Daily Self Care


Daily self care is something that I am constantly refining. Because the beginning of the year for me and for many others can be quite a challenging, I believe that self care is something that we all need more than ever this time of year. Here are some of the habits that I have either started to do or have done for quite some time. I hope that some of these help you. I am a work in progress and some of these habits are sticking and others I need to re-integrate into my schedule. 

Daily Exercise: 

This year I started to go to a gym again. This is something I hadn't done in around 20 years. It has been such a wonderful self care habit for me to start. I have found that I am motivated to exercise by going to the gym and also be being a part of a group class. These two factors keep me on schedule and going because I am accountable to the instructor and the group. I also am part of a daily Facebook accountability group for exercise which keeps me motivated as well. On top of this I put a red star on each day on the calendar that I exercise. I love seeing all of those stars! I find that I have more energy when I exercise and I love that there are classes that I can attend first thing in the morning. That is when I am at my best. I encourage you to find a way to exercise that you enjoy and that keeps you accountable. That is different for everyone, but I do believe there is a way for each person to find that will motivate them. 

Daily Reading: 

This is a great habit that I started 2-3 years ago. I now make a yearly goal to read 52 books. This means that I always have two or three books that I am reading. I usually read first thing in the morning and during work breaks. I also sometimes read in the evenings. I am going to need to change my schedule slightly because since my exercise classes are during a time when I would normally be reading or journaling. I think I might get up 15 minutes earlier so that I can set intentions, journal and read before I go to my workout class. I learn a lot from each book that I read and I feel like I gain new habits, skills or outlooks from each one. I sometimes buy my books or many times get them from the library. Reading is a self-care habit to me because I believe that learning is a way to care deeply for yourself. 

Setting Intentions/Journaling: 

Every day I try to set aside time before I go to the gym in the morning to write down my intentions for the day in my journal. Then, I write about my goals, gratitude and daily action steps in my Freedom Journal. This really sets the stage for the day and focuses me on what I need to get done that day to meet my goals. I know that this is a very important piece of my self care because it sets my mindset and it sets my actions for the day. 

Saving Email and Social Media for the Afternoon: 

This is a habit that I am not always perfect at. However, I know that on the days that I don't look at email, social media and messages first thing in the morning are days that I feel better, am more productive and less preoccupied with what is going on. This is such an important piece of self care because it focuses my day on what I need to accomplish to serve others and myself instead of what is going on in messages and social media. I believe that those things have their place and are wonderful tools but they can be so very distracting, especially first thing in the morning. This is something I am still working at and I'm not perfect! I'm better at not answering or posting anything in my FB check-in groups until around lunchtime, but often I still need to work hard to stay away from email earlier than that. 

Creative Time in the Evening: 

I was a graphic design major in college and I was fortunate to take a lot of art classes including drawing, painting, calligraphy and sculpture. I really enjoyed those creative outlets. However, with time I let all of those pursuits go. Lately I have been finding myself needing some creative time at the end of each day. For Christmas I got a great dot-to-dot book. I have started doing those, then coloring them in with colors and patterns and sometimes adding in painted scenes in the background. I also have a detailed coloring book and I have done some collages. Sometime this month I might try my hand at some sculptures as well. Find time to do something fun or creative each day and really restore your creative soul! 

Monthly Pedicures: 

This is a monthly habit that I started more than a year ago. I found a fantastic local salon  that does a wonderful pedicure that I really look forward to. As a chef I am on my feet a lot each day and find that this self care piece is really non-negotiable. I make sure to schedule in a pedicure every month and make sure that my feet are healthy and well taken care of. I also love the pretty nail colors! 

Resting in the Evening: 

For a workaholic like me, this is so new! I actually write "rest" on my to-do list otherwise in the evenings I find myself trying to do more and more chores. Now, at 7pm, my workday is done and that includes household chores. It can wait until tomorrow. This is a brand new mindset for me because I think that I was just obsessed with working so much. At 7pm I change into pajamas, read a book or join the family for an activity. I have also found that I love to watch historical documentaries on Netflix if my husband and son are busy doing Legos or playing a game. This is also a time to do my creative projects if I am so inclined. 

I hope that some of these self care ideas helps you! Please let me know what you do for daily, weekly or monthly self care for yourself. 

With lots of care,



Change & Transition

Change and Transition

Sometimes we plan change, sometimes it's gradual, or sometimes it's sudden. Many times it can be completely out of our control. As human beings, our lives are a series of changes, of growing and adapting either by choice or by circumstance. Sometimes change seems scary and sometimes it seems welcome. At times it can feel like the worst thing to ever happen to you, but at the same time the very best blessing. 

This is the complex situation I am facing right now with a very major, recent change that was out of my control. A few days ago I found out that the meal service platform that I use to have customers order meals to go from me- Josephine.com will be shutting down on March 30th. At first it was shocking and upsetting. It was a very emotional time for me and for all of the cooks on the platform. I know that the folks at Josephine did all that they could to keep things running, but as with all startups and something that really is so unique and out of the norm for most people, it was an uphill battle. I commend them for working so tirelessly for all of us and for really giving it a go. 

After the first couple of days of initial shock, and even during that time I went back and forth between feeling utterly devastated and intrigued about the new possibilities and new things I could do out in the community. The morning after I found out about the shut-down I had to sit there and cry for a while. It is important to me to let my emotions flow so that I am able to move on from difficult news. After that, I began to communicate with lots of people about the news and began to get some ideas from them. This started me thinking about the possibilities out there. Even though I am excited- some mornings I wake up elated that there will be new things to do and others I am terrified of starting over again. I think that all of this is normal and it is the process of letting go and surrendering to what is and what may be. 

