blackberry cobbler smoothie and interview with week of plenty

blackberry cobbler smoothie recipe by week of plenty | colore graceIn March I was lucky enough to meet Randle Browning during our weekend at Camp TXSC After talking with Randle for a few minutes she told me about her blog, Week of Plenty, and explained she blogs recipes that are within a plant-based food diet. We became immediate friends after talking about our recent love for any recipe including sweet potatoes. I loved getting to hear about her life and her vision for her blog during camp, and I love it even more that we've stayed friends. Food is not something I usually write about, or talk about much, honestly. I've never felt like it was my place to talk about food because I'm notoriously a "picky eater". I was born allergic to milk and cheese, which limits a lot of foods automatically, so I've always eaten really plain meals (my go-to being chicken tenders for way too long). As an adult, my allergy list has started to grow. I now have allergic reactions to milk, cheese, soy products, bananas, avocados, pecans, and hoppy beers. However instead of eating less this time, I've decided to start eating differently and healthier too.

I've been flirting with the idea of a plant-based food diet, but I want to learn more about before jumping in so I decided to ask Randle a few questions about her experience. Plus we're sharing this delicious Blackberry Cobbler Smoothie recipe after the interview too!

(P.S. I also answered a few question Randle asked me on her blog, Week of Plenty, and I highly recommend spending some time to look at all of her yummy recipes.)

blackberry cobbler smoothie by Week of Plenty

CG: How did you get interested in a plant-based food diet?

RB: In August 2014, my cousin, who had just become vegan, came to visit. Since I live in Waco, Texas, I thought it would be simpler if we both ate vegan food while she was here. Cooking vegan food at home for both of us was wayyy easier than trying to navigate the meat- and cheese-heavy restaurant scene here.

Side note: My cousin is full-on vegan, whereas I’m following a plant-based diet. The difference as I see it is that veganism is a lifestyle change that usually involves cutting out ALL animal products from your life—including things you might not think of, like honey, wool, beeswax, silk, leather, and gelatine. My plant-based diet isn’t as all-encompassing, since I still eat certain local honeys and eggs, and I haven’t cut all animal products out of my life.

CG: What is the biggest benefit of a plant-based food diet?

RB: After I eat, I feel energized rather than heavy and bogged down. If I resist eating 2 cups of hummus, that is... :P

CG: What are some of the ways you’ve seen a positive change in your life?

RB: My allergies evaporated. For years, I had extreme allergies and took 5 types of allergy medicines every day. If I didn’t take all those pills and inhalers, I’d end up in bed with a debilitating migraine. Within 2 weeks of eating a plant-based diet, I hadn’t had a single migraine and had stopped taking all but 1 of my allergy medications.

And my stomach problems went away! I was about to have surgery, and switching to a plant-based diet cured me!

CG: Do you have any food exceptions to the plant-based rule?

RB: Yes, I do eat farm eggs about once a week. I also make an exception for honey, and I don’t worry a lot about wine, which is sometimes processed using animal products.

CG: When you were starting this change in your diet, and lifestyle, did you start by slowly making adjustments or by diving all in? Any advice for people wanting to try it?

RB: I dove straight in. For about a week I had serious cheese cravings, but, luckily, I gradually got over my (previously undying) love for cheese. My tips for getting through the transition period are to keep salty, indulgent things around to supplement. I used a LOT of hummus, miso, olives, and strong olive oil to help me over the hump.

Even though it might seem more difficult, I think doing a clean break is better, because it allows your body to detox quickly, so you feel the benefits right away. The way you FEEL is the biggest motivation to keep going, in my opinion.

smoothies-are-my-spirit-animal

CG: What were some of the struggles you faced when starting and how did you overcome them? Are you currently working something?

RB: The thing I’ve struggled with the most is acceptance from other people. You’d be surprised how personally some people take it when you tell them you stopped eating all dairy, meat, poultry, and fish. It’s common to hear, “It’s just a little bit. Just eat it!” It gets tiring to have to explain all those reasons why even a little bit matters over and over again, without being rude.

CG: How do you handle ordering at restaurants?

