Author

Nabila

This is one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time. It’s hot and comforting, yet refreshing and energizing. You almost can’t place the cuisine – is it Mediterranean with the sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest? Is it Southeast Asian with it’s coconut, garlic, ginger combo? Is it Indian in it’s curry-like beginnings? Coconut-Braised Chickpea Stew | SPIRITPLATE
I think that’s what makes this dish wholesome year-round: sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest evoke the end of summer, and the garlic-ginger-coconut milk warmth evokes the height of winter. So get to it – anytime is a perfect time for this creamy bowl of goodness. Coconut-Braised Chickpea Stew | SPIRITPLATE The trick here is two-fold: sweating the onions slowly without oil in a bit of broth to get a rich base, and then toasting the chickpeas before adding the coconut milk to get a nice texture from the beans. Coconut-Braised Chickpea Stew | SPIRITPLATE Don’t skimp on the ginger powder and extra lemon at the end – it’s what really makes this dish zing!
Coconut-Braised Chickpea Stew | SPIRITPLATE

Coconut-Braised Chickpeas
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
408 calories
51 g
0 g
18 g
17 g
13 g
230 g
175 g
10 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
230g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 408
Calories from Fat 151
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
28%
Saturated Fat 13g
63%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 175mg
7%
Total Carbohydrates 51g
17%
Dietary Fiber 14g
56%
Sugars 10g
Protein 17g
Vitamin A
77%
Vitamin C
43%
Calcium
14%
Iron
45%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 red onion, finely diced
  2. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  4. 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  5. 1 large organic lemon, zested and juiced
  6. 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  7. 2 cups cooked chickpeas**
  8. 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
  9. 1/2 lb fresh spinach
  10. 1 can coconut milk (14 oz)***
  11. 1 tsp ground ginger
  12. sea salt, to taste
  13. freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  14. 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large dutch oven or deep sauté pan over medium heat and then add onions, a tablespoon of broth, and a good pinch of salt. Let the onions sweat for about 10 minutes or until translucent, adding a few tablespoons of broth at a time to prevent sticking. Once soft, add the garlic and ginger and let cook for 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and chili flakes. Let cook for another minute or so.
  2. Next, add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the tomato mixture. Turn up the heat slightly and toast the chickpeas a bit, 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on them though so they don't scorch; you just want them to have a little color. Use a tablespoon of broth if needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Once the chickpeas are heated through, turn the heat down slightly and start to add the spinach, a handful at a time. Note: If using baby spinach you can add it as is. If you are using regular spinach, you will need to chop or tear it up a bit.
  4. Once the first bunch of spinach has started to wilt, add in the next handful. Continue until all of the spinach has been added.
  5. To finish the dish, add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir to combine and then add the ground ginger and a bit of the reserved lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper as needed.
  6. Once everything has heated through, serve immediately. (The spinach will start to lose its color and it won't look as nice.) Serve over sweet potato, brown rice, or any grain of your choice. Garnish each plate with cilantro and enjoy!
Notes
  1. * - Soak dried tomatoes in water for 15 minutes to plump them up. Alternatively, if using sun-dried tomatoes stored in oil, simply drain, rinse and pat dry tomatoes.
  2. ** - 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can (15oz)
  3. *** - You can you light or full-fat coconut milk. The former is lower in fat and will give you a broth-type consistency while the latter has more fat but will also be more creamy.
beta
calories
408
fat
18g
protein
17g
carbs
51g
more
Adapted from The Kitchn and Rouxbe
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

One of my favorite dishes that I learned at Rouxbe was their Cauliflower Steak Au Poivre – baked and seared cauliflower served with a hearty mushroom peppercorn gravy – a plant-based spin on the traditional French steak au poivre or “pepper steak”. Not only is the presentation quite impressive, it’s got this creamy umami from the mushrooms and a wonderful punch from the peppercorns. I just think it’s so perfect for a fancy Valentine’s Day dinner in. (And frankly, with the price of cauliflower right now, it really IS fancy!).
cauliflower_final2There isn’t much I’ve changed from the original recipe. I’ve switched out the brandy for whiskey. And added fresh rosemary along with the original bay leaves. The real secret to this recipe is the stock – use a quality stock (homemade or otherwise) to really build the flavor of this dish! Cauliflower Steak au Poivre | SPIRITPLATE I love the tenderness of the cauliflower with the caramelized crisp edges and the spicy crunch of the course pepper. Cauliflower Steak au Poivre | SPIRITPLATEThis gravy is one of my favorite go-tos. I even serve it for Thanksgiving. You can serve this Cauliflower Steak with butternut squash soup and massaged kale salad, or a side of fresh green beans. Happy Valentine’s Day!Cauliflower Steak au Poivre | SPIRITPLATE

