Favorite Things

Let’s talk about weeds and smoothies. No, I’m not talking about putting weeds in your smoothies. I like things au natural, but that’s a little on the extreme side for me. That said, I know they have plenty of health benefits, but I’ll stick to spinach in my smoothies.

Looking into the center of a fluffy dandelion covered in dew droplets.
Clouded Sulphur, Missouri 2000

Shawn is a nature photographer. This photo of a beautiful dew-misted dandelion is perfect for talking about weeds.

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Tennis Life Lessons

I think tennis is a lot like air travel, it can be stressful at times. Stress doesn’t always bring out the best in people.

Here’s my theory: Uncertainty breeds anxiety. Anxiety can lead to unwanted behavior.

I had a match recently that was very competitive but also very pleasant. It seemed like the perfect match until the end. There was a discrepancy about the score that turned into some post-match drama.

I really don’t enjoy drama, but I understand it. Like I said above, sometimes the anxiety that results from the stress of a match (or flying) can lead to meltdowns.

But in my desire to reduce drama, I decided to tackle uncertainty. So, I added a notebook to my bag so I could tally the score as I go throughout the match. No more discrepancies about the score.

I’ve also added a list on my phone. I call it my tennis list. Brad Gilbert, a famous professional player turned coach, author, and announcer, refers to this as step zero. Come to each match prepared.

So my tennis list includes what equipment I need to play my best. This is even more important as the summer months approach, and we need more things, like sunscreen and sunglasses.

I find that being prepared and keeping track can help eliminate some uncertainty in a sport that has a lot of surprises.


  • The Kindness Method — I refer to this as TKM. It’s a book by Shahroo Izadi, and I’ve been working on doing some of her mind maps that really address internal dialog. Being kind to ourselves. Why is this something we have to work at learning to do? I think sometimes I think if I’m hard on myself, that’s how I get things done. But am I having fun? Am I enjoying myself? Shahroo says we can still get lots done AND be kind to ourselves. In fact, she says we can actually achieve more by being kind.
  • Journaling — I do my morning pages almost every day. I definitely miss some days, but that’s ok. My goal with morning journaling is about understanding myself. I got the idea from Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way. I adore this book and highly recommend it to anyone looking to increase artistic living.


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

  • I did it! I made the new shade for our patio swing, and I love it! I imagine you’d like to see a picture of it? Leave me a comment below or send me an email to let me know if you’d like to see my handiwork. I found a tablecloth on Amazon that has some very cute colors. Then I added straps to secure it to the patio swing. Then I sprayed it with Scotchguard to make it waterproof. It works! I might add some fringe to it next.
  • Would you like a biquinho peppers update? The peppers are progressing. The seedlings are now outside 24/7 and thriving. I might be ready to plant them in the big front porch pot soon. It will take some plant food to get them to get big and busy and produce peppers. I hope someday to send you a pic with lots of bright red peppers.
  • WEEDS! So, let’s talk about weeds, shall we? I have been resistant to using herbicides on my yard. I’m not a big fan of grass. I mean, it looks nice. But it’s so unnatural to have a monoculture covering big areas of land. And it’s a resource hog, requiring lots of water. There are native plants, like clover, that are drought resistant, low growing, and…green! But I do feel bad when the dandelions pop up in our yard. So we go out with a handy utensil and put little holes in yard, picking them all one by one. And I really detest crabgrass, so you can see me outside picking them every July. It would be easier on me if I gave in to the herbicide. Kill the weeds! And each year I say, this is IT! I’m going to do it. And each year…I don’t.


My Libby app lost all my history of past books, and I used this as a resource to tell you about books I’ve read recently. This is sad, but it is the way things go sometimes. Here are a couple of books that I recall reading lately:

  • The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson. Non-Fiction. This book was not my favorite, but there were some moments I enjoyed. I appreciate the process of downsizing our materials, and I think it’s a good practice. I think this author was a bit too rigid in her cleansing, even burning paintings she’d been working on for years. But it’s always good to get another perspective, and I was glad for that.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Fiction. I enjoyed this well-told story that goes into topics like loneliness and childhood trauma. It has an uplifting theme. This was a fine read, but it does have some dark moments.


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

  • Clay Court Season. It’s clay court season in tennis, so we’ve been watching the Madrid Open, the Rome Open, and more. Clay court results in some long points, so it’s pretty interesting to watch.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. We’ve been watching the latest season of this show. It’s entertaining and the costumes are always enjoyable to watch. We find that we are more into the main character, Midge Maisel, but we’re not as interested in the side characters. The show keeps forcing them on us, and we keep watching, so I don’t know what that means!


