Spring Salad Bowl with Fried Nori and Rice – Vegetarian

Spring Salad Bowl with Fried Nori and Rice – Vegetarian 

Hi and welcome back to Ria Lives Well!

I believe in lots of simple ingredients that come together to create a medley of flavor. I also believe in spring salad bowls that are inspired by one of my favorite places to eat, Cafe Yumm.

Since returning to South Florida, I haven’t had a Yumm Bowl in a while. Little did I know, this humble restaurant chain only serves in two states: Oregon and Washington.

Naturally, my decision not to buy Cafe Yumm’s biggest jar of Yumm! Sauce (a blended mystery sauce that can be likened to a healthy version of McDonald’s super sketch “secret sauce”) before leaving Oregon is a decision I regret, hmm…let me think… ev-er-y-day. Just follow that Yumm Sauce link, look at those jars stacked in their slanted row, and you’ll understand why it’s so hard for me to let it go.

But then I realized how easy it is to recreate my own Yumm Bowl, even without the Yumm Sauce.

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So my version, the Spring Salad Bowl, isn’t as fancy as Cafe Yumm’s popular bowls, but on the plus side, it didn’t take long to prepare, and it was every bit as delicious as I expected. And then some. Now let me show you just how easy it is to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Tomatoes (chopped or diced)
  • Avocado (thin slices)
  • Cooked rice*
  • Lima Beans* (frozen)
  • Corn* (frozen)
  • Garlic Dressing or Hummus (optional)

Directions:

*Prepare rice in advance, following these instructions on how to cook rice perfectly.

*Cook Lima beans according to instructions on the box.

*Prepare corn according to instructions on the box.

Slice your tomatoes and avocado, choosing an amount to your liking. In a salad bowl, add lettuce and fresh spinach to your choosing (I used roughly one handful of both). Add avocado, tomato, prepped Lima beans and corn. Add cooked rice. While the rice is still warm, shred fried nori over the rice. The steam from the rice will nicely soften the nori.

To replace to the Yumm! Sauce, add a creamy sauce/dressing of your choosing. I went with Marie’s Italian Garlic salad dressing. To keep this spring salad bowl vegan, you can also add a few teaspoons of hummus.

Before adding a creamy element, sprinkle on a small amount of salt and pepper over your salad bowl to help bring out the flavors. Then after a few dollops of sauce, dressing or hummus of your choice, you’re ready to enjoy nature’s bounty.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated!

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After my Spring Salad Bowl, I enjoyed an ice cold bottle of water with sliced lemons. It was so refreshing. These days when I go to the gym, I find that water quenches my thirst but doesn’t give me the necessary energy to keep going. So instead of plain water, I’ve been adding fruits for a boost of natural sugar and a boost of needed energy.  Lemon water has worked like a charm!

But there is one other drink that works better than everything else, and it’s also my latest obsession. The “BIG REVEAL” will be included in my next blog post, but you can head over to my Instagram, where I’ll soon upload a sneaky peaky. :)

~Live Well!

Do the Right Thing + Fruity Tea Smoothie

Do the Right Thing + Fruity Tea Smoothie 

Hi and welcome back to Ria Lives Well!

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Another day toward a happy life.
Do the Right Thing…? 

Now that I’m older, I believe it’s more important to pursue your passion over money. When you choose the path that leads to your passion, the money should come. More importantly, you’re getting where you want to go, where you need to go, when choosing this path.

This is my belief, and I’m looking at it more critically due to a recent occurrence.

If you read my blog, you know that I’m currently searching for a job. But not just any job. The ideal job. The job in which I spent six years obtaining a degree in order to fulfill.

Because my degree is in Digital Communications, possible jobs range from Video Journalism to Social Media Marketing. But let’s face it: I love new media and marketing on the digital platform, and I’m also passionate about animal welfare. So any job that has me utilizing my social media skills to educate the public on animal activism is…the…ideal…job.