In the end I truly believe that the universe is "kicking me out" of my home business to really get into the community, learn from others in coffee and food businesses and move closer to my own cafe. This is the path that I come back to again and again and it is what I have always wanted. The steps in between are for me to learn and grow and explore along the journey to "a place of my own."

As opportunities and possibilities open up I am thrilled and a bit scared still all at the same time. But in my deepest heart, I know that this phase will help me grow, change and keep on walking on my journey. 

I'd love to hear from you about changes you've had that have been "out of the blue" and what you have learned from them. 

Soaked Oatmeal Gluten Free Bread

Gluten Free Soaked Oatmeal Bread

The other day I really wanted some bread! But I was looking for a bread that really could deliver on nutrition as well as texture and flavor. I had been hearing from lots of people and articles about soaked grains. So, I got the idea to soak some oats and try to make a gluten and dairy free bread from them. This is the yummy result and I am so thrilled to share the recipe with you! It's great with all kinds of toppings and makes 2 small loaves. Enjoy! 

Soaked Oatmeal Gluten Free Bread: 

1 cup soaked gluten free oats (soak 1 cup gluten free oats in water (to cover) and a splash of lemon juice for 8-12 hours in a glass measuring cup)

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (recipe below)* 

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds (process until fairly ground in a food processor) 

2 teaspoon yeast

2 teaspoon physillium husk powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup coconut milk (warm) 

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

3 eggs

gluten free oats to top bread

Two 4x8 rectangular bread pans, greased with coconut oil

1. Place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer + the soaked oats. Mix together. 

2. Warm the coconut milk in the microwave until warm to the touch but not hot. 

3. Combine the honey and the coconut oil and warm them together in a glass measuring cup until the coconut oil is melted. 

4. Beat the warm coconut milk into the dry ingredients. Add the honey-coconut oil mixture and mix well. 

5. Add the eggs, one at a time. After that, beat this mixture for about 3 minutes on high speed. 

6. Cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rise about 90 minutes. 

7. Grease your bread pans with coconut oil thoroughly. 

8. After the mixture has risen for 90 minutes, divide the mixture between the two greased bread pans. Sprinkle the top of each with gluten free oats. 

9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 90 minutes. 

10. Heat the oven to 350F. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. The bread should be golden brown. 

* gluten free flour mix: 

Brown Rice Flour Blend: Mix together in a bowl with a wire whisk. Store the extra in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. 

6 cups brown rice flour

2 cups potato starch or arrowroot starch

1 cup tapioca flour


January Blues

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New Year Rush: 

I'm usually an incredibly upbeat person, that's why I'm "The Cheery Chef." However, for some reason the month of January has been historically a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. The first week of the year, even though the holidays are over are a flurry of activity for me. I love to: make my new vision board, set my 3 big goals for the year, clean and de-clutter my house, put away the decorations, sweep out the old and in with the new. It all feels so great! I also joined a great gym near me, started working out and eating 3 veggies a day and drinking lots of water. I am still keeping up with the gym workouts, veggies and water. 

Down in a Dip: 

This January, after this action-packed week or so I managed to come down with a terrible flu, and really couldn't do anything except drink tea and watch "The Crown." I was THAT low on energy! Right before that I was feeling kind of low and not that energized.  It has taken me a while to get back on track after that whole week of low energy, low appetite and just not feeling myself. I did really learn a super, super valuable lesson that week. It was: Put rest in your schedule. If you are a hyper-activated person like me, it is imperative to get your rest at the end of the day. I actually write down "rest" now on my daily schedule and now stop working on anything except creative/fun activities after 7pm each day. 

Upward We Go: 

The week after that I was getting back on track, it seemed like my business picked up speed quite a bit and things were heading in the right direction. I was back on track, working on goals and quite busy. I used my extra time to start working on my coloring, painting and collage work. It was wonderful to see lots of my clients again and I got to work on lots of projects moving forward. I feel like during this week I took a massive amount of action to move forward. 

Back Down Again: Determined to Climb Back Up: 

I have to be honest with you- weirdly, Mondays are usually one of my favorite days; a chance to start again and get going on lots of things. However, things have slowed down a lot this week. It has left me feeling a bit low today. I want to always be very real on this blog about things because I believe that sharing our experiences and discovering what works and doesn't work for us is so important. I want to be able to help all of you by sharing what is going on with me. 

Today, although I started off on a low note, just feeling a bit down, I am more than determined to feel upbeat and on top of the world. Sometimes even if we don't feel like it, it is important to "do it anyway." That is why: except for the week that I have been sick I have made it to my gym classes or worked out 5 days a week, I have eaten my veggies, I have had my 8 glasses of water a day. I refuse to give up! Today I felt like I am building the part of the iceberg that is below the ocean and that very soon I will see the beautiful parts of the ice crystals on the surface and it will grow and grow. 

Today and every day this week I am going to be kind to myself. I am going to get my rest in. I am going to do my creative work. I am going to try to make some sculptures again. I am going to make a pedicure appointment. I am going to think of a small reward for myself this week and every week I make it through and "do it anyway." I know that I will be on top of the hill again soon, the sun will come out again and this marathon of a beautiful life will keep on going. 

What are you doing this week to be kind to yourself? How can you reward yourself? How are you dealing with the January blues? 

Thank you all for being with me,

With lots of care,