Cauliflower Steak Au Poivre with Mushroom Gravy
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
218 calories
20 g
6 g
6 g
6 g
2 g
563 g
1328 g
8 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
563g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 218
Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
9%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 6mg
2%
Sodium 1328mg
55%
Total Carbohydrates 20g
7%
Dietary Fiber 5g
20%
Sugars 8g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
12%
Vitamin C
124%
Calcium
7%
Iron
10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the cauliflower
  1. 1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem trimmed*
  2. 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  3. 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  4. 1 cup vermouth or dry white wine
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1 sprig rosemary
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt**
  8. 2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  9. 1 tsp oil
  10. 1 tsp non­dairy butter
For the sauce
  1. 1/2 tbsp oil
  2. 1/2 tbsp non­dairy butter
  3. 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  4. 3/4 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
  5. 1/4 cup good scotch or whiskey
  6. 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  7. sea salt, to taste
  8. 2 tbsp slurry, or as needed***
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With the cauliflower sitting on its stem, cut in half through the middle. Trim the outer edge of each half to form a thick steak­-like piece of cauliflower. Each piece should be approximately 1 1/2-inch thick.
  2. In a 9x11 baking dish, mix together the garlic, stock, vermouth, bay leaves, rosemary and salt.
  3. Place the cauliflower into the liquid and cover tightly with foil. Carefully transfer to the oven and let bake for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Test the 'steaks' periodically. When a knife goes in somewhat easily the cauliflower is done. (The cauliflower should be cooked through, but still a bit firm. If it's too soft, it will fall apart during frying.)
  4. While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the sauce: Heat a large stainless steel fry pan over medium­-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and butter, followed by the shallots. Let the shallots cook until they just start to brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms until they start to release their juices and start to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Carefully deglaze with the whiskey and let cook for a minute or so, or until most of the scotch has evaporated.
  6. Add the stock, turn down the heat and let simmer while you pan­-fry the cauliflower 'steaks'.
  7. Once the cauliflower is ready, remove the 'steaks' from the liquid and place onto a plate lined
  8. with paper towel. Blot the top of the cauliflower with paper towel as well. This helps ensure you get a nice golden crust.
  9. Next, crush the peppercorns on a cutting board—a heavy fry pan works well for this. Then, carefully place the cauliflower into the crushed peppercorns and gently press to ensure some of the peppercorns stick to the cauliflower. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  10. Heat a large a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and butter, followed by the cauliflower. Let the cauliflower cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on each side. Try not to fiddle with the pieces too much, otherwise the 'steaks' will start to fall apart. Once done, set aside while you finish the sauce.
  11. To finish the sauce, taste for seasoning, adding salt as needed. Next, add the slurry. For the slurry, either cornstarch or flour can be used. Slowly add the slurry until you reach a nice sauce­-like consistency.
  12. To serve, place a 'steak' onto a plate and spoon over the hot sauce—drizzling a bit of the sauce around the plate if desired. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
Notes
  1. * - Do NOT core the cauliflower. The stem is needed to keep the 'steaks' intact.
  2. ** - The amount of salt you add will depend on how salty your stock is to begin with. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  3. *** - A slurry is a spoonful of flour or cornstarch mixed with water or stock to create a runny paste. This runny paste is added to a sauce to thicken it. Directly adding flour or cornstarch to a large pot results in clumping, thus a slurry is used instead.
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calories
218
fat
6g
protein
6g
carbs
20g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

Hey y’all! I’ve been all over Dallas in January, teaching workshops on healthy eating.  It’s been such a blast to talk to and learn from so many amazing women. Amy Johnson of Mrs. Plant in Texas and I got together and started a PlantPure Nation Pod in Frisco, Texas. At our first meeting, we taught members how to make green smoothies and mason jar salads.

PlantPure Nation Workshop | SPIRITPLATEPlantPure Nation Workshop | SPIRITPLATEPlantPure Nation Workshop | SPIRITPLATEThen I helped Amy with a Batch Cooking class where she taught how to prep a variety of ingredients and snacks to have on hand during a busy week. One of the recipes she showcased was this amazing queso (more on this later).

I also did a women’s health workshop with a local congregation and taught how to make three calcium-rich dishes for bone health: black bean soup, tofu scramble, and an asian rainbow salad – all oil-free and delicious! 

