3 Recipes To Steam Up Your Morning Beverage

So, we’ve ascertained that coffee isn’t for everyone. And by everyone, I most definitely mean me, and most of you by the sounds of it, Happies. But herein lies the conundrum…what else is there to drink in the morning that’s warm, comforting, soothing, and most of all, tasty? Let’s bring in the substitutes, shall we…

1. The Cinnamon Snail’s Coconut Star Anise Milk

I’m sorry, what? Who?

Well, Happies, here in NYC there’s a plethora of clever little chefs who setup shop in a truck, drive around the city, and peddle their wares to a host of neighbourhoods, rather than just the one. It’s a clever way of minimising rent, as well as being able to access a whole bunch of different people, rather than the ones on your block.

One such truck is the Cinnamon Snail, a vegan mecca that serves all kinds of tasty treats out of its Hobokan stomping ground. I stumbled across this recipe by owner/chef, Adam Sobel, and now I’m passing it onto you. Enjoy!

You’ll need…

1 young Thai coconut with skin and flesh intact
1 cup cashews
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of agave nectar (or stevia)
1/2 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt or good quality SEA salt. Not table salt, please.
2 tablespoons of maca powder (more on this later but let’s just say it helps lift your libido, among other things)
1 full star anise which sound equal about 7-8 seeds
2 1/2 cups of water or ice

Break open the coconut and remove the liquid and the flesh. Be sure you only have the good bits, no hull or woody bits in there – they’ll taste funny. Add the liquid and the flesh to the blender along with all the other ingredients except for the water/ice.

Let sit for at least 15 minutes while you do your makeup/hair/get dressed to soak the nuts. If you don’t have time to wait, pre-soak the nuts and skip directly to the next step.

Now, blend. Blend. BLEND! 40 seconds should do the trick. Add the water/ice and blend a little more.

Drink if you want it cold. Or…

If you want it hot (I did say ‘steam’ in the title), pour it into a pot and place over heat for a few minutes to warm this bad boy up. Obviously you wouldn’t add the ice to the mixture if you wanted it warm, you’d add warm water instead. Hooray!

2. LSD

Walk into any fancy health food store these days and most of them should know what LSD is. I’m not talking hallucinogens here, Happies, oh no, I’m talking LATTE SOY DANDELION. Brilliant!

A wonderful alternative to your morning coffee, this tasty treat has far more benefits that just pleasing your tastebuds. Dandelion activates your digestive tract and liver, increasing the flow of digestive juices and generally getting things working down there. It’s also great for diabetics as it stimulates the pancreas in insulin secretion.

Here’s what you need for a LSD…

3 tablespoons of dandelion root (or 3 teabags)
1 cardamom pod
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
3 clove seeds
1 small knob of ginger
any other spice you may want to add – star anise, perhaps?
2 cups of almond/rice/soy/oat milk (basically, whatever milk you like, you need 2 cups of it)

Place all your ingredients into a pot over medium heat and stir. Wait for it to simmer and heat. Serve. If you want to add honey or agave nectar, you can. Whatever you like, Happies. The choice is yours.

3. Yaz’s Hot Breakfast Mug

This is something I’ve just made up off the top of my head, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re a porridge/muesli girl who wants something quick, tasty, and best of all, filling!

You’ll need…

1/4 cup raw oats
4 almonds
4 cashews
2 teaspoons of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of coconut oil or flaxseed oil. Switch between the 2 if you have this recipe often
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 cardamom pod
1 clove
1/4 teaspoon of stevia, agave, or honey. Or leave this out if you’re not into sugar
3 large cups of your milk of choice

Pour the oats, nuts, chia seeds, spices and milk into a blender and soak for as long as you can. After around 15-20 mins, pour in the remaining ingredients and whiz this baby up until it’s a nice and creamy. Then, transfer it to a pot and let simmer until warm and bubbling. SERVE IT UP!

Of course, if you wanted this to be cold you could skip the heating part. Or, if you wanted to make a batch and keep it in a thermos you could do that too.

Stay happy,

Yaz x

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Updated: 5 Must-Have Foods To Add To Your Shopping List

You’ve tagged your favourite healthy recipes, are excited about embracing a more nutritious way of living, and now, Happies, it’s time to hit the shops and fill your pantry with more body-friendly staples than Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen.

To make the entire process even easier, I thought I’d give you a shopping list of some of my favourite oils, sauces, noodles and salts, so that you can cut out and keep for your next visit to the health food aisle of your grocery store. Hooray!

