25 Lessons Learned From a Father’s Death

25 Lessons Learned From a Father’s Death

 

My dad passed away when I was 25 years old. It took me a year and a half to really cope with not only the loss of my father but the loss of my previous relationships and all the past mistakes I made in my life. These are 25 lessons that I learned from my growth.

1. Unconditional love

Though growing up, love filled my entire house, it wasn’t until my father had passed away that I truly understood the concept of unconditional love. I have been blessed with amazing people in my life that have loved me throughout my darkest times. After my father died, I lost who I was and I was unsure and angry about everything in my life, but they still loved me and were constantly there for me. They reminded me of who I was before my dad died and gave me hope that I will be that person again. This is what unconditional love is — when people love you in spite of your brokenness and accept you for who you are flaws and all.

2. It’s more important to be kind than to be right

We live in an ego-driven world where the need to be right is constantly a battle between two people in conversations. We feel as if we are threatened and need to prove someone wrong by establishing ourselves as right. Whether we intend to or not, when we do this, we have a tendency to be unkind in the process. When we just accept the other person, whether they are right or wrong, we send them conditional love and operate with kindness.

3. Forgive yourself. You are not perfect, nor do you have to be.

Often times we make stupid mistakes and our self-talk becomes self-degrading. This was my case. I blamed myself for my dad’s death. I blamed myself because I was the one who decided to move across the country for 9 years. It took me a year to truly forgive myself for all the missed birthdays and holidays I could have spent with my dad before he passed. Forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes

4. Forgive others.

The famous Mark Twain once said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured”. More often than not, someone has hurt us causing excruciating pain. They lied. They cheated. They stole. It hurts. It truly does, but we have to learn to forgive the ones that hurt us even if they never actually say sorry because, in the end, the person holding the anger will hurt even more.

5. Make decisions based out of love, instead of fear.

Our emotions are so powerful that it can truly change our lives. We make one decision out of anger, it can chaos. We cause more drama and stir up more trouble when we make decisions out of anger and hate. But when we learn to make decisions out of love, our life will be filled with more joy, happiness, and love.

6. Never judge someone

We all come from different types of backgrounds. Some of us may have grown up with one parent. Some of us with two — sometimes heterosexual sometimes with both parents being the same gender. All in all, we come from a wide-range of backgrounds and life experiences. When we walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, we truly understand why they have the beliefs that they do and why they do what they do. We cannot judge one another because we walked a different path. Rather let’s support each other because of our differences because that is what truly makes us uniquely beautiful.

7. Memories live forever

No matter what the circumstances are, nothing ever really prepares you for a death of loved one. One minute you were having a casual conversation at the dinner table. The next minute they are gone. One of the hardest parts of grieving a death was letting go and understanding that just because you closed this one chapter in your life, does not mean you can’t go back and re-read the page. But remember, do not stay there. Move forward with your life and create new memories, with them right by your side, just in a different form.

8. Spend more time with family

I missed 9 years of birthdays and holidays. 9 years because I was selfish. Don’t make the same mistake I did and not spend time with family. So often when a holiday comes, we make the excuse, “oh well, I’ll just go next year”. No, don’t wait! So much can happen in a year and you might not get the chance again. Love your family and cherish them. They truly are a gift from God.

9. It’s okay to cry and not be strong.

I was always known as the strong one. And when my father passed, I did not take any time to grieve. Everyone was so surprised that I went back to work, but I just wanted to numb the pain. Most people would tell me that I was so strong and that I would get through this. I didn’t cry for quite some time until I finally broke down after I had not only lost my dad but a good friend in the process. Don’t wait to cry. Don’t bottle your emotions. If you need to cry, it’s okay. Let it. Sometimes, all you need is a good cry.

10. Be grateful for all the small precious moments in life

Too often we are always in a “lack” mindset. Rather than looking at the glass half empty, look at the glass half full. You will be surprised at how many blessings you do have.

11. Sometimes what looks like a disaster could turn into a blessing

How many times has this happened to you? Worrying about what will happen next is not worth it. Sometimes we only see things from a different perspective, without realizing that what had happened may be a blessing. Your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you? Well, maybe this is a blessing for you to focus on yourself. Did you lose your job? Maybe, this is a sign to find a new job. You were constantly complaining about that old job, anyways. A loved one passed away? Well, you just gained an angel to watch over you.

