Favorite Things

Happy Summer! Things are really heating up outside. This is the time of year we turn into vampires — staying out of the sun during the day. But seriously, we try to get up earlier to get our walks and tennis playing in the early morning or late evenings.

But I love this time of year for other reasons. I write my morning journal outside and there’s my garden. See more on that below.

A photo of a bright red coleus.
Photo of coleus plant by Shawn Beelman.

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Crunchy Cookies

I’m not much of a coffee drinker so the biscotti is a late-life love affair for me. Other than chewing on my daughter’s teething biscuits, I’ve never been a fan of the hard cookie.

Soft and Chewy should have been my middle name. But then again, I’m glad my mom went with Adele instead.

Oreos have the crispy outer cookie that gets me every time, so I thought, why not give a vegan biscotti a try? So, here I am, trying new tricks with this Chocolate Biscotti.

A hand is dipping a chocolate biscotti into a cup of hot chai tea.

You don’t have to drink coffee to love dipping cookies. I’ve learned to add a little soy milk to my tea which now makes tea a very dippable drink.

Dippable drinks are important!

And one thing I like about vegan biscotti recipes? It’s completely permissible for it to be a little lower in sugar than your typical cookie.

I think that means you can eat more. At least that’s the way I like to think about it.

Co-existing with Oreos

Throughout most of my life, I’ve had a sort of compulsion with food. I would describe it as a lack of self-control. There’s some personal history that explains the deep-seated psychology, but I won’t bore you with the details.

However, something’s happened to me over the last several years. I’m sure it’s in part due to becoming a food blogger and being around or working with food through most of my waking hours! There’s something about being exposed to food ad nauseam that has a tendency to wear off the allure.

I like to say that now I co-exist with Oreos. If they’re in the house I’ll have one or two, but then I stop. That’s not something I did before. I ate one after another after another. Until I looked down at the package and an entire row was gone. Vanished!

Here are the reasons I can co-exist with comfort foods:

  • I experimented with intermittent fasting over the last 2 years — periods of not eating helped me better understand my body’s reaction to certain foods
  • I can eat a little bit of something and it doesn’t affect me — I understand now it’s not about quantity, but quality
  • Mindfulness — Ugh, everyone is talking about mindfulness, but it really does matter! When I pay attention to what I’m eating, I don’t need as much of it. I hate it when all the gurus are right!
  • Have I had enough? I learned this question from Dani of Clean & Delicious. She has a program called The Don’t Diet and I subscribed to the free emails where she suggests asking yourself this question, have I had enough? And oftentimes, the answer is yes. Sometimes it’s no, but just asking the question seems to help me a lot!

What I’m Learning From Tennis

We watch and play a lot of tennis. I’m on something like 5 tennis teams right now. It’s a little ridiculous, but I enjoy it!

Even though what I play is considered recreational tennis, it’s still competitive. And when you’re playing competitive matches, there can be a lot of stress involved. Stress doesn’t always bring out the best in people. Look at all these freakouts on airplanes if you need a good example.

Theory Y Tennis

In recreational tennis, we’re responsible for calling the balls in or out. I used to get mad and/or frustrated when I thought my opponent made a bad call. Then I decided to be a Theory Y Tennis Player, and I’m much happier on the courts.

What’s a Theory Y Tennis Player?

In business school, we learned about Theory X and Theory Y Management. A Theory X Manager assumes employees are out for their own best self-interest, don’t like work, and are unmotivated. As a result, the manager will create lots of rigid rules to keep employees in line. A Theory Y Manager believes employees enjoy participating in the greater good, are self-motivated, and are fulfilled.

I was acting like a Theory X Tennis Player when I got mad at the opponent’s out calls because I was operating under an unconscious premise that they were out for their own best interest. As a result, I assumed when a ball was close and they called it out, she was calling the ball in her own favor.

Sheesh, it’s no fun playing tennis like that. Because there are plenty of close calls. I have no control over that side of the net and so it was an exercise in frustration.

Theory Y Tennis has this as its premise: Calling balls in and out while you’re running around is not easy, and everyone is trying to do their best. There you have it. Now when I play and the opponent calls my close ball out, I move on to the next point.