1. A Good Cooking Oil

I wanted to update this particular point because there are so many mixed reviews about oils, and cooking oils, and what’s right for you. So, rather than focus on one, I wanted to delve deeper into a few of the most popular.

Firstly, olive oil is a great option for cooking with. My dad is Turkish and I’ve grown up on the stuff, but personally I prefer to buy the organic cold pressed stuff and pour it over salads etc raw, rather than cook with it.

Secondly, coconut oil is an absolute WINNER when it comes to cooking. Its flavour is strong though, so I find it better for Asian and Indian dishes, rather than, say, Italian.

And finally, we come to the most controversial oil of the three – Grapeseed oil. Known for its ability to withstand serious heat, grapeseed oil has been high-fived for its ability to promote heart health, improve your skin, and not burn your food due to its high smoking point. That said, others believe that due to grapeseed being a polyunsaturated fat, it should never be exposed to heat as it can cause inflammation and irritation in your body. Some say it’s fine, others say it’s not. I think if you’re going to use it, stick to the purest, most unrefined form, keep it in the fridge, and use it sparingly.

2. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

I recommend the brand ‘Bragg’, as it uses 100% organic apples, is unfiltered, unpasturized, untreated, and generally awesome to use in everything from sauces, to marinades, to salad dressings. While vinegars are acidic, apple cider vinegar actually has an alkalizing affect on the body. BONUS POINTS! Plus, this stuff has been linked to helping improve everything from skin, to weight loss, to high cholesterol. GET IT IMMEDIATELY.

3. Organic Nama Shoyu

We eat a lot of Asian inspired food in our house. Gorgeous stir fries, packed with every vegetable under the sun, as well as sashimi, sushi, Japanese-inspired salmon with buckwheat soba noodles and Asian greens. The common thread? This unpasterized soya sauce that is subtle in flavour but bloody brilliant on taste. Bring it!

4. Buckwheat Soba Noodles

Speaking of buckwheat soba noodles, I cannot recommend these highly enough. Replace your refined white rice noodles with these babies and watch your tastebuds squeal with delight. In fact, I had them for lunch today. Yumyumyumyum! Try to get the 100% buckwheat version, especially if you’re avoiding, or cutting down on your gluten intake.

5. Himalayan Rock Salt

Forget that crappy table salt you may have in your cupboard, you may as well be eating poison. Salt is an essential part of your diet, but when health experts refer to salt and minerals, they’re not talking about the refined white stuff in a plastic pouch. Oh no, Happies, they’re talking about the good stuff. I personally am a fan of Himalayan Rock Salt, as it’s a great way to regulate water content in your body, alkalize your system, absorb nutrients, support your libido, AND prevent muscle cramps, to name just a few. Celtic Sea Salt is also pretty good. Whatever you do, just buy the good stuff. That is all.

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx


Baaaaahahahahahahahahaha!

Some wise old dude once said that laughter is the best medicine. And guess what? We all laughed it off. Literally. For years people questioned the science behind hysterical laughing, knowing that it sure made you feel good, but was there anything really beneficial behind it? Turns out, there is. Hahahahahaha!

New research conducted by the clever sciencey types at Loma Linda University has found that laughter can have the same positive benefits on your body as exercise. Hooray!

But we’re not talking giggles here, Happies, we’re talking full on gut busting, cheek aching laughing, the kind Dr. Lee Berk (the man behind the study at Loma Linda) refers to as laughercise. Or, in general terms, the repetitive laughter known as mirthful laughter.

Laughercise can do magical things like reduce levels of cortisol (AKA the stress hormone. AKA the devil), up your endorphins, reduce blood pressure, and give your immune system a great big kick up the butt. While another study has shown that laughter may even be able to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, thanks to its ability make your blood vessels function more efficiently. Amazing!

Clearly, this is great news for all of us. Especially anyone who can’t exercise due to illness or injury. But even if you’re willing, able, and actively exercising regularly, AS IF you wouldn’t want to LOL (did I just write that?) as much as possible. I know I do.

It’s a known fact that you can’t be unhappy when you’re laughing, smiling, or even chuckling to yourself. Science or not there’s a definite link between feeling positive and uplifted when you’re laughing. It’s the best feeling in the world, and quite frankly, I think we all need to put aside a few minutes everyday to laugh our asses off. Don’t you?

So, next time you’re in the park, or in your bedroom, or on the toilet, why not start chuckling to yourself? Seriously. The key is to start off fake laughing, and then eventually all those fake laughs will make you laugh for real. It’s magic. I do it all the time. In fact, I’m doing it right now. Hehehehehe!

