Friday, February 26, 2016

How my mat saved me

Hello readers! I know that I have not been giving this blog the wonderful attention it deserves and that this post is not about a recipe. However, I have been feeling very inspired and came to realize the role that my yoga practice plays in my life. The other day, in the midst of a wonderful yoga flow, I had an epiphany about how yoga has changed me. Yoga, you have saved my life.
Many of you may know this and many of you may not, but I struggled with anorexia for several years. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly sparked my anorexia, it is all quite foggy to me. The progression from "diet" to "disorder" went by like a blink of an eye. At my worst, I was drastically underweight and slowly killing myself.
It wasn't until my junior year of college that I began to fully break down. My anorexic body and mind got lovely friends called depression and anxiety. I distinctly remember calling my mom from my dorm room, tears streaming down my face, begging her to help me. She told me "Marissa, if you keep up like this, you are going to die." To which I replied, "I would rather die than gain another pound." The words startled me as soon as I had said them. My mom told me that I needed to find a way to be happy again. I needed to remember why I am in school, I needed to remind myself of all the things I wanted for myself. This was, without a doubt, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I liken this experience to running a marathon. (Not that I have ran a marathon, but this is how I imagine it). You have to stay strong mentally and remind yourself of that finish line. You have to go through that hell to experience that glory. Here is where my mat comes in...
My daily practice allowed me to see what my body could do. As my wonderful yoga teacher, Anna, once said, "yoga is a way for us to use our bodies to heal our minds." I was able to use my body (something I had hated, something I had criticized and yelled at) to get to a better mental state. My body was my friend. I had to say it over and over to myself, my body was my friend. More than that, I am not just my body. Yes our bodies are important and act as our vessels, but I am not my body. I am a soul that has a body. Before I knew it, I found that my panic attacks were less frequent. I had gained back the weight, and was learning to accept it. I was becoming the woman that I had wanted to be: resilient, strong, beautiful, smart, funny and loving. I was becoming who I always was but was never able to see.
Like I had mentioned, I had an epiphany about all that yoga has done for me. Yoga has made a lover and a fighter. It has made me a lover in the fact that I have not only learned to love myself and my body but love others. I am mindful of all the simple things that bring me joy: the sunshine, candles, good coffee, kisses and hugs from my husband, my mom's loving words, etc. I became a lover of love. A lover of life. I am now one of those people that stops to smell the roses (or the weeds, 'cause who are we to say that a flower is merely a weed...). I feel so lucky everyday to be alive. To be living this amazing life that I get to lead.
Yoga also made me a fighter in the sense that I fight for my life everyday. For those who have anorexia or have had anorexia understand that it is an ongoing battle. Some days are good, some days not so much. Through my yoga practice, I am able to tell those bad thoughts to go elsewhere. I am able to be a fighter and a warrior (like those yoga poses) and fight for my right for a happy life. I used to feel hopeless. If something unfortunate happened to me, I would accept it and say "figures, everything bad happens to me." Yoga gave me the power to say "Yes this situation is not great, but this situation is only temporary. This too shall pass and you will get through."
Yoga, I have no words for you other than "thank you". Thank you for allowing me to see the light when I felt like my life was complete darkness. Thank you for helping me become a more loving person so that I am able to be the wife my husband deserves. Thank you for helping me see the completely, utterly beautiful world that we live in and for helping me see that I make the world better being a part of it. Thank you, thank you.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Haitus no more!

Hello everyone! I am back! Woah, I know. It has been too long. So much has happened in the past few years. Let's see, where did I last leave off? I was in the middle of my senior year of college. Good news! I graduated! Woot! I now have a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology:) The most important thing to note was that in the midst of my senior year, I met the most amazing man. He is caring, loving, thoughtful, so very funny, amazingly handsome and talented. His name is Zach, and he is my fiance. That's right world. I AM GETTING MARRIED...IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!
After graduating from college, I immediately starting looking for jobs. Over the past year that I have been graduated from college, I have worked four jobs. Seriously. I got shot down, yelled at, belittled, developed friendships, acquired skills and acquired enough money to be renting an apartment. I am seriously growing up.
So what have I learned from all these jobs and experiences? It is that I need to continue pursuing what I really love-food and health. I felt proud that I got all those jobs but never found myself connecting to any of them. My mom suggested that it is all a sign. A sign that I was not born to be a receptionist or front desk coordinator. I was born to make a difference, to use my compassion and emotional intelligence to help others live healthier, happier lives. Which is why I have made the decision to pursue graduate school to be a registered dietitian.
Although I know this blog has about two loyal readers, one of which is my mother, I like to think that one day it will turn into a career. That this blog will serve as a stepping stone to my career of writing, testing and documenting healthy recipes. If not, this blog serves as my creative release. Something all of use need.
To all readers, please stay tuned. I have been busy in my kitchen the past few months, and I cannot wait to share it with all you beautiful souls.
Until then, here are some pictures that I hope will summarize these past couple of years.
Love always,
Yoga photo shoot. Credit to Karimeh