Everyone loved the food and the kids were asking for seconds of the salad! I feel so blessed to be able to share my love and passion for healthy eating. And moreover I LOVE when the participants go on to make what I’ve taught:

Mason Jar Salads | SPIRITPLATE

How beautiful is that?!

Okay, but now January is over.  Let’s be honest, we’re done fooling ourselves with our “resolutions”. Now, we can get back to REAL food…like nachos

Loaded Nachos with Cashew Queso | SPIRITPLATESí señor! This weekend is the Superbowl and there is no room for the word “diet,” AM I RIGHT?! I want my nachos crunchy, drippy, and extra spicy: fully-loaded with all the mouth-blazing jalapeños I can get!

WFPB Vegan Loaded Nachos | SPIRITPLATE

Well, good thing Amy taught me how to make her amazing queso. It’s so quick and easy – just toss everything in a blender, then heat. It’s cheesy and full of that bold Tex-Mex flavor that I simply adore. And can I let you in on a secret? Aly’s dad LOVES it! Any time he hears the word “vegan,” he makes a face. “That’s not real food,” he’ll say. But there’s three dishes of mine he can’t get enough of: my chocolate chip cookies, my kale avocado salad, and these nachos

WFPB Vegan Loaded Nachos | SPIRITPLATEAlright so you know I was kidding about the diet thing right? C’mon, you know I’m not gonna let you off that easy! If you’re having nachos, they better be the most colorful nachos you’ve ever seen. Get in them greens, some blue corn tortilla chips, and red cabbage for extra crunch. Be creative and lose the guilt with these loaded nachos, perfect for your Superbowl party!

Get Mrs. Plant’s Incredible Queso Recipe HERE

Game Day Loaded Nachos
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
674 calories
83 g
0 g
34 g
11 g
4 g
324 g
302 g
4 g
0 g
28 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
324g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 674
Calories from Fat 303
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g
53%
Saturated Fat 4g
19%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 12g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 302mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 83g
28%
Dietary Fiber 11g
44%
Sugars 4g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
25%
Vitamin C
41%
Calcium
23%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the beans
  1. 1 can black beans
  2. 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, sliced*
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1 tbsp onion, diced
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1 cup water
  7. salt, to taste
For the nachos
  1. 1 recipe chipotle black beans (above)
  2. 1 recipe Mrs. Plant Queso (above)
  3. 2 tomatoes, diced
  4. 2 green onions, sliced
  5. 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  6. 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
  7. 4-6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  8. 1 avocado, diced
  9. 1 16-oz bag organic blue corn tortilla chips**
  10. Tapatio hot sauce, to taste
For the beans
  1. Drain and rinse beans. (You can reserve the liquid aquafaba for another recipe.) Add to a small pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add all bean ingredients except for water. Let cook until fragrant, then add water and use an immersion blender to roughly blend beans.
  3. Stir and let heat through until the edges bubble. Remove from heat.
For the nachos
  1. Spread out chips on a 9 x 12 oven-safe tray. Place tray in oven and THEN preheat the oven to 350F. When the oven reaches 350F, turn the oven off and remove tray of chips.
  2. Now's the fun part - assembling the nachos: First drizzle the hot bean mixture evenly over the chips. Then the warm queso.
  3. Next add the remaining ingredients in the following order: tomatoes, cabbage, green onions, jalapeños, avocado, and cilantro.
  4. Lastly add a few shakes of Tapatio hot sauce over the whole tray. Serve immediately!
Notes
  1. * - You can find this in a can in the Latin Foods section at any supermarket.
  2. ** - Use baked tortilla chips, rather than fried for a oil-free dish.
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calories
674
fat
34g
protein
11g
carbs
83g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

DIY Beauty Gifts | SPIRITPLATEI LOVE making my own skin care. I’ve been using honey (from a responsible source) on my face for a couple years now and I adore it. Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that really keep my skin clear and fresh. A couple months back, I decided to test drive some more homemade skin care products. Now, having used them for several weeks, I can truly vouch for them. These three are my favorite and I think they’d make wonderful gifts. You can always search Pinterest for variations as there are TONS of DIY beauty ideas. Try some creative gift wrapping to make these look extra festive! 

 

Body Butter

1/4 cup shea or cocoa butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
10-15 drops of essential oil in your favorite scent(s)

Melt the butter and oil in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate fully. Whisk in the essential oil (I used vanilla to complement the scent of the cocoa butter). Pour in to a 4 oz.. mason jar and refrigerate until set. 

