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Field Roast, Italian vegan sausage, salad

Field Roast Italian sausages have made a big hit in my kitchen. Over the years as I’ve transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, cooking for my family has also changed for the healthier. When it comes to meat alternatives, my kids and I can be fairly picky. We like the good stuff! Plus, with a few meat eaters to feed — my teenage son and my sweetie — it takes some serious convincing to get these carnivores to eat and enjoy vegan options. 

That’s why I’m happy to share this Italian Spring Salad recipe featuring Field Roast Italian sausage! It’s good, satisfying, and totally plant-based. 

I’ve used this artisan vegan sausage in pasta dishes before, but one day I thought about how I could add something hearty to my salad, and this sausage was the perfect addition. It’s made with eggplant, onions, garlic, zesty lemon juice, rich red wine, organic apple cider vinegar, fennel seed, and sweet red pepper, slice it and grill it however you’d like. I sliced the sausage bias cut and grill it lightly in a cast iron pan with chopped sweet bell peppers and a drizzle of coconut oil. 

Make this Italian Spring Salad as a main course for lunch or serve as a fresh side for dinner - featuring @FieldRoast Italian #vegan sausage.

Field Roast, salad, Italian vegan sausage

Italian Spring Salad with Field Roast Italian Sausage

I’ve made this salad with a variety of flavors– peppery arugula and radicchio has a little bitterness, fresh slices of cucumber, sweet cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, citrusy lemon and creamy avocado– all to showcase the zesty Italian sausage. Pairs well with veggie pasta and Pinot Grigio wine or a lemony iced tea. 

Ingredients:

  • handful of arugula
  • 1/2 head radicchio, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced in strips
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, chopped 
  • 1 avocado, halved and sliced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tbl mustard
  • Field Roast Italian sausage
  • a few fennel sprigs, optional
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbl coconut oil, for frying

Prepare all ingredients (except for the Italian sausage) and assemble salad in a big bowl. 

In a cast iron or small frying pan, drizzle a little coconut oil in and add chopped sausage pieces. Sauté until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Take care not to burn the sausage. Allow to cool slightly before tossing into salad greens. 

Mix the salad dressing: olive oil, lemon, and a dollop of mustard (I like Dijon mustard). 

Toss and dress the salad, then top with Italian sausage. Enjoy!

 

 

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Self Care is the Best Trend Since Zumba

Self care. These are two little yet powerful buzz words everyone is talking about lately. So what’s the story with everyone being all about self care? Well, it isn’t all about having a spa day once a week, although that would be ideal. It could just be a morning hike, a yoga class, a massage. It could also be not answering your phone or texts after 6pm. Whatever self care is to you, it’s time you started doing it.

We care for ourselves when we stay present, find balance and tune into gratitude. It is in those moments we find the space to listen to what we truly desire.

Self-care can be the intention to nourish yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. While we can mistakenly perceive this concept of “self-care” as “selfish” indulgences in the form of physical luxuries— manicures, hair salon treatments and massages— the act of doing so can fulfill our inner desire for showing ourselves more love. Yoga retreats, a walk on the beach, not responding to emails for a day. Refreshing yourself is very necessary!

My best efforts toward self care came down to brushing my teeth and showering when I had a newborn. Even though going for a pedicure and getting a blow dry and style was always at the top of my self care list, I put myself last when it came to the demands of motherhood.

Suddenly that pedicure seemed like a frivolous spend, when a nap was really way more important. But such a simple thing as a pedicure made a difference to how I felt about myself. So I did it. 

As a mother, I craved “me time” more than my toddler wanted an ice cream cone. Soon that pedi-time was my mantra, my must-do. When I squeezed in that special time for myself, I felt way better. Now pedicures are non-negotiables, and my toddlers are teenagers. My current self care musts are hot bubble baths and matcha almond milk lattes. It may sound indulgent, but given the chance, self care musts can become your new necessity. 

When I turned 40, I felt more aware of the importance of taking care of myself. If I didn’t, I suffered more than when I was younger. I know not to drink wine after 8pm. I also know that I have to get good sleep.

Lack of sleep, not eating properly, and a few too many glasses of wine the night before meant absolute pain and a longer recovery time in the morning. If I didn’t listen to myself, well, turmeric apple cider tonics and naps!

I don’t feel my chronological age when I’m on the self care path. My normal is feeling young. I have a deeper understanding of my body, mind and spirit. Exercise, eating well, sleep, water, and being aware of all of the things that keep me happy are total essentials. 