Portland trip
Engagement photos taken by Lauren Farris
My favorite

Baby Shower

Chloe and me
My weird family
Carrot, zucchini ribbon salad with parsley, capers, edible flowers, vinegar and olive oil 

Split pea and red lentil curried soup with coconut milk and wild rice 
Roast chicken with wild rice pilaf and salad.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My newest obsessions...

Okay. So I realized the hardest part of food styling is practicing patience and self-control while photographing the food and not eating it. I have recently developed two major food obsessions: flourless chickpea blondies and tofu scrambles (preferably not together).
My recent go-to meal has been tofu scrambles. The reason that I love them is because it is a great way to incorporate veggies and protein. Lately, I have been lacking a key component in my diet. This component is called protein. I have been getting back into running and have unintentionally been eating almost raw and vegan. The other day, around 10 at night, my stomach was rumbling and I had major hunger pains. I said to my roommate, "I am so hungry for some reason...I don't know why." To which my roommate responded "Here. Eat this apple that I found in my room." After I politely turned down my roommate's offer, I began to realize that most of my diet that day had consisted of salad and fruit and absolutely no protein. Not good. This is where the tofu scramble comes in. Not to mention that tofu scrambles take next to no time to cook and is incredibly easy. I chop up some onions and garlic and sauté them in some olive oil. I add whatever vegetables I have on hand (I really like zucchini, eggplant, carrots and or peppers especially) and then I add some salt and pepper. When all the veggies are cooked, I add some tofu to the pan and break it up (so that it resembles scrambled eggs) and continue cooking until the tofu is warmed through. Top with some avocado and some hot sauce if desired. Bam! Delicious and healthy meal.
My second newest obsession is flourless chickpea blondies. You would never guess the ingredient list: chickpeas, peanut butter, honey, salt, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla extract. Add all those ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. You can then add some chocolate chips, I also like to add chia seeds or peanuts or almonds. The result is pure decadence without the decadence. I gave some of the blondies to my friend Lauren who is gluten intolerant and she replied, "Oh my gosh Marissa! When are you going to open up your own bakery already?" I was very flattered. Other than the two recipes mentioned above, I haven't really had much time to bake. I am currently occupying my time with researching and writing three fifteen page papers: my first paper is a research paper where I am looking at the possible interaction between self-esteem and thin-idealized images on body satisfaction, the second paper is about how culture impacts psychology and the problems with the DSM-5 and my third and final paper is...wait for it....about the meaning of life. Heavy. I know. With all this mental energy, I tell myself, "Well, I NEED these blondies for brain fuel."
Well that is all I have for you lovely, lovely peeps.
The recipe for the blondies is from here:
Again....sorry for the lack of pictures....the camera will come soon!!
When I am not studying and writing papers, I am procrastinating and taking pictures on my computer.....
Green Tea time!!!

My cat was right next to me so...picture time

I really love her.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Here's to you Ellyse!

Okay, I know. My last post was in September. I told you to stay tuned for fall recipes and none of that happened. I am very sorry to let you down. My excuse is school. Nothing you haven't heard before. School is kicking my butt big time this quarter. I am taking the last of my statistics classes (where I have to conduct my own experiment and complete a research paper on it), my capstone class (where we talk about different views in psychology, actually an interesting class) and positive psychology (where my professor asks us things like, "What is happiness?"). Whenever I tell other psychology students what classes I am taking, they say, "Jeez, why are you doing that to yourself? That's a big load." My answer is always, "because I want to graduate by spring." So in the days where I feel overwhelmed and find that I cannot read another sentence, I think about why I am here. I think about all the things I want for myself.