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

  • Salads — Now that the weather is warmer, I’ve been eating lots of salads. Romaine is my favorite green, but I also love my delicious kale and avocado salad. It’s so healthy and easy to make. I like that kale keeps in the fridge for days, so it’s a good meal prep salad.
  • Peanut Butter Granola — We bought some peanut butter granola at Costco, and it is yummy! It’s sweeter than the kind I make at home, but it makes me want to make another batch of my peanut butter and nuts granola. This store-bought version adds chocolate chips and peanuts, a perfect addition to any granola!
  • Smoothies — I’m absolutely loving our daily green smoothies. This is probably because I’m trying to eat less in the evenings. This helps me sleep better. But it also means I’m really ready for our daily morning smoothie.

Reader Spotlight

Here’s a review of my Vegan Ermine Frosting Recipe.

Reader Reviews

 I made this for my husband’s birthday cake because he and his family do not care for buttercream (too sweet to them). He loved this frosting. He said it reminded him of fancy cool whip. Thanks so much for sharing.

A piping bag is full of ermine frosting that is being piped onto a cupcake. There are more cupcakes in the background.

Recently On Namely Marly

Here are my recently published recipes.

Vegan Boxed Brownies

Make dessert time easy with vegan brownies from a box mix. By changing up the ingredients from the back of the box and adding a few essential ingredients you can make the best dairy-free, egg-free brownies! You can even add your favorite frosting, like vegan chocolate frosting.
Vegan Boxed Brownies Recipe
A closeup of a stack of three vegan brownies from a box mix.

Chocolate Flax Seed Pudding

This chocolate flaxseed pudding is a healthy and delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert. It's also relatively low in calories and fat, making it a great choice if you're trying to maintain a healthy diet. Serve it with drizzles of maple syrup on top for the ultimate flavor!
Chocolate Flax Seed Pudding Recipe
A jar of flax pudding has yogurt, fresh raspberries, and chocolate chips on top.

Raspberry Coconut Bliss Balls

Enjoy every bite of these delicious raspberry coconut balls. They're infused with healthy ingredients, making them an easy, no-bake, healthy treat!
Raspberry Coconut Bliss Balls Recipe
A stack of raspberry bliss balls shows the top one with a bite taken out. Fresh raspberries are scattered around the stack.

Vegan Pumpkin Brownies

Make these delicious vegan pumpkin brownies. With layers of pumpkin and chocolate brownie goodness, you'll be in love with every bite!
Vegan Pumpkin Brownies Recipe
A stack of vegan pumpkin brownies sits on a white plate.

Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Miso Marinated Tofu — This tofu is so good on salads, but you can also serve it with a baked potato on the side and veggies. It’s delicious!
  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 Banana Cream Pie — You know it’s summer (or spring) when this pie recipe is topping the charts. It’s our favorite summertime pie, along with the Dairy-Free Banoffee Pie and Easy Vegan Key Lime Pie.
  4. Plant-Based Taco Soup — This healthy soup is like tacos in soup form. Serve it for your Tuesday taco night, and enjoy!
  5. Keto Cauliflower Sushi — If you love sushi, but you want a vegetarian version that is low in carbs, this cauliflower rice sushi is the way to go!

Meal Plan

Monday — Make a double batch of Plant-Based Zucchini Boats on Monday and have the leftovers for lunch throughout the week. I absolutely love these for lunch on the days after I make it. Serve it with some plant-based Caesar salad on the side.

Tuesday — This day gets busy around here, so I like a simple meal like these Vegan Chicken Taquitos. They are super simple to make, especially if you use a store-bought vegan chicken product. But you can substitute homemade vegan chicken, too.

Wednesday — Get out the grill and make these Vegan Tofu Kebabs. Featuring veggies and marinated tofu, these kebabs are full of flavor, especially when you cook them on the grill. Serve them with some plant-based potato salad on the side. The best!

Thursday — If Thursday nights are all about veggie burgers, then let’s go with the Plant-Based Big Mac, complete with the special sauce and all. Yes, it’s a big burger, but you can serve it with air fryer french fries to keep things healthy.

Friday — Are you curious about a gluten-free pizza crust? This Cassava Pizza Crust is easy to make and creates a great base for your veggie pizza.

Saturday — How about a yummy Vegan Chicken Pot Pie loaded with all the veggies? It’s easier than you think, especially if you use a store-bought crust. This dish is homestyle cooking at its very best!

Sunday — Sundays = sweets. It works because you get a nice treat and maybe some leftovers to enjoy throughout the week. Let’s start with these Vegan Baked Chocolate Donuts. Not into donuts? This Egg-free Coffee Cake is another great Sunday morning dish. Ready for some tasty dessert? We love making these Easy Vegan Chocolate Mug Cookies. They’re so easy!

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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