Friday, January 22, 2016

Watermelon Strawberry Ginger Lime Smoothie Recipe

Watermelon Strawberry Ginger Lime Smoothie

2 cups fresh seeded watermelon
     1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 of whole lime
    1/2 cup frozen organic strawberries
teaspoon of been pollen 
1 tablespoon of hemp seeds  

Place the ingredients into your high speed blender and blend for 30-40 seconds.  I actually blended minefor 60 seconds because of the hemp may blend until you reach your desired consistency.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Photo rights belong to Shadow Box Live--Columbus, Ohio
I am enjoying planned and spontaneous Date Nights with Jireh and Erik, whether it’s Netflix, salsa dancing and or taking a cooking class, it’s important to make time for one another.   My most recent date night with Erik was at our local Shadow Box Live where they self-produce a wide range of live shows.  The show we had the pleasure of seeing without charge was “The Best of Burlesque”.  We received complementary tickets for the opening show.  Now I must say I have been shielded from the world of burlesque so our venture to a live viewing left me with an open mental canvas.  Not everyone is privy to my narrow realm.  So I wrote this blog as an overview to those of you who may be slightly interested or fascinated or apprehensive.  This compilation isn’t intended to be “conclusive” about what to anticipate at a burlesque show.  As with all live performance, the best way to understand burlesque is to appreciate it in person.

In this show the acts were around three to five minutes, or the span of a pop song.  Each act was like a mini play with its own narrative, story, tone, and message.  There was finale of a striptease act but it was more about a resolution of the rigidity of the story, or the delivering of a punch line, than it is solely about physical exposure.  That being said, the exposure and the message were interwoven, and reliant on each other.  Burlesque acts, like other stories, take the audience on an excursion.  The makeup is extreme, hair is big (often a wig), and costumes are ostentatious.   We had a ball.  The show was definitely Broadway worthy.  In between every act there was a short movie clip showcasing some of the women behind burlesque.  Here is a link to some of the women that were showcased on the screen:

At our show it was socially acceptable for the audience to clap, howl, yell and scream of laughter and endorsement.  And it appeared as though the performers enjoyed every bit.  Jan 20, 2016 was opening night and shows will run on Wednesday, Thursdays and Sundays until April 2016.  Our audience was fairly mixed, mainly couples.  Heteronormativity is not the projected norm.

Our view

So what happens if you go to a burlesque show, and it was not what I have described?  Well, welcome to the world of burlesque.  With any kind of live performance, the best way to experience it is to go to a show.  Go with an open mind.  And expect to be entertained.  Check out a live show:  at the end of the show you will also get a discount coupon to present at The Gardens  

Be sure to share your experience….

Monday, January 18, 2016


My daughter living Dr. King's Dream

January 15, 2016 would have been the 87th birthday of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy is memorialized with a federal holiday yearly on the third Monday of January. This merriment of his life has been considered as “a day on” and citizens are heartened to express their gratitude for Dr. King and his dream by partaking in service projects throughout their communities.

Dr. King’s pledge to peace, equality, and justice is more apparent than ever. This holiday is a reflection to me of just how far we have come.  It’s also a recap of what still needs to be done.  There is still a need to push for what’s right and just.  Because of Dr. King’s teachings, there are many divided groups that are working to set aside their dissimilarities, build strong bridges advance conglomerates and nurture relationships in ways that were certainly not possible before. His words still carry hope, strength, and reassurance to people here and abroad.

To me Dr. King despite the gruel some times in US History was a game changer who was led by God at such a time to take action to advance the cause of racial justice and equality in America. The loss of Dr. King, and countless others, have steered the reversal of unmerited laws and societal disorders premeditated to oppress African-Americans. When I think and compare my life to those of my ancestors, I am reminded that there is nothing out of my reach; I have innumerable opportunities to make progress.  In my gratitude this day my quest is to continue taking ownership of my own dreams, to push my daughter and the love of my life to seize opportunities, to love and build unpretentious relationships with persons of all races and above all, live with self-respect and self-control. Then, we will comprehend the completeness of Dr. King’s vision.  Make today a great day!  How do you live Dr. King's Dream?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Breakfast Date

Photo courtesy of William-Sonoma
In romantic relationships sparks can and will fizzle after a while when things begin to become monotonous. It’s good to be at ease with each other, meaning less scary and unknown dynamics to tackle with. In order to keep the sparks flying in our relationship, we have made it a rule to keep dating each other.  Not just Netflix and chill as that is quite easy to fall into, but really going out.  I will say I am more of the adventure seeker in the relationship.  Although my guy appeared as an extrovert when we met I will say he is definitely an introvert who does not care so much for crowds. 

