Favorite Things 4

This week I’m learning to stay relaxed while also working on soothing self-healing techniques, like journaling and more. Life is a continual learning process! I’m sharing my favorite foods, including a plant-based egg product that I’m obsessed with these days! Want a great plant-based meal plan? I’ve got ya covered!

The moon shines bright over the South Dakota Badlands in this blue-hour landscape shot.
The moon shines bright over the South Dakota Badlands in this blue-hour landscape shot.

Shawn is a landscape photographer. He took this photo on one of our many trips to the South Dakota Badlands.

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Tennis Life Lessons

Shawn and I played mixed doubles against a couple recently. Let’s just say they were a bit rusty. At some point, he and I chatted and agreed to just keep the ball in play. In other words, don’t go for winners. That way we could all have a good time.

Do you know what happened? When we relaxed we started hitting the ball better! It was a great lesson in understanding how tension can impact your game and your life!

So, my motto these days is…stay relaxed!


I startle easily. My startle reaction is so bad, I jump when anything unexpected happens. It’s a bit ridiculous.

But then I read that a high startle response can be related to anxiety. I thought I was becoming an evolved person (insert sarcastic smiley face here), but I clearly have more work to do.

So, I’m doing more reading on the topic of self-soothing, including journaling and somatic techniques. I have a lot to learn in this area, so if you have some favorite techniques, please let me know if the comments below. Or send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

What I’m Reading

I enjoy reading audiobooks. I’m pretty sure reading a physical book must be better for a person, but for me, audiobooks are the way to go. So, I listen while cleaning, while driving, and when taking solo walks.

I’ve read some good and some not-so-good books. Here are some of the books I’ve read recently:

  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. ★★★★★ Fiction. Murder mystery meets a secret network of mystical women. This book delivers intrigue, but I also learned a few things along the way. That’s a favorite combination!
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. ★★★★★ Fiction. This comedic fiction is a mother-daughter saga, and that’s one that always tugs at my heartstrings. I love how the author weaved in comedy throughout the plot. It was a great read, and I’d probably even read it again!
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult. ★★★★★ Fiction. This book is almost too soon on the heels of the pandemic, but somehow it works. The main character, Diana, finds herself trapped on an island and unable to get home because of airport closures. As a result, she gets time to explore, be bored, and discover herself. Jodi Picoult is an amazing storyteller and I was mesmerized by this book from beginning to end.
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. ★★★☆☆ Fiction. I feel bad giving this book only 3 stars. I know it must be a good book, but it was narrated by Tom Hanks. I know, Tom is a great actor, but as the narrator of this book, he was a bit monotone. This is my take on it. You may thoroughly enjoy it, but for me, it was impossible to even finish it.
  • Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. ★★★★★ Fiction. I’d give this book 10 stars, I liked it so much. I’d never heard of Catherine Steadman, but I’m a big fan now. Not only is she an author, but she’s an actress, too. She studied drama at Oxford and it comes through in her books. And her acting experience makes her an amazing narrator as well. This book is a murder mystery that kept me reaching for my AirPods at every spare moment!
  • Watching You by Lisa Jewell. ★★★★★ Fiction. This is another amazing murder mystery that was a real attention-grabber. I never thought of myself as a murder mystery gal, but I guess if it’s told really well, I am. This story is set in Bristol, England, and crosses time both present and past. It’s a cleverly told story that I highly recommend.
  • When Food is Comfort by Julie M. Simon. ★★★★★ Non-Fiction. Is it ironic that a food blogger is reading a book with the subtitle, How I Conquered Food”? I spend most of my waking hours thinking about food. But I also have spent most of my life overcoming comforting myself with food. I’m not done with this book, but I’ve found the advice she gives to be thoroughly helpful. I am much better around food than I’ve been my whole life, but I have a lot of room to improve. My goal is to eat mostly food that’s healthy, some food that’s indulgent, and to not overeat. It sounds so simple, but it’s easier said than done!

On my list to read soon:

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker, Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, and This Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.

