eyes set of a few locations that I may some day call home, doors are still open very wide here for me to return.

Some might view what I’m doing as ‘reset’; other’s might think I’ve totally lost it. (I assure you all of my mental faculties are in tact!) Either way, I see it as creating new opportunities for myself. (Ha! How American of me! Trail blazer!) Actually, we can call it many things:  A redesigning. A revamping. A freshening up of an old idea, if you will. Virginia Woolf once said “A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.”; Change punctuates the life process; change breathes depth and meaning to how we choose to spend our days. Change is constant. (Not much else is.) I am of the opinion that character development, as well as self-respect, is firmly rooted in how you adapt-not just cope, but move with the waves of life-one day at a time.

Needless to say I have learned a lot throughout my journey, and I thought I would share some key insights as they are (to me) rather apropos to ‘Living Well’, with the caveat being that I do not I write and share to be ‘self-help-y’ but I do so because perhaps something that I have experienced or learned might touch one soul out there. I hold firm that we are all energetically connected in that way, and with certainty we don’t have to be alone during our process. ❤

  1. There is a fine line between authenticity and performance, such that do you know (like, really really know) who you are? Pay attention. Your physical and emotional health are like best friends who always have your back- they tell you when something is off. Listen.
  2. Know yourself. Take the time necessary to learn about your nature. Keep a journal, perhaps even take an inventory of your past relationships (social, romantic, and professional). Look at what worked, and what didn’t, and explore how, when, and why you did and didn’t thrive….
  3. Accept yourself. They are dynamic sides to all of us–that I am certain. And related….
  4. Always be yourself. I have a friend who likes to sing in the shower, but always stops when she hears someone is home. (She really shouldn’t, I can hear the joy in her voice when she sings!) I also have another fierce lady friend who has no shame wearing full on cat leggings and cat t-shirts. Together. She doesn’t care, why should you!? Nonetheless, if you aren’t yourself, who else are you *really* going to be? And do you really want to take on the nitty gritty of someone else’s life? Probably not. So, be yourself. Be bold at it. Be a badass at being you. (There’s no else who’s gonna be better at it. Promise.)
  5. People’s opinions of you are just that: their opinions. Stop caring what other people think of you and tend to your own garden. Let yourself bloom in the culture of yourself that you see fit.
  6. Stop apologising. (Unless you really did something super awful, with the caveat that while an “I’m sorry” doesn’t change what happened, it might open the door for a mutually engaged discussion on how to move forward with someone you hurt (or who hurt you). But, stop apologising for the small every day things. It’s not necessary, and has this odd way of creating a deep feeling of smallness. And hey, you are most definitely NOT small. (Love you x)
  7. Don’t fake it until you make it; BECOME IT.
  8. You have one life. Value it. Respect it. Take time to know yourself and design your life in a way that makes your heart sing; And, when it’s no longer working-know that it’s okay to change it up! It is absolutely unnecessary to stay stuck in the ‘the mud’. Truth.
  9. Also, know what makes your heart sing. Is it sense of community? It is nature? Is it travel? Is it your family? Find ways to either self- or-co-create with your partner a space that aligns with what fosters heart-centered balance and peace in your life. Essentially I’m suggesting that we all stop putting square pegs in a round holes. We all do it. (Often.) And we should all stop.  (Seriously. Like, right now.)
  10. You are okay. True story.
  11. Trust the process. (Refer to #2)
  12. Speak your truth. Always. This one is hard. Living in the Netherlands has taught me to be direct, (Although the ‘Dutch way’ can be rather curt.) and growing up in America taught me to be sensitive (i.e PC.). You can imagine the difficulties I’ve encountered merging the two….
  13. Feeling tired? How about unpacking some of the suitcases of your past; they are much too heavy to continue to carry around in the present moment, where you are living. Forgive. Let go. It’s okay. (See #4)
  14. Stop people pleasing (imperative)! Live for yourself! For reals!
  15. It’s okay to take the time needed to find your bliss. There is no timeline for life other than the now. Be in it.
  16. And an old friend taught me this one: Treat yourself as you would a lover or a dear friend. Be gentle. Be kind. Be loving. Be true.

Living Well will continue on with a fresh take in the coming months, stay tuned! ❤

Seared Nectarine & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Rosemary Balsamic + Red Leaf 

Come on a little bit closer sweet thang!

  

Hello Lovelies!

In need of a ready-to-impress, summer-ready fresh recipe? Why don’t you give this a try?!

The following Seared Nectarine & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Rosemary Balsamic + Red Leaf recipe can be enjoyed on it’s own or supplemented with puy lentils, chicken breast, chickpeas, egg, walnuts or hazelnuts for added fat and protein. If you opt for nuts, you can even kick it up a notch by caramelising them with a bit cayenne, brown sugar, and butter :).

    

Ingredients: (Serves two)

What you need: 1 colander, 2 cutting boards, 2 sharp knives, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 large bowl, stirring utensils, sauté pan or skillet

Salad: 1/2 head red leaf lettuce, 3/4 ball of Buffalo Mozzarella, 1 Nectarine, 1/2 cucumber

Dressing: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp orange blossom honey, s+p to taste, 1-2 tsp dried rosemary

What to do:

First, separate the lettuce leaves from the head and wash each leaf thoroughly. Then, thinly slice the cucumber and let sit in cold water to maintain texture and structure.

Now, slice the nectarine from the stone. Melt the coconut oil on med-high heat using a stove top sauté pan or skillet. Place the slices of nectarine on the pan and lightly brown on each side. You should smell the sugar cooking off the fruit (combined with the coconut oil= deeee-light!)

For the dressing: Combine all of the ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.

Good luck not devouring this before you’ve even added it to the salad….

Combine the lettuce, cucumber, and nectarine in a large salad bowl. Tear off pieces of the mozzarella and add to the salad, tossing. Top with dressing and give one more stir before serving.

Enjoy!

Just the right amount of crisp & fresh textures, and sweet, and warm flavours!

Vegan Orange Blossom Coconut Chia Dessert Pudding with Blueberry-Passion Fruit Purée  

Because dessert can be both healthy and super yummy. Promise. 

Hello Lovelies! Happy Monday!

I’m sure a lot of you have already heard about the amazing health benefits of chia seeds, but I bet you might be wondering how you can incorporate these tiny nutritional powerhouses into your daily food plan.

Here is an easy to follow chia dessert pudding recipe to get you started on enjoying this tiny micro-nutrient dense food For those of you who are “paleo” conscious, this recipe is super friendly ;), and for anyone out there like me, this recipe is a great excuse to repurpose old jam pots ;).

  

Ingredients:

What you’ll need: 4-5 small glass jars, cups, or bowls; 1 mixing spoon and large mixing bowl; strainer, spoon, and 1 small bowl; aluminum foil or plastic wrap; measuring cups and spoons.

Pudding: 1/4- 1/2 cup shredded coconut (depending on preferred texture), 1/4 cup black chia seeds, 1 +1/2 cup coconut milk, 4 tsp orange blossom extract (heavy on this as the coconut overpowers the delicate orange blossom!), 1/2 cup coconut water, 1 tsp stevia powder

Mix with love! I’m pretty convinced that anything prepared with love tastes waaaayyy better!

Puree: 1/2-3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries, 2 over-ripened passionfruit

Garnish: 1-2 Tbsp shredded coconut

Like a sunrise…

How to:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ‘pudding’ ingredients. Pour to desired height in each of the glass jars (cups, bowls, e.g). Let stand.

