Favorite Things

It’s the beginning of May, and we wore winter jackets for our walk this morning. You just never know about the weather here in the Midwest. I’m excited for the weather to warm up so I can plant my biquinho peppers that I started from seeds. More on that below.

A yellow butterfly sits on purple flowers.
Clouded Sulphur, Missouri 2000

Shawn is a nature photographer. This photo of a beautiful butterfly is perfect for starting out the spring season.

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Tennis Life Lessons

I recently heard Patrick Mourataglou, a famous tennis coach, talk about the secret of champion tennis players. When we play a match, we think we are playing the opponent.

According to Mourataglou, the truth is we are playing ourselves.

The more we can master our own insecurities and fears on the court, the better we can play.

It may not always translate into getting the win, but I like knowing my tennis game is helping me be a better human, too.


  • Daily facials — I recently got a Nuface and have been using it daily as they prescribe. In fact, I’m supposed to use it daily for six months. Wow. That’s a long time. So far so good and I’m happy with the purchase.
  • Deep breathing — I learned recently that the best way to relax when you’re feeling stressed is deep breathing. The specific breathing technique I read about goes like this: breathe deeply through your nose, then pause and breathe in a little bit more, then slowly exhale through your mouth, pushing to get out as much air as possible. Repeat this five times. This can make you light-headed so definitely don’t do this while driving.


I always have home projects on my list. These are the ones I’ve been planning or dreaming about.

  • I am working on a new shade top for our patio swing. It’s a 3-person swing, and because of this awkward size, replacement tops are not easy to find at a reasonable price. So, I came up with an idea to repurpose a tablecloth. We’ll see if it works!
  • As I’ve mentioned before, I want the “flowers” on my front porch to be “food.” And I am in love with biquinho peppers because the plant gets bushy and produces little red peppers. The seedlings are thriving so I hope to be planting them in bigger pots soon. There are so many ways for this to go wrong so we’ll see!
  • I hope someday to create a stone or brick path that leads from the front to the back yard. Like this stone path on Pinterest. It’s in the dream category for now!


I’m in a bit of a slump lately with finding novels I’m enjoying. I’ve started several with great hopes, but have abandoned them for one reason or another. Here are some books I’ve enjoyed recently:

  • The Storyteller by Dave Grohl. Non-Fiction. Dave’s autobiography is enlightening and entertaining. As you can imagine, he’s lived quite an interesting life. I used to think I was a cool mom, but learning that Dave’s mom took him to jazz bars in his youth has me questioning myself!
  • Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan. Fiction. The description says it all, this is a good beach or pool read. It didn’t require any heavy lifting, and that was great. I enjoyed this book about a woman who finds inspiration in the face of a breakup and uses it to create some of the best work of her life.
  • It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover. Fiction. I literally laughed out loud when reading this book, not because of the plot but because of the character names. The characters have names straight from a soap opera, like Atlas and Ryle. There are more names like this, but these two come to mind. But it’s another easy beach read that I found entertaining enough to finish.
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. Fiction. I loved this book about a woman, an octopus, and a whole cast of characters. Part of the narration comes from an incredibly bright octopus. I highly recommend this one!


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

  • Succession. There’s a new season of Succession coming out, so we decided to start with season one, and I’m so glad we did. It’s such a great show and probably one of my favorites. To quote Greg, “Yes, if it is to be said, so it be, so it is.”
  • Beach Cottage Chronicles — This HBO show produces short episodes on people who have redesigned beach houses. I don’t have a beach house, so I don’t understand why I like this show so much, but I do.

I just learned about The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, and I’m super excited to watch this soon.


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

  • Zucchini Noodles — I’ve been on a volume-eating kick lately, so I’m dishing out the zucchini noodles. Volume eating is about eating a lot, which I love to do. But the goal is to eat lots of veggies to keep yourself full, which is my favorite way to be. So these garlic zucchini noodles are definitely a favorite right now.
  • TruBar — Costco had boxes of TruBars on sale, and they say “vegan” right on the box, so, I had to try them. They make a tasty treat.
  • Lemons — We came back from our trip to Arizona with lots of lemons. Lots and lots of lemons. After giving some to family and neighbors, now I’m making interesting things like lemon smoothies. This may be my favorite way to consume lemons now!

Reader Spotlight

Here’s a review of my plant-based creme brulee recipe.

