Where I’m At

Have you ever been completely captivated by a new friend; by their interests, by the way they do their hair, by their style and subconsciously changed who you were to be more like them? Imagine doing that for nearly seven years. The past four months have been the longest amount of time that I have spent alone since I was sixteen. Never have I been more in tune with myself, and only myself. No matter how equal a couple is, how happy you both are, you change bits and pieces of yourself to make it work. Compromise is great, but knowing who you are first is vital for a long lasting relationship. How can you be with someone else if you aren’t even sure of who you are?

Breakups are hard and messy. I don’t think that anyone enjoys being on either end. Sometimes, though, despite how good things are, taking a step back and asking yourself tough questions is important. Am I happy? Will I be happy in 10 years? Do I feel like myself? These are all key. Being alone is okay. I can’t stress this enough. Take the time to learn about yourself, buy the things that you truly like, spend time with those that you truly enjoy being around. Figure out who you are without mirroring another person. Go out when you want to, listen to the music that you like, flirt, date around, do whatever you need to do. Just take the time to seek your happiness and most importantly, be yourself.

Right now I am living in a cute apartment with a sweet roommate and my angel floof, working at my favorite bar in St. Louis and I am happy. I spend my time taking an embarrassingly large amount of food pictures, staying out entirely too late with new friends, and being lectured by my mom for drinking “too much” during our weekly dinner dates. I don’t sleep enough, I rarely exercise, I make mistakes, but I am happy.  It took a bit to get to this place, I had many lonely nights filled with tears and definitely a handful of freak outs where I thought I couldn’t handle it. But ultimately, somewhat selfishly choosing to be alone has been the greatest decision that I’ve ever made. I’m also very fortunate to have a kick ass support system of friends and family that helped get me here. When I first started my food blog, I was obsessed with eating clean all of the time. I was obsessed with buying the best brands and trying to keep up with the big bloggers, and I would make myself feel horrible if I slipped up. I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is to just chill the fuck out. Not only with my diet, but with everything. No one is perfect, and even though I constantly told myself that social media is such a superficial platform that allows people to only show what they want, I didn’t believe it. It took being grounded in other areas to realize that the brand of tortillas or eggs that you buy honestly doesn’t matter. It got expensive, and it’s unrealistic to maintain. You shouldn’t go broke just to prove to someone you’ve never met other than on the internet that your content is valid. I’ve learned to somewhat tune out those around me and focus on what I like, even if it changes daily. Try not to strive for perfection, it doesn’t exist.

I have also redefined what “love” means to me. Love is so much more than being romantically involved with someone. I have learned to fall in love with life. I have so much love for my friends, for the weird things that I’ve collected over the years, for my family, and for my coworkers. I love daydreaming about being a model from the 60’s. I love photography. I  love watching movies. I love coffee dates and stumbling (sometimes literally) upon tiny bars that have been there for years but that are new to me. I love sharing new experiences with new people. When you switch what “love” is in your mind, you open yourself up to so much happiness and relieve some of the pressure to quickly find a partner just so that you’re not alone. Fall in love with more than just a person, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. I think about the future a lot. I think about what city I will end up in, what career I will have, and the people that I’ll meet. It’s exciting to be young and have limitless options. I’m content here for now, but if I decide that I’m not, I can do whatever the hell I want. I’ve never been in this spot before, and it feels good.

With that being said, of course I don’t believe that being single and alone is the only way to be happy. I have a plethora of friends in healthy, loving relationships. It just seems that when you have a better understanding of who you are, you are more able to be someone else’s partner. I wasn’t able to find that while being with another person. Even something  as simple as cutting my bangs or buying vintage furniture instead of modern, I always questioned if the person I was with would approve. When you’re alone you call the shots and it’s pretty cool. Being independent as an adult at some point in your life, no matter how long, is important for growth and self awareness. You’ll probably fall on your ass at times, you’ll stress about money, you’ll get lonely, but it’s all temporary. Just try to remember that wherever you’re at in life, it’s okay. Fill your time with good people and positive energy. Read books, stay out until 3am sometimes and search for hobbies that you enjoy. Life is not forever, so find your happiness however you can. It’s worth it.