In the meantime, position a strainer over a small bowl. Halve each of the passionfruit and spoon the fruit into the strainer. Press the fruit (I find that a small plate, spoon, or even the passionfruit rind itself works well for this) until the juice is separated from the pulp and seeds. Add the juice to a food processor with 1/2-3/4 cup frozen blueberries. Pulse for 5 seconds.

Spoon the puree on top of the pudding mixture and sprinkle the remaining coconut on top. Cover and place in fridge for 3 hours. Enjoy!

Good luck trying not to spoon this confection into your mouth before it’s ready!!!!

It’s easy to enjoy these little treats as they are, or with fruit added on top like this recipe. It’s up to you to find your creative inner chef in your kitchen!

I seriously can’t wait! I love the juxtaposition of the rich-purply-blue against the white. MMMM!!



    

Strawberries + Cream Protein Toasted Oatmeal

Hello Lovelies! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an oatmeal recipe, so today I thought I would try to come up with a recipe that is a bit different than my norm. Having a quick glance at ingredients I had on hand, coupled with a craving for something a bit ‘indulgent’–though still on the healthy side, (surprise, surprise) I came up with this toasted oatmeal confection.

  

Ingredients:

1/4 cup soya “single cream”

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup oats

1 tsp coconut oil

1 scoop vanilla whey protein

1/4 cup chopped strawberries + 3 strawberries

1 Tbsp white almond butter

nature made.

How to:

Heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a skillet on low-medium heat until melted. Add 1/4 cup oats and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted (see photo)–about 4-5 minutes.

In a small pot, warm 1/4 cup of the soy ‘single cream’, 1/4 cup water, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup chopped strawberries. Once warmed, whisk in 1 scoop of whey protein. Once dissolved, remove from heat.
    

Pour the protein-cream-strawberry mixture into your favorite bowl and top with the toasted oatmeal. Chop the remaining berries and add to the top, followed by the almond butter and serve!

A warm, semi-indulgent, but super healthy alternative to the traditional breakfast bowl. Enjoy!

Ready to take on the day!

 

Fit Start: Vanilla Bean Protein Pancake with Cantaloupe & Blackberry

Hello Lovelies!

The dog-days of summer have arrived, and with this sultry time of year comes a yearning for fresh, light, and easy meal ideas to both start and close the day. As it’s so warm, you might notice that your appetite decreases, but this happens because body is working very hard to keep cool and running in tip-top shape.

Bodily functions such as digestion create a lot of energy (or in other words: heat) in the body, such that the body will suppress the appetite in order to reserve energy and keep the body regulated at a cool temp. In addition, with rising temps comes a lot of perspiration- which is another cooling mechanism the super astounding human body performs. (Really, the human body is magic!) However, when you perspire you not only lose water, you also lose important vitamins and minerals which are vital for keeping the body in balance and in healthy function.

Therefore, while it’s important to pack each meal with a full nutritional load to keep you powered and energized throughout the day, it’s also important to hydrate, and to take proper rest. Live well note: Be mindful of overloading the body during these dog-days–it’s already working hard enough as it is! ❤

Today’s pancake puts my summer favorite: Cantaloupe melon in the spotlight. One cup of the sweet stuff is only 60 calories, has no fat, and a whopping 120% and 108% of recommended Vit A and Vit C daily  values, respectively. Cantaloupe is also rich in dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate and potassium too. There is quite a bit of natural sugar in Cantaloupe, which ranks it fairly high on the glycemic index, so as with anything enjoy in moderation paired with clean protein and complex carbs.

Oh and sweet, sweet blackberries….When I was a small girl growing up in Connecticut, my mother would take me to a local beach in a neighboring town during especially balmy days  in order to escape the heat. Boarding this tiny haven were heaps of wild blackberry and raspberries bushes, and I can’t help but still taste the sweetness of those summer days on my lips and even the prick of thorns on my skin as I greedily enjoyed those bramble treats.

The following pancake recipe provides a basic protein pancake base that you can easily spruce up to your fancy with the addition of various spices, herbs, fresh berries, melon or other fruits that you favor. Summer is a great time of year for produce, depending on where you are located, so take advantage of the abundant, and wildly colorful fruits and veggies on hand at your local market. We used cantaloupe and blackberries because they were on special offer at our neighborhood grocery, but strawberries, blueberries, banana’s, and even orange would work well with this recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (yields 2 med-large pancakes): 1/2 cup oats, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp of Stevia powder, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 vanilla bean, 3 egg whites, 1/2 banana, 2 tsp soy milk, 1 cup cantaloupe melon, 8 blackberries, cooking spray or coconut oil.

Before serving (optional): Sea salt, yoghurt, fresh fruit.

How to: Add the egg whites, vanilla bean (or 1tsp extract), soy milk, and banana to a blender or food processor and combine on high until smooth.

Sift the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the contents of the blender. Stir using a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.   

Heat a skillet or griddle iron on med-high and coat with either non-stick cooking spray or coconut oil. Ladle enough batter for one pancake into the center of the pan and press thin slices of cantaloupe into the batter. Slice the blackberries in half and do the same. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the top starts to bubble (much like an ordinary pancake). Flip to finish (in under a minute) and serve on it’s own or with fresh fruit and yogurt.

Tip*: Before serving, sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the melon, now warmed, in the pancake. First, the sea salt adds a nice texture but more importantly it really showcases the melon, highlighting how juicy and sweet it is. Enjoy! (I got this tip from my Grandpa Al- 97 years strong!)

    

Eat well, eat clean, Live light, and Be love.

Kus x ❤

Easy Summer Re-nourish & Refresh: Lime + Dill Poached Chicken Tossed Salad with Granny Smith, Blackberries, Red Leaf and Celery

(For when you want to love your body back–and covet the colors purple and green just like me 😉 )

Hello Lovelies! Happy Wednesday!

I’m not sure how the weather is where you are, but in Amsterdam summer has finally arrived! Today temp’s will reach the upper 80’s, which doesn’t happen too often in this otherwise temperate maritime climate. And while a lot of people will find themselves seaside seeking relief from the oppressive city heat, I’ve decided to stay local and use the summer-warmth as a reason to slow down, relax, reflect, and practice some much needed self-care.

Every Wednesday morning I attend a morning yoga class which has kind of become sort of a weekly check in with how I’m loving and taking care of myself. I call it my personal church. Post Savasana, I usually find myself in a state of clarity; a physical, emotional, and spiritual realignment. With this feeling usually comes a want to treat my body well with nourishing food, water, and a lot rest. Additionally, it fills my heart with love, a sense of freedom- but also groundedness, and a desire to spread kindness all around. Ever hear the term: rose-colored glasses? It’s kind of like that–but better, mostly because feels pretty pure. (And before the Amsterdam jokes start, I did not visit a coffee shop before posting 😉 )

When I created this recipe I had a few things in mind: I was seeking something healthy, replenishing, and nourishing to thank my body for showing up for me every day that I am alive. I wanted something cool, but hearty enough to take me through the afternoon, as well as something colorful and that would cause me to smile with each bite. (okay, I’m a little corny!) And I tell you what: The lime *really* does the trick 😉

How can you resist these colors!!!

