Pizza With Purpose

Pizza 2

Pizza is a staple of the SAD (Standard American Diet).

Ask a kid what their favorite food is and most likely you will hear them tell you pizza.

In a place like New York, ask a person on their street their favorite kind and you will hear answers like Sicilian, White, Pepperoni, Hawaiian, Buffalo Chicken or good ol’ Margarita.

If only pizza loved us as much as we do in return….

Most pizza that we consume is made of processed, inflammation inducing flour and mucus building cheese.

Gluten and dairy are two highly inflammatory foods that take a toll on our blood sugar and immune system. As you may know, majority of people are allergic or have sensitivities to one or both of these items!

To me, that is a big red flag signaling us to not consume it.

But I want you to know that there are still fun ways to enjoy pizza (and a little bit of gluten if you have no sensitivities or allergies) It is also so much more fun to make it on your own!

What you need:

  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores or in the frozen aisle in Whole Foods)
  • Sauce of choice–this can be traditional tomato or you could use olive oil and garlic (my favorite)
  • Toppings of choice–Endless opportunities: Spinach, Mushrooms, Kale, Broccolini, more Garlic, Veggie Sausage, Organic Cage Free Turkey Sausage, Peppers or Onions.
  • Optional: Cheese (choose from Organic Goat or Mozzarella. Vegetarian/Non-Dairy Options: Daiya, Nutritional Yeast or Cashew Cheese)
  • Gluten Free Dough Option: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough (super easy to make)

What to do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Let your dough sit out until room temperature (If making Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free, follow directions on package). If it is not room temperature it will not stretch out the way you would like it too.ย 
  • Shape the dough onto a baking pan or pizza sheet. This can either be traditional round, oblong, rectangle…go crazy.
  • Next prep your toppings: If you’re using veggies saute them lightly in a pan with coconut oil, season as you prefer. Do the same with the veggie sausage or turkey sausage. Tip: If using olive oil and garlic as your “sauce” roast about 8 garlic cloves in the oven on a baking sheet while it is preheating. Once golden brown place the garlic on your uncooked dough then drizzle with more olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Now the fun part…add your toppings! There are no rules with pizza so add them in any order you would like. Get the kids involved and let them take the wheel. If you want to keep it traditional it usually it goes (as we know ๐Ÿ˜‰ ): Sauce, veggies, cheese (optional).
  • Place your pizza pie in the oven and let cook until the edges are golden brown (about 15 minutes)

Serve with a side of greens and you have a wholesome and delicious meal that everyone will enjoy.

With Love and Pizza Pie,

Your Maven

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Maven Yoga~VLOG!

Welcome to the very first Maven Yoga Vlog!

As we enter the season of celebrating holidays it is important to remember why we celebrate them in the first place.

Many of us seem to forget where the roots of these celebrations come from, which is religion, spirituality and the acknowledgment of a higher source or power.

For my very first Maven Yoga Pose I chose Sirsasana a.k.a. headstand.

To most people this looks like a rather advanced pose but the truth is that yogis of all levels, even the most beginners, can practice headstand-prep and still reap all of the benefits.

Sirasana is a sure way to stimulate the 7th Chakra, Sahashrara or the Crown Chakra. It is through this chakra that you connect to the higher source and merge into oneness with the universal life force.

Did I lose you? Keep reading…

Headstand-prep is also a great way to invert our energy during this stagnant time of year and to look at life from a different perspective.

It may be scary at first, but once you allow yourself to literally turn life on its head you will notice the benefits in your daily life (for example: noticing that you are approaching those holiday stressors in a different, more positive way).

Before attempting this pose please warm up and stretch your hamstrings and shoulders.

Please do not attempt if you have hypertension, any neck/cervical pain or vertigo.

To Enter:

Bring the base of your palm to the middle of your eyebrows and lay your palm and fingers over your forehead, like you’re gripping a basketball.

Feel where the tip of your middle finger hits the crown of your head and push down a little to remember that spot. That is where the top of your head will be placed on the ground.