Taking care of ourselves boosts our vitality.

The word vitality also means spark, drive, passion, aliveness. Stress crushes it. So relax and give something back to yourself. Be in gratitude for everything and let go. 

Being in gratitude is my guiding light in a busy world. It keeps me centered when I tap into my heart and feel grateful for being alive. 

Now as I approach 50, I’m even more energetic, full of life, joy, excitement, curiosity, passion and, thankfully, I’m healthier than ever. My doctor recently shared that my blood work was that of a teenager. This is reason to celebrate my 16th all over again! Yes, self care is my new middle name! 

My main self care time struggle is… making time for self care. Does this sound like you? I’m a working mom living in Los Angeles. I understand the busy life. Just do a little girl twirl and go with the flow:

Eating Well

When we eat a raw food diet, we support our natural state of being. I don’t only eat raw foods, but I make it a plan to eat several fresh and raw fruits and veggies every day. Don’t suffer, don’t deprive yourself. Eat what you love every once in awhile. Just pay attention to how many fresh foods you can eat in a day.

These are my daily basics:

  • lemon tea in the morning
  • water, water, water
  • a smoothie with raw vegan protein, celery sticks, an apple, cucumber slices, salads, handfuls of grapes, cashews, almonds, sweet bell peppers, avocado and leafy greens
  • more live fresh foods, less processed stuff

Get creative with how you get in your fresh raw foods in snack form:

  • dark chocolate pairs well with almond butter, apple slices and blueberries
  • avocado “toast” on seeded crackers with lemon and red cabbage shreds
  • bell peppers and cucumbers with hummus

Fresh food helps you feel good. Have you ever eaten too many apples? It's definitely not the same as eating too many apple Jolly Rancher candies.

Self Care + Business

Make sure it’s not just you doing all the things. (This is another one I’m working on personally…) To do your work and continue on your business journey, delegate. Find other people to do the stuff you can’t handle. The only way I’ve been able to continue to focus on my personal growth and blogging life — along with my new vegan tee shirt line! — is to hire a few virtual assistants from time to time.

You are in control of the outcome, so control freaks, learn to let go and trust someone else to re-design your logo, website, whatever it is. Delegate and create more time for yourself. Now if I can get my kids to cook, make dinner and wash the dishes…

Self Care and Those Pesky People

You come first. I don’t mean this in a “be selfish” kind of way. I mean, take care of you first. This is one self care thing I’m totally focused upon lately: saying no. You know what I mean, don’t you? When you’ve blocked out some precious “me time” and then something (or someone) asks for your attention, and that takes you away from that me time. I don’t mean this to apply to parenting per se, because your kids needs do take some priority over yours, depending on the situation (and age, because my teenage daughter makes me feel like shutting my door and blasting some music). You can put your phone on airplane mode and ignore the distractions while you take a yoga class, a hot bath, a long walk, or anything else that requires your contemplative focus.

I’ve said yes too many times and felt frustrated later.  Giving up that special time I’ve blocked out for myself felt awful. It’s a negative cycle that stops the moment you say no to others, and yes to you. 

That Crazy Busy Schedule!

Block out time for yourself. Most days I have to play the girl boss, the talent, the director, the camera person, the producer, the visionary, the food stylist, the grocery shopper, the writer, the blogger, the mom and the cook. It’s a lot to be so many people!

I’m an idea person. When my plate(s) are too full, I can’t think. Nothing is done properly. Everything feels insurmountable and unfinished. More ideas come like a flock of seagulls and I’m holding a big bag of chips. They pop in like, “Hey, why don’t you reboot your YouTube channel and create a series of videos about going vegan?”  “Oh, and while your filming your YouTube, maybe you should also start a podcast. Can’t you shoot the food for Instagram while you’re at it? What about a blog post? Hey, why not make a vegan cheesecake and film it in stop motion?” 

The ride my ideas and suggestions take me on is an endless endless journey to get-nothing-donesville. Let’s not get started on my day job’s wacky and fickle schedule, plus being a mom of three. Laundry, lunches to pack, dinner to make, drop offs, pick ups, and what about date night? What happened to that cookbook I’ve wanted to write for over five years?