 

Ingredients (I opted for all organic ingredients here but please do what works for your budget and preference!):

Serves 2

Two boneless, skinless chicken breast, 5-6 sprigs of fresh dill, 1 pint blackberries, 1 head of soft, red leaf lettuce (butter lettuce would also be a good substitute), 1 granny-smith apple, 1 cup water, s+p, 3 limes, 2 stalks celery, extra virgin olive oil

How to: Place the two chicken breasts in the bottom of a 2 quart sized pot and cover with water just so that the chicken is covered about 1/2- 1 inch. Squeeze the juice of two limes into the pot and then throw the limes in. Add a few sprigs of dill and s+p. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes like this. Then, turn off the heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, wash the lettuce and separate the leaves by hand to yield a rustic look. Chop the remaining dill and add both to a bowl, mixing with hands. Wash and slice the blackberries, celery, and apple and add to the mixing bowl. Remove the chicken breast and slice, laying over the salad mixture. Ladle one spoonful of the poaching liquid over the chicken and greens. Top with grated lime zest and olive oil and enjoy!!!

The lime zest really lifts all the flavours and provides a zing of happy! Ha!

  

The Sweet Kiss: Dark Chocolate Raspberry-Banana Cookie Bites with Crushed Pistachio


Hello Lovelies!

Here’s a little recipe I whipped up today as I was in the mood to be creative and also meet the demands of what seemed like an insatiable sweet tooth! (And also, I suppose my heart is a flutter with a lot of good feelings! 😉 )

With the exception of the wheat biscuits, the recipe contains all whole ingredients that you can feel good about enjoying any day you need a pick-me-up, to revel in a nice memory or well, just because. (You don’t really need a reason to enjoy chocolate, do you?)

 


Ingredients: 1 cup raspberries, 10 whole-wheat biscuits (graham crackers would also be a good supplement), 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1/3 cup + 2Tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp maple syrup, 175 grams dark chocolate, 1 banana, 1/2 cup pistachios, 12 baking cups, non-stick spray, parchment paper

I can’t enough of the color…can you?

 

 

How to: Using your hands, break apart the biscuits and add to a food processor or blender, and process until the biscuits are finely crushed, yielding a flour like texture. (It’s okay if there are still a few cookie chunks.) Add to a mixing bowl with 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil, sea salt, and maple syrup. Combine until a sticky mixture is formed–but be careful not to over oil the cookies!

On a piece of parchment paper, place 12 baking cups and spray with non-stick baking spray. Press a spoonful of cookie mixture into the bottom of the cups. Let sit.

  

Next, using a double boiler melt the chocolate and the remaining coconut oil. Lower the heat once a boil is achieved and stir using a wooden spoon to avoid burning the chocolate as it is melting.

Meanwhile, wash the food processor and add the raspberries. Blend until a ‘jam-like’ mixture is yielded.

No need to use a jar or canned variety of jam, since the berries are sweet enough as they are!

Spoon some chocolate onto the cookie layer, followed by 1 Tbsp of the raspberry puree. Next, add one slice of banana on top of the raspberry layer, and top off with melted chocolate until the whole cup is covered.



Sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top of the chocolate while it is still warm. Transfer the cups to the fridge until cooled. Eat up and enjoy! (Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

  

p.s: I just housed 3- they are so good. I think you’ll super love them!

Big kiss everyone!!!!! ❤

The Kelly: Peach & Rosemary Pancake with Ricotta + Dark Chocolate


Good morning Lovelies!

Ah, the weekend: Long, lazy-lie in’s; A visit to the farmers market; Jazz music (staple!), and catching up on the news. Oh yes, and pancakes.

This weekend’s special edition pancake is in honor of my dear friend Kelly who lives far away on the opposite side of the world in Oz (Although now I believe she is galavanting around Africa! Lucky lass!) Kelly and I met while in Paris in 2010, and while we had a wonderful time in the City of Lights, I had no idea that such a strong, inspiring, supportive and loving friendship would endure. Kelly is steadfast, smart, creative, and not to mention is a super bad-ass scientist. She’s pretty much a super-hero in my book. (Obvi.)

  

So, The Kelly pancake: Crisp peach, heady and fragrant rosemary, soft ricotta and dark chocolate. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the weekend, can you?

(Also, my friend Kristina, (who is my taste-tester each weekend) said: this is the best one yet. So.)

Ingredients: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tsp brown cane sugar, 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup Scottish Rolled Oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp  vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp + 2 pinches rosemary, 1 peach*, 1 cup ricotta, 4 squares of pure chocolate (for garnish), coconut oil for cooking.

How to: Wash and slice the peach and set aside. Prepare the rosemary by running your fingers down the stalk to remove the leaves/needles.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, sea salt, non-dairy milk (we are a fan of oat milk in this house), oats, egg, baking powder, vanilla, and rosemary. Hand-mix until a soft batter is formed.

  

Well oil a pan and heat on medium-high. Ladle enough batter for one pancake into the center of the skillet. Gently press a few slices of peach into the batter. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the top begins to bubble and the edges brown. (Use your judgement.) Now flip! Finish in about a minute.

Chocolate makes everything better!

To serve, garnish with a dollop of ricotta, sliced peaches and grated dark chocolate. If you fancy, you can sprinkle some additional rosemary on top for the win!

*Choose firm, slightly under ripened peaches to yield a crisp, tart texture in the pancake.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Leave us a note in the comments and let us know what you think!

Enjoy your weekend! Big kiss uit Ams! XX! ❤

  

Yummo!

 

Roasted Carrot & Fennel Soup with Puy Lentils, Spinach, + Pecorino! (Vegetarian)

Hi Lovelies!

Although it is early summer here in Amsterdam, the weather still calls for long pants and overcoats. Tonight I was in the mood for something warm to nourish me whole as I’ve I’m currently being tied down by a bit of hay-fever. (yuck!) This recipe calls for simple, whole, plant based ingredients, although I added the Pecorino for a little extra bite. Do what you will in your own creative kitchen, my loves! ❤

  

So, here we go!

Ingredients: 7 medium carrots, 1 large fennel, 2 cloves garlic, 2 shallots, 6 sprigs fresh oregano, 1/2 cup french (puy) lentils (+ 2cups water for cooking), 2 cups water (for roasting), 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste), crushed red pepper (to taste-optional)1 cup spinach, grated Pecorino (to taste preference-optional)

Prepare your carrots by first washing and skinning, followed by chopping off the upper leaves, tops, and bottoms. Slice your carrots and set aside.

Remove the bottom of the fennel bulb by slicing vertically and the outer layers should now be easy to remove. Chop any of the remaining upper leaves and then thinly slice the rest of the bulb.

Delightfully soft, heady, fresh oregano is a wonderful way to add depth to a recipe.

 

I cannot get enough of French (Puy) Lentils! What I love most is that they maintain their consistency when cooked, adding both great taste and texture to any plate . Yum, yum, yum!

 

Yeah, go ahead and try not to take sneaky bites of the cheese while you are grating away…!


 
In a large baking dish add the carrots and fennel, followed by chopped garlic, shallot, s+p (to taste), and extra virgin olive oil. Top with chopped oregano (about 4 springs- reserve 2 for garnish) and lightly combine.

At 200 degrees (convection/ 225 conventional) roast the carrot and fennel mixture for 45 minutes, stirring once about half-way through.    

 

Meanwhile prepare the lentils by adding 1/2 cup lentils and 2 cups water to a pot and cook on med-high heat for 20 minutes. When almost all of the water has evaporated, take the lentils off the heat, cover and let sit.

Chop the remaining oregano and grate the Pecorino cheese. In a small sauté pan, lightly prepare the spinach over medium heat with either olive or coconut oil. Set aside.