Checking out inventory

For this weekend's date I preregistered for a cooking technique class at William-Sonoma's Polaris location. The class offered was on Crepes.  Erik is a highly skilled cook.  He can prepare almost any dish and full of flavor.  I struggle as I am a minimalist with ingredients and my food has to be "clean".  I wasn't sure this course would meet all of my eating woes but I was up for the venture.

Crêpes are often thought of as the province of the French, similar pancakes abound in countries as diverse as Greece and Iceland.  Crêpes were the first breakfast food that Erik ever made for me. They were tasty!  It took me a while to eat them as I "needed" to know how he made them.  His family is a bunch of Norwegian Vikings and refers to them as pannekaker.  Unlike Erik's family, crêpes were never a staple in my household growing up. We were pancake eaters if ever we ate them. For the most part we ate porridge/cream of wheat/ oat meal. It is and has always been my goal to eat as healthy and whole as possible. Crepes do not come to mind as healthy choices however there are MANY different ways to learn. So this weekend we ventured to William-Sonoma for a primer on preparing lacy-thin crepes.

My hands on experience

Hands on

We arrived on time. Our class size was small. The class demonstrator prepared the dish. The class is FREE and it's an hour long. It also includes tastings the prepared dish. All participants get a 10% savings on select same-day purchases.

A success...
Overall we had a GREAT time meeting new people.  If you are up for a new venture and would like to learn some new cooking techniques at William-Sonoma...check out their next upcoming class... be sure to share.  Now for the next outing....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

“Sometimes, you just need a break. In a beautiful place. Alone. To figure everything out.”

The first time I saw that quote was somewhere on Pinterest December 2013, during one of the most tumultuous moments I had ever experienced.  I had a lot of things I needed to work through.  I decided to book myself on a 10-day vacation to Wymyss Bight, Eluthera, Bahamas.  My former classmate Dani grew up on the Island and assured me the need to be free, creative and reflective could be found in Eluthera.   Slapping the monies down on my debit card was exactly what I needed during an uncertain chapter of my life, to retreat, to pull back, to: figure everything out.

Today, I’m ardent about honoring this ebb and flow. I have been blessed with wonderful friends in my life, a daughter who is wise beyond her years and a supportive boyfriend.  Lately it’s been my full intention to pray and meditate daily, tune into my own cycles for creativity and self-care, on my job AND in my life. Sometimes, this has meant re-evaluating goals and searching for ways to make what I NEED to happen.  Sometimes, this means pulling back, creating space, taking a break and retreating.

In fact, I’m actually giving myself the gift of space and time by taking the entire month of February off from the Internet to focus on two up upcoming certifications; American Society for Quality certification Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence examination March 2016 and The National Association for Healthcare Quality certification Professional in Healthcare Quality May 2016.  I haven’t really shut down my use of the internet since going to graduate school for my MBA and STRUGGLING through accounting and that Finance beast.  It definitely will feel a bit boring during the first few days to take a whole month away from the World Wide Web, but I know that I need a break in order to devote to bringing new possibilities and new creation to life. So much education in a web of what often times seems like ZERO "real" opportunities.  What I do know is to keep growing...Nothing ventured is NOTHING gained.  I am forever learning.  

But let’s be honest here: Most of us make this pledge to ourselves to take a full month off from the internet but seldom do we find success.  We get roped into social media.  I will add a disclaimer, I will have to log into the computer to take the simulated test from the test bank.  I will refrain from social medial and blogging.  Maybe I can then report back what that month was REALLY like. 
If only my preparation could encompass taking an entire paid month from work. At this time in my life I do not have the finances, luxury and opportunity to choose to ‘take off’ for weeks at a time, to pray and meditate to my heart’s content. 

For this I have decided to share a few tips on how to create your own mini retreat at home. For my retreat I will focus on my upcoming certification and less social media.  I am guilty I need to retreat more often.  In 2016 I will try to do this regularly – whether it’s a creative retreat (I love to draw/paint and work out (when I actually get up and moving)), a cleansing retreat or for just pure relaxation and restoration.

A quick note: For my retreat at home, I researched so many different sites and committed the ideas to my journal.  I will apologize early as I did not write down the site, I captured the ideas and paraphrased them within my journal. 