12. Stop setting unrealistic expectations for yourself

Growing up in a Catholic family from the countryside, I grew up with the expectations of getting married by 25. When 25 came, I met an amazing guy who had everything I wanted in a husband, but I forced marriage. I thought that marriage would fulfill me and fill the dark hole in my heart after my dad had died, but in reality, it wouldn’t have. If you can’t be happy with who you are and where you are now, nothing will be able to fulfill you. So, be happy with where you are at this current moment, but also strive for something greater. Do I still want to get married? Of course! But I do not have a timeline, nor am I going to force marriage on anyone. Marriage, to me, is a beautiful union, but I also believe that I want someone who challenges me to be a better person. Now, remember that is different from setting expectations for yourself. There are parts of you, that you love. It could be the fact that you love to play the violin or that you love football. Your significant other should not want you to stop these beautiful attributes of yourself, but rather inspire you to grow.

13. Never force something. If it comes let it, if it goes let it.

Everything in life is temporary and nothing belongs to us. We come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing — except the memories we formed during the journey of life. How many times in our life do we freak out and worry about something that has left our lives? We worry so much about whether a person will text back or whether we will get a job. Worrying is a waste of time. Instead, let go. If it comes, let it — congrats it was meant for you! If it goes, let it — there will always be another opportunity.

14. Pay off your debt

As simple as this is, this is much of a life lesson as any other. Pay off your debt and save your money. I have seen so many people on social media just buy things to make themselves look good for a photo so that they can increase their likes. Then they never wear their outfit ever again. Don’t do this. Save your money. Pay off your debt. Your future will thank you.

15. Pain is part of the process of growth. It too will pass.

After my dad died, It felt like the entire world was on my shoulders because not too long after, I went through a tough break-up and a car had hit me (hit and run). I was devastated. I didn’t understand why all this was happening to me. It took about a year for me to heal. For some people, it may take longer. Sometimes even shorter! Do I regret what happened to me and wished it didn’t happen at all? No. Not at all because sometimes people have to go through things to learn and grow. We can’t grow when everything is happy. Sometimes we need struggles to truly experience life and know who we truly are.

16. Be open to other people’s views even if you disagree with them

Very important. Don’t promote division. We have enough of that. It’s okay to disagree, but understand where they are coming from. They may have a story to tell that will help humble you or even save you.

17. Start working on your dream project now.

For years, I have procrastinated on working on projects. I waited and waited to work on my dream projects. Until I realized that life is long, but it is also short! A lot can happen in a year and your desires aren’t just some random feeling, it may actually be connected to your purpose. If you are passionate about something and have been wanting to work on a side project. The best time to start is NOW. Whether that’s 10 minutes a day, 30 minutes a day or even 5 hours a day, start NOW. Not all dream projects turn into full-time gigs, but that’s okay! Just take the small step to work towards your dreams and you will live a happier your life!

18. Care more about your own humanity than your own popularity

There are enough fake and rude people in this world. Give love to the world, by being kind and loving others. Don’t degrade anyone or anyone’s views just to “gossip”.

19. Don’t wait until it’s gone to notice the blessings of what you have

This happens way too often than not. Be grateful and acknowledge someone or yourself for the blessing you are and the blessings you have!

20. In the midst of darkness, there you will find out who is the light in your life.

I’ve lost lots of people in my life. Not just through death, but through growth. It is really no one’s fault. Most people don’t know what to say because we’ve made it a habit to hide our pain and feelings from our friends that it has become second nature to not embrace the pain that will eventually help our growth. We start to lose friends because they think we are either going “crazy” or we are just “depressed”. For a while, we have to sit with our loneliness, but once we really start to like who we are when we are by ourselves, we are able to find our tribe. I’ve made many friends in my lifetime. Some that I expected to be there for me through it all, but then turned out to not want to call me because I was too “sad” to be around. And you know what? That’s okay because, in the midst of that darkness, I found out who I was and who is really will be there for me.

21. Don’t get addicted to “fun”.

Drinking. Drugs. Partying. These three things are all considered the “fun” norm in a young adult’s life. To be honest, those were fun things to do when I was younger, but at some point in your life, it does get old. Don’t get addicted to it.