Is it possible that some people will still call the ball in their own favor? Absolutely! But I get to enjoy tennis SO much more when I choose to think like a Theory Y Tennis Player.

What I’m Reading

I enjoy reading. I read a LOT! Whether it’s self-help books, creativity books, or novels, I’ve always got a book or two or three I’m enjoying. I’ll share with you what I’m reading and how I feel about it. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something you’ll like to read, too.

My favorite reading “tool” is an app called Libby. It’s connected to public libraries around the world and as a result, you can find e-books, audiobooks, and magazines to check out from your library card. My favorite medium is audiobooks so I’m loving this resource. However, you can also check out e-books, magazines, and other resources that you can read on the app or via Kindle devices.

I’ve recently heard about another app called Hoopla. I haven’t checked it out yet, but it’s on my to-do list.

Here are some favorite books I’ve read recently:

  • The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez . ★★★★☆ Fiction. This was an easy read (or listen in my case). The story is told with a lot of quick-witted humor which I like. And there’s a mutual affection for a dog, which is something else I really like. The main character, Sloan, discovers a lost dog that causes her to come alive. Because dogs bring out the best in us! Of course, the dog’s true owner, Tucker, comes to the forefront and wants the dog back. The adventure lies in how all this plays out.
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. ★★★★☆ Memoir. I really enjoyed the first part of this book. In fact, I read it in book form (yes, I can read a physical book!). I decided to try it in audiobook form to see if I could make it through the second half. Once again, I truly enjoyed the first half of this book. Amy Poehler is hilarious and she mentions many other books that ended up on my reading list, too. The second half of this book goes pedantic into different SNL scenes. It was dull to me and I finally turned the book in early.
  • Intimacies by Katie Kitamura. ★★★★☆ Fiction. A NY Times Top 10 book of 2021, I was very intrigued to read this one. I enjoyed it, but it seemed a little sterile for my taste. Perfect characters, perfect living quarters, perfect plot. This can be the problem with an audiobook, your interpretation of the book can be impacted by the narrator. Maybe it was her narration that was sterile, and I do remember it coming across that way. The story is about an interpreter at The Hague. One thing I enjoyed was learning what interpreters go through in these intense meetings. The character describes how she would hear words in one language and repeat them in another language and as a result didn’t often even know what she just said. That’s intense concentration!
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron. ★★★★★ Fiction. I absolutely loved this book. To me, it might be the best book ever written and I can’t imagine why anyone else even writes. Of course, even as I write this I continue to discover other amazing books. But still, this book is so well written, witty, and smart. I would read it again in a heartbeat. Speaking of narrators, this one is narrated by Merryl Streep. You can’t get much better than her. The story is of Rachel who is seven months pregnant when she discovers her husband is not only having an affair but also in love with the other woman. What I love is that Rachel is a cookbook author. The way she describes her job, she sounds like a prequel to a food blogger.
  • Beautiful World, Where are You by Sally Rooney. ★★★★☆ Fiction. This book was fine. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was entertaining in some ways. Whereas in Intimacies (above) the characters seemed too perfect, this one had characters that were quite attached to their normalness. Alice is a novelist and meets Felix and invites him to Rome with her, and she hardly knows him. They both seem a little ho-hum with the other, which kept me intrigued because I figured there had to be something to it sooner or later. Like I say, it was mildly entertaining, but not my favorite book.
  • The Husbands by Chandler Baker. ★★★★☆ Fiction. Nora Spangler is an attorney who meets a gaggle of high-powered women in an exclusive suburban neighborhood. Nora and her husband make an offer on a house, but they soon learn there’s a dark side to the pretty picture painted by their potential new neighbors. The book is full of intrigue and kept me interested to continue listening.
  • The Artist’s Way at Work by Julia Cameron. ★★★★★ Non-Fiction. I re-read this book recently. It’s more like a daily devotion to anyone who is trying to cultivate creative spirituality in their lives. I highly recommend any of Julia’s books to anyone who is interested in learning to live more authentically and creatively.

On my list to read soon:

Cheat Day by Liv Stratman, Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory, The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andres, and This Time Next Year by Sohpie Cousens. On the non-fiction side, Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron and Breath are on my list!