RB: This is a tough one. I understand that people who have never thought much about eating animal products might be stumped, so I try not to blame the staff at restaurants when they don’t get my requests right away. But I do end up sending orders back because they forgot to omit the cheese, or something like that. It can get really frustrating for everyone involved.

I’ve found it’s best to be clear about what you want and say it with a smile. It also helps to double check that menu items that SEEM plant-based aren’t hiding secret ingredients, like a sprinkle of parmesan or a glaze of butter. Just ask before you order.

CG: How do you find inspiration for creating recipes?

RB: The farmers market! And lots of blogs and cookbooks. :) These are my top picks for plant-based cookbooks:

CG: What’s your current favorite recipe to make whether it’s yours or someone else’s? Recipe link please?

RB: The Spring Miso Soup with Lemon in At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. I love improvising and throwing in soba or rice noodles. I also really love the Sweet Potato Brownies on Deliciously Ella. I recommend reducing the sweet potato to 16 oz. and adding dark chocolate chunks so they’re SUPER chocolatey.

My favorite quick vegan snack is a Medjool date with the pit removed, filled with almond butter and a couple chocolate chunks. I know you didn’t ask, but it will make you forget Reese’s Peanut Butter cups ever had your heart.

CG: Tell me about why you started Week of Plenty.

RB: To give my readers the tools to enjoy simple, delicious plant-based meals that make them feel amazing. :)

Week of Plenty is about simplifying the way you eat so you can feel and look your best. We already design so many other aspects of our daily lives—our homes, our wardrobes, even our faces and bodies. And I always think of designs as functional structures that make it easier to experience beautiful things. I think the same is true with food. If you design a way of eating that works for your body, you make space to find a lot more joy in the process.


Ingredients for a Blackberry Cobbler Smoothie by Week of PlentyThank you so much for all of your wonderful answers Randle. I'll definitely be doing more research about a plant-based food diet. And, as promised, here is the sweet Blackberry Smoothie Recipe she created:

Blackberry Cobbler Smoothie

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup frozen blackberries
  1. In a powerful blender, combine rolled oats, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup, and blend until the oats are completely smooth and not grainy.
  2. Add the blackberries and blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

RB: Pro tips for mega awesome smoothies:

  • Once you go rolled oats, you won’t go back. Just remember, the key is really blitzing them up with the almond milk—so they’re completely smooth and puréed—before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • Taste the blackberries beforehand to see how sweet they are. Adjust the amount of maple syrup accordingly.
  • If the smoothie is too thin, add ice and blend again. If it’s too thick, add water or almond milk and blend again.
  • Swap in any in-season berry.

Enjoy!

Photography by Randle Browning of Week of Plenty.

Calligraphy by Colore Grace.

'work hard, rosé harder' download

work hard, rosé harder download by coloregraceMay flowers are beginning to bloom; spring is showing off. When the weather starts to warm up and flowers are all blooming bright, it seems like every end of the work day should include a glass at happy hour and a patio to enjoy the view. It seems like every week brings a new deadline, with a seemingly unending list of tasks to complete for each one. I naturally put a lot of pressure on myself to work as much as I physically, and mentally, can. I have been working very long days, several days of the week, and it's time to force myself to take a moment to appreciate myself for the hard work.

After working hard all week, a glass of rosé sounds like the perfect lovely treat for winding down and celebrating all of the hard work accomplished.

Find and save the 'work hard, rosé harder' desktop and iphone download over at Jojotastic!

Find all  'a little extra grace' downloads here.

Cheers!

work hard, rosé harder download by coloregrace

 

writing letters

2015-04-12-20150412-Capture0008 I'm pleased to say I have all of the addresses needed to complete the 30 days of letter writing challenge for the month of April. I've said it already, but thank you so much for your response to my blog post and my call for addresses. It is a delight to read the emails, but even more fun to address the letters and write my responses.  As of last night, I have 10 letters written and addressed, and I plan to keep working on them throughout the week. All letters should be in the mail by Friday, I hope. I'll be sure to post on Instagram when I officially send them out.