22. Know the difference between a need and a want

This life lesson is something that will save your wallet and save yourself. Remember, we already have everything that we need.

23. Your kids aren’t you and you are not your parents

Self-explanatory. Stop setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Make yourself happy.

24. Things gather dust. Don’t hoard

I used to buy lots and lots of things, random things — from designer bags to a $500 dress that I would only wear once. None of these things matter. The event that I wore it to may matter, but who really cares if you wear a $20 dress versus a $500. No one — other than superficial people, of course. It’s not worth it. Make more memories with people who love you for you and not what you have, because things just gather dust.

25. Change is good

I hated change. Absolutely despised it. But remember, no matter what happens, everything changes. People grow, you move to another city, you get a new job, you meet new friends, life is always changing and change is often how we learn our lessons.

Top 5 Favorite Coffee Shops

Top 5 Favorite Coffee Shops

When it comes coffee houses, I am always looking for one that serves both good food and delicious coffee! Whether you are seeking a place that is dog friendly, kid friendly or even vegan friendly, these coffee shops are my absolute favorite! The food is not only delicious, but the atmosphere and location are incredible!

Bogarts – Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Located about 5 minutes from the beach and right in the heart of Diamond Head, this is one of my favorite places to pick up a cup of joe. The workers are friendly and the food is absolutely amazing. I am a huge fan of the Corn Beef Hash Benedict and the fried rice. For something sweet, try their freshly made scones (limited supply so get there early) or an Acai bowl right before you head on over to catch the Diamond Head swell.

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I came across this hidden gem while I was vacationing in Sin City. I planned a morning hike to the beautiful Red Rock Canyon and was craving a latte, but wanted a vegan breaky right before my hike. Sure enough, their Alien vegan burrito satisfied my cravings. If you’re in a rush, go through the drive through! Service, food and coffee are all incredible!

Sip Coffee – Scottsdale, AZ

This hipster house serves both coffee and beer! Whether you are overwhelmed due to life struggles or if you are looking for that quick pick me up to get you through the day, this place offers both! Grab a breakfast bagel and let it melt in your mouth or come in to check out open mic night!FullSizeRender-14FullSizeRender-12

Paia Bay Coffee – Paia, Maui, HI 

Ready to conquer the road to Hana? Don’t forget to stop by Paia Bay Coffee! This beautiful coffee shop is situated in the middle of God’s beautiful green creations. Whether you are in a rush or want to sit down and enjoy the beautiful outdoors with aA delicious frothy goodness and yummy healthy bite, this gorgeous coffee shop can provide that! I usually grab a Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich. All ingredients are also local and organic! A major plus in my book 😉FullSizeRender-13Elite Audio Coffee Bar – San Francisco, CA

San Francisco – the tech mecca of the United States – has coffee houses swarming in every block. Sometimes finding the right cup o’ joe is hard when surrounded with so many options. This eccentric coffee not only has good coffee, but amazing art in your coffee. Check them out and order yourself a cup o’ R2-D2 and Maple Bacon donut! Yum!!!

How to Deal with Grief and Self-Doubt in Your 20s (Lessons Learned After a Father’s Death)

How to Deal with Grief and Self-Doubt in Your 20s (Lessons Learned After a Father’s Death)

“Dear God, please don’t take him away just yet. I need my dad. Please let me, at least, say goodbye.” – As I rushed to the airport with tears streaming down my face, I repeated this prayer over and over again. August 16, 2016 10:15am – was the day that my heart began to fill with a vast emptiness. I never knew I could cry and be filled with so much emotion in one day. I couldn’t believe it – my dad was gone. At the age of 25, I had lost my dad. This wasn’t what it was supposed to be like. He was supposed to walk me down the aisle, watch my two younger siblings graduate, meet his grand kids – it just wasn’t fair.