Unfortunately, I do not have another recipe for you just yet. I am trying to figure out my camera situation. And by trying to figure out my camera situation, I mean remembering to bring my camera from home....and the worst blogger award goes to Marissa! I hope you readers (all three of you) don't lose hope with this blog. I love this blog so much, I love sharing recipes, doing food styling and writing these posts. Sometimes I like to imagine that there is some person out there who stumbled upon my blog and decides to try one of my recipes. Or cracks a smile at one of my horrible jokes....Anyways, I am here to say, I haven't forgotten about you blog. I swear I haven't. Once I graduate this spring, I am back full force (that actually sounds a bit scary...).

Before I leave you, I wanted to dedicate this post to the beautiful Ms. Marx. Ellyse, my Australian roommate last quarter was one of the most beautiful, kind-spirited and funniest human beings I've ever met. Her sunny spirit and personality lit up my days and I will always think of her as a best friend. Lately, I have been feeling kind of down and hopeless (maybe it's winter blues), but I saw a card that Ellyse gave me before she went back to Australia, and it brought a tear to my eye (wow...this post is getting really cheesy really fast). I hope you don't mind that I post what you wrote me, love, it's just that your card helps so much.
So here it goes...
"Marissa, Marissa, my gorgeous Marissa...What to say about the most gorgeous girl in Bellingham? I LOVE YOU to the moon and back! I will always cherish your beautiful smile and kind spirit. I am truly blessed to have met such an amazing soul. But this is not goodbye-just see you later mate! I'll be saying "g'day" again in the very near future, I know it! Until then, chin up, smile because its contagious and always remember "there is no hard work that ever goes unrewarded". You are beautiful. Stand tall. You're gonna go far, kid...Look after Ryan (Gosling) for me! He loves it when you do the dishes...he loves it even more when you do yoga in the lounge room! Haha. All my love,
I love you so much girl! So here is the lesson kids, go out and make an Australian best friend! No, I'm kidding (kind of), when you are feeling down, remember that you are loved and that you deserve admiration as much as the flowers!
All my love,
Ohhh!! I almost forgot! I do have one picture for you! I recently bought some organic carrots at the farmer's market, and this little guy made it into my bag:) I named him Eddie and I loved him dearly...until he shriveled a week later...
Here we have Eddie with Little Felt Man next to the blender

Friday, September 20, 2013

Goodbye Summer, Hello School

Good evening everybody! Or perhaps good day? Or good morning? I try to recognize all potential readers (hello international readers). It's that time of year again, when summer is dwindling and fall is fast approaching. I move into my apartment for school this Sunday and my feeling is bittersweet. I really miss all of my friends up at school and am looking forward to living in an apartment. However, this is my senior year and my major is psychology. So, I am not looking forward to psychology 24/7. I am not looking forward to professor's lecturing about APA citation and how important it is to italicize the name of the psychology article NOT bold it. Compelling stuff, huh? But I won't complain because I am trying to remind myself that this schooling is a means to help me get to where I want to be. This summer went by so fast, it's crazy. My sister got married, I took a short trip to Portland, I cooked a lot, I baked a lot, I did a lot of yoga, I did a lot of bike riding and I did a lot of gardening. All in all, not a bad summer:) I am going to really try to update more recipes once the weather starts cooling down. Recently, it has been pretty warm in Seattle and so I am trying this new thing called, "not turning on the oven so that my house doesn't feel like a sauna". Let me tell you, this requires a lot of control. A lot of control. But I persevered and channeled my urge to bake over to organizing. I can now say that all of my colored pencils are very nicely arranged, my desk paperweights are placed exactly apart from one another and my carpet is well vacuumed. Success! But please stay tuned for many fall inspired recipes! I checked out a bunch of cookbooks from the library and copied down all of the recipes that sparked my interest, many of which were stews, soups and pumpkin-y things....oh crap, I should probably return those books soon...Anyways, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!
P.S. I don't really have any pictures to share with you, but I will leave you with some clips to my new favorite show, "The Soup". Your welcome;)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies-Healthy and Vegan