And take me out of the USA. Perhaps to a country where Spanish is the first language.

A bit specific? I know.

Let’s digress for a moment and talk about what recently occurred.

I got a job.

It was a sales position. (Have you ever heard of canvassing?). My job was to sell bags of cosmetics to people on the street, within shops, dining at restaurants, even lounging on the beach. This company believed strongly in the law of averages: the more people you talk to, the more sales you make.

This theory is simple enough, and quite effective. So I talked to as many people as I could, felt like a solicitor (in some ways, I was), felt like an idiot chasing sales on the beach, and at the end of each day, felt like a loser, because I only made two sales. I could have persevered against my pride and the plethora of rejections I received. When done properly, I saw how profitable this position could be.

But I hated it. I kept asking myself why I was there, canvassing for a product that I didn’t care about.

So after two days, I quit.

This Fruity Tea Smoothie Recipe is Waiting for you At the Bottom!
This Fruity Tea Smoothie Recipe is Waiting for you At the Bottom!

Now this is where I get flack from pretty much everyone in my life. Why did I quit after two days? Why didn’t I stick it out longer? Why not stay for the income?

All I could say was, “That job wasn’t for me. I’m not a sales person.”

A partial truth.

The whole truth, I kept to myself: that by quitting, the act showed how well I knew myself. I didn’t explain that every day I went on the streets to sell cosmetics, was another day away from my dream job. I didn’t tell them that, after two months on the job, I would most likely have the exact same feelings.

I didn’t say any of this because, my friends and family would trivialize them as poor excuses. The fact is, we all need to work to make an income. Hating the job is beside the point. The income is what matters. Paying the bills is what matters. This is what society tells us. This is what debt collectors tell us. And this is what we believe.

And I’ll admit that giving up after two days was quitters mentality. I also admit that the regret I felt afterward was crippling.

Fast Forward…

…To sometime last week when I interviewed for another sales position, where commission is worth more than the base pay. I got the job, but it’s a bit different. Now I’m working with animals. My official title is “Pet Counselor.” My job is to ensure that the animals in the store go home with everything they need to live a happy, healthy life. That means I have to greet customers, get to know them and their pets, and find the best product for their current problem. Educating the customer leads to sales…

Yeah, yeah…My point is that I’m working with animals, and I’m selling products to benefit animals. It’s not the ideal job. It’s not my last sales job. But I feel a bit of purpose. It’s as if the day I realized I wasn’t on the right path-the day I quit my last job after two days-my life’s axis turned in the right direction.

My message to any reader isn’t: “Quit your job if you hate it.” You still have bills to pay. My message is this: “Implement something in your life that will steer you toward your passion.”

Anyway. If you skipped all that, don’t worry. Here’s a delicious Fruity Tea Smoothie recipe that’s sweet, but not too sweet, and refreshing after a work-out.

Recipe

  1. 1 cup berry tea* (chilled)
  2. 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  3. 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  4. 8 frozen dates
  5. Splash of vanilla extract

Directions

Berry Tea 

In a pot, add one cup of water to boil. Once it has boiled, remove from heat. Add 2 tea bags (see image below) to water. Let it steep for 4 minutes. Pour the tea in a cup and allow it to refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, add chilled tea, coconut water, mixed berries and dates to blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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I used Celestial’s caffeine-free herbal Fruit Tea Sampler. It comes with five flavors, but I chose the Wild Berry Zinger and the Raspberry Zinger since my frozen fruits were all berries.

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~Live Well!

Oreo Banana Smoothie + A Message on Staying Positive

Oreo Banana Smoothie + A Message on Staying Positive 

Hi and Welcome Back to Ria Lives Well!

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This December, I graduated from Oregon State University with a major in Digital Communications. Before graduation, I did tons of research in order to assimilate the rocket before take-off. Essentially, I prepared myself before heading into a competitive job market.