Because all ovens vary, the roasting time for the vegetables may differ–adjust accordingly (including adding more water or stirring an extra time if needed.).  When the vegetables are done, remove from the oven and add to a food processor with the remaining liquid. Add 2 Tbsp of dried vegetable stock. Combine on high until a soft puree is achieved. Add to a large pot + 1-2 cups additional water (use judgement on this one) on the stove on low-heat to warm.

 

Next, ladle a serving a soup into a bowl, and add some spinach to the center, followed by some lentils, grated Pecorino, s+p (we used crushed red pepper) to taste. Voila! A healthy, hearty, a bit spicy, but-oh-so delicious and nourishing soup bowl to warm you from the inside out until you are pink in the cheeks :).

Adding some crushed red pepper to finish really compliments the soup bowl, adding just the right colour, flavour, and bite.

 

Let me know how this recipe turns out for you in the comments! Big kiss from Ams! X ❤

Fresh Watermelon Mint + Feta Salad with Plant-Based Proteins

After a super sweaty and rockin’ heart-opening yoga sesh this afternoon, I knew I was in need of something fresh, rich in proteins, healthy carbs and fat, as well as hydrating for lunch in order to replenish and thank my body for all of it’s hard work. (It is also very warm in Ams today! Finally summer!! 🙂 Basically salads and gelato are on my primary list of noshes this weekend :p)

Also….I suppose it’s time that I tell you guys that I know how to make dishes other than oatmeal and pancakes! Ha! (But don’t worry, tomorrow is Saturday 😉 )

Here is an easy to follow recipe for a healthy, filling, and delicious salad that can be served for lunch, dinner, or even for brunch on a summer day when you are seeking something to both nourish and cool you down. This recipe is low prep and only requires a few, easy to access and affordable* ingredients. Also, while I added feta to my plate (I had a craving!), the addition of cheese is of course optional if you prefer to keep the salad vegan and plant-based.

 

Ingredients (This list is for one meal salad, or can be divided into two smaller plates as a starter. Adjust accordingly for multiple mouths to feed! <3): 1+1/4 cup red leaf lettuce (washed and torn to small pieces with your hands), 1/4 cup fresh mint (chopped), 1/2 cup chopped fresh watermelon, 1/4 cup brown rice (cooked), 1/4 cup black beans (cooked), 1/4 cup garden beans, 2-3 Tbsp chopped feta (optional), 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, s+p to taste.

 

Combine all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and voila!

*I purchase rice, beans, and pulses in bulk, which while taking time for preparation, is much easier on the pocket (and the environment). If using beans that you purchased in bulk, be sure to soak overnight and prepare before hand to keep this recipe quick and light.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have! Have a great day, Lovelies! Kus uit Ams! X! ❤

The Kristina: Lavender & Dark Chocolate Pancake (Because chocolate)

Good morning, Lovelies! As it’s Friday, let us have a special breakfast treat!

Kristina (my sweet friend + housemate) says that chocolate in all forms is good. (Obvi.) So, this morning with a few squares of chocolate left in the house and a hunger for a warm breakfast the Kristina Pancake was born.

Earlier this month, my other dear one, Marjolein, who is spending her summer in Croatia (lucky girl!), sent me some gorgeous lavender dark chocolate in celebration of my birthday. (Thank you, by the way!) Kristina, who is also from Croatia, swooned when she saw this chocolate, as I think it must have recalled some really nice memories to her of home. I suppose today’s recipe was a way to bring some warm memories to her here in Amsterdam, after what I knew to be a very stressful week for her at school.

Lavender is one of my most favorite ingredients to use; lavender is heady– floral, yet offers a softness to any recipe ranging from sweet to savoury.

Because chocolate.

 

Creating this recipe also brought some warmth to me; what struck me most while mixing up the ingredients for this pancake was the fragrance: a delightful, buttery-vanilla sweetness that beckoned memories of baking with my mother when I was a young girl. (I couldn’t stop smelling the batter!)

Before cooking, take a moment to enjoy the gorgeous scent of the batter..this preparation for this recipe is the whole experience!

 

The ingredients for this pancake are simple and this recipe is low-prep, and easy to follow. I hope you enjoy today’s special creation, and can find your own inspiration for cooking throughout your day.

Ingredients: 1 cup + 2Tbsp whole wheat flour, 1 cup non-dairy milk (we used oat milk today!), 1 heaping Tbsp of culinary lavender, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp of sea salt, 1/2 cup Scottish Rolled Oats, 2 tsp vanilla bourbon extract, 1 egg, 2 tsp sugar, 4 squares of dark chocolate (chopped), coconut oil or butter (whatever you fancy!) for cooking 🙂

 

How to: Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Create a small hole in the mix and add the wet ingredients (except the chocolate) and combine with a wooden spoon, until you yield a smooth batter. Fold in the dark chocolate.

Heat a skillet on med-high heat and melt your cooking agent. Pour 1/4 cup  measurement of batter into the center of the pan. (cook one at a time) This pancake will take a little longer to cook than the traditional recipe, but as with the latter the edges will start to crisp and the top will bubble. When this happens, it’s time to flip! The finish is quick, under a minute. Serve immediately with shaved chocolate and extra lavender. (We also went for greek yogurt!)

Warm, fragrant, and oh so good! Yum!

  

Please leave comments and let us know what you think!

Kus,

Jocelyn ❤

Breakfast, re-imagined: Chocolate & Hazelnut (Protein) Oats

Hello Lovelies!

I have been all about hazelnuts as of late, and there are a host of reasons you should be too! Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) are a sweet-tasting tree nut with heaps of health promoting benefits that are sure to make you swoon!

To start, the consumption of hazelnuts may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as they provide a rich source of mono-saturated fatty acids such as oleic acid, and essential fatty acids linoleic acid. A diet rich in healthy fats from sources such as hazelnuts has been linked with the reduction of LDL (or ‘bad cholesterol’) and in turn, increased bodily levels of HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) (please see my post on the value of adding healthy fats to your diet here: http://livingwellwithjoce.com/2015/03/28/six-weeks-to-a-healthier-you-fat/). In addition, hazelnuts are a solid source of vitamin E and B-complex vitamins, which are essential for skin health and energy, as well as vital nutrients and minerals including folate, copper, iron and magnesium. Hazelnuts are also packed with protein and dietary fiber which may help you stay fuller longer and assist in weight management.

Hazelnuts can be enjoyed raw, on their own, roasted, salted, and in both sweet and savory treats. This easy oatmeal recipe showcases the winning flavor combination of hazelnut and chocolate that offers all of the health promoting benefits of plant-based ingredients, while bursting with flavor akin to a heaping spoonful of Nutella (and who doesn’t love Nutella!). I have provided an ingredient list which suggests either protein powder or the use of cocoa powder as a base to this oatmeal dish, this way you can so choose what works best to suit your dietary needs. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Mwah!

Ingredients: ¼ cup non-dairy milk, ¼ cup water, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (raw or whey both work great) *or* 2 Tbsp cocoa powder + 1tsp stevia, ¼ cup Scottish Rolled Oats, 6 hazelnuts, crushed, 4-5 cocoa raw cocoa beans, Optional: Banana (as seen in photo) or fig.

How to: Warm the non-dairy milk, water, and vanilla extract over low-medium heat. Whisk in the protein powder (or the cocoa powder + stevia). When the mixture begins to thicken, add the oats and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Finish the oats off by pouring into your favorite bowl and topping with raw cocoa beans, crushed hazelnuts, and sliced banana or fig.

Enjoy!!!!! X!