I am back from a weekend in Portland and I had a wonderful time! My parents and I left Saturday morning and arrived late afternoon. The intent of this trip was to simply get out and explore and so none of us had anything planned. Fortunately, I had researched vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Portland a few days before and made a list of places I wanted to try. The thing is, the food that I want to eat (vegan/sometimes raw/always healthy) isn't necessarily the food my parents want to eat. My parents always honor my food choices, but they aren't always jumping up and down for "raw, vegan pad Thai" if you know what I mean. As we were closely approaching Portland, my parents asked me, "So where do you want to go in Portland, and what do you want to do?" I responded with, "I just want to explore and I want to eat at nice restaurants and shop around". I was really thinking, "I want to eat at vegan restaurants and buy some hip clothes made out of recycled materials", but I restrained my inner hippie. I told my parents that as I was looking up places to go, I noticed a lot of restaurants were located on Alberta Street. Alberta Street here we come! Let me tell you, Alberta Street did not disappoint. I mean, any place that has the words "Go Vegan" with a heart written around it is my kind of place. My parents even liked it too; it also had a lot of wine shops and art galleries. We decided to eat lunch at a restaurant called, "Le Petite Provence". It wasn't vegan but my parents promised to buy me a vegan baked good. It's all about compromise. I had a quinoa tabbouleh salad with fresh bread and farmer's cheese:) Later, we walked around and I got a really good juice from this small juice stand and this amazing vegan brownie from a gluten free-plant based bakery!...Can I move here?! Later that night, we drove into Cannon Beach because we were staying at my dad's friend's house. The house was so adorable that I made the comment, "I want this house! I have to get my career going ASAP so I can make some money!" On Sunday, we spent most of the day in the car, taking the long way back home to see different parts of Washington State. We all had a great time and I loved exploring a new part of Portland. I was happy to be back home, but I was still thinking about one thing. That brownie. That amazing brownie. So fudgy and filled with bits of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. I looked up the bakery on the Internet to see if maybe they had the recipe for the brownie online...hey, you never know until you try, right? Of course, I couldn't find it, so I resolved to make something else with cocoa nibs and I stumbled upon this recipe from the blog "Oh She Glows" for "Irresistible Chewy Trail Mix Cookies". I was sold on the recipe when I saw the extensive healthy ingredient list. As I was making these cookies, I was thinking, "I really hope that these turn out good and that my parents will eat them." Well, let me tell you, my dad took one bite and said, "Mmmm!! These are so good!" Score. Vegan cookie:1 vs Unhealthy cookie: 0.
The recipe for these cookies can be found here:
I followed the recipe except I didn't have any raw nut butter on hand and substituted applesauce. They still turned out great! Not too sweet, moist and chewy!

Picture Time!

At "Le Petite Provence"

Lunch at "Le Petite Provence"


Juice Truck Menu

Excuse my face, it was kind of windy

Los galletas!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On the Road Again...

On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends. And I can't wait to get on the road again. I am currently occupying my time watching the TV program, "Spain on the Road Again" and Willie Nelson's song is on repeat in my head. Watching "Spain on the Road Again" makes me fantasize about moving to Spain after falling in love with a handsome Spanish man and spending my time tending to my garden and winery and raising my two kids. One day it will day. Anyways, speaking of "on the road", this weekend my parents and I are taking a weekend trip to Portland. Although we are not going anywhere exotic or international, I love little weekend trips. They are the perfect way to adventure without getting homesick. Since the drive to Portland will take a few hours, I figured it would be wise if I made something to snack on for the drive there. I had remembered buying a small bag of poppy seeds at World Market a few weeks ago, and so I decided to make Lemon Poppy seed Bread. A classic. My high school used to sell these giant lemon poppy seed muffins in the morning and whenever I saw somebody eating them, I would just stare because it looked so good. You may ask, "Why didn't you just buy one Marissa?" Well, I will tell you, it was very simple. I never had cash on me. However, this bread will definitely make up for lost times. Plus it's made a little healthier with the addition of whole wheat flour and non-fat Greek yogurt! Oh and I also wanted to share with you all the recipe for this baked pasta that I made for dinner last night. It was, as my friend Katie would say, "Yums". It was baked pasta with roasted vegetables and three cheeses. A mouthful but totally delicious. 

Lemon Poppy seed Bread
(Recipe credit to: I followed the recipe exactly except that I also added about 1 teaspoon of almond extract. I love almond flavor with lemon poppy seed bread.

For the Baked Pasta, the recipe was by Giada de Laurentiis, and here is the link:

Oh and p.s., I recently made home made thin mints and my mom took them to work with her. She told me that they were a big hit and that people wanted the recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of them, but I will certainly share the recipe! They truly tasted like Thin Mints!

And now pictures!!!!

Beautiful Fuchsia's in our garden! We call the hummingbird that feeds off of it, "Jack", after the wonderful Mr. Jack Johnson:)

Bread with marmalade

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Our eggplant in our garden is finally coming in! Can't wait to cook with it!

Oh p.p.s.! Since I am going to Portland this weekend, I would love to receive comments about suggestions on where to go/eat. So excited!