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

What I’m Watching

Of course, we watched the Australian Open. I’m not a big fan of Sabalenka (she’s too loud!), but it was nice to see her so excited about the win. We also made time for some TV this month, and here are some favorites:

  • The White Lotus. I never knew how much I liked the actress Jennifer Coolidge, but she won me over in this Apple+ series. The murder mystery had quite a few twists and turns that kept us coming back for more!
  • Better Call Saul. We finished up this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. This show combines comedy and drama in the best way possible!
  • The Big Brunch on HBO. My daughter said I would love this show and she was right! Of course, I didn’t agree with El-Waylly when she said scones have to be made with animal products. Check out my vegan scones linke below. But otherwise, this was a great show and I loved that one of the chefs was vegan. Looking forward to the next series whenever it comes out!
  • Where We Call Home, HBO. These short episodes (10 – 15 minutes each) show unique buildings that have been converted into homes. There are banks, churches, and factories, all converted to stunning dwellings. These episodes were short but they were enthralling!
  • The Great British Bakeoff, Netflix. They released a new season on Netflix and I was quick to watch it. I love this show, from the judges to the hosts, to the bakers. I thought this season wasn’t as strong as others, but I still enjoyed it.
  • Fixer Upper, The Castle. Wow, it was fun to watch how The Fixer Upper couple, Joanna and Chip take on renovating a castle! I think that the green velvet couch in the final episode may have been my favorite part of the whole series. Oh, that and the plant room in the front. All of it was great, but those two things really stood out to me.

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:

  • Revisionists History. Malcom Gladwell released a new season of his podcast. We enjoy listening to these episodes on long car trips, which Shawn and I have been taking lately.
  • Half of Carla. I’ve been following along with Carla on Instgram, and recently noticed her videos on YouTube. I listen to her as I walk. She’s very motivational when it comes to understanding weight loss goals and sticking with them. She’s also vegan so that makes her doubly inspiring!
  • Yoga Nidra & Beyond. I’ve found a new yoga nidra podcast that I listen to almost every night. It helps me relax and fall asleep. Some nights still require a Benadryl, but for the most part, this podcast is very helpful

Strengthen & Lengthen

I’ve been dealing with a couple of injuries these last several months. One thing I’ve noticed is that muscle strengthening has made a huge impact. My hip flexor hurt so I started doing squats and that has made a big difference. It’s not 100% but it’s on the way.

I’ve been experiencing tennis elbow and strengthening that muscle has helped a lot.

But we are also working on lengthening. Shawn and I started doing yoga together during the pandemic and we’re still at it! In April it will be 3 years since we started doing yoga together daily. That’s quite a record!

What about you? Do you have favorite tips for overcoming injuries?

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:

  • Vegan Yogurt — I’ve tried my hand at making my own dairy-free yogurt at home. The results were so-so. But now we have a new countertop oven and it has a dehydrator setting that might make making homemade yogurt easier. But for now, I’m obsessed with Forager Cashew Milk Yogurt. I typically by the plain unsweetened. I serve it over fresh fruit or substitute it for mayo or sour cream. it’s amazing!
  • Seed Probiotic — This is not technically food, but as a “former” IBS sufferer, taking a nearly daily probiotic has been very helpful to my digestive system. I don’t know if you’re ever fully recovered from IBS, but I am much better than I used to be. I pay attention to my diet and I’ve done a lot of research on probiotics. I really like Seed Probiotics. It comes in biodegradable packing which is an added bonus.
  • Just Egg — I’ve been making a lot of recipes with Just Egg lately. It’s a great product and I’m pleased with how it creates everything from Egg-free Frittatas to Egg-Free French Toast. I mean, who wants to hassle with cracking an egg!

Reader Spotlight

Here’s a review of my Toasted Coconut Donuts.

Reader Reviews

Thank you so much for your recipes. I made these donuts and they were my favorite ones. 10/10!

A closeup of a stack of coconut donuts.