Saffron & Speculaas Banana Pancakes with Orange Blossom (Because Wednesday)

Happy Wednesday’s Lovelies!

I’ve been on vacation these last weeks, so I thought I’d create a special pancake recipe to let you know that I’m back and feeling inspired to bring you new breakfast ideas that will keep you warm and nourished this upcoming summer season.

Today’s slightly savory recipe was built around the long-loved Dutch spice mix Speculaas,  which blends warm, spicy, yet earthy tones of cinnamon, ginger, clove, white pepper, as well as several other spices raising traditional recipes up a notch with a  unique flavor that cannot be easily reproduced. (Too: speculaas isn’t just for the holiday cookies, my loves.)

 

I had the honor of trying the vandotsch family speculaas recipe in today’s pancake creation. The vandotsch speculaas spice mix is produced with no artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives, and all spices used in this family recipe are organically, sustainably sourced, and fair-trade. While this is my first time using vandotsch speculaas spice mix (http://www.speculaas.co.uk/), I really liked the edge it gave to my recipe. The spice blend offered a warm, earthy tone to the basic pancake which when paired with the flowery notes of orange blossom and smoothed by creamy banana, results in a fresh and tasty, summer (or anytime!) ready breakfast treat.

Ingredients (yields 5-6 medium sized pancakes):

Dry: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1/2 cup Scottish Rolled Oats, 2 tsp vanilla infused coconut sugar*, 2 pinches of saffron, 1 + 1/2 tsp Vandotsch speculaas spice mix.

Wet: 1 cup non-dairy milk (soya, almond, oat, e.g), 2 tsp orange blossom extract, 1 egg, coconut oil (for cooking), 1 medium banana

To garnish: Orange blossom honey, blueberries (optional) ❤

 

*Vanilla infused coconut sugar: If you are custom to using vanilla bean in recipes but are unsure of what to do with the pod once you’ve removed the seeds, why not try making vanilla sugar? Vanilla sugar (of any kind) is super easy to make, has a long shelf life and can be incorporated into a host of recipes from sweet to savoury dishes alike. Quite simply, after you have removed the seeds from the pod, place the pod in an airtight jar filled with sugar (you can use white, brown, or coconut sugar) and voila! Let the pods sit in the sugar in a dark cool place to yield a fragrant addition to all of your favourite recipes.

 

How to: Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl. Sift. Then, add the wet ingredients and mix by hand until a smooth batter is formed. Warm a griddle or skillet on med-high heat and melt the coconut oil. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the heated pan. Add a few slices of banana (and some extra saffron if you like! This really adds a nice punch of colour and flavour to the final dish!) and cook on one side until the edges begin to form and the top begins to bubble (about 2 minutes). Flip and finish off (about 1 minute) and serve immediately. Top with orange blossom honey and fresh blueberries for optimal enjoyment!

Made with love.

Deliciously fragrant, hearty, nourishing. Come on, give it a go.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please leave comments below and let me know what you think!

Big kus uit Ams,

Jocelyn x

 

Rustic Wild Blueberry & Pink Grapefruit Protein Pancakes with Speculaas + Flax

Good morning Lovelies! Happy weekend! I hope you all have really great plans ahead! On this side I have a very special (and delicious!) pancake recipe to share with you. ❤

Can you even resist?

 

Still in theme with the great Dutch spice mix otherwise known as Speculaas, and drawing on other flavors I really love such as pink grapefruit and the sweet wild blue, I’ve created a hearty, yet light, healthy, and utterly tasteful pancake. There are quite a few ingredients to today’s list, but use my recipe as a guideline to find inspiration and creativity in your own kitchen.

Ingredients (yields 2 rustic, fluffy pancakes!):

Dry: 1/2 cup spelt flour, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, 1 Tbsp Stevia powder, 2 pinch sea salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp flax, 2 tsp speculaas powder, 1/4 cup Scottish Rolled Oats

Wet: 2 egg whites, 1/3 cup + 1 splash non-dairy milk (we used oat milk for this recipe)

To cook: 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Fruit: 1 medium pink grapefruit, 1/4 cup wild blueberries (you could probably find these beauties in the frozen organic section of your grocery)

Optional: White almond butter to serve.

Keep love in all you do!

How to:

In a mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients except the oats with a wooden spoon and a soft hand. Create a small hole in the mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix by hand. If the batter looks to be too thick or even dry, carefully add some more milk to loosen/moisten. Once the batter has reached a consistency you like, add the oats! (Keep the oats whole, as they are responsible for adding a thick, fluffy, hearty, and rustic texture to the pancake!)

An absolute treasure of nature! Look at that color!

Prepare your fruit by peeling the grapefruit and removing the flesh from the thin white casing. Also, measure out the blueberries and set aside for cooking.

And my favourite vintage plate!

It was hard to resist eating this goodness with a spoon..go ahead, give it a go!

On low heat, warm a pan until the coconut oil is melted. Pour enough batter into the center of the pan for one pancake. Press into the batter some segments of the grapefruit and some blueberries, raising the heat to med-high and cook for 2-3 minutes (this pancake will take slightly longer as the batter is quite thick! But, as each stove varies use your best judgement to flip. The best indication for this recipe in particular is observe the edges browing, as the top will not bubble as most pancakes do. Flip the pancake to finish off (within a minute) and serve immediately.

And finally ready to be eaten…I even surprised myself with just how good this recipe came out! I hope you love it!

 

We served ours with white almond butter, extra fruit, and speculaas for a total win on this grey Saturday here in Ams.

Look at that amazing, rustic texture! Thank the great Oat!

I do hope you enjoy this recipe! Please leave comments below if you fancy!

Happy.

 

Enjoy your day! Big kus! xxxx

Orange Blossom Scented Courgette & Speculaas Protein Oats with Wild Blueberries + Cinnamon Hemp Hearts

Good Morning Lovelies!

Holy yum!

 

Ever since I have lived in the Netherlands, I have been obsessed with the warm spicy goodness that is otherwise knowns as Speculaas. This long loved spice is a gorgeous mix of ginger, cinnamon, anise, clove, white pepper and coriander seed, and I think that speculaas kicks up any recipe with notes of warmth and richness that will sure to leave you swooning with delight.


So, this breakfast bowl combines several of my favorite ingredients: courgette, speculaas, and wild blueberries nuanced with the delicate and sweet floral bouquet of orange blossom. I promise you that this recipe is easy to make and just as easy to enjoy. Speculaas isn’t just for cookies, and the holidays you know!


Ingredients: 1/4 heaping cup Scottish Rolled Oats, 1/4 cup whey vanilla protein**, 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of your choice (oat, almond, soya, e.g), 1/2 cup grated courgette, 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 heaping tsp speculaas***, 1/4 cup wild blueberries, 1-2 tsp cinnamon hemp hearts*, 1-2 tsp orange blossom water

Are you hungry yet?

 

How to: In a small pot, warm the coconut oil and sautee the courgette for 1 minute. Stir in the amount of speculaas to suit your fancy and take a moment to enjoy all the aromas as the fill the air. Add the non-dairy milk and 2 tsp of orange blossom extract. Stir. Next, whisk in the protein powder and once dissolved, lower the heat and stir in the oats. Stir in the oats for about 30 seconds; turn off the heat and let sit for one minute. Pour into your favorite bowl and top with 1/4 cup wild blueberries and cinnamon hemp seed hearts for the win!

The blueberries in the recipe really tie all the flavors together..if you can, find an organic variety in the frozen aisle and add some of the juice for extra sweet delight!