For Your Retreat at Home:

1.        Decide on your dates!

Take a look at your schedule NOW and pick a couple of days (or more) to devote to your retreat. I tend to do most of my retreating on Friday night to Saturday evening, because during the weekdays my house is much busier. The weekend may work better for you.  For my certification study schedule I will rise early and focus for an hour before bed.
2.        Then, block out the days you’ve chosen on your calendar and ensure you don’t have any appointments scheduled or potential commitments in that sacred time.

3.        Decide on the ‘vibe’ of your retreat.

Pay attention to how you feel before, during and after your retreat? Will this be a creative, ingenious retreat or simply cultivating and calming? What is a MUST on your retreat? What would you love to NOT DO on your retreat? What will you eat and drink? Will you be alone? With friends? Where would you love to go/not go?

Pinterest is the best online Magazine where I hoard all of my dreams!  It is sort of like my unconventional vision board.  With such a thought I would like to suggest creating a Pinterest board/mood board with magazine clippings that represent the essence of the experience you’ll be creating for yourself. This helps to affirm it and gives life to your vision.

4.       Plan ahead.

You will need to save some money or devote some of your savings/wage to this experience? Carve out some time to do some solid planning now and you’ll have a much more enjoyable and relaxing retreat.

Home Retreat Part II

1.       What will you need?

Books to read or watercolors to play with or new notepads to write on? How about some soy candles, body scrubs or essential oils?

2.       When the retreat comes around…

Turn off all technology if you can. Don’t be afraid of a social media detox.
This is your retreat and there are no rules, besides the ones you create for yourself. Do consider my suggestion for social media though – this time is about YOU – we’re not interested in what your pals on Facebook are doing.
For me it is all about preparing for the final month I have left for my CQM/OE exam. 

3.        And then: Enjoy yourself. 

Light a candle to signify the beginning of your retreat. Have a long bath. Brew a pot of tea. Whatever you need, just do it. This is your judgement-free zone.
See I have this inner critic.  I know during this time of preparing and revitalization there’s  a big chance that my inner critic might try to pop up with a heap of reasons why I/you shouldn’t be gifting yourself this experience.  Think to your future, you are 100% worthy of this space. We are not built to just fester and have no met dreams.  Plus, I believe that this time is going to help shed whatever is holding you back from being the best you/partner/friend/Mother/sister/coworker/human being that you know you can be. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Remember: it’s perfectly OK and normal and natural and wonderful to stop for a moment and say…
I need a break. Alone. In a beautiful place. To figure everything out.

Give yourself that gift.

I can’t wait to hear how things work out for you! Maybe you could share your retreat objective/ambiance/dates….

Vegan Pancakes

I have a declaration to make…I couldn’t make pancakes.  Almost every time I tried, the batter would come out sticky, under cooked, burned, gummy, thick, or thin. At times all of the above at once. With each attempt came a disaster.

So, this idea of making a vegan pancake seemed like torture.  Making light, fluffy, delicious pancakes with only plant-based ingredients IS really hard. They say that the mark of a good chef is the ability to cook an egg perfectly and well…I couldn’t do that and I do not think that I am a chef.  I simply must eat to stay alive and make eating less of a bore as possible. I did not grow up in a home where animal based products were the staple.  Before the craze of a plant based diet…I lived the life as it was a part of the life my grandmother promoted.  As for the egg…It’s a simple thing that requires so much skill to get right. In the world of vegan cooking, I think pancakes are a true test as well; if you can get them right, you can cook anything (MAYBE).

Recently, I decided for this New Year and my 40 years of life on this earth…to conquer this problem. I have never had any formal training.  All I have is the years under my grandmother’s guidance and trial and error with lots of curiosity.  Vegan pancakes is easy once you know the proper technique.

These are by far the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever tasted and they will not leave you with a heavy stomach. They’re simple, sweet, light, and fluffy.  If you’ve ever struggled with pancakes, definitely give this recipe a shot.

Vegan Pancakes

Makes 6 4-inch pancakes
½  cup Oat flour
½ cup of Quinoa flour
¼ cup of flax seed flour
2 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk ( I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Tips for the Perfect Pancakes

Seriously, a few swirls to incorporate the wet & dry ingredients is enough. The pan must be very hot for pancakes to come out right. Wait for those bubbles. When making pancakes, if you get the batter and temperatures right, you should see bubbles on the surface at around the 2-minute mark. Then flip and cook for 1.5 minutes on the other side.