Need some inspiration? Watch this if you haven’t already, it gets me every time…

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Happy Moments: An Interview with Diana Charabin

It’s no secret that I’m the head cheerleader for following your dreams, listening to your inner voice, and working towards obtaining the life you’ve always dreamed of. Even if that means taking risks, or having friends and family look at you like you’ve lost your mind – because hey, that all adds to the fun of it.

But what intrigues me just as much as figuring out what I’m meant to be doing, is looking at other inspirational leap-takers and seeing what their story is. How they got to live their dreams, follow their heart, and truly live an amazingly rich and fulfilled life away from the more traditional means we’ve all come know so well.

Enter stage left…Diana Charabin. Clap, clap, clap.

I found Diana’s business, Tiny Devotions, via Kathryn Budig (another insanely talented human) who raves about the mala beads Diana makes on a regular basis. And I completely understand why, Happies. They’re amazing!

Here’s a visual of my personal favourite…

Mala of Intuition and Dreams

If you’re new to the whole mala bead scene as I was, they’re essentially a sacred necklace made from 108 beads (plus an additional 109th bead known as the guru stone), and in Tiny Devotion’s case, crystals, and bring you good luck, good energy, healing, health and fortune.

As life would have it, Diana sought refuge from her ‘boring’ Law lectures by attending a Hare Krishna run yoga studio on the Gold Coast, where she was studying and living abroad. It was there that the seed of her future was planted, after being given her first ever set of mala beads, and a piece of paper with her ‘mantra’ scribbled down.

But as so often happens, the seed was planted but the fruits didn’t flourish for some years – Diana is the first to confess that while she was interested in the concept of malas and mantras, it didn’t resonate with her uni lifestyle at the time. Hey, we’ve all been there, right?

Cut to a few years later and Diana had an Eat, Pray, Love moment. Literally. After reading the book and recognising that it was written in the same format as a mala (108 passages plus 1) her fascination with the beads reignited. So, in a moment of what appeared to be pure insanity by others, Diana followed her heart, sold all her belongings, and moved to Bali. She knew only 2 things at that time: 1. There was no way she wanted to be a lawyer anymore, and 2. She needed to go to Bali.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

But clearly, I wanted to delve deeper into this fascinating story. So, I tracked down Diana and asked her to kindly give me a moment of her time. She did. And here’s what happened…

Me: Tiny Devotions was something that grew organically, by the sounds of things, what is it that kept calling your name to fulfill this passion?

Diana: Tiny Devotions was definitely not in the “plan”. The universe totally guided me to create this community. After following my heart and retreating to Bali for 2 months a few years ago – a friend of mine Clare Merrifield and myself found ourselves spontaneously making mala beads. When I returned to Canada people would literally chase me down the street asking about the mala beads and thus the energy of the universe pushed me to make this happen.

Me: What advice do you have for women who are in a job, or career, they don’t like, but are scared to follow their dreams and start something new?

Diana: Regret is much worse then failure. It’s as simple as that for me. I cannot bare to live with regret and I also can’t do anything that I don’t feel is my passion or my path.

Me: Your malas represent the Bohemian lifestyle of living your dreams, following your passions and looking good as you do it – was this always something you lived by, or have you found that your confidence, inner guidance, and true passion has come with exploration?

Diana: There has been a lot of exploration, a lot of self study, a lot of yoga and meditation and reading and… everyday is an exploration.

Me: What is it about your malas that make them so special?

Diana: Truly, all mala beads are special. The energy that goes into them and their intention make them not jewelry but sacred pieces.

Me: What makes you happy?

Diana: Travelling, love, family, the ocean, Australia, North County, Canada, coffee, yoga, creation, community, amazing connections and friends. And my dog.

Me: How do you stay motivated, creative, and on track, both in terms of your business and your life?

Diana: I try to give myself as much freedom as possible – with travelling, exercising and yoga. And I do my best to surround myself with inspiring people. And I write a lot of goals and post it notes! And make sure I execute each and every one of them. Its not about ideas its about ideas + execution.

Me: Do you find it hard to balance life and work?

Diana: Yes, Yes, Yes. I definitely still have not figured this one out. (But I have a plan and am in the execution phase). Until then, I try to travel once a month or every other month to get out of my busy routine!