 

*Cinnamon Hemp Hearts: Simples! In a shallow, air-tight container stir in 1 tbsp of cinnamon to 1 cup of husked Hemp Hearts and store in the fridge! A great topping for this breakfast bowl, or yogurt, ice cream too!!

**Optional ❤

***Interested in making your own speculaas? Follow the recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/speculaas-spices-duch-spice-for-sinterklaas-428201

Enjoy! Kus uit Ams!!

Blueberry Vanilla + Flax Protein Pancakes with Blueberry & Fresh Ginger Salsa

Hello Lovelies! ❤

It’s that time of week again for another health-and beautiful-life-inspired pancake! Today’s edition is inspired by the sunrise I caught this morning while I was out for a short run–yes, that early on a Saturday (!) (scroll down for a view!), as well as my craving for something light, healthy and fresh on my palette.

Today’s recipe only requires few ingredients and a small bit of prep (<10 min), and it will leave you feeling satisfied and energized to get on with your amazing day.

Ingredients (yields 4-5 small pancakes)

Pancake batter: 2 large egg whites, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Rolled Scottish Oats, 1 Tbsp flax, 1 cup  blues.

Salsa: Ginger root (enough to yield 2 Tbsp chopped), 1/2 cup blues, 1-2 tsp water

Additional topping: White Almond Butter (highly recommended- really ties in all the flavors!)

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil for cooking
How to:

Pancake batter: In a standard blender or food processor, blend the following on high until thoroughly combined: egg whites, protein powder, vanilla extract, milk. Once a fluffy, soft batter is formed, add your oats and blend for 20-30 seconds. (Aim here to keep the fluffy consistency and the texture of the oats- you’ll see how much this helps to yield a fluffy pancake later on!). Lastly, stir in 1 Tbsp of flax seed.

Salsa: In a food processor (I use a Tomado cordless processor-total game changer!), add your fresh ginger, blueberries and some water. Chop, chop, chop!

To Cook: Heat the coconut oil on a skillet or griddle on med-to high heat, and add the batter in small batches, about the size of a soft-ball. (you may need to mash down with the back of a spoon). Now it’s time to add the blues! Take some blues in your hands and add one at a time, gently smashing them with your finger tips as you place them into the batter. I find that about 6-7 blues per pancake is perfect.

Cook as you would any pancake: when the edges start to brown and the top bubbles up, it’s time to flip! These little beaut’s won’t take too long to finish off, no longer than a minute to a complete finish once you’ve flipped*.

Serve immediately with the blueberry-ginger salsa, extra blues, and if you have it on hand, some white almond butter too, which really ties all the flavors together.

*Be careful not to burn your lip (like I did!) when tasting these little treats out of the pan! The blues are super hot!!!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, as well as the rest of your weekend!

Kus! x

Lavender Protein Oats with Coconut-Vanilla Cream + Pomegranate 

Happy Friday Lovelies! We made it through another week, and I hope you are all looking forward to a weekend filled with relaxation, friends, and don’t forget time for self-care! Here is a special little recipe for you to treat yourself or your loved ones over the weekend (I also bet it can easily be re-inspired as a pancake or muffin, too!). This breakfast bowl if chock full of healthy fats, dietary fiber, protein and anti-oxidant richness to get you onward with your amazing day. I hope you enjoy! Kus! ❤

Ingredients (yields one beautiful, fragrant bowl): 1 tbsp culinary lavender (divided), 1 tin of coconut milk (refrigerated over night), 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1 vanilla bean, 30 grams of Scottish Rolled Oats, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup water, 1 pomegranate, seeded + reserved, 1 heaping scoop of protein of choice (I used 100% vanilla whey for this recipe).

Additional toppings: 1-2 tsp of flax seed, pomegranate seeds, or something else special that you fancy! Feel inspired!

How to:

To create the Coconut-Vanilla Cream, scoop the layer of coconut cream out of the top of the cooled tin of coconut milk and add to a bowl. Add the seeds of one vanilla bean and whip. Refrigerate until ready to use. (for this recipe I also added some lavender to the bowl for extra flowery goodness. You can also follow the recipe here for The Heaven for additional uses of this creamy delight: http://livingwellwithjoce.com/2015/04/06/the-heaven-vegan-lavender-vanilla-bean-coconut-blackberry-cream-pie/

To prepare your oats it is rather simple today: In a small pot on med-high heat, warm your water + non-dairy milk and 1 tbsp of the coconut-cream mixture (whisk until dissolved!). Next, whisk in your protein + coconut flour*, followed by the remaining lavender and cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add your oats and cook until desired consistency is yielded. Stir in the pom seeds to your hearts desire and pour into your favorite bowl! This morning I topped my bowl with some flax seeds for an omega-3 lift.

*the coconut flour adds a nice, cake-like taste to the bowl- really a delight!

Don’t forget to pour this delicate beautiful morning treat into your favorite bowl for optimal tasting pleasure! Eat well! Mwah!

For more information on the health benefits of:

flax seed + oil: http://nutritionhealthfitness.com/benefits-of-flax-seed-oil/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

pomegranate: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

http://ezinearticles.com/?12-Pomegranate-Health-Benefits&id=886982

lavender: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/natural-remedies-lavender_n_1456984.html

❤ ❤ ❤

Breakfast, reinspired: Pink Grapefruit and Fennel Protein Oats

Looking for a new and fresh way to ramp up your morning meal? Give this light, fresh, and crisp Pink Grapefruit and Fennel Protein Oat Bowl a go to put a spring-time, vitamin-packed kick in your day. ❤

Ingredients: 1/4 cup Scottish Oats, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (oat, soy, almond, e.g), 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional), 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, 1 tbsp hemp protein (optional), juice of 1/2 pink grapfruit (juiced with pulp reserved), 1/4 cup chopped raw fennel. Additional toppings: Hemp seed hearts, flax, or even pine nuts might do!

Inspired.

How to: In a small pot, warm the milk, water and vanilla extract on low-medium heat. Whisk in the protein and add the fennel seeds. Warm, stirring until thoroughly dissolved and scent starts to emerge. You should also notice that the milk/water mixture is beginning to thicken- this is what you want to achieve! Finally, add your oats, and stir in 2 tbsp fresh pink grapefruit juice and cook until the desired consistency is achieved*.

Once your oats are finished, pour the mixture into your favorite bowl. Top with chopped fennel and pink grapefruit pulp. For an ramped up health bowl, top with superfoods! Be inspired!!

*For this recipe, I turned off the heat once I added and stirred in the oats, covering the pot for 2 minutes. This method yielded a hearty, whole oat that was soft but maintained full texture and fully absorbed flavor. As always, my suggestions are only suggestions: Enjoy your oats your way!

Vegan Strawberry Pinwheels

I’m hosting two lovely people from Italy this weekend through Airbnb, and I decided to whip up a special breakfast treat for us to enjoy. Using ingredients I already had on hand, I adapted a recipe from Annie of The Unrefined Vegan–and, like woa.

Check out her easy to follow recipe here for your own inspiration: http://anunrefinedvegan.com/2014/04/10/5-revamped-vegan-breakfasts-recipe-4-strawberry-vanilla-pinwheels-with-sweet-cashew-icing/

The changes* I made include the following:

1) The addition of some extra cinnmon and lemon zest when called for cinn or lemon;

2) Also, I used spelt flower and whole oats for a slightly more rustic texture.