The next following days felt like a blur. I felt numb and empty throughout the next following months. Happiness seemed to ebb and flow in and out of my life. Why was I feeling this way? I should be so excited – I just turned 25, have a progressing career, an amazing boyfriend, and a life that only people dreamed of. But I still felt hollow inside. I tried to push the thought of my dad’s death far back into my mind. I did not want to grieve and I did not want to feel the pain of losing a daughter’s first love – her father. I tried to talk to other people about it and would end up getting upset because – even though I do not wish on death on anyone – I wanted them to feel the way I was feeling. I felt crazy, lost and scared. The one person who was my support blanket, my protector, my role model was gone. I couldn’t get over the loss, I just learned to live with the loss and he was never far from my thoughts. I walked around pretending I was alive, but inside I felt like I was dying. I lost my best friend and no one knows what it’s actually like to lose a parent until it actually happens to them.

As the days continued on without my dad, I questioned everything. I went from being this confident independent young woman to a woman that wondered if every action she took was the right one. I questioned all the decisions I made because I had left at a young age to move across the country and attend school. I resented myself for all the missed holidays, birthdays and time I could’ve spent with my dad before he died. I walked around feeling lifeless and hopeless. I was scared to grieve my dad’s death because I did not want to seem weak. Instead of crying, I grew angry – I grew angry at God for taking my dad away and I grew angry at everyone around me that did not understand what I was going through. If I wasn’t angry, I would hide away in a place where no one was and cry. Nothing in my life had meaning anymore.

The new year came fast and I left my current job in San Francisco to move to DC (where my family resides) to spend time with family for a bit. As January progressed, I got a new job and decided to make the move to Arizona to be with my boyfriend. I was excited to start a new chapter of our lives together. As soon as I had moved to Arizona, we broke up. I was stuck in a place where I knew absolutely no one – other than the people I had met through him. My anxiety started to get the best of me. I was nervous, scared and lost. I was scared that I would run into him and as with  most break ups – I became insecure. But as time passed, I started to go to church more and really focused on my relationship with God. For a long time, I questioned if God existed and if he did, how could he allow all of this to happen to me. As my relationship with God grew, I realized that this is exactly where I needed to be and I needed to make peace with who I was and my current situation. Here’s a list of advice that helped me get through my quarter life crisis.

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Focus on YOU:

Like most of us in our early twenties and just starting our career or getting out of college, life was a new adventure and your focus is on everything new and exciting. But then somewhere along the way, something tragic happens. For me, it was my dad’s death. It shattered me and derailed me. Then my former boyfriend appeared in perfect timing. In that moment, he made me feel complete. As like most exciting new relationships, it moved fast. It moved so fast that I had to take a step back and realize I felt like I was losing myself. I lost being ME and building ME and my own life. My aspirations became being the perfect partner for my boyfriend – which is not wrong at all – but it was not in my original plan for myself.  My attitude during conversations changed from positive and excited for what the future had in store to negative and constantly worrying about if I will ever accomplish all my goals before I die. I never needed a man to validate my existence, but that changed and I craved his attention and constantly needed validation that I was the one for him. When I was around him, I would be negative – thinking that everything will go wrong. Around my friends, I would pretend to be positive and happy. They saw the light while he saw my dark side. With the people you love, your defenses are usually down and you don’t try and hide your emotions instead you take it out on them. It is a tragedy – when they should be the ones that you try even harder to show your love.

We all lose ourselves in relationships because we are too busy trying to be ONE with them versus being a partner. No man/woman should ever complete you, instead you should compliment each other. Every man/woman that comes into your life has a reason and mine at the time came at perfect timing. He was sent to me to help support me during my time of need, but somewhere along the way I lost myself and became a person that was fragile and difficult to be around . He brought me to my feet and now it’s my turn to get myself walking again.

Now is the time to focus on YOU – everything about you! Understand you are not defined by your degree, your past mistakes, your past relationships and the events that happen in your life. You are define by how you react to these events, your resilience to get back up when something so life altering has hit you, your faith and how you love yourself and the people around you. As someone who is so career oriented – I realized that sometimes we are so focused on our career that we forget to love ourselves.

Accept your past:

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At a young age of 16, I moved out of my parents house to live across the country and moved in with my aunt and uncle. My dad was so heart broken. For the following 9 years, I missed many holidays, birthdays and life events. After my dad passed away, I blamed myself and resented myself for the time that I could have spent with my dad. I started to wonder “what if I didn’t leave” or “what if I was there during all his birthdays or holidays” or “what if I didn’t drop out of school and continued to follow in his footsteps in the medical field”. This haunted me and made me feel so insecure. I kept thinking of all my mistakes and if it would have changed the outcome of my dad’s future. The truth is, probably not, but I had to forgive myself and accept my past. It will not do you any good wondering what if. We all make mistakes but it is how we correct or move on from our mistakes that matters the most. Sometimes mistakes lead to improvements or growth opportunities. Don’t push your mistakes or blame other people, but instead learn humility and resilience. So many people tend to blame the other person or take full blame for themselves. Do not do this. Instead accept the current situation, and learn from it. Don’t live in the past and dwell.