I also have my own book coming out soon, The Girl Who Ate the World. Sign up to get more information, including how to pre-order. I’m very excited about it!

We Are Makers

Do you ever feel being in the kitchen is too domestic? I have felt that way at times. How is it I went to business school, earned an MBA, became a COO, and gave it all up to be in the kitchen?

When we choose that path to make food, we are answering an ancestral call to work with our hands, to create, to bond with family.

I read about this concept in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. We are makers. Humans have been making things for millions of years, including food.

And I love working with my hands, being on my feet, moving around in the kitchen. It’s all part of a Maker Mindset. Even when it’s temporary, like food. This thought inspires me a lot!

What I’m Watching

Of course there was the French Open, which we enjoyed all the way to the finals. We made some time for TV this month, and here are some of my favorites:

  • Seinfeld on Netflix. When Netflix offered the entire series, we decided to start at the beginning and watch them all in sequence. It’s been a fun journey. Any time a show makes Shawn and I both laugh out loud? It’s a good show!
  • Station 11 on Apple+. I found episode #1 to be so intriguing, especially with all we’ve been going through lately. Then episodes 2 and 3 lost me a little, but we soldiered on and it does get more interesting. In the end I would say this is well worth a watch.
  • The Beatles: Get Back on Disney. Wow, what a great show! If you like the Beatles even mildly, simply watching their creative process and the story of how they interacted as individuals was well worth the watch.
  • Ozarks, Season 4 on Netflix. We started watching season four and FINALLY one of the characters said Missur-uh, making them sound like someone actually from Missouri. Other than that, none of these actors have managed a southern Missouri accent. It’s not that hard so I don’t know why none of them bothered to get it right. So, yes, that part bothers me, but other than that I’m finding this season to be my favorite so far.
  • The Lost Daughter on Netflix. I really like Maggie Gyllenhaal (director) and Olivia Colman, so I was looking forward to watching this show. It’s a little mysterious at times, but I did enjoy the show so I recommend it.
  • Brandi Carlile Concert at the Gorge. We added the Veeps app to our Apple TV and watched the Brandi Carlile concert. It was very good and I highly recommend it!

On our list to watch soon will be season two of See via Apple+ and continuing on with other shows we’ve started.

What I’m Listening To

Podcasts and Music. That’s what we’re talking about here. Here are some favorite albums, shows, and/or episodes that I’ve listened to recently:

  • Linda Ronstadt. I heard You’re No Good recently and now I’m listening to Linda non-stop these days. Poor pitiful me.
  • I really like the Apple Music Sevasana Playlist for our daily yoga.
  • Learn French with Paul Noble on Audible. I find the way he presents a foreign language to be easy to follow so I am enjoying listening to some French lessons regularly.
  • The Yoga Nidra Podcast. There are times when I have a hard time sleeping. Being careful about what I eat at night helps. I also used to take half of a Benedryl to shut my brain off. However, I recently discovered this podcast and it almost always puts me to sleep.

Food as Flowers

I’ve planted most of my herbs and moved most of the houseplants outside for the summer. I love having the plants outside. Going out to my own garden to grab some parsley for a photoshoot makes me smile every time.

This year I’m focusing on food plants. So rather than buying a bunch of annuals to plant in in my pots, I’ve planted peppers, purple kale, and strawberries. Jalapenos and ornamental peppers can be stunning. I’m gently encouraging the strawberries to vine up small trellises, so I think they’ll be beautiful in a couple of weeks.

Most of these are in planters because we have too many bunnies that will devour things planted in the ground. This was the fate of my swiss chard. Hare today…goon tomorrow.

Food I’m Loving

There’s no end to the food I’m passionate about, but here are some recent favorites I want to share with you:

  • Balsamic Vinegar — I received some California Balsamic Vinegar as a gift from Chef AJ for appearing on her YouTube Live show. I’m now in love with this stuff and can’t wait to get some more. I like drizzling it over my dishes right before serving them.
  • Baked Potatoes — I go through different phases and right now I’m in a vegan baked potato phase. I love them! I will add steamed broccoli and some vegan yogurt on top and I’m in heaven! They’re very filling, too, which is nice.
  • Strawberry Pie — I’ve been making a lot of vegan strawberry pie lately for the recipe and I have to say, I love it! At one point we didn’t have any vegan whipped topping so I used a dollop of vegan cream cheese and those two together were pretty tasty!