  1. I made connections with media students within my field to gain knowledge on software and media equipment I lacked
  2. I talked to advisors to list the first steps I should before graduation
  3. I made several appointments in Career Services to tailor my resume and find my strengths, while discovering ways to improve my weaknesses
  4. I participated in mock interviews and received positive feedback.

I planned and I prepared so that when I entered the job market, I would come out on top. Or at least somewhere in the middle.

Let’s just say, when I graduated from OSU, I didn’t expect to be unemployed for nearly two months.
Yet here I am. I have my resume, I have all this knowledge about social media and digital marketing, and I have my degree…but no job.

Don’t cue the violin.

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That’s not the message behind my monologue.
My message is all about being positive. I’m staying positive each step of the way, and because of that, I can endure.

I am in a position where I accept my position.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m not embracing my situation, because it’s hardly ideal. I’m unemployed and my area is highly specific.

But I won’t let these downfalls overwhelm me, or consume me, or define me. I would rather let my positive attitude be in charge.

Being positive is a tactic that has worked for me, which is why I advise anyone who is in a bad situation to take a moment, close your eyes and breathe. Now open your eyes, look at the glass, and try to see it as half full.

Start off by acknowledging whatever is going well for you.

Does your car work? Great.

Do you have food and electricity? Awesome.

Are you a hard worker? Pat yourself on the back.

Appreciate these things for their mere existence. Don’t take them for granted. Believe me, they make life better.

And don’t forget to embrace the things that make you happy. I know from experience how easy it is to forget the subtleties of joy when you have school, and work, and a bounty of obligations. But that which brings you joy, however simple, is the marrow of life.

Happiness is what we should live for.

Not the stress of work, school, unemployment, or any other burden. So embrace what brings you joy.

And then plan!!!

Plan, plan, plan for a brighter tomorrow. And work your ass off to make that tomorrow a reality. Because let’s face it: if you stare at a glass long enough, half full will begin to look half empty.

By the way: it’s Tuesday. Did you treat yo self? #treatyoselftuesday 

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If you didn’t, I have you covered with this “naughty” smoothie that’s sweetened with Oreos. If you prefer a natural sweetener, swap the Oreos for dates.

Oreo Banana Smoothie

  • 3 frozen bananas (sliced)
  • 5 Oreo cookies (frozen)
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut water
  • Splash of almond extract
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves

Directions

Pour coconut water into blender. Add frozen bananas and Oreo cookies. Blend until smooth. Add a splash of almond extract, and a pinch of cloves and nutmeg. Blend for an 30 extra seconds.

This recipe should last one chica 2-3 servings.

And remember, being positive is a power that no one can take from you.

~Live Well!

Easy Datorade Recipe + The Elephant in the Room

Easy Datorade Recipe

Hi and Welcome Back to Ria Lives Well!

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Datorade (dateorade) with Coconut Water
 Well. This is embarrassing.

It has been almost one year since my last update. Eleven months, to be exact. More than anything, I’m welcoming myself back to Ria Lives Well.

Where do I begin?

I’ll start by explaining my absence. With a list.

1. The blog had become a project of which I had little passion for.
2. The blog wasn’t going in the direction I had anticipated; more importantly, prior to starting the blog, I didn’t map out a direction I wanted it to go!
3. My photography discouraged me. A lot.
4. I was too lazy and too busy to prepare healthy recipes.
5. I wasn’t living well.

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Whole (pitted) California Dates. Mmmm.

So after nearly one year, why come back?

Last week, as I was searching for the recipe to my favorite blueberry smoothie, I saw that people had left a ton of comments on various recipes. Two reader favorites were the Everyday Vegan Bread recipe and the Vegan White Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Fresh Basil. The white sauce on this vegan pizza stole the show, like Neil Patrick Harris with How I Met Your Mother.

A few readers saw unique ways to tweak the coconut sauce, even turning it into a vegan Alfredo sauce! So clever, so yummy!