Keep it Simple:

Linda Stone coined the term “continuous partial attention” to describe how our current generation is constantly focused on everything without fully concentrating on anything. We live in a distracted world where distractions are both good and bad. During my dad’s death, I filled my schedule up so much that I would be so distracted in hopes that I would not think of the tragic event. It ended up backfiring and I became a pessimistic person that believed so much in Murphy’s Law – what can go wrong, will go wrong. I would be worried about the future and would automatically think something bad would happen. Keeping it simple means to be content with your situation. Don’t think about the future too much. Have peace of mind that everything’s good the way it is – that you are who you are and where you are right now is for a reason – but still have a desire for a better future. Don’t ignore your positive inner voice and crowd yourself so much that you start to ignore it. Your inner voice – your intuition – can lead you to the right and positive path for your life. Don’t be so distracted that you forget that where you are now is a necessary step in your evolution. Remain content with where you are while executing a strategy for getting to where you want to go. Don’t just think of the outcome, focus on the journey. This will immediately simplify your life.

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Stop with the expectations

I swear I have been seeing everyone on my Facebook timeline either getting married, getting engaged, or having kids. As someone that is single, with no kids, I was constantly comparing myself – “They look so happy. Why can’t I be that happy?”, “Why can’t I find a love like that?”, “Gosh, I’m 25. I should be engaged by now”. We are so prone to constantly compare ourselves and our lives to other people that it affects us mentally. When I was in a relationship and after my father passed, I was constantly asking my boyfriend about marriage. Though he planned for marriage, I always wanted to know when it would happen and needed validation every week – even though  I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to get married at the time. I let social media and my fear of the future ruin my relationship. I knew deep down I wasn’t ready, but I was too focused on wanting to feel whole again and comparing my life to other people’s lives without realizing all the blessings I currently have. I had expectations that I had to get married at this certain age or life had to be a certain way at this certain time, but in reality it doesn’t matter what time. Expectations are basically preconceived resentments. Let everything happen on its own time. We are not all guaranteed tomorrow, but that should not give you a reason as to why you rush certain things. Don’t conform to society and compare yourself to other people. Be happy with who you are and where you want to go. For a week, carry an index card and for every time you compare yourself to someone else or think of an expectation that should’ve happened in your life, write a check mark. It is amazing how many times we don’t realize how much we compare ourselves or have these expectations for ourselves. Now plan a strategy to stop comparing yourself and whether that is removing social media or stop hanging out with a certain crowd – do what is best for you.

Talk about it

When my dad passed, everyone kept recommending therapy. I had gone through therapy once before, but to me it did not really help. I was scared and nervous to go to my first session. After going through my first session, I felt relieved. Everything I was feeling was normal. I had talked about it with other friends, but when you get professional advice, it’s truly relieving to know you are not the only one feeling this way or have felt this way. For a while, I bottled up my feelings and did not want to talk about it. All I wanted to do was numb the pain. I tried to ignore the loneliness by surrounding myself with people who didn’t really care for me. I worked and filled my schedule to hide behind my accomplishments and to keep my mind busy. So many others have used other ways of hiding behind the pain with sex, alcohol, and drugs. But ignoring the pain just silences our screaming need for help and instead of freeing ourselves, we imprison our souls. Instead pour out your feelings, and allow yourself to feel the way you feel. Pain is not a bad thing. We must feel it in order for us to heal it. Pain is an important aspect of our lives that motivates us to fight for determination and perseverance to get through this tough time knowing that there is healing on the other side. So, don’t keep it bottled up inside you, because it will backfire in the long run. Understand that this is your teacher and soon you will be able to be YOU again, but a better and newer version of you. It will take time to heal, and that amount of “time” is different for every person. Be patient with yourself.