xo,

Lizzy In The Lou

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Where I’m At

Vegan and Gluten-Free Creamy Avocado, Cashew and Spinach Pesto Pasta

Anyone else have a constant craving for pasta? I mean, I could eat pasta every day and not get tired of it. I made this vegan and gluten-free creamy avocado, cashew and spinach pesto pasta using ingredients from my most recent Green BEAN Delivery box and had to share. It is very simple to make and I hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz box gluten-free quinoa spaghetti
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. oil of choice
  • salt + pepper (add as much as you’d like)

*I topped mine with chopped basil, crushed red pepper and raw shelled hemp hearts*

Instructions:

In large pot, bring 2 3/4 cups water to a boil and add pasta. Cook for 10-12 min until cooked thoroughly, but not mushy. While pasta is cooking, sauté 3/4 cups baby spinach in oil of choice over medium heat for 1-2 min. Add avocado, cashews, basil, garlic clove,  lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup uncooked baby spinach, salt and pepper to food processor and blend/pulse until creamy. Mix drained pasta with sautéed spinach and pesto. Slice grape tomatoes in half and add them to pasta. Mix everything together, add your toppings of choice and enjoy!

Vegan and Gluten-Free Creamy Avocado, Cashew and Spinach Pesto Pasta

Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Curry Soup

 

We get Thai take-out more often than I would like to admit. I love Thai food, and I think Sam only tolerates it, but he never complains when I ask to have it for the fifth time in a month. Such a gem, right? My mom loves Thai food as well, which probably created my obsession. When friends came over to my house they always said the kitchen smelled like curry, because it did, and I loved it. I made this vegan roasted red pepper soup today, and it definitely satisfied my craving for Thai take-out. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned coconut cream
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups rice noodles
  • 1 cup diced extra-firm tofu
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach, bok choy + kale mix
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 TBSP. red curry paste
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. curry power
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flake
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. oil of choice
  • Plenty of salt + pepper

*I topped mine with lime juice and fresh cilantro*

Instructions:

Coat chopped red pepper in 1 tsp. oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on 425° for 25 min. While red pepper is roasting, warm remaining oil and chopped garlic in a rondeau pan on medium heat. Once sizzling, add tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 min. Add spinach mix to the pan, and sauté with tofu for 3 more min. Add canned coconut cream, and stir for 1-2 min. Once red pepper is done roasting, place it in the blender with 1 cup vegetable broth and minced ginger. Blend and add mixture to the pan. Stir while adding remaining vegetable broth, syrup, curry powder, turmeric, red pepper flake, salt and pepper. Once everything is mixed, add uncooked rice noodles to soup. Heat on medium for 10 min, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 more min before serving. Enjoy!

 

 

Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Curry Soup

Green BEAN Delivery and the Best Avocado Toast Recipe

Two of my favorite things: local, organic, fresh food, and not having to grocery shop. Life gets SO busy and between school, work, blogging and maintaining a relationship/social life, when I get home for the day the LAST thing I want to do is go to the grocery store. Here’s where Green BEAN Delivery comes in, they deliver the best of the best groceries straight to you. YES PLEASE.

Green BEAN Delivery’s main goal is to ensure that healthy and sustainably-grown local food is affordable and easily accessible to the Midwest communities they serve. They focus on creating a self-sustaining food ecosystem, educating farmers and artisans on how to reach their full market potential, growing delicious food in their two certified organic farms, and conveniently distributing healthy, affordable food. My favorite part, however, is that they’ve donated 550,000 pounds of healthy food to fight hunger in their surrounding communities, and have a zero-waste policy. At the end of every week, they donate fresh produce to food banks and anti-hunger organizations. This company is on par with everything I stand for, and I am so glad I found them.

You can check their website out here, and if you decide to order anything, use my code LizzyInTheLou at checkout for 20% off your first three orders!

I am mind-blown by this company. I feel great about doing business with them, and the food was delicious. Win Win!

