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.. daily dose of health and happiness

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Easy Vegan Basil Pesto

When you have a limitless basil plant sitting on the porch, you may as well make pesto every week! However, a daily dose of cheesey dairy does nothing for me. I love my goat cheese, Gouda cheese, caprese salad… BUT for me, I’d rather focus on plant based foods for fuel with hints of animal sources along the way.

I browsed various vegan pesto recipes on Pinterest, but wasn’t satisfied. I had requirements of cashews and nutritional yeast yet couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. I got creative and decided to come up with my own go-to plant based pesto with all the goods in my kitchen!


Vegan Basil Pesto

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 big garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

What the heck is a soaked cashew? Well? We aren’t making cashew butter! Add 1/2 cup cashews to a jar or bowl and cover with water. Leave tightly sealed at room temperature for 4-8 hours. Then drain the water out and rinse cashews thoroughly. The cashews will be soft and ready for easier blending!

Add all ingredients, including cashews, to food processor. Keep processing until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. I always add a splash of water to thin out the pesto and get it to a creamier consistency – juuust a splash!


Taste test, duh. And keep in the fridge. The pesto is delicious as a sandwich spread, over noodles, mixed in sautéed veggies… Anything you can think of! Keep in the fridge for 5 days. Mine is always gone well before that 🙂

CHEERS to fresh summer herbs!

  • What’s your favorite herb to cook with in the summer? Comment below!

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How to Make Chia Pudding

Happy hump day! Making it halfway through a week without snow is a huge accomplishment for New England right now, yippee! Needless to say, it’s been quite chilly. In the mornings after my workout, I always feel a cold sweat and crave a warm bowl of oatmeal with a hot coffee. While oatmeal is very versatile, I’ve been bored! I miss the tropical, fresh flavors of summer. So what did I do? I threw on an extra sweatshirt and whipped up vegan coconut chia pudding to take myself to paradise. Are you in? I’ll show you how to make it below!


Here are the only ingredients you need – and then some! Chia seeds create a gel-like texture after absorbing liquid, this is how you get a “pudding” consistency. It’s reminiscent of tapioca, which I understand some people aren’t a fan of! I happen to love it. If you don’t, feel free to blend all ingredients together to break up the texture. While this tastes indulgent, it’s filled with nutrients.

Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, protein and calcium (5 times the amount of calcium in milk)! Talk about a nutritional powerhouse – and you only need a small serving.


I like to use light coconut milk. I’ve seen many people use almond milk, soy milk, and other alternatives. For some reason, almond milk in chia pudding just doesn’t do it for me! I love the flavor of coconut and I also love the creaminess. Note: we’re having breakfast in paradise where coconuts are abundant, remember.

At least 2 hours or the night prior to eating, pour 2/3 of a cup light coconut milk into a jar, bowl, wine glass? Why not! Then add in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I also added 1 tablespoon of superfood goji berries for extra antioxidants. Feel free to add raisins instead, or chopped dates. Or wait until the morning and add your toppings then!


Give your seeds a good stir. You can see above that they really start to gel from the get-go. You can see below the aftermath after a night in the fridge – no more liquid left!


Throw on some berries, toasted coconut, slivered almonds, banana.. your tropical oasis awaits!

imagePossibilities are endless with toppings and add-ins. You just wait, I’ll have a decadent chocolately chia pudding recipe coming at ya in the coming weeks. Because, chocolate.

CHEERS to a tropical morning!

  • What summer flavors are you missing most? Ice cream counts 😉



The Best Diet in 2015

Happy New Year! I missed you over the past month 2 months! I hope you had a lovely holiday and your 2015 is off to a fabulous start. Mine sure is! I love the new year, a chance to await the exciting uncertainty of opportunity, experience, laughter, knowledge, fun, and love. Like many people, I agree the new year is a great time to reset. However, I’m not talking about dieting – fooled you! As I continue my studies in holistic nutrition and health coaching, I am so empowered by the idea of bio-individuality and I would like to share that with you. The best diet in 2015 is the diet that makes you feel like your best you. (And I don’t mean copious amounts of wine and chocolate 🙂 ).

You know your co-worker on the sugar detox who has dropped unwanted pounds this month? Or your vegetarian friend who hasn’t had meat in 3 years? How about your cross-fit committed brother who eats paleo? Do any of these people make you feel less-than because your diet isn’t the same? I’m writing to tell you to stop! None of the imaginary people above are doing anything wrong and I’m certainly not calling them out. I used those examples to show that these specific diets only work for specific bodies. Just because someone you know has seen amazing results from switching up their daily habits, doesn’t mean that you can copy what they’re doing and feel the same way. appetizer dinner The Institiute for Integrative Nutrition promotes bio-individuality. Bio-individuality is the idea that there is not one “correct” diet for all people across the board. Each body responds differently and has different needs. On the other hand, the media likes to force ideas and this is one of the many reasons why people are so confused about eating and aren’t feeling their best. Are you one of them? I don’t blame you!Green juice This year, I challenge you to eat real, whole foods in a way that makes you feel and look your very best. Maybe meat makes you feel strong, curbs your cravings, and keeps you satisfied. Those are good feelings, so keep it up! Don’t stop eating meat  because someone in a magazine is promoting vegetarianism. Instead, maybe you cut back on meat and incorporate more plant-based proteins as a substitute for some of your meals.Oh she glows tomato soup On the other hand, maybe you’re a vegan in this new paleo-filled world. If you have great energy and are meeting your nutrient needs in a smart way, than continue to eat those whole grains! Don’t feel like you shouldn’t simply because one of your friends is paleo. Everyone digests differently and grains do not work for everyone. Your bodies are different! Pancake If you’re like me, you could be in the middle! I love mixing and matching all of the diets – paleo, vegan, vegetarian.. However, I have made a transition back to my vegetarian habits and haven’t felt better! I do incorporate meat into my diet when my body is calling for it. I enjoy getting together with family and friends on the weekends and those meals almost always have a little poultry included, too. Plant-based really works for me and I feel as though I have finally figured it out! I hope this post gave you a newfound perspective on what diet to follow this year – no diet. Diet shmi-et. Instead, put the focus on your own body and what it’s telling you. Eat to feel your best inside and out, while appropriately fueling your body. If you start there, I bet you’ll start seeing or feeling the results you’ve been looking for all along.

Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated after-all. With that said, what’s for dinner tonight?!

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