Not all of us can afford to BBQ.

4th of July this year is the same weekend I move into my new home. It’s gonna be busy and exciting. So the question bugging me today (& again) is what in the hell am I cooking?

I love mishaps that work out. You forget an ingredient in a recipe, but you don’t want food to go to waste, so you use it for something else, hoping it works. Voila. It does. Yippie. Mini victory celebration.

Mini victory celebration for YOU too. I’ve listed the prices of my local grocery store here in Boise, Idaho. For the produce only. To help give you a breakdown of how it feeds me and Jake and for how much. Plant-based is possible and affordable. After all, just because it’s the 4th of July, doesn’t mean we can all afford a BBQ.

Since it’s so busy, let’s get started right away.

Caesar Salad w/Beets

5 Servings (2 dinners  for us & 1 lunch)

2 Romaine Lettuce - $1.98
2 sets of Beets (1 set of 3 if beets are large) - $4.98
½ Red Onion - $0.39 (for the half)
Gorgonzola - $5.99* (leave out if vegan or plant-based)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Red Chili Pepper Flakes**

*Optional: If desiring a true plant-based meal, leave the cheese out.
** Apply according to your taste.

  1. Peel beets & chop into bite sized pieces

  2. Boil for 30-40 min, until soft (you may roast them as well)

  3. Toss with olive oil, red chili pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Let cool.

  4. Chop or tear romaine into bite sized pieces

  5. Chop red onion into bite sized pieces

  6. Add gorgonzola, red onion & beets to chopped romaine

  7. Add Caesar dressing and toss.

  8. ENJOY! You’re done!

Need more for your salad? Get a tasty and healthy grain bread to accompany your creation.

Hope you enjoy the extra free time! Happy 4th of July!

Ps. Send to anyone who needs a twist on a classic, a craving for healthy food AND free time! We’re all busy. This is an easy winner for me.
Pss. Believe it or not, this cost us (rounded UP) $14 total. With 5 servings that’s only $2.80 per serving. How’s that for eating plant-based. (Technically, it’s $1.60 per serving if it’s100% plant-based. That’s a steal.)

The Beauty of Yoga

International Yoga Day (June 21st) comes at an interesting time. Currently I’m reading ‘The Heart of Yoga’ by T.K.V. Desikachar as a part of my yoga teacher training. As I read this, I’m discovering why yoga has been such an important part of my life.

In my early 20’s yoga helped me from an unknown sickness that was affecting my digestive system. Causing horrific hours of dry heaving during the time of night I should be dreaming. I’ve never gotten a true diagnosis. I’ve never cared why yoga worked either. It worked. That’s all that mattered to me. I may have had years where I didn’t practice. Yet I always came back to yoga.

In my late 20’s I got divorced. This was a time period of great grief for me. Not only from the divorce. Life has a way of multiplying the things you are going through. I had no idea how to love myself. I THOUGHT I did. Yet the stuff happening around me points out that I don’t. I’m confused. Lost. How do you know where to go when you don’t know where you are or how you got there?

Yoga helped me figure that out. Without the intention. I’m a hardcore bikram yoga fan. I LOVE the torture of it. Hell yeah. Give it to me. YES! I feel great after a hot yoga class. 90 min? No problem. It took me years to notice that whenever my mind would wander to my to-do list, what sucked, or whatever, I’d fall out of posture. Since I’m competitive with myself I wanted to figure out the best way for me to stay in posture as frequently and as long as possible. Little did I know, I was meditating. By being aware of my body.

Yoga is not passive. We have to participate in life.
— T.K.V. Desikachar, ‘The Heart of Yoga’

I was establishing roots in what I would learn later is ‘being present’ or ‘living in the now’. By focusing my attention ONLY to my breath, keeping it calm, and ONLY to my body, I was turning off my mind. Do you know what that’s like? Normally I don’t. My mind is a clown on crack in a bouncy house. To feel nothing going on in my head was incredible. I never knew what to call it. The best side effect was yoga always seemed to help me find clarity with decision making.

Little did I know, the breathing techniques were turning off my mind. Which in turn were turning on my parasympathetic nervous system. Which meant I was calmer. More clear. I could actually hear myself. Boom. Decisions were made. Have you ever had clarity after a yoga class? Well, that’s the science baby. It’s true. You can make better and healthier decisions for yourself with a yoga practice. Simply by paying attention to my breath.

Yoga is a practice of observing yourself without judgment.
— T.K.V. Desikachar, ‘The Heart of Yoga’

Currently I find a hard left in my path. I’m forced to not participate in my normal ways to decompress. With tight IT bands, knee issues and a possibility for tendonitis in my feet (hiker with flat feet). Which has made me lost. Foul in my mind. Decisions have become a stress again. How do I get that back? The yoga I know isn’t feeling right. It’s hurting for the first time ever. Hiking is completely out of the picture unless I don’t want to be able to walk for the next 3 days. Great. Two huge loves, gone. I’m insane again.

Recently I moved to Boise, Idaho and got my license as a real estate agent. I even accepted a position with a Broker after passing my test. I also got anxious, in a bad way. Couldn’t make a decision. This feels so wrong. But it’s the right thing for me to do right now. But it feels so wrong. Fuck. My lifelong career of not having a career continues on.

I need my mind to stop spinning. At the very least I need it to slow down. Boom. Bust out a yoga app. It’s ok. Old lady yoga. Let’s do it. I even posted an instagram photo of this moment because I needed to be gentle with myself. This was humbling. But I did it. Still loved it. As I took the photo and made the post, boom. There it was. That still small voice. The decision maker who I missed so much!