Chunk That Time 

I had first heard about this time blocking (or “chunking time”) concept through listening to a Tony Robbins interview in the car while I drove in Los Angeles traffic, fretting about how much time I didn’t have to do everything I wanted to fit into in my busy day. Blocking out time for myself sounded like a fairytale, but once I started doing it, it worked like a magic charm. (Thanks, Tony!)

Write It Down

I’m starting a new routine of one-thing-at-a-time and not anguishing over all the things I need to do. Writing ideas down and allowing them simmer helps you manifest ideas and thoughts more fully.

  • Plan out the week on my paper calendar (in pencil) and leaving room for flexibility (flex for you, not others).
  • No reading emails until 10am. Put away the phone and laptop at 8pm for a happier self care fulfilled you.
  • Put your shopping list, goal list, dream list, all on paper, not stored in notes on your iPhone. It’s too tempting to get on apps and scroll away!
  • Tape lists on your bathroom mirror. Visualize it and it manifests. Real talk, my friends. 

Don’t chase your dreams, manifest them.

I had heard someone say that emails are full of other people’s agenda. That takes away from your own agenda. Focus on your agenda. Once you’ve given yourself enough attention, you can respond to others is a better way that doesn’t leave you feeling drained, annoyed and unfulfilled, which only brings you more of that feeling. 

Whoever said “chase your dreams” is probably still chasing them. Visualize, create your vision board, write it down, say it out loud, dance to disco while dreaming up your wildest dreams, whatever it takes. Allow your dreams to come to you instead of chasing your dreams.

How To Do It Like a Self Care Queen

I take care for myself when I take care of my mind, soul and body in these five ways:

  1. Set the intention to do things that make you feel good physically: exercising, yoga, meditation, lifting weights, getting a facial, a massage, getting your eyelashes done, etc.
  2. Put away the phone. Listen to beautiful music in the morning to start your day. Just before bed, instead of engaging in the mindless social media scroll through, listen to meditation apps, music, do yoga, take a hot bath with spa music and candlelight, etc.
  3. Write down lists in pencil on your paper calendar for the next day. If it’s in pencil, you can always erase and rearrange things. Lists of things to do, ideas, things you want to do, anything that comes to mind. A creative mind is always brimming with ideas!
  4. Eat as fresh as possible. My diet is plant-based, but I don’t criticize myself if I have a little dairy every once in awhile (eggs & cheese are two long lost loves of mine), or when I had the fish entrée on MasterChef as a food critic. Seriously. Just because I choose to enjoy a vegan plant-based lifestyle that is in harmony with my soul beliefs and physical body, doesn’t mean it’s an exacting ideal to torture myself with. It’s better for me to choose more plants, but it’s also better for me to balance myself and be open. 
  5. Remember that wellness is being in the state of love. It is being connected, gentle, kind and loving to yourself and others. It’s not about being perfect or being a martyr. It is not about speaking negative words, to yourself or others. Speak positively to yourself. You deserve it. Oh, and go get yourself into a zumba class!
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Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes + Birch Benders

blueberry pancakes

Fluffy blueberry pancakes on the table! These Birch Benders Blueberry pancakes are quickly becoming a family favorite. I’ve been working on creating vegan pancakes from scratch lately, but so far, every batch I’ve ever made has not worked out very well. I’ve tried flax seed “eggs” and mashed banana as a binder. Birch Benders Blueberry pancake mix uses all-natural ingredients: unbleached wheat flour, dried blueberries, potato and cassava starch. Just add water to make stacks and stacks!

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table setting

Scratch Bar & Kitchen, Chefs Phillip Frankland Lee and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee’s main tasting menu restaurant, just so happens to be in Encino. You may not even notice it hiding within a mini mall of sorts along Ventura Boulevard. Recently refreshed with an interior layout remodel, Scratch is like no other place you’ve ever dined at before.

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Indian Chana Masala Stew {vegan & gluten-free}

On cold days I’m always in the mood for cozy comfort food like soups, stews and curry. One of my most favorite Indian comfort meals is a big bowl of chana masala. This absolutely delicious and nourishing Indian Chana Masala is vegan and gluten-free. You can make it in your CrockPot slow cooker with just a few essential ingredients, and let the slow cooker do all the work. 

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Hi there!

It’s so lovely to connect with you!

DO YOU LOVE INSTAGRAM?

I’ll share my Instagram tips and business boosting know-how in my new InstaBrand Masterclass, coming soon!

Meanwhile, follow me for delicious recipes du jour: @stephaniedujour

xo Stephanie