Reader Reviews

I could have this creme brulee every day. It’s that good!

A spoon dishes out some creme from a serving dish of creme brûlée.

Recently On Namely Marly

Here are my recently published recipes.

Vegan Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

This creamy, vegan raspberry buttercream is a must to include on a variety of recipes, from cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more.
Vegan Raspberry Buttercream Frosting Recipe
A vanilla cupcake has vegan raspberry frosting on top along with a fresh raspberry. There are fresh raspberries and more cupcakes around it.

Lemon Banana Smoothie

This delicious lemon smoothie tastes like a lemonade slushy! It's made with fresh fruit, protein powder, and crushed ice. It's so refreshing!
Lemon Banana Smoothie Recipe
A closeup of a lemon smoothie in a glass. There is a yellow straw and a lemon slice in the glass. There are fresh lemons and another smoothie in the background.

Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake

You will love this easy eggless chocolate orange cake recipe. This recipe provides some essential tips to make a perfectly delicious, soft, and moist chocolate cake infused with orange flavor. Combined with creamy chocolate frosting, it's the ultimate cake experience!
Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe
A slice of eggless orange chocolate cake sits on a plate. There is a orange slice on top of the cake.

Chia Flax Pudding

Add superfoods to your day with this delicious, nutrient-packed chia flax pudding. Ready in minutes, it's perfect for your morning routine.
Chia Flax Pudding Recipe
A glass dish holds chia flax pudding with blueberries and raspberries on top. It sits in front of another bowl of the pudding and fresh berries.

Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Easy Vegan Carrot Cake — I’m always glad for an opportunity to make this yummy cake. I’m glad to see others are loving it too. It’s especially good with dairy-free cream cheese frosting on top!
  2. Plant-Based Chicken Noodle Soup — I guess we’re not the only ones dealing with a cold spring because so many folks are coming for this vegetarian noodle soup. You can use several protein substitutes, such as plant-based chicken or even chickpeas.
  3. Dairy-Free Pineapple Cake — If you love pineapple, this cake will be your favorite! It includes a whole can of crushed pineapple right in the batter. Topped with vegan whipped cream, this is perfect for the spring and summer months.
  4. Banana Nicecream — Speaking of healthy, this plant-based dairy-free ice cream recipe offers several flavor options to try, like chocolate, strawberry, and more.
  5. Raw Blueberry Cheesecake — Speaking of summer recipes, this raw vegan cheesecake is absolutely amazing. I love having slices in the freezer for fast and easy frozen cheesecake bites!

Meal Plan

Monday — Make this Plant-Based Taco Soup on Monday and have the leftovers for lunch throughout the week. Make some air fried tortilla chips and plant-based guacamole to serve on the side.

Tuesday — This vegan meatball sub sandwich is perfect with easy lentil meatballs. But if you’re in a hurry, you can use store-bought veggie meatballs. Either way, this sandwich is filling and delicious. I love serving it with some sweet potato tots!

Wednesday — We love this dairy-free fettucini alfredo is a perfect mid-week meal. It’s easy to make, feels elegant to eat, and is a real crowd favorite! Be sure to serve it with dairy-free breadsticks or you can reheat leftover Olive Garden breadsticks.

Thursday — If Thursday nights are all about veggie burgers, then these Sweet Potato Bean Burgers will be the star of the show. Serve them with some vegan roasted veggies and air fried french fries for the perfect meal.

Friday — Let’s start this night with some vegan pepperoni pizza dip. Served with crusty bread slices, it’s a perfect Friday night happy hour treat. Follow that up with some vegan deep dish pepperoni pizza and your Friday night has turned into something fabulous!

Saturday — Speaking of dips, I love serving this Vegan Rangoon Dip because it’s so easy to make. And it reminds me a lot of those crab rangoons I used to enjoy in my pre-vegetarian days. After appetizers, it’s time to move on to the main meal, which must be Teriyaki Stir Fry with Tofu. Add all your favorite veggies to make it healthy and delicious!

Sunday — Sundays = sweets around here. You can start the day with these Maple Donuts and Raspberry Muffins. If you don’t eat them all, that’s ok. You can freeze the rest for later! Then for dessert, let’s make this yummy Easy Vegan Black Forest Cake. Just wait for the oohs and ahs on this one!

OK, let me turn the mic to you. What are the dishes you’ll be making or dreaming of making this week?

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