Kneeling, come onto your forearms and place your hands on opposite elbows. Keeping your elbows at that distance, bring your hands forward and clasp the fingers, leaving the hands cupped. (This should look like an even triangle with the points being each elbow and the hands)

Bring the back of the head into the cup of the hands and rest the crown (the place your middle finger touched) gently on the floor.

Engage the shoulder and back, pressing the forearms into the floor to reduce the pressure in the head.

Tuck the toes under, lift the hips and lengthen the legs.

Gently walk your feet toward the head, keeping the shoulders and upper back engaged and pressing the forearms into the mat to decrease the pressure in the head and the spine.

Give your body time to adjust to this inverted position. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose.

Do not go further than you feel comfortable.

If something does not feel right, come out of it slowly and sit back into child’s pose.


Eventually when you build the shoulder and core strength your hips will come over your shoulders, with your back straight and core engaged so that there is no pressure on the neck or spine.

From there you can play with bringing one knee into the chest, back down and then the other.

To exit, slowly lower your knees and come into child’s pose with your arms along your sides. Rest here for 8 breaths.

I’d love some feedback on your experience with headstand prep.

Did you give it a try? Did something surprise you? Have questions?

Send me an e-mail or show me your pic on Instagram or Facebook!

Hashtag #MavenYoga!

With Crown Chakra Love,

Your Maven

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Kabocha Squash Pasta

Kabocha Squash Pasta

Fall is the season of squash and root veggies galore! Which I happen to love.

These veggies are so beautiful and can make you feel warm and cozy by just looking at them. They also tend to have a sweet taste to them which can satisfy anybody’s sweet tooth.

This recipe is perfect for those cozy fall and winter nights when you are in need of a little comfort food–without the guilt.

Squash is one of those vegetables that tests your patience. They’re hard to open and time consuming from the scooping of the seeds to the 30 minutes roasting in the oven.

But trust me, it’s worth it!

Kabocha Squash Pasta

What you need:

  • 1 small kabocha squash
  • 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil (organic and unrefined preferred)
  • 1 cup of brown rice or whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup steamed peas (or broccoli)
  • 1/2 cup of nut milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

On to the recipe….

Go to your local grocery or farmer’s market and pick up a small kabocha squash. Bring it home, put it on the counter and breathe.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

With a sharp knife hack off the stem then carefully cut the squash in half, starting where the stem was. I find this is easiest because from taking off the stem you have now exposed the softer squash flesh.

Once opened, scoop out the seeds into the trash and cut into 1-2 inch wide slices. Coat in coconut oil, salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and let roast for 30-45 minutes, tossing at halfway.

Once cooked allow to cool then place 1/2 the squash in a tupperware for snack time later.

**Cook the pasta according to the directions while completing the next steps**

Take 1/2 of the 1/2 that you kept out and scrape or cut the squash from the skin into a bowl and mash it to a mashed potato consistency.

In a sauce pan, combine your nut milk, nutritional yeast, tumeric, garlic powder and onion powder over low heat. Whisking until well incorporated. Once warm add your kabocha squash mash to the sauce pan and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. If it is having problems thickening, remove from the heat. If it is too thick, add more almond milk.

Drain the pasta once al dente and combine it with the sauce and peas. Mix well until each noodle is covered.

Plate the pasta then place a couple of your roasted kabocha squash slivers on top to garnish and enjoy!

With Kabocha love,

Your Maven


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Food For Thought


โ€œBy cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked,ย the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmnessโ€

-The Yoga Sutras By Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras are a reading requirement for my 200 hour certification and this one has been by far my favorite. Any moment that I feel anxiousness or irritability towards another human being this sutra comes to mind and bring me the tools I need to carry out the interaction.

Sometimes cultivating these emotions when our ego wants us to feel something else is hard. But in the long term shutting the ego down is what helps us live the life we want and deserve.

Be happy for those happy people instead of trying to bring them down.

Feel compassion for the unhappy and hope that they find happiness again.

Feel delight in the virtuous, they are a reflection of what you can achieve, they are the ones who give you the fire to achieve it.

And my personal favorite, disregard the wicked.