Remember, we all go through hardships in life. As long as you remain strong in heart, you can undergo a lot of trauma 💜

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Cauliflower Stir-Fry

Cauliflower Stir-Fry

I come from an asian / islander background. Our main staple of food has always been rice. Rice is literally our number one food that we eat with everything. With my busy schedule, sometimes it is hard for me to find the time to work out (yes, yes I know. I should make time). So, I need to be careful with what I eat. This low carb dish is not only tasty, but filled with lots of vitamins! This dish is vegan & paleo friendly! If you eat meat, top it off with my recipe of Baked Salmon !

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Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of cauliflower rice (break down cauli-flower into rice)
  • 1 cup of brussel sprouts (cut into halves
  • 1 red bell pepper ( cut into dices
  • 10 spears of asparagus (cut into pieces)
  • 1 cup kale
  • kosher salt or montreal seasoning

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degree F.
  2. Spray roasting pan with oil, add the brussel sprouts and cut up red pepper to roasting dish
  3. Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes
  4. In a smaller roasting pan, spray with oil and add asparagus.
  5. Put the asparagus dish in the oven and roast for about 10 minutes or until tender, but not too soft
  6. Steam cauliflower until soft
  7. Once all vegetables are ready, grab a large bowl and mix all the cooked veggies
  8. Slowly add the kale to the bowl and mix
  9. Sprinkle seasoning or salt to taste

Serve with salmon or your choice of poultry or by itself!

Happy cooking!

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Tips on Meal Prepping

Tips on Meal Prepping

I have a busy, crazy life. With living on my own, working as an engineer for a corporation, starting a business on the side and taking online classes – my life is a hectic mess where I am constantly pressed for time. But with my busy schedule, I always try and still eat pretty healthy and maintain a balance diet. The best way to do this is to plan ahead. Here are some tips to what I do when I meal prep

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  1. Buy in bulk – I absolutely love Costco. They are starting to get more organic foods in bulk that are perfect for meal prepping. When trying to eat healthy, buying the same thing over and over again does add up. So always try to buy in bulk!
  2. Bake or grill your veggies & protein, instead of pan frying – It is very hard to cook everything one by one. I recommend baking or grilling your veggies all at once, but in separate bins and remove at the appropriate time. I like to cook everything at 400 degrees F (if baking), but I remove everything at different times. i.e I usually cook my asparagus for about 10 minutes and my brussel sprouts for 25
  3. Weight out your meals ahead of time – if you are competing for a fitness competition or trying to just portion control. I recommend weighting out your meals and separating them ahead of time, so you can just grab and go!
  4. Don’t be afraid to use fresh herbs or new seasoning – before when I would meal prep, I would never add any fresh herbs or new seasonings to my food because I was scared that it would be added calories. Though there are some seasonings that do add sugar to their ingredients, do not be afraid to spice up your food! You are less likely to cheat if you actually like what you are eating! 😉
  5. Mix your veggies, mix your veggies – most people usually just meal prep by eating one type of lean meat and one type of vegetable. Do not be afraid to mix your veggies up! My favorite combination is asparagus, cauliflower (cut into rice), brussel sprouts, kale, and bell peppers!

Baked Salmon

Baked Salmon

This fish dish is one of my absolute favorites! It is so easy to make and filled with so much flavor. If cooked just right, the salmon can melt in your mouth. Since I live alone (minus my dog), I love making a batch of this and saving it for lunch with a side of mixed veggies. This fish dish takes just about 15-20 minutes to make. Don’t be afraid to play around with other fresh herbs and veggies. Since I was limited and did not have time to go to the farmers market over the weekend, I just used my go-to seasoning (Montreal seasoning)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Salmon filet, about 2-2.5 pounds
  • 3 tbsp of Montreal seasoning (can buy the bulk at Costco)
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
  • PAM spray

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grab a roasting pan and spray the entire bottom of the pan with PAM spray, so that the fish does not stick to the pan.
  2. Add the salmon to the pan, skin side up.
  3. Sprinkle montreal seasoning all over the salmon. If you want to use fresh herbs, go right ahead! My favorite herbs to use are rosemary, and thyme.If you do decide to use fresh herbs, don’t forget to sprinkle some kosher salt
  4. Add the lemon wedges all over the salmon
  5. Roast salmon for about 10-15 minutes. I prefer my salmon to be cooked medium rare so that it remains juicy and melts in your mouth 😋

Happy cooking!