So, for any of you Happies wondering why you’re being pulled in one direction, or unsure whether to take that leap of faith, listen to Diana (and me) and DO IT! You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Three Insanely Easy Breakfast Ideas

Hail the might egg for bringing us an abundance of quick breakfast ideas that are packed with nutrition, tastiness, and the ability to look like Bill Granger without really having to try too hard. But here’s the thing, Happies, we all know a little too well that your Sunday morning breakfast of eggs with roast tomato, mushrooms, and maybe even smoked salmon can get a little, well, tired, so today I’m going introduce you to a few easy breakfast ideas that you can make Monday through Sunday without having to try hard at all. Yesss!

1. Quinoa porridge with sultanas, nuts, and cinnamon

A wonderful gluten-free option, quinoa porridge is one of the best inventions ever! Firstly, it lasts a number of days, so you can make a container full and scoop it out in the morning, adding your milk, fresh banana, and whatever else you need for that day. Amazing!

Here’s what you need to make a large amount…

1 cup of quinoa
1 orange, rind off and set aside
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
1 clove
1/2 cup of raw almonds
1/2 cup of sultanas

Cook the quinoa as per the instructions on the pack. Generally it’s 1 cup of quinoa to 1.5 cups of water. Be sure to rinse it before you cook. As it’s cooking, add your cardamom, cinnamon, and clove, as well as the juice of your orange, and the zest. Allow to simmer.

Once full cooked, add your sultanas and nuts.

To serve, simply pour milk (I love almond milk or coconut milk with this) over the porridge, add a banana on top if you like, as well as a sprinkling of LSA, walnuts, or a squirt of flax oil. DELICIOUS!

2. Scrambled curried tofu with spinach and sprouted bread

If you’re over eating eggs for breakfast all the time, but want something of a similar texture, scrambled tofu is far tastier than it sounds. The key is to not break your tofu into too small pieces, as well as spicing the dish up with garlic, curry powder, and some Himalayan rock salt.

Here’s what you’ll need…

1 cup of extra firm tofu, drained, and pulled apart into nice chunky pieces. Make sure your tofu is ALWAYS GMO FREE. Please.
2 teaspoons of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
1 teaspoon of really good salt. I like Himalayan Rock Salt best
3 tablespoons of water
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of fresh spinach/english spinach/or baby spinach
1/2 avocado
pepper to taste

Start by browning your garlic in a non-stick pan, adding a little oil if need be. Now, add your tofu and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat (or until tofu is brown), adding the splashes of water as you go to stop it from drying out. Once it’s 90% done, add all your spices, salt and pepper to taste, and your spinach – cook for another 2 minutes.

To serve, toast up some beautiful healthy bread (I’m obsesses with sprouted bread), pop some avocado on the side, and add your tofu on top.

3. Buckwheat pancakes with lemon cashew filling and mixed berry sauce

For all you Happies with a slightly sweet tooth I have to recommend buckwheat pancakes. The Orgran brand packet mix that you buy in the health food section is super tasty and saves you having to make the batter yourself, but if you wanted to do it yourself, you could. Either way, it’s a delicious treat to have for Sunday brunch, and the lemon cashew filling is a little bit addictive. YUM!

Here’s what you need…

1 box of buckwheat pancake mix
2 cups of cashews (already soaked overnight)
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
1/4 cup of almond/soy/rice/oat/regular milk (whichever one you prefer)
1/8 teaspoon of good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 lemon

For berry sauce

4 cups of mixed berries
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
1 tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch
2 tablespoons of water

Throw your soaked cashews in a food processor and whiz until gently broken up. Add your agave nectar, milk, salt, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Don’t go too nuts or it will turn into a butter, just keep it nice and creamy.

Now, add your mixture to a bowl and grate in some lemon zest, as well as the juice from half a lemon. Mix.

Once that’s done, start cooking your sauce. All you need to do is combine all your ingredients in a saucepan and mix around to dissolve the arrowroot or cornstarch. Turn up the heat to a medium temperature and continue to stir for 15 minutes or so. You want the berries to be nice and thick, and slightly broken up. Oh, and if you’re using frozen berries it will take a little longer.

Once done, set aside to cool slightly.

Finally, cook your buckwheat pancakes as per the method on the box and get rolling. All you need to do is place about 1/4 of a cup’s worth of lemon cashew filling onto the end of the pancake (so it looks like a log) and then add about the same about of berry sauce over that. Roll, roll, roll. Bravo, you’re done!

Tell me Happies…

Are you inspired to try one of these recipes?
What’s your favourite breakfast meal?