Favorite Things

Okay friends, sometimes the days feel long, am I right? I think that’s good! Soaking in simple joys becomes even more important! This week, I’m sharing some favorites – sunshine-filled hikes, self-care moments, extended trips to deal with grief, hot-tub benefits, kitchen discoveries, plus what I’m reading, watching, and cooking up.

Marly next to a Saguaro at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve park.

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Tennis Life Lessons

We’ve been hitting the tennis courts with our iPhones in hand – videoing our movement and swings. Video analysis has been eye-opening – seeing yourself on the screen is a humbling way to find those areas that need improvement!

You think you’re following through on your swing, but the video shows something different. You think you’re doing a split step, but the video shows it’s more of a minor foot movement. So, back to the drawing board!

You’ll see below that we’ve been watching the TV show Reacher. One line the character Reacher likes to say is, “in an investigation, details matter,” and Reacher lives by that motto.

Tennis is similar – those tiny adjustments to your swing or footwork can make a huge difference.

And the same holds true in life, doesn’t it? The details matter. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!


  • I decided to walk 10,000 steps a day, and the benefits are overflowing! I like to think of it as self-care in motion.
  • Plus, I’m learning how maintaining that self-care routine on the road keeps me feeling balanced. For me, journaling is a must. I write one to three handwritten pages most every day.
  • A hot tub soak in my in-laws’ backyard is another majorly relaxing win. Besides, there are actually health benefits to hot tubs – stress relief, improved sleep, and even cardiovascular benefits!
  • Hiking the McDowell mountains at sunset? Well, that view from our hike was absolutely soul-filling. (see photo above)


Being away from home for this extended time has been part of my grief process after losing my mom last month. While taking care of her felt like a full-time job, getting away has been both healing and a great reminder of what a fresh start feels like.

I’ll return ready to tackle those final details and reconnect with friends and family. Even with that ahead, I’m so grateful for the inspiration I find in my work. That passion will be a driving force as I find my new rhythm at home.


I enjoy reading a lot, especially audio books. I get those from Libby, Apple Books, and Amazon.

I’m in a bit of a novel slump here. I enjoyed “The Wife Between Us” and “Meet Me in Monaco,” but they weren’t mind-blowing reads. Though, a shoutout to the Libby app for letting me browse magazines like “Get Fit Get Strong” – a major bonus!


We made time for TV this month, and here are some favorites:

  • Reacher. Amazon Prime. Season 2 of “Reacher” was action-packed, with some violence I wasn’t crazy about, but that snarky dialogue kept me hooked.
  • House of Dave. Much lighter, we loved the heartwarming “House of Dave” – so refreshing!


Food Tips I’m Loving: Arizona’s citrus abundance is inspiring! Lemon zest elevated my vegan ricotta this week, and I’m obsessed with Purely Inspired’s plant-based protein powder. Also, did you know you can use a box grater for parsley stems? Mind. Blown.

  • Lemon Zest — Here is sunny Arizona, the lemons are in season so I’ve been adding lemon to everything. For example, I added some lemon zest to my vegan ricotta and it was amazing! I added dollops of it to my vegan pasta bake casserole for a quick, easy meal.
  • Grapefruit — Speaking of Arizona citrus, I may be getting a bunch of grapefruit to take home wit me so I will be doing research on recipes I can make with them. Do you have any favorite grapefruit recipes? I’d love to hear from you!
  • Parsley — I love fresh parsley! Did you know you could use a box grater to “peel” the leaves from the stems on fresh parsley? Just thread the stem through one of the grater holes and pull it through. The leaves fall right off.

Reader Spotlight

Here’s a review of my easy Vegan Taco Casserole recipe. This is a perfect go-to recipe when you’re in a hurry and wanting some tasty comfort food!

Reader Reviews

I made this tonight for dinner. My non-vegan husband loved it. I used chorizo crumbles because we love spicy. We agreed it will be a regular on our menu lineup.

A closeup of a slice of a Mexican casserole on a plate surrounded by tortilla chips.

Recently On Namely Marly

Here are my recently published recipes I think you’ll love.

Chickpea Meatballs

These vegan chickpea meatballs are bursting with flavor from aromatic spices and savory seasonings. Made with simple ingredients like chickpeas, bread crumbs, and nutritional yeast, they're perfect for a quick and easy plant-based meal.
Chickpea Meatballs Recipe
Looking down on a plate of pasta with chickpea meatballs and marinara sauce.

Vegan Cheddar Biscuits

These Vegan Cheddar Bay Biscuits are buttery, savory delights, perfect for any occasion. With a flaky texture and cheesy goodness, they're sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.
Vegan Cheddar Biscuits Recipe
A stack of vegan cheddar bay biscuits shows the top one with a bite taken out. There are more biscuits in the background.

Chunky Monkey Cookies

These chunky monkey cookies are bursting with peanut butter, banana, and chocolate chip goodness. With a satisfying chewy texture and wholesome ingredients, they're the perfect guilt-free treat.
Chunky Monkey Cookies Recipe
Two chunky monkey cookies are stacked with a bite taken out of the top cookie. There are more cookies in the background.

No-Bake Protein Cookies

These protein-packed no-bake cookies are bursting with the rich flavors of peanut butter, cocoa, and chocolate chips. Perfect for satisfying your sweet cravings while staying on track with your health goals!
No-Bake Protein Cookies Recipe
A hand holds a no-bake high protein cookie with a bite taken out. It hovers over a plate with more of the cookies.

Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Vegan Royal Frosting — If you’re planning to make some tasty vegan sugar cookies, you’ll want the best icing to decorate them with. I love this simple royal icing recipe because it’s easy to make, easy to use, and so tasty!
  2. Plant-Based Pineapple Cake — Everyone loves the upside down cake, but have you tried this vegan pineapple cake with whipped cream “frosting”? It’s tropical flavor in every bite!
  3. Vegan Peanut Butter Balls — You’ll love these delicious peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. If you’re wondering how to make them, check out my YouTube Live Cooking Demo on Peanut Butter Balls.

Meal Plan

Here’s a 7-day meal plan starting on Monday with savory meals during the week and sweet treats on the weekend:








Meal Plan Tips

  • Adjust portions: This is just a guideline. Consider your activity level and hunger cues.
  • Get creative: Don’t be afraid to swap ingredients based on what you have or prefer.
  • Batch cooking saves time: Make the soup or pot pie ahead on the weekend.
  • Snacks: Include fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds throughout the week to keep you energized.

Closing Thoughts

Life is about those joyful threads woven through the everyday. From a challenging hike to a good read, or even a zesty new recipe, I hope these little favorites spark something positive for you this week.

With love and plant-powered vibes,


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