3) When I spread the jam-mixture onto the dough, I also scooped a bit extra of strawberry jam from the jar onto the dough. (but really it’s just because I can’t get enough)

4) Because pumpking puree is hard to come by in NL, we made our own- and used butternut squash instead. We boiled the squash until soft and stirred in vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg, and then followed the rest of the recipe accordingly.

5) Lastly, I didn’t have Stevia extract so I used 1 extra tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp stevia.

*sorry for the delay on what changes I made!

The two-day prep process was seamless, and in no time you can enjoy these lovely little treats on their own, frosted, or with a bit of nut butter! Delight!

oh so super creamy cashew..perfect for a spring recipe!

we be rollin’.

jam-a-liscious….my housemate couldn’t stop dipping her finger in the mixing bowl!

almost ready..don’t they look so good!!!! we couldn’t wait to stuff our faces with them!

tres jolie! my awesome housemate said they looked so good because they looked real and rustic. imperfection is beauty in her book, and to my heart’s delight I swooned…!

and like, woa. pure yum. ❤

We ate them all up! I bet you will too!!

Store in the fridge if you already frosted them and enjoy for a couple days…if they last that long!

Kus!

X

Strawberry Sage + Orange Protein Oats

Goooooooooood morning! ❤

Did you know that sage is super good for you? Sage is chock full of volatile oils, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and vitamins (Vitamin K and A to be exact!). This herb has anti-oxidant properties, and benefits brain function! Who knew?

Try this recipe as a simple way to incorporate more fresh herbs into your diet. I think your tummy and your heart (and mind!) will be happy.

Ingredients: 1 cup of water + 1 Tbsp non-dairy milk of choice (soy, almond, oat, kokos, e.g), 1 heaping scoop of vanilla whey protein (or pea or hemp), 1 tsp vanilla extract, zest of 1/2 orange, 3-4 sage leaves (chopped), 3-4 strawberries (chopped), 1/4 cup Scottish Rolled Oats

Toppings: pulp of 1/2 orange, 1 strawberry, 1 sage leaf (chopped).

How to: On low-med heat, warm the water, milk, and vanilla extract, then whisk in the protein until fully dissolved. Next add the sage leaves,  strawberries, and zest, stirring, followed by the oats and let cook until desired consistency (I favor a slightly under-cooked oat!). Top with orange pulp*, sliced berries, and a few pieces of sage. Additional superfoods such as hemp seed hearts gogi, flax, or chia seeds are also a delight if you would like to go for an extra health boost!

*For the pulp, juice 1/2 orange and then use the pulp that has been left on the top of the juicer! Simples!

Kus x

Blackberry Almond + Date Hemp Protein Cupcakes

Because it’s still Wednesday. ❤

 

Ingredients (yields 6 cupcakes): 2 large egg whites, 2 small (tiny!- but not baby-bananas!) ripe bananas (smashed), 1/2 cup rolled oats,  pinch sea salt, 1 cap full of maple syrup, 1/4 cup hemp protein, 3 dashes of cinnamon, 2 tsp almond extract, 3-4 dates (chopped), 6-8 blackberries (halved), 6-7 almonds (halved), 1-2 tbsp non-dairy milk (to moisten batter); reserve: 6 blackberries (whole), slivered almonds (to top before baking).

How to: Smash your banana in a large bowl. Add your egg whites, hemp protein, oats, cinnamon, maple, salt, and almond extract & stir. Slowly add the non-dairy milk to moisten batter (but do not over-wet; optimal batter is thick + hearty!). Stir in your almonds and blackberries (but be careful not to over stir!). Pour into silicon baking cups and bake for 14 minutes at 200° convection (adjust for conventional about 25°- but as ovens vary, use caution.) Let cool before serving as they’ll finish off in the baking cups on their own.

Frosting (optional): 1-2 tsp blackberry juice, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 tbsp non-dairy milk, 1/4 Soylanda Cream “Cheese”, 2 dash cinnamon.

Other frosting options include white almond butter, or plain!

Enjoy!

 

 

Raspberry-Saffron + Orange Blossom Protein Oats with vanilla bean & dark chocolate. 

Because Wednesday. ❤

Ingredients: 1/2 cup coconut milk (or non-dairy of your choice: almond, oat, soy, e.g), 1/2 cup water + 1 tbsp (reserved), 1/2 frozen raspberries (thawed + juice), 1 vanilla bean, 1 tsp orange blossom extract, 2 small pinches of delicate saffron (go for the real stuff if you can!), 1 square dark chocolate (72% or higher for the best antioxidant boost!), 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (or leave the protein out altogether if it’s not your thing!), 1/4 cup Scottish Rolled Oats.

How to: in a small pot, heat your milk and 1/2 cup water on low-med heat. Whisk in your vanilla bean and orange blossom extract. Stir in your saffron. Pause: Take in the gorgeous smell and take notice of the lovely color the milk-water mixture takes. Lower heat. Whisk in the protein powder until dissolved, followed by the oats and cook until desired consistency. Add 1 tbsp water + stir. Drop in 5-6 raspberries, stir lightly, and remove from heat. Pour into your favorite bowl, pour the raspberry juice over the top, followed by the remaining berries and dark chocolate flakes. Top with hemp seed hearts (for the win!) if you like!

Enjoy! Kus x

Pink Grapefruit Blueberry + Fresh Mint Pea-Protein Oats (Vegan)

Be inspired.

So fresh, so clean clean….eats that is!!

The flavors in this breakfast bowl, while all strong + unique on their own, pair in a subtle, fresh, and clean profile on your pallet. And: pretty food tends to taste better. So.

Ingredients: Juice of one pink grapefruit (divided), 1/4 Scottish rolled oats, 1/2 cup blueberries (divided), 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract), 1/2 cup soy milk (or fav non-dairy: almond, coconut, oat, e.g), 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water,  1/4 cup pea protein, 5-6 fresh mint leaves (chopped), hemp seed hearts (optional). ❤

How to: In a small pot, warm your milk + water on low-med heat. Whisk in your vanilla bean (or extract) and pea protein (whey or hemp or sans protein all together are all good options, too!) until dissolved. Throw in a few blues, followed by your oats and cook until desired consistency. Right before turning off the stove, stir in some of your pink grapefruit juice (about half). Turn off the heat and transfer to your favorite bowl (essential!). Pour the reserved grapefruit juice over the top, followed by the remaining blues and chopped mint. For an extra health boost, top with hemp-hearts for the win! Love!

Breakfast, reinspired: Orange Blossom + Fig Protein Oats with superfoods (optional)

Good Morning, Lovelies! Don’t let Monday knock you down! Be sure to start your week with a solid breakfast packed with protein, compex carbs, dietary fiber & essential fats,  vitamins + minerals to get you going and onward with your amazing day. This morning’s oats are a perfect way to do so!

Brighten up those Monday blues with uplifting & vitamin C packed orange!

Ingredients: 1/2 cup oat milk, 1/4 cup water, juice of 1/2 orange, zest of one orange, 1/4 oats, 1/4 cup vanilla protein, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp orange blossom extract, 2-3 sliced figs (dried or fresh!), 1 tsp cinnamon.

Optional Superfoods: 2 tsp Hemp hearts, 1 tbsp Gogi berries, 1 tsp bee pollen.

