2016: Reflection, Goals & Intentions

Happy New Year

To know where you’re going, you must know where you’ve been. As I type this, hours away from a new year, I’m thinking of the places I’ve been and things I’ve done over the past year. It’s been a good one for sure and before jumping into the clean slate of 2016 I want to take the time to reflect on my travels, accomplishments and creations of 2015 (I pretty close to hitting the Intentions & Bucket List!).

  • I co-hosted  3 yoga challenges that fed my love for yoga and what it has taught me, inviting a daily practice into my repertoire. Mind Body Yoga Challenge, Plant Fueled Yoga and The Mindful21
  • I completed 3 courses toward a Nutritional Therapy Certificate at The Nutritional Therapy Institute in Denver, where I’ve learned so much about nutrition and the body’s amazing abilities.
  • We traveled near & far (Ireland, Oregon Portland Maine & Moab for fun, Chicago, San Antonio, Philly & Vegas for work) and skied our hearts out (Winter Park, Copper, Loveland, Eldora, Crested Butte & Steamboat)
  • I tackled 4 fourtneen-ers, some of the hardest, most beautiful terrain I’ve ever encountered (Grays & Torrys, Snowmass and Quandry)
  • I trained for & ran my first 1/2 marathon – it was hard!!!
  • I got a new role at work in which I played a major part in launching a new website, hosting the inaugural webinar and taking on marketing efforts for a product line
  • I hosted my first annual plant-based soup swap which I hope to continue (perhaps seasonally)
  • Mike and I started our own company, Happy Homes LLC., and purchased our first investment property (which we are close to selling)
  • I met an amazing friend, Sarah, and started a Vegan/Yoga supper club
  • I was happy, mindful of my actions, and spent energy on good

Looking back at the year, I accomplished a lot, both personally, professionally, and as part of a team. It was a good year and I believe it’s important to reflect, acknowledge and applaud my efforts (as you should applaud yours!)

As someone who’s always seeking, the next steps involve looking to the new year with vigor and setting my sights on goals that will propel me forward, keep me healthy and expand my mind, body and soul. Here are a few of my 2016 goals & intentions.

  • To Give more. I am so fortunate, truly live with a wealth of abundance of happiness, good fortune, good family, a good job. One thing I feel missing is my ability to give my time, energy to a cause that is in need. I’ve recently contacted a non-profit animal shelter and want to peruse volunteering.
  • Walk my dogs daily. May seem easy, but consistency here is so important for their health and well being, and mine!
  • Be more consistent with my exercise. I’m not going to set forth lofty weight loss goals, impossible metrics to reach, or unattainable goals that set myself up for failure. I need to be consistent, it’s that easy.
  • Write daily To Do lists. I’ve been doing this for the past few months and it works really well. To see what I need to & want to accomplish in black and white helps me keep in check.
  • Climb 3 new 14’ers. I’ve definitely got my heart set on a Chicago Basin Treck and maybe Pike’s Peak. So many mountains, so little time!
  • Finish 2 house projects including the mud room/laundry room area complete with hooks and shelving for gear, and installing a flagstone patio in our backyard.
  • Buy two investment properties. Our first is days away from an open house!
  • Launch my Happy Kitchen Life brand via social media, YouTube, and nutritional ebooks, possibly researching a meal-prep angle that provides healthy freezer friendly meals at a reasonable price. I want to use my love of nutrition and cooking to educate others!
  • Host two nutritional, healthy, plant-based challenges, complete with meal prep tips and videos, and nutritional check lists.
  • Visit 5 state parks. Mike and I just bought an annual pass to all of Colorado’s state parks and can’t wait to visit more of them. Hiked in Golden Gate Canyon state park last weekend and we are hooked!

Those are the big things I’m going to try to accomplish and stick to this year. When I have goals to move towards, I feel focused, dedicated and capable of anything. Setting your mind on positive intentions sets you up for good things. I’m going into 2016 with an open-mind, heart and a vigorous spirit.

What does 2016 have in store for you? Share your goals!!

Happy New Year!!!


Weeknight Meatless Meals Made Easy

Weeknight meals can be tough, especially around the holidays. The hustle and bustle of the day, wrapping gifts, shopping, spreading holiday cheer, holiday parties, and festive outings leave little time to make a healthy, quick meal.

Because of all the running around during the holidays, it’s so important to keep healthy and I truly believe that health starts with nutrition and nutrition starts with what we’re eating.

To simplify: eating healthy meals packed with nutrients contributes to your health!

But who the grinch has the time to check off all the holiday to-do’s plus make a home-cooked meal!?!?!

This past week, Mike and I have been dealing with a few health issues (tooth infection after math for me and a follow up MRI visit to an orthopedic Dr. for Mike – outcomes are positive!) I got home from a business trip, and we are getting ready to put our investment property on the market, so have been particularly busy. But eating healthy is a priority, so I wanted to post our nightly dinners to show how easy it can be to whip up plant-packed meals in under an hour.


Sunday Night Menu: Falafels, steamed broccoli & a pomegranate power green salad

Falafel Recipe

1 can 15oz chickpeas drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Tahini paste
1 1/2 cups of Kale
Pepper & salt (a pinch of each)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon coconut oil for sauteing

Combine first 6 ingredients in cuisine art & pulse/blend to a paste (it’s ok to have some lumps). Add the flour. Form 4 patties with mixture. Heat oil in a saute pan. Saute on each side for 5 minutes, making sure they don’t burn.


Monday Night Menu: Sweet Potato Bake with a spinach salad

Sweet Potato Bake

Sweet Potato Mexican Bake recipe

2 small sweet potatoes
1 bag of mixed frozen veggies
1 tablespoon veggie broth
1 tablespoon water

Slice potatoes thinly and put on cookie sheet (you can toss with a bit of oil if you want). Cook at 375 for 20 minutes.

1/2 cup of Carrots
1/2 cup of Broccoli stems
1/2 tsp of garlic & onion powder
1/2 tsp salt & paprika
1/2 cup almond milk
4 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1 tsp of Tapatio (optional, but we like it spicy!)

Cook carrots & broccoli in a bit of water, until soft. Add veggies & the rest of the ingredients to cuisine art/blender and blend until smooth.

Put frozen veggies with broth & water in an oven safe dish. Top with sauce & once potatoes are done, overlay them on top of the bake. Turn oven down to 350 and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Meatless Meals

Tuesday Night Menu: Mushroom & Tomato Stroganoff with Trader Joe’s Eggplant Cutlets & a Kale Salad

Mushroom & Tomato Stroganoff – Recipe found on One Green Planet (I used veggie broth & it turned out more like a tomato based sauce, but it was still amazing!)

I used Quinoa elbow macaroni & cooked some leftover Trader Joe’s Eggplant Cutlets – these are great and I usually get two-three meals out of the bag.

Szechuan Eggplant

Wednesday Night Menu: Szechuan Eggplant with broccoli & Yellow Peppers over Quinoa & a red leaf lettuce salad

Got this amazing Szechuan recipe from The Edible Garden – I altered a few things, not adding as much oil to cook/fry the eggplant. Instead I tried to steam it with a bit of water in the wok. I also added peppers & broccoli once the eggplant was cooked & the sauce was added (I like my veggies crispy). One more addition: sesame seeds. These are just great and add a bit of flavor & crunch.


Each and every one of these meals took less than 45 minutes to put together and were packed full of flavor, nutrients, and best of all homemade using whole ingredients. Yes, the cutlets & macaroni are processed – but I try to make the whole foods and veggies the center piece.

What are you cooking this week? Would love to hear about the meals, challenges or questions you have!

Happy Weeknight Cooking!