What I got in my Green BEAN Delivery box-

  • Southern Indiana grown radish microgreens
  • Locally sourced, cage free MO eggs
  • Organic watermelon radishes
  • Organic baby spinach
  • Organic avocado
  • Cleveland Kraut in roasted garlic (probiotic)
  • LocalFolks Foods mustard
  • Hartzler’s Family Dairy string cheese
  • Smoking Goose uncured applewood smoked bacon (Sam will be enjoying that one)

*not pictured-Skinny Piggy Sun Kissed Lavender kombucha and Sixteen Bricks Bakehouse Rye bread*

Everything was fresh and in impeccable condition, tasted amazing, and I loved having it come straight to my door.

Let’s talk about kombucha for a sec, because I’ve had many people ask why I’m addicted to this stuff and what the health benefits are from drinking it. Kombucha contains a significant amount of the healthy bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics support a healthy immune system by lining your digestive tract, and improve overall gut health. Kombucha also naturally increases energy and metabolism, and the best part, it’s bubbly and DELICIOUS. It’s like drinking a soda without all of the bad shit.

I was very, very excited to find this Skinny Piggy White & Lavender Tea kombucha in my Green BEAN Delivery box, and had to snap a quick pic before taking the rest because I drank it immediately. Not kidding, it’s insanely good. Lavender is one of my favorite flavors, so I especially loved this one. I used to drink a lot of soda and when I was ready to ditch it, people always recommended drinking flavored sparkling water as a substitute. Nope, bland. Nothing worked besides kombucha, and now I actually prefer it over soda. HURRAY!

And last but not least, here is the recipe for this amazing avocado toast situation. I used ingredients that I received in my Green BEAN Delivery  order. So many flavors, a bit of crunch, and very filling. Trust me!

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of toasted rye bread
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 mashed avocado
  • 1/2 thinly sliced watermelon radish
  • 2 cage free eggs
  • Microgreens (I used radish)
  • 2 tsp. oil of choice (I prefer avocado oil)

Instructions:

Fry two eggs on medium heat until they are cooked to your liking. While they fry, sauté spinach in oil of choice until it is fully saturated and wilted. Divide mashed avocado in half and spread one half on each slice of toasted rye bread. Also divide sautéd spinach in half and add one half on top of mashed avocado. Place 3-4 thin slices of watermelon radish over sautéed spinach, and add fried egg on top of radishes. Top with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper (if you like spice), and microgreens. Enjoy!

xo,

Lizzy In The Lou

Green BEAN Delivery and the Best Avocado Toast Recipe

Zesty Cauliflower and Spinach Soup

I am ALL about making quick and easy soups during the winter. I whipped this up using only a few ingredients and will definitely be making it again! It’s filled with tons of vitamins which I love. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. oil of your choice (I prefer avocado oil)

*I topped mine with Tofutti brand vegan sour cream, Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce, and pine nuts*

Instructions:

Roast cauliflower with oil of choice, salt and pepper in oven on 425 degrees for 20 min. Put roasted cauliflower into blender or food processor with spinach, almond milk, garlic clove and lemon juice and blend until there are no chunks left. Move soup to a pot and heat on medium, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper as you stir until satisfied. Serve with you’re favorite toppings, I listed mine above!

xo,

Lizzy In The Lou

Zesty Cauliflower and Spinach Soup

Spicy Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Hash

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I received several questions after I posted this asking how I made it, so here you are! When Sam and I go out for breakfast or brunch, he generally orders a spicy hash dish and it ALWAYS looks amazing. This morning I tried to recreate my own and I’m not going to lie, it was pretty fantastic. Hope you enjoy!

Spicy Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Hash 

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 chopped onion (I used red because it’s all that I had, but any will work)
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup cubed sweet potato
  • 2 Tbsp. oil of choice (I prefer avocado oil)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Plenty of salt & pepper

*I topped mine with avocado, fresh cilantro and Tabasco sauce*

Instructions:

In a large cast iron skillet, heat 1/2 of oil of choice, garlic, and onion until sizzling. Add butternut squash and sweet potato to the skillet. Sauté for roughly 15 min over medium heat until they have softened, then add chopped red pepper, COOKED quinoa, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, remaining oil, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently to distribute heat evenly, for roughly 10 more min. Make two holes in hash for eggs, and crack the eggs directly into the holes. Broil in the oven on high for 5-6 min until eggs are cooked to your liking. Add toppings and serve!

xo,

Lizzy In The Lou

Spicy Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Hash

Reflecting and Refocusing

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2017 has been a solid year. I adopted a little angel dog, regained a sense of purpose by going back to school, and basically transformed my entire diet from complete shit to a balanced, *mostly* healthy one. I made new friends and let go of toxic friends. I took 2017 to really look within and do some soul searching, taking time to find what makes ME happy. Oh, and I drank A LOT of lattes.