Reader Spotlight

Mary recently left this review of our Whole Wheat Waffles.

Reader Reviews

★★★★★
I have made whole wheat waffles before. Let’s just say they were healthy. These are actually wonderful and still good for you.

Mary
A glass pouring cup is pouring maple syrup over a stack of whole wheat vegan waffles.

Recently On Namely Marly

There’s a proliferation of cauliflower rice products you can buy at the stores, but not all of them are vegan. Besides, it’s so easy to make your own cauliflower rice at home!

Cauliflower Rice

Make this easy veggie rice as an alternative to grain-based rice and enjoy the nutritional value and reduced carbs of cauliflower! Serve it just like you would rice, with sushi, Asian dishes, and more! 
Cauliflower Rice Recipe
A bowl has riced cauliflower in it and there are lime wedges on top.

Vegan Breakfast Cookies

Creamy peanut butter combined with oats and dried fruit makes these vegan breakfast cookies the best breakfast treat ever! Sweetened naturally with maple syrup, you'll want to make these healthy cookies on repeat!
Vegan Breakfast Cookies Recipe
A breakfast cookie sits on a white counter, with several cookies around it.

Vegan Roasted Vegetables

Take your favorite veggies and add this magic sauce to create the most flavorful vegan roasted vegetables ever! This is a perfect side dish for your plant-based meals.
Vegan Roasted Vegetables Recipe
A closeup of vegetarian roasted vegetables with a sprig of fresh thyme in the middle.

Vegan Chorizo Recipe

Make this vegan chorizo with tofu, lentils, and all the best spices! Then serve it on tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or even with tortilla chips!
Vegan Chorizo Recipe Recipe
A bowl of vegan chorizo sits in front of a slice of lime.

Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Nice Cream — If you’re looking for the perfect healthy dessert, this banana nice cream is the way to go. It’s made with only 2 simple ingredients and ready in minutes!
  2. Pancakes Without Eggs — Did you know you can make pancakes without eggs? It’s true. In fact, I think they’re just as good if not better. I hated keeping eggs around in the kitchen and cracking them, etc. Cooking without eggs is the only way to go if you ask me!
  3. Vegan Banana Cream Pie — Everyone’s bananas for bananas! I’m tickled pink to see this banana cream pie soaring to new heights on the site. I think it must be the new pics!
  4. Vegan Key Lime Pie — Speaking of pies and pictures, this is another recipe that’s benefited from a few tweaks (new pictures). This pie is perfect this time of year because, well, key limes are in season!
  5. Miso Tofu — I love to make a batch of this miso tofu and grill it, bake it, or cook it in the skillet, or air fryer. Then we can serve it with salads, burritos, sandwiches, noodles and more!

Meal Plan

Monday — Make this Vegan Taco Soup on Monday for dinner and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week.

Tuesday — I cannot get enough of this Vegan Tuna Salad. You can serve it on sandwiches, salads, or even as a soft taco soup. You can even make your own homemade vegan mayo.

Wednesday — I can eat sandwiches any day of the week and that’s why I’m recommending this Fried Tofu Sandwich. It’s easy to make and that special sauce takes it to another level!

Thursday — These Vegan Lentil Meatballs are perfect over cooked spaghetti and marinara sauce. We love serving this meal with steamed broccoli.

Friday — We typically have pizza on Friday nights and that’s one reason this Vegan Deep Dish Pizza is so good! This is a thick crust that serves up a delicious filling, and it’s all vegan!

Saturday —This Vegan Jambalaya is a perfect summertime dish because it doesn’t require turning on the oven. This recipe is infused with flavor and keeps you coming back for more!

Sunday — On Sunday, we focus on sweets. Maybe you’ll have a dinner of Orange Tofu, but dessert is the focus for me. This week I’m recommending this Vegan Peanut Butter Cake with a yummy Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting. Can there be too much peanut butter? I think not!

So, now it’s your turn! What are YOU having this week?

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