Step One: Flax Egg

One of the most exciting parts about this recipe is that it uses no banana. So many vegan pancake recipes rely on banana to hold things together. This makes the batter too dense, for one, and it also adds a banana taste (not surprisingly). Instead, we’ll use a flax egg, which is 1 tablespoon of ground flax-seed with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Whisk these together in a bowl and set aside to thicken.

Step Two: Mix Carefully

In a medium mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and stir together.
In a separate bowl, add the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar to create buttermilk. Then add one tablespoon melted coconut oil and finally the flax egg. Mix the wet ingredients.
Now, carefully mix the two together without stressing the batter. To do this, form a “crater” in the middle of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients (as shown) into the crater. Slowly stir until most of the batter is incorporated. A few small lumps are your friend, too much mixing is not.

Vegan Pancakes Batter

Step Three: Hot Pan

Warm the pan over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Then, use a paper towel to spread a little vegetable oil over the bottom of the pan. Test the temperature by cooking one small pancake first. If it sizzles when it hits the pan and forms bubbles after 1-2 minutes without burning, your temperatures are right.

Use a 1/4 cup measurement to create the perfect 4-inch pancakes. If your pan is large enough, you can cook 2-3 at a time. Again, wait 2 minutes for large bubbles to form on the surface, then flip and cook for another 90 seconds. Store the first batches in a warm oven while you finish the rest. Then, top with blueberries, maple syrup, raw chocolate, peanut butter, coconut chips, cardamom, or whatever you love on pancakes.

Salsa Madness

I can get pretty nervous when I venture into something new and self-doubt.  It really does help to have a little idea of what awaits you, so that you don’t make a complete fool of yourself. 
Yesterday evening Erik and I ventured into our first Salsa class at Emerald City Ballroom in Dublin, Ohio.  They have three levels:  Beginning, Beginner’s II and Intermediate.  We are at the beginner’s level.  I wanted my daughter to attend with me last night however she was very tired and needed to complete a project for school.  It is a plan to have her join the next Salsa Social. 
Now, here’s a little insider knowledge that will give you the guts to rock up to your first Salsa class with a huge smile on your face and inspire all the other students with your massive aura of confidence.

Here’s what to expect in your first Salsa class:

You can’t help but to feel highly motivated and anxious all at once.  Erik was a bit apprehensive as he is only 8 months from his left femur injury.  We had 2 instructors (who were amazing) and approximately 6 beginners in our group.   The intermediate group was larger.  I had the largest smile ever on my face, after all everyone in my group was a beginner just like me and those in the intermediate group were beginners once.  I looked at Erik and as he began to shimmy his smile and confidence started rising and I knew this was going to be great!

Let me tell you…we had on regular ole attire.  You will feel comfortable!  You do not need to put on special Salsa clothes, wear special Salsa shoes or even bring a partner. The teachers arrive: they’re not at all intimidating but are warm and friendly and you’re pleasantly surprised.

They treat you to a little demonstration of Salsa as students arrive and it really inspires you.  My instructors gently introduced steps, let our group try them out, and then the DJ popped on some music which really brought out the moves.  Let me tell you there are mirror’s everywhere.  Looking at yourself in the mirror is a treat.  We swapped partners along the way to keep things fresh, which helped me to learn effectively and gave me a chance to say hello to all the other lovely people in the class.  Erik really is a natural with following directions and figuring things out and the instructor BRAVO’D him several times for “gettin” it.  I guess he’s a natural. 

The class will fly by and you’ll go home happy. Next week seems so far away.  I am counting down the days until the next dancing opportunity.   I hope Erik will join me again and hopefully I have a new recruit my daughter.  Today at work I walked in dancing and I’ve even sneakily looked up Salsa music on YouTube.

Just remember you cannot be a dancer if you do not dance!  Join Salsamante Dance Academy  Thanks to my lovely co-worker Grace who suggested this date night.  Thanks Grace!