Those who know that voice know how much it seems to also talk in riddles while giving you clarity. This time it said ‘why don’t you become a yoga teacher?’. We’ve had this discussion before. I can’t make a living being a yoga teacher. That’s ludicrous. You may as well pursue your art too. Get super unrealistic. The voice came back… ‘Shhh, Robs, just look.’

So I did. Drawn to, for no reason in particular, the Sage Yoga & Wellness Studio here in Downtown Boise.  Shoot. Class has already started. See. Can’t do it. The voice came back… ‘Shhh, Robs, just reach out. Send an email. If they say no, you can be a realtor’. Shit. Can’t argue with that. Email sent. Naomi Jones, my heart will forever be grateful for you. “Come on in,” she said, “let’s get you started.”

I had no idea what I enrolled in. What the fuck is Yin yoga? Why is this shit soooooo slow? The voice came back, ‘Who cares. You don’t know you’re not sick anymore. It doesn’t matter.’ The I discover rest is welcome in Yin. I could totally take a nap. The voice… ‘Robs, I got you here. Trust the process.’

As I pursue yet another avenue for my human financial survival, I find myself in the perfect space. Little did I know that Yin which teach me about the thing I struggle with most of all. Surrender. I’m not the surrendering type. I’m a ‘let’s make this happen’ type. Surrender? ‘NEVVVVVER! Never give up. Never surrender.’

Somehow letting life be as it is, is my greatest hurdle. So here I am. A lover of yoga. Open with curiosity. And finding surrender to be one of my greatest ambitions.

To all the yogi’s out there, whether full-time or part-time. Happy International Yoga Day.

Recognizing our personal starting points begin with the exploration of the body, including the breath.
— T.K.V. Desikachar, ‘The Heart of Yoga’

Breath on & stay curious.

Ps. Forward this to all your yogi & non-yogi friends. We all could use something that adds beauty into our lives.

The Instagram photo when I made a hard left turn.

The Instagram photo when I made a hard left turn.

What's in your maniac mix?

‘The Universe/God/dess works in mysterious ways’ is an understatement. Getting older I find there’s a joyful element.That’s right, aging gives me joy. I’m more aware of what’s really occurring in my life. My perceptions have shifted.

Age gives me the element of time. Time gives me the ability to ‘connect-the-dots’.

When I was younger, life was extremely confusing for me. ‘Wait. So success is working your ass off. Getting good grades. Graduating college To work your ass off. Forever. Huh? I don’t get it.”

My first reality check was what I thought would be my first real job. I was gonna be a graphic designer for Anheuser-Busch in Oahu.  Awww, hell yeah. Until I found out my would be $9/hr. ‘What?! But I went to college for this! Aren’t I worth more than $9/hr?” Like most proud corporations I was told that they were being generous. They were proud to pay me $1 more than the average starting pay for a graphic designer in Hawaii. ‘Great. I’m glad they took cost of living into consideration.’ I didn’t last long. How could I when I made more as a waitress?

I became attracted to people and jobs where the bare minimum effort is popular. Yet, the confusion remained. ‘Wait. So don’t work your ass off and you get to have more fun. Yet no one can pay their bills. Living anywhere in close proximity to the term “paycheck to paycheck” is draining. It sucks the creativity right out of you. Which is NOT fun. Huh? I still don’t get it.”

The confusion has made me bounce back & forth. From professional jobs I’ve had to work my ass off (Is it still OT when it’s a lifestyle?). To living paycheck to paycheck. Back to working my ass off. Back to living paycheck to paycheck. I can tell you from personal experience… both options suck.

When it’s your first, second, or even fifth job, you may not have enough of that time element. But a resume pages longs can. As a pattern starts to arise amongst the chaos.

First, it started with giving myself permission. Permission to disagree with these 2 theories of success. Permission to reject the idea that these are my only options. Permission to be curious about things that interest me. Permission to give myself the time and space to figure this out. This being the most difficult for me. Moving slow can feel like you’re literally marinating. Which means sitting in a boxed container smothered with saran wrap till an unknown moment in time occurs. They call it when you’re ready. This is also known as torture for the marinated.

That curiosity has led me to today. Where each job I hated carried an ingredient Something I would use to create my very own maniac mix. A blend that’s not sold in stores. Each ingredient was like being thrown out into the wild and learning a new survival skill. Without being aware that’s what has been going on can be frustrating.

Now that I’ve accepted all these crazy skills as a part of a master plan, I’m at peace. Peace because although I haven’t attained my dreams and aspirations, I’m on a path of discovery! Like the greatest adventurers of my imagination. Indiana Jones. Fievel Mousekewitz. Alice in Wonderland. Dorothy in Oz. Captain Picard exploring the edges of the Galaxy.

Frustration has slowly left me the more I give myself permission. Permission to be a yogi, bee keeper, gardener, plant-based cook, writer, painter, payroll processor, graphic designer, musician, singer, dancer, self-entrepreneur, traveler, photographer, pitbull lover.

Yes, no bullshit. That’s my job title. I’m finally proud of that mix. Even if it looks like a reindeer poop cookie and I’m still figuring out how to make a living doing it.

Redefine the word success. Redefine your job title. Redefine what you do. Be who you are. Here’s your permission.

At first I struggled with ideas of what things we can give away for National Give Something Away Day (June 15th). Then it occurred to me, although it’s not the point of this holiday, I believe that humans are notorious for not giving themselves permission. To be who they are. To be free from what they feel obligated to do. So let’s start with giving permission to ourselves.

For those who already have, share how you've ‘connected the dots’ for yourself. And how you view your life now that you have that permission. Let’s help another sister out.

Ps. Share this article with someone you know that can contribute to the conversation. Or someone who’s struggling with accepting their ingredients. We’ve all got our own maniac mix after all.