Monthly Archives: December 2015

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New Year Vision Boarding

Happy almost New Year! A few weeks ago I looked at the last vision board I made and realized that, in one way or another, I had accomplished everything on it. What an incredible year it’s been! I decided to make another one with a friend and realized how appropriate it was to start reflecting on what I want for my life as the year comes to an end. I would have made the new vision board anyway, but creating it at the end of the year seemed like a great way to honor 2015, reflect, and move into 2016 inspired and with a clear purpose.

I’m fairly new to vision boards. A wonderful teacher of mine, Anne Margaret, was the first one to give me an “assignment” to do one. I resisted it soooooooooooo hard! I felt like it was another one of those corny new-age hippie things. But, I made that vision board (it was my homework after all), and it actually changed my life.

For me, it seems like the power in vision boards is two fold. Primarily, it helps you get clear. It pushes you to think in a new way that is actually kinda uncomfortable.

We don’t often spend time actually thinking about what we want in our life. We definitely spend more time focusing on things we don’t want. Thinking about what we don’t want is important, but without thinking about what we do want, it’s hard to pull away from old patterns. For example, take “I don’t want to be sick”. Ok, that’s great. But what does that mean? Does that mean you want to eat clean? Does that mean you want to exercise? Does that mean you want to take medication? Or move out of the city to get more fresh air? Vision boards help us actually put together some ideas about what we do want and how we can get in action to start living out the things we do want.

The second power of the vision board is taking action. On my first vision board I had a photo of a beautiful baked/stuffed red onion. The photo was gorgeous, and I had no idea how to make the dish. At the time I was still a social worker and becoming a private chef and health coach was not even a seed of a thought in my mind. I had to take an action based on my vision board, so I signed up for a cooking class I wouldn’t have normally treated myself to. In that class I met an amazing teacher, who I eventually interned for (8 months later). She also encouraged me to go to an open house at the Natural Gourmet, where I ended up getting a job within the year. Who knew a picture of an onion would lead me to working at a place that I have seriously idealized for more than a decade.

Putting some pictures on a piece of poster board is great, but that in itself isn’t going to make magic. You still need to push yourself, you still need to take action. After all, it’s your life! And, the scarier the better! The greatest rewards come from doing things that push us outside of our comfort zone. So yes, be afraid, and put that image up there anyway. Think about what you truly want without any modifiers or doubts. It may not happen this year, next year, or even within the next decade – but you never know. Just articulating what you want is the beginning of the magic formula.

I’d love to see your boards! I’ve been getting photos from clients and it’s so amazing and inspiring. I’ve been hearing back that just the process of creating one is transformative (and I agree :)). Mine’s right here with this post. For me, this year is about amazing friendships and communities, physical badass strength, honoring and continuing to trust my intuition, heart expanding collaborations with women I love, and cooking for yoga and meditation retreats in beautiful places around the world. And, just to be totally honest, the little girl on there that’s kinda hiding, well, she represents the family I hope to have one day. It’s not a 2016 goal, but it’s just something I like to acknowledge as a deep desire.

So much love to you always,

Samantha

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6 Healthy Kitchen Essentials

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by!

A well-stocked kitchen is key to cooking healthy meals without wasting a lot of time. Here are 4 of my kitchen essentials:

1. A good knife

You don’t need to buy a whole set from cutco or any of those other companies, you really just need one good knife. I recommend a good 7 inch chef’s knife. A good knife stays sharp longer, allows you to chop more efficiently (huge time saver!) and doesn’t hurt you hand. Plus, it’s actually safer to use a sharp knife over a dull knife (a dull knife can slip and slide a lot more and you have to use more force with it, making injuries more likely). This is my favorite knife. It works for me because I have small hands and it’s super light weight. If you’re a big guy, you might prefer one of the German made knives. You can also go to a kitchen store and play around with some different knives to see which works best for you. If you’re looking for an inexpensive good knife, I recommend these guys. I use them for my cooking classes.

If you’re not comfortable using a kitchen knife, take a knife skills class. It’s more than a worthy investment.

2. Counter space

If you live in NYC, you probably know how hard good counterspace is to come upon. But, there’s always a way! In an old apartment I used to have a small shelf on wheels that was the perfect height and was great to chop veggies on (with a cutting board). In other spaces I’ve put the cutting board on the stovetop or on a kitchen table. Take a look at your space and see what you can do. You can also move your drying rack, paper towels or random kitchen clutter to a different spot to make space for meal prep. Ideally, you want whatever surface your chopping on to be about hip level. Chopping at this level will keep you from straining your back.

3. Tupperware

It may sound like a given, but tupperware is so important for good meal prep. You want tupperware that fits one individual portion so it’s easy to pack and take to work, heat up when you’re hungry and ready to go, or freeze for later use. If you’re using plastic, make sure it’s BPA free! You can also use extra tupperware for storing any extra veggies you’ve prepped and munch on them for a snack or throw them in an omelet or stir fry. Prep once, eat twice!

4. Aromatics

Aromatics (i.e.) onions, garlic, herbs, ginger etc are great for adding flavor to a dish. Saute some onions and you get a whole new depth of flavor to whatever you’re cooking, whether it’s a soup, omelet or stir fry.

5. Spices, Oils and Vinegars

In addition to aromatics, spices or sauces that make you happy are essential to making quick and healthy meals. And they give you great flavor without any of the artificial BS. Cumin is my favorite spice, it adds so much to any dish I make. You don’t need a million spices to make good food – just keep a few on hand that you know you like. My 3 essentials are garam masala (a spice blend), cayenne and cumin.

Same goes for sauces or oils/vinegars. I always have olive oil, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and lemon juice at home (I buy this great lemon juice that is organic, not from concentrate, and never goes bad!). Plain veggies are completely transformed with a little spice, olive oil and lemon juice. Figure out which flavors work for you and make sure you have them around. Some others I really like are ume plum vinegar, lime juice and sesame oil.

6. Pre-chopped veggies

That’s right, I said it. Don’t be afraid of buying packs of pre-cut veggies at the supermarket. It will save you a ton of time, which is super important when you’re tired, hungry and just getting home. Sometimes they are even less expensive than the whole veggie!

What are your favorite kitchen staples?

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