I invite you to write this down, keep it in your back pocket, and remember it when you encounter one of the four of these people.

No Regrets, Just Love + Almond Butter Fudge

Do you know that terrifying feeling that you get before you’re about to do something life-changing?

hands and heart

This happens to me anytime I am making a big decision. You know the feeling, when you’re so excited, yet so scared at the same time. This fear can make you miss out on some major opportunities in your life. All of a sudden this fear takes over and you find questions running through your mind that didn’t exist before like ‘Am I doing this for me?’, ‘Is this what I really want?’, ‘What happens if I fail?’, ‘There’s no way I can succeed!’.

…..the thoughts go on…..

These fear based thoughts reared all of their ugly heads at me this week as time crept closer to choosing my yoga teacher training. As I had said earlier, I had found the one. Then Monday morning came around and I woke up not so sure anymore. Immediately I tried to figure out where these thoughts were coming from; what was the root of this thinking? It dawned on me that the day before at the Wanderlust event Yoga In The City, a thought had crossed my mind that I had never heard before: “What is your purpose?” This was a pretty daunting question and I honestly didn’t know. This one thought must have opened a flood gate because I woke up the next morning completely unsure of myself and who I was.

Instead of being dragged down by these fear based thoughts I decided to change the pace and do as Gabby Bernstein has been teaching me to do when things like this happen which is to face the fear. Acknowledge this fear as not real and return to love. So, I told my boyfriend about my day and how I was feeling to put the spotlight on it. Then I started asking myself some serious questions about what I wanted my purpose to be, what kind of yoga teacher did I want to be, who do I want to be? I then went home, made some almond fudge (recipe below), rolled out my yoga mat and did some seriously sweaty flows. As I laid in savasana I asked what my purpose was. The answer that came gave me a sense of ease and I think it could bring comfort to anyone. This is what I wrote in my journal, word for word:

Your purpose is to love.

Just as you always have.

Love love love.

Don’t let go.

Even if people are scared of it.

Even if people judge it.

Keep loving, it’s the most beautiful thing you can give to the world.

Forget your worry, love is there

I know that this may seem out there, but this message made me realize that there are no mistakes in life. There are no right and wrong decisions because everything happens for a reason. With each action and experience you are learning something whether you are aware of it or not. If you don’t believe me look at a mistake or not so great time in your life. Now, what is something positive that you would not have today if that mistake or not so stellar time in your life didn’t happen? It could be that you gained such as: life experience, knowledge, a relationship, a physical object, anything! The smallest fluctuation could change your entire life. Would you risk all of the good that you have to change something from the past?

I wouldn’t.

Don’t regret anything, look back on your life with love. If you didn’t go through that rough patch in your life you wouldn’t be in that happy place you are today. Are you in that rough patch right now? Guess what. Smooth sailing is ahead. And you will be a far better sailor than you were before.

It’s these simple switches in the mind and of perspective that makes life less stressful and more fun. Being at peace with your past and future can also make you more grateful for the present.

With light and love,


Almond Butter Fudge

via Tara Stiles and Detoxinista

almond butter fudge

What you will need:

1 cup Almond Butter or Peanut Butter

*preferably organic

1/4 cup warm coconut oil

*place jar in warm water to liquify

1 + 1/2 tablespoons of Raw Honey

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Optional: Chocolate Chips

What you need to do:

Combine the almond butter, coconut oil, raw honey, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well incorporated. Then add your chocolate chips.

For a container you have two options:

1. a glass casserole dish (the smaller the better)

2. a sandwich sized tupperware container.

I used two sandwich sized tupperware containers. Line the container with plastic wrap then pour in your mixture. Smooth out the mixture with a spoon or spatula and place in the freezer for 1 hour.

After the hour has passed you can remove your fudge from the dish or container by pulling it out by the plastic wrap. Then separate the fudge from the wrap. It’s not sticky because of the coconut oil so it should come right off.

Cut the fudge into squares and enjoy!

If you have leftovers be sure to store them in the freezer.

And We’re Back! (+ a yummy recipe)


Hello again!

