There’s No Place Like Home: Decorating The Green Suite

I’ve always had a thing for design: graphic, clothing, but especially interior.

As an introverted Cancer, my home is my oasis, my retreat from the world, but also a cozy place to play hostess to friends & family. Since I’m always decorating on a tight budget, my style doesn’t come off as polished as some, but over the years I’ve gotten better & better at pulling things together without breaking the bank. Currently, I’m in the process of decorating a new home and I’m dying to share it with you soon.

In the meantime, however, I’d like to take a look back on my last humble abode: the two bedroom apartment I shared with Nick aka my former flame, current best friend, & founder of The Green Suite.

When I moved in with Nick, his place was very bachelor pad: dark colors, a little disorganized, and minimal furniture. My goal in our redecorating project was to create a home where my vintage furniture wouldn’t feel too girly and our various collections [like my massive arsenal of DVD's] wouldn’t make things too crowded. Nick & I worked together quite well: what I lacked in hammer & nail skills, I made up for in design know how & visa versa. The finished products included bright blue walls, DVD housing made from re-claimed wood, & a bedroom bright enough to display the great light from our east-facing windows.

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Our little Green Suite will always have a special place in my heart with lots of great memories, but as a new chapter of my life begins, I’m happy to have some new digs to compliment it. More on that soon.

 

[After photos taken by Aaron Ehinger Photography.]

To Keep Your Balance You Must Keep Moving

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re spending the first day of 2014 doing things that cause you joy. After all, the superstition says that whatever you do on the 1st of the year will set the tone for all the days that follow.

bicycle

For me, I want 2014 to be all about balance. These past few years I’ve developed some extreme habits and quirks that I’ve been slowly breaking down. I’m trying to be less dogmatic and extremist about my health & my relationships. There is good and bad in everything so we shouldn’t expect perfection from ourselves or those around us. It’s all about simply moving forward and finding the fun along the way.

My 1st started out with a little sesame tofu at an asian cafe near my apartment:

sesame tofu

Yum! But lots of soy & fried food [not to mention white rice], not the healthiest way to kick off 2014.

So for dessert, I whipped up a chocolate/cherry superfood smoothie:

chocolate cherry smoothie

Frozen cherries have become one of my favorite smoothie additions & of course they pair perfectly with chocolate.

Ingredients:

1 banana, frozen
5-6 sweet cherries, frozen
1 tsp cacao powder
1 tsp Sun Is Shining green superfood powder
1/2 tsp maca powder
1/4-1/3 can light coconut milk

Place all ingredients in blender & process until smooth. Add more coconut milk for a thinner texture, if desired.
Enjoy.

Happy 2014!

Almond Butter Oatmeal w/ “Caramelized” Bananas & Coconut Sprinkles

It’s getting cold outside in Chicago. Winter has reared it’s chilly head & won’t be leaving us again for months. Frankly, once the temperatures drop below 20 outside, the last thing I want to have for breakfast is an icy green smoothie. So instead, I’ve switched to oatmeal for my go-to morning meal.

Too bad my old favorite apple/cinnamon/date combo can get a little old when it becomes daily occurrence.

That’s why this weekend, I decided to mix things up a bit with almond butter, stove-top oats, and bananas sautéed in coconut oil. Top it all off with a few sprinklings of shredded coconut & I had a tropical-flavored breakfast with still plenty of warmth to send me out into the day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

almond butter oatmeal with caramelized bananas & coconut sprinkles

For more yummy food photos, follow me on Instagram @michelleshea.