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs raw sweet potatoes, diced into large chunks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar,
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extratunnamed
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup of pecans
  1. In a large pot, boil sweet potato chunks until soft and are fork tender. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and spray a dutch oven pan with cooking spray oil.
  3. In a the large bowl sweet potato, add eggs, 1/4 cup butter, milk, 1/2 cup of brown sugar,vanilla, pinch of salt, and cinnamon. Mix well, until no chunks (use a electrical mixer will be easier). Add to the dutch oven pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  4. With the rest of the butter, mix rest of brown sugar, flour, pink of salt in a bowl and toss with a fork until crumbs form.
  5. Crush pecans into small pieces and add to the crumb mixture. Mix well.
  6. Add the crumb mixture to the top of the sweet potato mix in the dutch oven and bake for 45 minutes. Or until top is lightly golden brown.

 

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Fall Salad with Pomegranate seeds and Delicata squash

Fall Salad with Pomegranate seeds and Delicata squash

img_2369-jpgThis salad is one of my absolute favorites. The bitterness of the watercress mixed with the sweetness of the delicata squash and truffle dijon dressing is absolute perfection.

Go to your local farmers market in the fall and grab some delicata Squash. If you cant find one, switch for butternut squash instead. Always remember though, this recipe is a guideline, feel free to add more pomegranate seeds or any of the following vegetables to your liking. I personally always seed 2 pomegranates because why not?! Taste the dressing before serving and adjust to your liking!

 Salad:

  • 1 delicata squash, seeded and cut into half moons (or medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded and thinly sliced))
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 bunch of kale, ribs removed cleaned and COMPLETELY DRY. leaves torn into 2″ pieces
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pack/bunch of watercress
  • 1 small head escarole (leaves washed and torn into small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Dressing:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Truffle oil
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with 1/4 cup oil, plus salt pepper and put on a baking sheet. Spread into on layer. Bake until slightly brown and caramelized, about 18- 20 minutes; Let cool.
  2. Reduce oven to 275 degrees. Toss kale pieces in some olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 25-30 minutes; let cool
  3. Cut pomegranate from the top and remove seeds. set seeds aside and discard skin pieces, keeping only seeds
  4. Dressing: whisk together dijon mustard, truffle oil, olive oil, pecorino romano, salt and freshly squeeze lemon until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, toss together watercress, escarole, 1/2 the dress in a bowl.
  6. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with squash, kale chips, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. Serve additional dressing on the side

Moroccan Glazed Chicken

Moroccan Glazed Chicken

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My most favorite way to cook chicken is the Moroccan way. It’s healthy, and not completely doused in sauce. It’s also pretty flavorful and juicy, if cooked right.

Moroccans cook their food by prepping some of the ingredients ahead of time. This recipe calls for preserved lemons. You can buy these at the grocery store in the exotic foods aisle or you can actually preserve lemons yourself. (Recipe coming soon).This recipe should also be cooking about 1-2 days in advanced so that the chicken can marinate in the brine and air dried to make the skin crispy!

  • 1/2 gallon of water
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • Castelvetrano olive juice (okay if you buy olives in a can and just use the juice)
  • 2 preserved lemons (cut int pieces)
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup stevia (sugar)
  • Ice
  • 1 Chicken
  • 2 cups chicken jus
  • 1 teaspoon of Marash Pepper
  1. In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add olives, olive juice, lemon peels, lemon scraps, thyme, salt, and sugar and bring down to a simmer for ~10 mins.
  2. Add enough ice to to the pot until it reaches to about 1 gallon of water. Stir until all ice is all melted and take of heat. Let chill for about 10 minutes. Submerge the chicken in the brine for about 6 hours
  3. Add chicken just and marash pepper in a pan on medium heat. reduce by half. Once reduced, pass through a strainer to strain pieces of marash. Allow to chill and set aside until ready to cook chicken
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine. Pat dry with a paper towel and let air dry overnight.
  5. After you let the chicken dry, brush the marash glaze all over the chicken skin. Cook in oven set at 385 degrees for about 25- 35 minutes. Or until internal temperature of the chicken is at about ~175-180.

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