It feels like it has been forever, when in reality it has only been a short couple of weeks. It’s amazing how much you can learn and accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Throughout this break I have graduated college (finally!), did my very first juice cleanse (1 full day, with visions of 3 for the future), and found the studio where I will complete my 200 hour yoga training in the fall. And these are just the bigger events that are standing out! I have also been trying new products, reading new books, listening to new lectures (and some old), trying new recipes, and new styles of yoga and meditation.

All the while, ideas for articles kept popping up in my head. But don’t you worry, I wrote them all down.

As you can tell I have a lot to share! But this time I am pacing myself.

From now on you will see one post per week and one recipe from me. Although I love the Daily Inspiration, it gets tough to give it my whole heart and soul on a daily basis. But I think the one post per week will be a great match!ย 

Each post will allow me to post some inspiration, share tips on how to live well, and give you a great recipe to try!

Not a bad deal right?

*If you still need a little wellness inspiration on a daily basis, check me out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram*

I hope you’re looking forward to this comeback as much as I am.

Now, as promised..The Recipe!

photo (1)

Vanilla Chia Pudding

What you need:

-1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, hemp, cashew, coconut)

-2-3 Tablespoons chia seeds (you’ll get a sense for how much you need as it thickens)

-1 Teaspoon all natural maple syrup

-1/2 Teaspoon all natural vanilla extract

-Sprinkle of cinnamon

-Additional toppings (berries, bananas, walnuts, almond slivers, etc.)

What you do:

Pour the cup of non-dairy milk into a bowl. Mix in the chia seeds and additional ingredients. Stir until all is well incorporated in the milk. Place it in the fridge to thicken. What happens during this time is that the chia seeds absorb the liquid and start to turn into a gelatin consistency.ย  The longer it sits the more dense it will be. After about 15 minutes stir it again. Sometimes you can eat it at this point, but I would leave it for another 15-20. Keep stirring it at intervals though because sometimes the chia seeds get stuck at the bottom, and although that’s OK it’s not ideal.

Once it is at the thickness you like, top it with some blueberries, strawberries, or walnuts. Or you can eat it plain.

I usually make mine the night before so that it is super thick by the time I eat it for breakfast.

This snack is perfect for when you need to be satisfied and energized. Chia seeds are great for creating lasting energy as well as holding onto water (in a good way that keeps you hydrated. Chia seeds are also known for giving people leaner physiques. Did you know summer is right around the corner? This would be the perfect snack to sneak in the cooler during a beach or pool day. Cool, refreshing, and satisfying!

Logging Off…For Now


As you may have noticed I haven’t posted a new recipe of the week and the velocity of my posts have been slowing (unless you follow me on Facebook and Instagram). This isn’t out of laziness or lack of inspiration, it is because of finals and term papers.

As many of you know, I am finishing college this year. This is something I have put off for quite some time now. This semester I am taking 20 credits and then one last and final 3 week course starting immediately after I walk in cap and gown.

During these finals weeks, I will be giving it my all and will be focusing on staying present and enjoying the remainder of my time at Purchase. This school is a place I have come to love very much. I can’t believe how much I am going to miss it.

Of course I will post whenever I can, but not until after this week.

Yup, this week I am treating myself to a full blown social media detox. No Instagram, no Facebook, no twitter, no Pinterest. Although I find so much inspiration through so many other people, their posts, and their lives. I also find myself wanting to live in their world, do what they’re doing, or comparing myself to them. None of these things are very healthy and I am sick of pressing the reload button.

This week will be the most present I have been in years and I am so excited for it. This week will give me the opportunity to live and focus on my life and my present. It also gives me time to discover what I have to offer as an individual, how I want to move forward with my life and this wellness business/inspiration and to strengthen my mindfulness muscles. How exciting does that sound? If its possible, I invite you all to join me in this detox.

Of course I will miss sharing the inspiration that inspires me each day with you, but I know by the time I get back I will have even more wonderful things to share (Ill be writing them all down ๐Ÿ˜‰

Be Well
Be Happy
Be Present
And Love

Your Maven