Ingredients

2 c water
1 c gluten free rolled oats
a pinch of salt
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp almond butter
approx. 1 tsp unsweetened, shredded coconut

In a small to medium saucepan, bring 2 c of water & a pinch of salt to boil.
Add oats to water & reduce heat slightly to avoid boiling over. Let cook for 10-20 minutes.
In a medium skillet, heat coconut oil until melted & evenly distributed around pan.
Over medium heat, add banana slices to coconut oil & sauté until soft.
[Note: this is my lazy-girl's version of "caramelized" bananas, if you're looking for the real thing, drizzle some agave...or honey if you're bee-gan...on top of your bananas while they sauté.]
Once your oatmeal has cooked, add your almond butter & maple syrup while still over heat & stir until combined.
Place your cooked oats into a bowl, top with sautéed bananas & sprinkle your shredded coconut on top. Enjoy.

Relish Tray: Daiya’s Havarti-Style “Cheese” Wedge

relishverb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.

daiya havarti

My name is Michelle & I am a Havarti-aholic. It all started several months ago when, upon release of Daiya’s wedge-style flavors, my friend Diva LaVida recommended that I try their Havarti flavor immediately because it was just that good. However, I rarely purchase vegan cheeses anymore. With so many great vegan restaurants in Chicago, I find that I can get my fill of cheesy flavors without adding it to my grocery list. Cut to last week when I decided to pick up a cheddar wedge as a gift for a recently dairy-free client. As I stood in the aisle at Whole Foods, cheddar in one hand, Daiya coupon in the the other, I decided now was as good of time as any to try this Havarti flavor for myself.

With no gluten-free crackers suitable for cheese at home, I opted to try my wedge on apple slices…and proceeded to devour half of the package in one sitting. Thankfully, my consumption has slowed down slightly [and I've learned to pre-arrange my slices on a plate to prevent mindless grazing from the package], but I still should buy stock in Daiya with as often as I’m purchasing this wedge. It’s amazing, guys! And for the most part, it’s pretty neutral on the nutrition scale. With a tapioca flour, palm oil & coconut base, it’s soy-free, gluten-free, & of course, dairy-free without too many unnecessary ingredients or preservatives. Overall, I feel okay about getting my apple a day with a side of this stuff…it’ll still keep the doctor away.

Want to go dairy-free, but you’re not quite sure how? As your health coach, I can help.
click here button

day after halloween detox drink

A Detox Drink for the Day After Halloween

For those of you without a calendar or access to the outside world, last night was Halloween. As an occasional actress and everyday costume fanatic, it’s one of my favorite holidays. For my boyfriend Nick, it is THE HOLIDAY of the year [I mean, come on, he teaches about zombie survival for a living]. Because of this, we tend to go all out: parties, candy, decorations, drinking games, festive food…you get the idea.

This year, we conspired together and decided to dress up as Margot & Richie Tenenbaum.

margot and richie halloween 2013 copy

“I think we’re just gonna have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that.”

I’d actually started planning my costume about a month before Halloween, but it became a whole lot more popular after this amazing sketch from last week’s SNL:

Our party was so much fun, it was hard to remain Margot-stoic for the camera all night. I broke character on more than one occasion.

margot and richie halloween

Notice the wooden finger on my right hand…Nick MADE that. He’s handy like that.

For our party guests, we prepared my favorite vegan chili & some pumpkin oatmeal cookies [with Enjoy Life chocolate chips added].

The chili was so delicious I ate about five bowls, along with several cookies & a taste of some vegan chai snickerdoodles made by Alicia of Big Vegan Affair [they weren't gluten-free, but I just had to try them]. Add to that a dirty martini, some Chicago Diner nachos and a few too many pieces of vegan halloween candy & I awoke this morning looking for a dietary re-set button.

So, in the spirit of recovering from your halloween cocktails & candy overdose, here’s a yummy day after halloween detox drink made with kale & carrots to kickstart your body’s cleansing. The fact that it’s festively orange is just a happy halloween accident.

day after halloween detox drink

Pink skeleton approved.

Ingredients [approx. 2 servings]

8 carrots
4 kale leaves
4 celery stalks
2 fuji apples
2 limes

Juice all ingredients together for a vitamin-rich, detoxifying cocktail that’s sweet with just a slight tang. For best results drink immediately & on an empty stomach.