Link Love: Thoughts and Things


Happy Wednesday friends!

Here are a few links you might enjoy browsing if you need a little break from the old grind…..

Guruji on yoga as therapy via Eddie Stern.

Fun vocabulary quiz – I love words.

One of the dreamier inspiration shoots I’ve seen in a while. Those flowers!! Swoon…

I want these for succulents – sweetly old fashioned, love the juxtaposition with the spiky dessert plants.

So inspiring – two floral designers on opposite coasts doing weekly all local designs.

Digging these funky yoga clothes. Nice break from the typical Lulu look.

This curry sounds tasty. I definitely need some new food inspiration right now.

I think I might need this dress in grey, if only because it shares a name with my dog.

Have you seen DG’s Second Series yoga dvd yet? Here’s the preview. 


What inspiring/entertaining you these days? 

Love and Blessings,



PS – Don’t forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST. xo




Simple, Spicy, and Healthy: Dal and Vegetable Biryani Recipes


When I cook, I use many varied ingredients and spices, yet I like to keep the process of preparing food as simple as possible.

With my busier schedule these days, I’ve started using frozen vegetables without shame. They can really help make a veggie-ful dish happen fast without lots of washing/peeling/cutting.

I love Indian food, especially when the weather turns brisk. The spices and rich flavors are so satisfying on a cool fall day.

So today, I would like to share with you two of my favorite (and very easy to make) dishes: dal and vegetable biryani.

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Feeling Jazzed About…


Happy Sunday morning!

This is my favorite part of the week to simply lie around and be lazy. We had a little farmer’s market and dog park playtime and now I’m just relaxing on my couch with hubs and pup. Life is sweet.

Here’s a list of what I am feeling excited about, inspired by, slightly greedy for and generally psyching on…

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Healthy Apple Almond Muffins


I felt like baking this evening. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store so I decided to shop in my pantry instead and come up with something tasty.

These delicious muffins are wheat free, dairy free and naturally sweetened using apples and brown rice syrup. They are full of fiber, protein and healthy fats from the almond butter and coconut oil. I think these are going to be the perfect post-yoga treat in the morning.

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The Perfect Vegan, Gluten-free Cookie Recipe


I love to bake. Mostly because I love to eat baked goods.

Baking without cane sugar, eggs, butter, milk and wheat is quite the adventure. It can often be a treacherous experience of bad texture and clumpy gooey messes.

But occasionally, after enough trial and error, something magnificent can arise.

This cookie, in my humble opinion, exemplifies that glorious experience of vegan and gluten-free baking victory! Soft, chewy, nutty, caramely sweet and satisfying.

I love coconut and chocolate, so that is the predominant flavor of this cookie, but I think that you could easily use this recipe as a template for other varieties, such as cranberry and pecan, macadamia nut and white chocolate, almonds and raisins, oatmeal, on and on.

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Recipe: Sunshine Green Smoothie


Good morning my dears.

Spring has finally sprung in Denver. With the temperature rising, I find myself beginning to crave a little green smoothie after months of hot grains for breakfast.

I love this time of year for many reasons, but one silly reason is that the champagne mangoes are always prevalent and on sale! I love these small flavorful mangoes. They are amazing in cereal but also one of my favorite additions to smoothies.

Today’s concoction was very simple and jam-packed with kaley chlorophyll! This smoothie will give you a super load of fiber, vitamin C and A, B6, potassium, Omega-3’s and lignans from the flaxseed.

I normally make smoothies with room-temperature filtered water, but if you prefer a little extra creamy sweetness, blend your preferred nut-milk instead.

These quantities of fruit/veg fill my Vitamix blender almost to the brim. It’s enough smoothie to sip on all day and share with others. If you are not in need of such a large amount, cut the amount of kale in half and take out at least 1 mango and 1 tangelo.


Sunshine Green Smoothie

1 bunch of curly green kale

3 champagne mangoes

2 tangelos

1 banana

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon of ground golden flaxseed


Blend well and sip with delight.


To your health!

Love Frances

The Lotus and The Artichoke: Vegan Recipes From World Adventures.

Occasionally I get stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking. I guess this happens to everyone. You just start using the same ingredients and same spices all too often and pretty soon, dinner time starts to get a little boring.