All of this made me remember why I began the blog in the first place: to inspire others to live a healthy, more considerate lifestyle. Even the cruelty-free beauty products I reviewed were receiving reader attention!

I guess it took me eleven months to realize that I don’t want to give up on a life well lived. And I don’t want to give up on documenting it, either. Instead, I want to redesign Ria Lives Well into a side project I can be proud of. Which may take a lot of time, some money and great effort. But…it may be worthwhile in the end.

To start things off slow, I decided to make a drink I’ve been meaning to try: datorade.

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Chipped Nail Polish…Sexyyyy.

Recipe:

  1. 4-8 dates (pitted)

  2. 17 oz coconut water

Instructions:

Pour chilled coconut water into a blender. Add 4-8 frozen dates. Blend until smooth.

This easy  datorade was sweet, frothy, rich and filling. The first time I tried this recipe, I used eight dates. It turned out very sweet, a little too sweet. The second time I added six dates. The sweet levels dropped, and I found it more to my liking.

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Dates in Yo Face and You Like it…Well, Your Body Does!

And if you don’t have coconut water, don’t worry. I have seen many datorade recipes that call for just dates and regular water.

Judging from the name, I assume this drink should replace your Power Aid, Vitamin Water, and your Muscle Milk: whatever store-bought enhancers you take to the gym with you. Trust me, a jug of homemade datorade will hit the spot.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. And please share your thoughts with me! I love reading comments (that aren’t SPAM!) and hearing all the ways you tweak these recipes. It encourages me, and so many times I’ve had lovely meals using my readers’ tweaked version!

If you do comment, please share a picture so I can post some of your creative recipes on my Instagram and give a special Thank You shout-out!

So before I sign off, I want to say that I will come back…sooner than eleven months…and with more vegan recipes!

BTW: I’m so glad I didn’t post this at the start of January. How cliche would that have been?

~Live Well!

DIY: 2 Ingredient Scalp Exfoliator

DIY: 2 Ingredient Brown Sugar Scalp Exfoliator

Hi and welcome back to Ria Lives Well! 

This is the kind of hair treatment that’s so easy to make, there’s no sense doing an article about it.

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Yet here I am, writing an RLW post on this two ingredient scalp exfoliator. My reasoning is simple: not many people know about scalp exfoliation. But an exfoliating treatment for your scalp is just as important as the one for your face. So why is the scalp an area we often neglect? It is skin, and therefor should be treated like such. Not to mention, when this skin is unhappy, your crown and glory {a.k.a. your hair} is unhappy. So let’s give our scalp the attention it deserves. And don’t laugh at the ingredient list.

DIY: 2 Ingredient Brown Sugar Scalp Exfoliator

  • 2 teaspoons organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon natural conditioner

Directions

  1. Mix the ingredients until smooth
  2. Apply the exfoliator to your scalp
  3. Using the pads of your fingers, massage it all over your scalp, avoiding the hair {5 mins}
  4. Rinse

Not shampooing…not conditioning – it’s scrubbing: a new way to treat your hair!

2 teaspoons of brown sugar 

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Now 1 teaspoon of vegan conditioner

 

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Combine the two ingredients and mix away

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The end result should look something like this

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And that’s it!

You can use this recipe as a base and strengthen it with essential oils. If you’re adding oils, focus on oils that nurture the scalp like lavender, cedar wood and rosemary essential oils.

You can use this exfoliator whenever you feel like your scalp needs a deep clean. Is it dry, itching or flaky? Give it a dose of brown sugar! I was inspired to make this hair recipe when my scalp began flaking, and today the problem is unnoticeable. You should follow it up with a natural remedy for dry, irritated scalp. This hair recipe is also good for removing product build-up, which inevitably inhibits growth.

An exfoliator is one of your best friends in growing out long, healthy hair and should be a staple in your hair care regimen {if I had a dollar every time I wrote that sentence…}. Follow up this treatment with a homemade scalp mask and scalp toner.

~Live Well!