It’s funny, if you told me five years ago that I was going to leave my friends and family for a new city, I would of had a nervous break down. Of course, I have my best friend, my rock, Sam. My mom also recently moved to St. Louis which has been absolutely amazing. I’m not going to lie though, Foxy and I spent many days alone watching Top Chef reruns and taking long walks through our neighborhood. And that’s okay. I think everyone could benefit from some alone time, you learn what makes YOU happy without trying to impress the people around you. (Although, with social media, no one is ever TRULY alone, are they? But that’s a whole other topic.) In any case, it was nice having this year to focus on myself, my relationship and school. I was able to examine the friendships that I do have closely, which led to removing people from my life that I felt were toxic in any way. As an adult, you’re allowed to do that, and let me tell you, it feels good. Always be kind, but never jeopardize your happiness in order to please other people. Life’s too short. Stand up for what you believe in with no fear, and remain true to yourself. Always.

I have LOVED inspiring and motivating my friends and family to make small diet changes through social media. Nothing makes me happier than waking up to a message from someone telling me that they switched their breakfast from the usual donut to an egg sandwich with avocado because of my posts. I want to be that motivation for people. It’s something that I feel strongly about, and I certainly needed motivation when I began to eat healthier, and still love hearing tips and new ideas from you all. I want to encourage people with absolutely no judgement, because I think there is not enough of that in this social media world. I am definitely not rich, I didn’t grow up rich, and I ate a Pop-tart for breakfast every morning for months at a time. I get it. In 2018 I hope to continue to share inexpensive and easy ways to make small, effective diet changes without passing any judgement. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

As nice as the alone time has been, in 2018 I plan to submerge myself into this awesome city as much as possible. Whether it be a new yoga class, an art show, or a concert, I want to be more involved in the St. Louis community. It’s easy to get into the rut of just staying home, and as much as I love having a routine, it’s also good to be adventurous and meet new people. Instead of taking the nap or watching the hour of TV, I am really going to try to make myself get out of the house and DO something. I can’t wait.

Something that I don’t talk about often is my spirituality. I’m definitely not a religious person, but I do believe in SOMETHING and feel so much more whole when I take the time to connect to myself and the higher power through prayer and meditation. It’s easy to forget to make time for this (if it’s something you believe in) but I benefit in so many ways when I do. Whether it’s sitting in a quiet, dark room on a yoga mat with my crystals, or merely closing my eyes before bed and clearing my mind, I love exploring my personal spiritual connection. It’s a way for me to disconnect from technology and from the stress of everyday life, and focus on myself and my thoughts. Everything stops for a bit, which is rare in this busy world, and I feel a huge sense of peace and calmness afterwards. Def making meditation a priority in the coming year.

I don’t really love the term “New Year’s Resolution”…I feel like these set people up for failure because they are usually not sustainable and unrealistic goals. If you want to eat better, make small, easy changes in areas that you can, but if you want the cookie, eat the f*cking cookie. From my personal experience, strict diets and rigaris 7-day a week workout plans are hard to stick to, and BALANCE is the most important thing. It’s good to reflect and recognize things that you can improve upon in the coming year, but be easy on yourself. I used to make crazy lists of “New Year’s Resolutions”, stick with them for about a month, then revert back to my unhealthy lifestyle. Not sustainable. Slow and steady wins the race, so remember to be proud of yourself for little changes here and there, and strive for a balanced lifestyle, knowing that you won’t be perfect 100% of the time.

I’m looking forward to a new year, new friendships, and new experiences. I’m thankful that I have such an awesome support group and for the people that I’ve met since living here. I’m thankful for my sweet Foxy and kitten, and for the encouragement that I receive from you all to keep living a healthy lifestyle. It means the world to me.

Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

xo,

Lizzy In The Lou

Reflecting and Refocusing