How to: In a small pot, heat your milk and water on low-med heat. Whisk in vanilla and orange blossom extract. Lower heat and whisk in protein and cinnamon. After 1 + a half minutes (or when all ingredients have been thoroughly combined-it helps to continue whisk!), add your oats. Cook until desired consistency on low heat*. Towards the very end, and before removing from heat, add part of the orange juice and the zest. Stir. Take off the heat and pour into your favorite bowl (a must for totally enjoying your breakfast!). Pour the reserved orange juice over the oats and top with sliced figs and superfoods. Enjoy!! ❤

*I opt for a slightly undercooked oat to retain a more hearty, rustic texture. But, since it’s your breakfast bowl, do what your heart fancies! Mwah!

Lovely, light, nourishing, & downright soul-level happifying goodness!!

The Milena: A Cinnamon Banana Cashew + Date Hemp Cupcakes with Cinnamon Vanilla Soya Cream ‘Cheese’ Frosting

This weekend was spent catching up with my beautiful friend Milena, and we spent hours pouring over life, love, food, and healthy living. This recipe was specially created for her: an expression of her warmth, her timeless beauty + classic taste, her desire to eat well and enjoy all to do with fit-living.

Here I introduce you to The Milena: A cinnamon banana cashew + date hemp protein cupcake with a touch of decadence (just like my pretty friend)! 100% Pure Ingredients, all yum.

 Ingredients: 1/4 cup Hemp Protein, 2 egg whites, 1 cup mashed ripe banana, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 cup oats, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp stevia, 1 tsp maple syrup, pinch sea salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp non-dairy milk (soy, oat, coconut, e.g), 5 chopped dates, handful of cashews-split by hand for rustic texture. (Yields 6 cupcakes)

How yummy looking is that? Get in my belly!

 

How to: Prepare your mashed banana and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine your dry ingredients.  Add you egg whites, vanilla,  + maple and stir until combined. Mix in your dates and cashews, and then slowly your milk to moisten the batter. The desired result is a thick, heart, but moist base.

Fill 6 silicon baking cups and bake for 14 min at 200 degrees (Convection). Allow to fully cool before serving. Store in the refrigerator, should keep for 3 days– if you don’t eat them all up like Milena and I did!!

Frosting: 1 package (140 grams) Soya Cream Cheese (plain), 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1-2 tsp cinnamon (optional: add 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder for added nutritional boost and texture.)

In a small bowl, mix one package soy cream cheese (I use Soyananda brand) with vanilla and cinnamon to taste. If you add protein powder, add a dash of milk to moisten mixture and yeilds a soft and fluffy frosting.) 

Set in the koolkast for 5 minutes before spreading and gobbling up!

  

Yummo…. Come on… You know you want to!

Lavender + Lemongrass Hemp Muffins with almonds, dates + purple mulberries

These fragrant and rustic healthy little bites are something like Woa.  

Made with whole, pure ingredients, these Lavendar and Lemongrass Hemp Potein Muffins make it easy to feel decadant without feeling neglectful of your health in the process.

Ingredients (yields 4 muffins):1/4 cup Hemp protein, 1/2 cup rolled oats*, 1 tsp stevia, touch of maple syrup**, 2-3 tbsp soy milk (to moisten batter), 2 tsp lavendar, 1 tsp lemon grass, zest of one lemon, pinch sea salt, 2 egg whites, 2 tbsp apple sauce, chopped dates, mulberries, and almonds.

Mix ingredients together to form a thick but moist batter. Pour into silicon baking cups and top with slivered almonds. Bake for 16 minutes (200 degrees convection). Let cool before serving.

*You may need to up your oats depending on moisture in the batter. Ideally, a hearty batter is desired.

**About a cap full!

Serve with white almond butter (seen here) or vegan ‘cream cheese’= delight!

Yum.

Rose + Almond Protein Oats with warm Strawberry Puree 

Good morning Lovelies! Today’s breakfast-reinspired offers a warm and nourishing oatmeal dish with delicate notes of rose, vanilla, and smooth almond. Served with a light, strawberry puree nuanced by warm cinnamon, this healthy breakfast bowl wakens you to a French garden grove in early spring. Travel and be romanced by your senses this morning…swwooooooooon!   Ingredients:

Oats: 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup Scottish Rolled Oats, 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp extract), 1-2 tsp rose water (to preference–I like 2!), 1/4 cup vanilla whey (or pea) protein-optional.

Puree: 4-5 strawberries, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp coconut oil.

How to:

Wash and slice your strawberries, adding to a blender or food processor with 2 tbsp water and cinnamon. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a small sauce pan, and set aside.

Add your almond milk, vanilla bean, and water to a small pot and heat on low heat until warm. Whisk in your protein powder, and once dissolved add your oats. Cook until desired consistency (I prefer a bit undercooked to retain texture), and after removing heat pour into your favorite bowl.

Heat your strawberry puree and a tsp coconut oil until warm. Pour over your oats and serve with additional almonds or almond butter if you like!

Only thing left to do is to eat up and fall in love! Enjoy your day!

Kus!

 

Inspired (Eating, Dancing, Loving, Living) Well.

I saw this quote, and thought it was quite apropos to the spirit of my Living Well approach toward cooking;

“Good cooking is an art, as well as a form of intense pleasure…a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with variation.”

– Madame Jehane Benoit

The creation, as well as the fostering of a nurturing and loving relationship with your body through quality food and movement, springs from inspired living. Whatever the grounds for your inspiration, be it to have more energy, feel happier, sleep better, be more productive, have more time for your loved ones, or yourself, root it in the very nature of sustenance, and your inner artistry; Food is life, and your life is your own creative expression.

How will you be inspired to live (love, dance, eat, be) well today?

Kus uit Amsterdam,

Joce x

The Carrie: Strawberry-Lemon + Rosemary Pancake

The Carrie, a light and airy, all natural strawberry pancake with subtle notes of lemon and rosemary, is sure to impress even the fusiest of foodies. Delightfully paired with a strawberry-rosemary puree and Greek yogurt (optional), you may find that a bit of your heart is left behind as these flavors whisk you away on the fringes of spring.

Interested in the recipe? Please contact me at livingwellwithjoce@gmail.com for more information! Bedankt en Kus uit Amsterdam! X!

Dispatches from San Francisco, 31 January 2016

Dear Lovelies,

You know by now that I do love Sunday mornings.

And I can’t help but reflect on this particular day, for it is quite the story. Rather unsatisfied with the quality (and perhaps quantity too) of how my life was unfolding in Southern California, I handed off what remained in my beach-side flat to a friend and boarded an Amtrak toward San Francisco wearing nothing but a heavy perfume of both uncertainty and utter faith. I had but a few bucks in my pocket; no job secured, or place to live. This sounds romantic, of course. The stuff of cowboys and cowgirls, I’m sure. 

As I am fan of transparency, I’d like to share with you that during the first few weeks here in the city, I came face to face with something I have long come to fear: a lack of connectedness; a lack of love, my heart-centered beacon growing dim. I faced potential homelessness head on; and I was desperate in the state of what my life had become. Though here I am nearly a month later, having faced some dark times, and where I now find myself standing head on in the light.

What if you thought-for a moment- about your life’s journey in this way: imagine that you are leaving tiny little breadcrumbs all over, with each movement, each interaction, each kiss, to attract your destiny. The success of this approach, however, rests in your ability to trust that while on your journey, rich gains are being made. Always. Trust that what you are seeking is near, and find comfort knowing that it is also seeking you.

It takes a special kind of circumstance to bare one’s soul; given the chance I recommend, daily, to lean in toward the direction of that you fear. Live startled to the bones; in other words: make your bones sing!

Till soon, be well my loves.

J