Luckily, when I fell into this rut recently, the universe gave me a kick in the culinary pants in the form of this new and super inspiring cookbook, The Lotus and the Artichoke. 

For the past few months, I have been following the posts on Facebook of Lotus and the Artichoke writer Justin Moore. I routinely drooled over the pictures of colorful vegan creations he posted, telling myself, “I should really try to make that.”  So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when he sent me a copy of his brand-new cookbook! Awesomeness.


Let me confess something right off the bat – I am not normally keen on following recipes. I have a few fancy vegan cookbooks on my shelf that I rarely crack open simply because the recipes are too elaborate, require too many unusual and hard-to-find ingredients or high-end complicated cooking tools that most people don’t have in their kitchens.

Justin’s book is not this way. His recipes are shared in the the way I want to cook. They are creative, healthy, spiced with pizzaz and packed with variety. They call for lots of different types of vegetables and protein sources, which is great if you’ve been relying too heavily on one thing or another in your cooking routine. He also includes good substitution options for various ingredients as well. Thaddeus (who is not much of a cook) has prepared a number of these recipes recently and he has been able to follow them very easily and create the most scrumdidlyumptious dinners for me. I consider that a huge testament to the quality of a recipe.


The coolest thing about this cookbook is the breadth and scope of flavors and dishes. Justin is a world adventurer. He explores the world with an eye for photography and a palette for exotic cuisine. American by birth, but currently living in Berlin, Justin has traveled in nearly 40 countries. The Lotus and the Artichoke was born from his passions for travel, food and exploration.

Part of the exploration factor in play here is that many of the traditional dishes described in his book are NOT originally vegan, but through creative experimenting, he has perfect plant-based renditions of all these unique preparations. For example, vegan gulab jamun (you know those tasty donut-tasting balls in syrup you get at Indian restuarants?) – who knew those could be made without dairy products! Not I! Justin even has a tofu panneer recipe that simulates the yummy texture and taste of Indian cheese. A-mazing.

207163_415563275170283_1104497438_nThis is Justin – he’s rad.

The Lotus and the Artichoke is presented not by categories of food but by continents. Before each continent, Justin shares photos and stories from his travels throughout various countries there. Looking at this cookbook gives me both serious munchies and wanderlust!

Food is such a universal connector. Sharing a meal with someone, even if you can’t speak their language, can be a really bonding and beautiful experience. You can tell from reading Justin’s book, that he’s had some unforgettably special moments with people over meals in all corners of this big world.

I’m a big fan of The Lotus and the Artichoke and I bet you will be too.

Buy a copy of the COOKBOOK.

Visit his WEBSITE



Try this creamy and delicious soup recipe yourself!

Thad made this for me the other night and I seriously could not get enough of it! Yum.




Carrot Ginger Zucchini Soup

 serves 4 / time 30 min

3 medium / 3 cups carrots peeled, chopped

3 medium / 3 cups potatoes peeled, chopped

1 medium / 2 cups zucchini chopped

1 small red onion or 1 shallot chopped

1 inch / 2 cm fresh ginger finely chopped

1-2 garlic cloves

1 tsp cumin – ground

1 tspn coriander – ground

1/2 tspn turmeric – ground

1/8 tspn nutmeg

1 Tbs vegetable broth powder

1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes OPTIONAL

1/2 tspn black pepper ground

1/2 tspn red paprika ground

1/2 tspn salt

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine (or water)

1 cup soy/nut milk

3 cups water

Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add garlic, onion, ginger, pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, nutmeg. Mix, fry until garlic and onions are slightly browned, about 3 min.

Add carrots, potatoes, zucchini. Mix well with spices, cook 5 min.

Add lemon juice, wine. Stir regularly, cook partially covered, until veg is soft and cooked, 5-7 min.

Turn off / remove from heat. Purée veg to creamy pulp with immersion blender.

Return to medium heat. Add soy milk, broth powder, nutritional yeast, salt. Stir well, simmer 2-3 min.

Add water gradually, stirring regular, maintain low boil, cook for 5 min.

Continue to cook on medium low, reduce to desired consistency.

Garnish with fresh parsley, crumbled nuts, sprinkled paprika, ground pepper. Serve with bread or crackers.