Recently On Namely Marly

I’ve been busy in the kitchen preparing some of my favorite plant-based Super Bowl recipes. But we’ve also had dinner, breakfast, lunch, and desserts to eat too! Here are some of my recent recipes:

Just Egg Omelet

Try this Just Egg Omelet today and enjoy the cheesy delicious flavor of a classic omelet without the hassle of eggs! Add your favorite veggies to customize it to your tastes.
Just Egg Omelet Recipe
A closeup of a Just Egg Omelette on a plate.

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding is a delicious and nutritious way to start your day. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast or a healthy dessert after dinner, chia pudding is a great choice.
Chia Seed Pudding Recipe
A closeup of chia pudding in a jar with fresh fruit on top.

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Mexican vegan zucchini boats are filled to overflowing with flavorful fillings that feature black beans, enchilada sauce, and vegan cheddar cheese. This healthy plant-based dinner is a hit with everyone!
Vegan Stuffed Zucchini Boats Recipe
A close-up of vegan zucchini boats on a plate.

Strawberry Banana Matcha Smoothie

This strawberry banana matcha smoothie is a go-to for a quick and healthy meal or snack! You'll love the flavor of sweet strawberries paired with the earthy matcha tea!
Strawberry Banana Matcha Smoothie Recipe
A closeup of a strawberry matcha smoothie in a glass.

Avocado Cake

This moist and delicious avocado chocolate cake uses the fat from an avocado to create a dense, chocolate cake with just the right amount of sweetness. It's topped with chocolate avocado frosting as well!
Avocado Cake Recipe
Looking down on a slice of cake on a plate. A bite has been taken and it sits on a fork.

Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Jackfruit Nachos — If you love crunchy nachos topped with seasoned jackfruit and creamy cashew nacho cheese, this is the recipe for you!
  2. Vegan Gluten-Free Donuts — You can have yummy vegan donuts that are gluten-free too. This recipe makes it easy and delicious!
  3. Strawberry Matcha Smoothie — If you love the sweet taste of strawberries paired with the earthy flavor of matcha, you will love this refreshing smoothie. I enjoy it for breakfast because that’s about the only time I can consume caffeine. But it’s also great for afternoon snacks if you’re one of those amazing people who can consume caffeine throughout the day!
  4. Just Egg Frittata — I’m a big fan of this plant-based egg product and this frittata is now a staple in our house. If you’re looking for a low-carb, high-protein plant-based meal, this is the one to try!
  5. Sweet Corn Salsa — I love Chipotle (the restaurant), but what I love even more is making it at home! Why? Because I guess I’m a control freak. I like controlling the ingredients! Pair this corn salsa with Tofu Sofritas and some Vegan Guacamole and you’ve got yourself a tasty homemade lunch or dinner!

Meal Plan

Monday — Make this Vegan Meatloaf on Monday for dinner and enjoy it on sandwiches with some vegan mayo for lunch the rest of the week.

Tuesday — This Vegan Katsu Curry is a great weeknight dish. It is a complete meal when served with a little brown rice or noodles. But I’m a sucker for sides, and these Balsamic Green Beans.

Wednesday — These Vegan Cheesesteak sandwiches are next level good! Serve them with some Sweet Potato Tater Tots on the side and you’ve got yourself a mighty good meal!

Thursday — Use any of the leftover rice from the curry dish above to make some Vegan Fried Rice. I personally prefer using cold rice because I think it works best in this recipe. Serve it with some Vegan Rangoon Dip and chips on the side.

Friday — I always prefer pizza on Fridays. My favorite way to make it begins with this Vegan Pizza Dough. After many tests, this pizza crust is Shawn’s favorite and that’s saying a lot! We either top it with sliced Impossible Sausage or Vegan Pepperoni. Then we add veggies and some vegan mozzarella.

Saturday — I love making this Vegan Baked Ziti because it creates lots of leftovers. I usually serve it with Microwave Steamed Broccoli and Vegan Garlic Toast. So good!

Sunday — On Sunday, we focus on sweets. Noting the reference to The Big Brunch above, we must begin with these flaky Vegan Blueberry Scones. After lunch, we usually have some Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert, something indulgent like this Vegan Black Forest Cake hits the spot!

So, now it’s your turn! What are the dishes you’ve been maing this week?

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