Now it’s time for you to have your say. What was your first Salsa class like? Did you feel nervous before you went?  Share…

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On Choosing Happiness

I have been thinking more and more about how to make my home an even more positive space.  I am choosing to focus on the positive, which is what makes us all happier. We live in a world of extremes. There is a significant amount of poverty and there is a significant amount of wealth. It’s very easy to want all the flashy new things that come at us from so many angles. I’m going to admit that I’m guilty. I’d love to move into my own home someday soon and renovate it with all the things on Pinterest that I love (laughing, if only pinterest were real right?).  My lists of wants are long, but I am trying daily to be very grateful for what I do have. My faith in God, my little family (even though I always wanted a much larger “tribe”, I have been blessed with 1 biological daughter, 1 daughter from my heart (foster mother) and possibly 3 from my boyfriend “if” and or “when” we marry), our portion of health and our home that I currently rent. I’m going to let go of the desire to fill my home with things. The things will come steadily with hard work and prayer as I can afford to purchase them. I'm going to focus more on breathing positivity and happiness into my home by giving thanks for all that we already have.

Erik's Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers 
3 c. vegetable broth
1 cup wild rice
1 cup of fresh mushrooms diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 green onions thinly sliced
Pink salt to taste
½ cup of diced onion

Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the wild rice is tender, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Lightly grease a small baking dish with olive oil.  Cut out the top of the 4 colorful bell peppers.  Remove the seeds and ribs.  Place the bell pepper on it’s bottom into the prepared baking dish.

Toss the chopped mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomatoes and green onions.  Fold in the wild rice, and season to taste with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Fill the cut peppers with this mixture, and fill the baking dish with about ¼ inch of water. 

Bake in preheated oven until the peppers are tender, and the wild rice is hot, about 20 mins.  Sprinkle with a lil parmesan cheese if you desire.  

Swiss Chard Morning Mix Smoothie

Swiss Chard Morning Mix Smoothie
Yield 1 1/2 cups

2 large leafs of Chards (red)
1 cup of raw almond milk (unsweetened)
1 medium red banana
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 pitted avocado
1 pitted date
1 tablespoon of Moringa powder

Blend it all thoroughly (I let my high speed Ninja run 30-45ish seconds).

I'm grateful

Taking even 2 minutes to focus your attention on things and people for which you’re grateful can turn any frown upside down. Try it.
I’m grateful for my precious daughter.  I'm reminded over and over just how I have been blessed with the sweetest gift of all motherhood.  Everyday her presence, her calm spirit and respect for me gives me a healthy future to look too.  I’m grateful for my generous, crafty and smart boyfriend.  I’m grateful for all of my family. I’m grateful for my friends who I know God blessed me to journey this life with.  I'm grateful for a heart to love others.  
I’m grateful for my portion of health… I’m without cancer, disease, or pain.
I’m grateful for prayer....knowing that I can talk to God authentically about anything without feeling ashamed.  I am grateful for God's provision.  I am grateful for my 5:30 am prayer group and Thursday evening prayer group. I'm grateful for having a church family and to worship freely without limits.  
I’m grateful for growing in my love for delicious, superior, high quality foods and a medium to share with others.
I’m grateful for having a roof over my head that protects me and my daughter from the elements outside.
I’m grateful this morning the cold weather, icy roads and balding rear tires did not run me off of the road and made it safely to work.  
I’m grateful for my bed.
I’m grateful for fresh water.
I’m grateful for the cold weather in Ohio today and having all of my senses in tact to know.
I’m grateful that my eyesight works and I can read.
I’m grateful that I can hear music with my ears and have a voice to sing along.
I’m grateful for my freedom.
I’m grateful for the Internet and my computer.
I’m grateful for the clothes on my back the shoes on my feet.
I’m grateful that I can live in a safe neighborhood.
I’m grateful for gratitude.
I’m grateful for so many things. Why are you grateful?

About Dawnara

I'm a newbie to this world of blogging.  I am no author by far.  I am simply using this medium to track how I eat and share with those who are interested.  This year I turned 40 and with this new age has come new things to focus on for my health and my families health.  I know there are many healthy guru's out there and many may and or may not come in contact with my site.  Let me be the first to say those who know me know this has been my life for as long as they and I can remember.  This isn't an attempt for me to go with the masses.  I have always an interest in healthy eating and like many have also fallen into not so healthy eating that has comprised of mostly carbohydrates.  This year it is my goal is to continue in my best health.  I will share food recipes and photos, gardening ideas, travel ideas and or what so ever I feel as this blog is mine.  In a nutshell I am a Christian, mother of a teenager, girlfriend, nurse in a corporate world, art lover and an adventure seeker.  Like most I am still trying to figure my life out....controlling my choices i.e., diet are what I consider a start in the right direction.