Vedic style / No garlic and onions: replace with pinch asafoetida (hing), 1/2 tspn brown mustard seeds. Nutty taste: add 1/4 cup lightly toasted ground sunflower seeds with nutritional yeast and broth powder. Straight-up Carrot-Ginger: Use 2 or 3 more carrots, omit zucchini. Alternately, replace zucchini with 1 or 2 cups chopped pumpkin. Potatoes can also be replaced with sweet potato or more carrots. Euro-herbs: use fresh basil, thyme, rosemary instead of cumin and coriander. Add 1 Tbs tomato paste and/or 1 chopped tomato for a slightly richer, fruitier flavor, too.

I’m Digging This…

Life is way more fun if you get psyched about it. Sure, some days are hard, but there are way more awesome things about each day than not-awesome.

Here’s what I’m digging on today….


Doing dropbacks again! When there is no pain involved, these little sprinkles on top of the Ashtanga sundae are just plain fun. Wheee!!!

Lana Del Rey. I’m absolutely obsessed with the first two songs, Ride and American off her most recent EP. Constant playback in my brain right now. Dreamy and languid, seriously soulful.

These sparkly Wizard of Oz-green studs. I’m totally in love with all of Alexis Russell’s jewelry these days.

Masala Dosas. I don’t care if the dosas are apparently better in Mysore – I still love me some spicy crispy South Indian breakfast after a good hard yoga sesh here in Kovalam.

Loving up on Love. This e.e. cummings poem shared on Fete is making me smile today.

I’m finally getting near the end of the epic journey that has been reading Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. This book is so engrossing and also sometimes crazy boring. It makes me want to go to Paris right now, but I’m still mystified how that musical emerged out of this insanely long and twisted tome.

This blog – NaturallyElla. Such an encyclopedia of healthy, delicious, seasonal vegetarian recipes.

Flowers flowers everywhere! I am so excited about starting floral design school when I get back to the States. I’ve been collecting images of my favorite arrangements on this board. 

This seed and nut bread recipe.  It’s flourless, super healthy and looks amazingly tasty. Can’t wait to make this!


That’s just a spattering of things that are getting me going these days.

What’s inspiring and enchanting you today?


Love Frances




Tri-Colored Summer Salad

This simple and summery salad is gluten-free, vegan and very easy to whip up on a warm day.  You can make this ahead of time since I think it gets even better after it simmers in its own yummyness for a bit.  This is the perfect side dish for a summer picnic for me!

The basis for this salad is to pick a few different vegetables in 3 bright and contrasting colors – work with what you have available.  My mother sometimes makes a salad like this using green beans, corn, tomatoes and a few other things.  I didn’t have green beans and I don’t really like tomatoes but what I do have is a garden already bursting with food!

One thing I’m growing in my little veggie patch is broccoli.  It’s so easy to grow and quick too!  I harvested two huge heads yesterday and I was pretty darn proud of myself.  I’m also growing some little sugar snap peas.  They are still kind of thin and small, but since they are sweet and soft they are perfect for this salad recipe.

The broccoli, peas and dill (also picked in my garden) provide the GREEN.

Two organic, sweet (and quintessentially summer) ears of corn lend the pop of YELLOW.

And a bright organic bell pepper offers vibrant RED.



1 head of broccoli

3 ears of corn

1 red bell pepper

a few sprigs of dill


2 T Olive Oil

2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1 T Vegan Mayonnaise (could use tahini instead if you don’t eat soy…just a little something for creaminess)

1 T Raw Honey

Black Pepper – Coarsely Ground

Herb Salt – a hefty pinch



Wash veggies and then steam the broccoli for just a very brief few minutes until it gets bright!

Meanwhile boil corn (also very briefly, just 2 or 3 minutes) in hot water.  Tip – add a splash of white vinegar in the water to help the corn stay sweet and the kernels in tact).

Chop dill finely

Chop red pepper in small chunks

While the broccoli and corn are chilling (pop in the freezer if you are in a hurry), you can mix up the dressing.  I think it’s easiest to make dressing in an old jar because you can shake it like crazy to get the perfect, creamy consistency.

Slice corn off the cob, mix everything together, dress it up and voila!

Healthy, crunchy, sweet, colorful and perfectly summer salad!


Have a great weekend.

Love Frances