Back when I was a teen and lived to shop, I would go to the mall with my mom and grandma and we would spend the day boutique hopping until we made it to the holy grail – Nordstrom, of course. And the best part wasn’t the endless shoe department, the cosmetic department’s candy shop of makeup, or B.P. where we all got our spaghetti strap tanks. I always looked the most forward to lunch at the cafe. My grandma and I would split the spring salad with candied nuts and it alway made me feel so fancy.
Fast forward to now, and all the ingredients of this magical salad are things I usually always have on hand. It’s light and fresh and is the perfect mix of sweet and salty. It is the perfect springtime side and can go great with grilled chicken or Cardiff Crack :)
2 handfuls spring or mixed greens
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp candied pecans
3 tbsp gorgonzola crumbles (or blue, feta, goat)
a drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette
optional: add 1/2 green apple –> adds extra crunch!
Sometimes, in our ever so busy lives where we are always rushing from one appointment to the next social gathering, stretching can feel like a waste of time when you’re trying to get a good sweat in.
But what we don’t always consider is that stretching holds as many benefits as exercise itself. They may not be as visible, but you can’t deny the facts: that stretching improves the health of both the mind and body, especially when it is done regularly.
What are these so called “benefits”? Who even has time to stretch? What is so great about stretching anyways?
As we age, our muscles shrink and tighten. Maintaining a good range of motion is key in doing everyday things like tying your shoes, vacuuming, yardwork, you get the idea. Stretching regularly can improve flexibility by lengthening your muscles, allowing you to exercise more comfortably on the reg. It also decreases your risk getting injured while being active, which can be helpful if you tend to lose motivation to exercise or switch up your routine.
Stretching increases your blood flow and improves your circulation. It helps by healing our muscles and alleviating the pain associated with soreness. With all that good blood circulating throughout your bod, nutrients flood your cells and flush out toxins.
With increased circulation, comes better posture. Those of you who sit at a desk all day, or stand on hard surfaces for long hours, probably experience chronic pain from having overly tight muscles. When this happens, we tend to hunch over and look like trolls. Investing in a foam roller and practicing a quick nightly stretch routine would be a good start at preventing irreversible damage.
Like exercise, stretching can impact the mind in a positive way as well. Increased blood flow relaxes the muscles, including those tense from stress. The mind releases endorphins, giving one a greater sense of well being and self confidence. Basically, it is an easy pick-me-up if you’re starting to lose steam around 3pm like I usually do. No afternoon coffee or sugar rush, just take 5 to stretch your limbs and you’ll spruce up in a sec.
Hopefully after reading this, you recognize how beneficial a quick stretch sesh can be. And if you think I am just making this up, take the word of famed physical trainers like Jillian Michaels and Kayla Itsines, spiritual gurus like Deepak Chopra, and a zillion other famed wellness professionals who can back me up. It’s all about time management and committing to the task. Do it in the morning before you hop in the shower, or at the end of your day before you go to bed. Your muscles will thank you!
Southerners may be famed for their soulful cooking, but rarely does that include healthy veggie recipes. Until I discovered the Ree Drummond! Known to the masses as the Pioneer Woman, this ranch wife gone TV star is the embodiment of farm to table cooking. She takes comfort classics and takes them to the kitchen with a touch of city class and healthy mom swagger.
Now I love watching the cooking channel when I need background noise while working away on the computer, but I had to stop what I was doing just to see what this whole cauliflower stir-fry was all about. It only took a couple minutes – 16 to be exact – for her to whip up this delish dish, and that’s when I knew I had to try this recipe out. I had all the ingredients in my house, and a fresh head of cauliflower in the fridge with Ree’s name written all over it. It was time to pop my cauliflower cooking cherry!
All you need is a head of cauliflower, garlic, soy sauce, lime, green onions & sriracha (such a good call) and you’re in business sister.
Not only did I enjoy every last bite of this dish, but even my dad was down with this 100% organic, gluten free (tamari instead of soy sauce), vegetarian meal. Salty, savory and light, you can eat a whole bowl with zero guilt. Great for leftovers wrapped up in a butter lettuce cup too!