If you'd like to receive a letter, I'm still happy to send a few extras out. (It doesn't need to be only 30 letters, right?) Please read my post 'Write On' to learn more about sending me your address.

Are you doing the challenge too? I'd love to know who else is participating!

(Oh, if you like these 'thank you' cards, be sure to look for a special feature on them next week.)

write on

would you like a letter from me? | coloregraceWhile I was in college there a post office I could walk to from where I worked. Almost everyday I would smile and chat with Luis, a postman I had become friends with. The workers always treated me with kindness even when I was standing in their line multiple times a day, asking for specific stamps, or being completely clueless about shipping. No matter what, I had a nice experience at the post office. Because of this, I’ve always said that I enjoyed going to the post office because when I went in with a positive attitude I liked to believe it made everyone’s day better. Since moving to Austin, this has not the case. I’m finally getting all of the negative vibes adults have been complaining about for years: “The system is inefficient” and “the workers are rude” to name a few. It saddens me to think that sending or receiving mail is this bad of an experience.

STAY WITH ME THIS IS NOT A POST OFFICE RANT.

card and lettering writing | coloregrace

About a month ago I found these adorable From Me to You stamps that celebrate April as National Card and Letter Writing month. I started hunting them down when they were released on April 1. The first post office I tried didn’t carry them because they are a smaller neighborhood office. The second post office closed the line as soon as I walked in the door, which I’ll admit was my fault but the man was very rude. A few days later I waited in line in the third post office for twenty minutes before the man behind the counter told me they didn’t sell those stamps either. Even though I had struck out again, I smiled and thanked the him. My positive attitude didn’t waver.

I recently started listening to a wonderful podcast, Back to Work (more on this later) and one of the hosts, Dan Benjamin shared a story about going into a CVS to get a prescription filled when the pharmacy was about to close and how his attitude in the situation completely changed his experience. The women informed him that the pharmacy was closing and she couldn’t fill the prescription. Instead of getting mad at her or irritated, he thanked her and asked if there was another store close by he could go to before they closed (there wasn’t). But, after having a pleasant conversation with her, she ended up quickly filling the prescription for him even though they had just closed. She didn’t have to do this act of kindness, but because he was understanding and genuinely nice, she did. This resonated with me because I always strive to not take a negative attitude with anyone, especially customer service workers.

Once I was back in my car I tried calling another nearby post office and was immediately informed the stamps were in stock. By the time I reached the fourth, and final, post office I was so thankful for the stamps. I politely asked for another sheet on top of the three he had already grabbed for me, and thanked him greatly. He responded “you’re welcome, you’re the most welcome customer I’ve seen today”.

national card and lettering writing month | coloregrace

You can call me naive, but I truly believe that having a positive attitude can drastically change your everyday experiences. I could’ve given up after any number of those stops, or be incredibly frustrated about going to four different post offices, but it was never the fault of the worker behind the counter. It would have been unreasonable for me to get irritated about something out of my control, or theirs.

Try taking this friendly attitude into the post office next time. You may not get the speciality stamps the first trip, but you’ll appreciate every stamp you buy (mine totaling 80 stamps) when you feel good about the experience you had when buying them.

If you'd like to receive a letter from me, please email me at hello@coloregrace.com.

would you like a letter from me? | coloregrace

'be still' download

coloregrace - a little extra grace- be still desktop downloadLately, I’ve been really tired. I’ve been jumping from one project to the next, exhausting myself, and never taking a break from working. While all of these projects bring me joy, the fewer hours of sleep and rest bring me to exhaustion tears and admittedly less interesting work. I finally accepted that I couldn’t keep working the same way I have been. I needed to ‘be still’. Resting doesn’t necessarily mean sleep to me; it means giving myself time to quiet my mind and not stress about any deadlines or projects or actions I should take. If you’re feeling a little scattered and exhausted like I have been, I hope you can be honest with yourself and seek the rest you need.

Today on Jojotastic I’m not only sharing this month’s desktop download ‘be still’, but a few of my favorite ways to rest too.

Please, CLICK HERE to view my post on Jojotastic and save the download.

You can find all of my previous downloads on my monthly column, a little extra grace.