To use: Rub your fingers onto the surface of the butter and it will melt from the warmth of your skin. Apply liberally to dehydrated skin. (I’ve given a batch of this to my sister-in-law to use on her belly after recently giving birth. I think a peppermint scent would also be nice!)

Facial Cleansing Oil

2 tbsp castor oil
2 tbsp almond or olive oil
10-15 drops of essential oil in your favorite scent(s)

Mix thoroughly and store in your favorite bottle or jar. I used a maple syrup dispenser for easy use in the mornings.

[Note: This recipe is for normal skin. For dry skin, increase the carrier oil to 3 tbsp and reduce the castor oil to 1 tbsp. For oily skin, reduce the carrier oil to 1 tbsp and increase the castor oil to 3 tbsp.]

To use: You can use this oil to wash your face and to remove make up. Simply pour a few drops into your hands and rub all over your face. Wet a small face towel with hot water and place on your face to steam your skin and loosen the oils. Gently towel off the excess oil. You won’t believe how hydrated and soft your skin will feel! (This is also great for acne prone skin! I used lavender, tea tree, and grapefruit essential oils. Aly loves to use it as a beard oil as well.)

Coffee Scrub

1/4 cup your favorite espresso ground
1/4 cup raw local honey
1 tsp coconut or almond oil

Mix thoroughly and store in 4 oz. mason jar. Rub a little of the mixture over the inside rim of the mason jar lid to keep it from rusting. Store with your shower products. 

To use: In the shower, wet skin, then take half teaspoon of mixture into your hands and rub on any area that needs some extra scrubbing. I use this on my face and neck, as well as dry patches on my knees, elbows, and feet. Rub in thoroughly then rinse off with hot water. (I love using this in the mornings as the coffee scent wakes me up! My favorite espresso is a cheap one called Cafe Bustelo.)

Subscriptions are awesome gifts! To find out why, read my 5 Gift Subscription Ideas for Women.

Disclaimer: These two lists are by no means mutually exclusive. You can choose a subscription from this list for a lady, or from the women’s list for a guy. Or anywhere in between! These two lists were curated based off of what Aly and I like. 

Here are my top picks for the gentleman:

  1. For the penny-pincher: Dollar Shave Club [$40/3 months]5 Subscription GIft Ideas for Men | SPIRITPLATEAly absolutely loves the Dollar Shave Club. You basically pay for an initial box with a handle and some shaving cream, and then just receive razors every month for a $1/blade. You can tailor the frequency to your liking including how often you get a new handle, what kind of blades, etc. The blades are so good, I use them too! We just ordered two handles and we get four blades every month, and they definitely last longer than just a week. I highly recommend this one! Get it here
  2. For the tinkerer: New Hobby Box [$30/month]5 Subscription GIft Ideas for Men | SPIRITPLATEIf the guy you’re buying for is the curious type, this is the perfect box for you. Every month he’ll receive a box with everything you need to learn the basics of a new hobby. This month is learning how to use a breadboard (electrical engineering). Past months include how to pick locks, how to assemble a survival kit, and how to brew cold brew coffee and loose-leaf tea. Get it here
  3. For the music-obsessed: Vinyl Me, Please [Starting: $27/month or gift: $99/3 months]5 Subscription GIft Ideas for Men | SPIRITPLATEEvery month he’ll get between 1-3 archival vinyls with an original art print, a cocktail recipe to pair with the music, and a bonus LP. Be sure he’s got a record player first! There are some pretty stylish and affordable ones on Amazon. Get it here
  4. For the designer: Kinfolk Magazine [$60/1 year] 5 Subscription GIft Ideas for Men | SPIRITPLATEKinfolk is a design and slow-living magazine based in Copenhagen. Like the Darling magazine, this one is great for a coffee table collection, with stories from around the world with a focus on design and innovation’s impact on better living. Get it here
  5. For the foodie: Try the World [$39 per box] 5 Subscription GIft Ideas for Men | SPIRITPLATEThere are plenty of snack boxes and artisan ingredient boxes our there, but none that allow you to travel the world through your tastebuds. Every two months, the recipient gets 7-9 items curated by international chefs from a specific country. Past boxes include Spain, Thailand, and Sweden. Currently, they’re running a Holiday Box which features festive items from all over the globe. Get it here

That’s it! Happy subscribing! 

Homemade pho. YES! This is one of those recipes that is so easy to make. Just chop everything up and stick it in a pot for an hour. Voila! Nearly a gallon of homemade pho stock, ready to use whenever you’ve got a craving for something warm and cozy.The Best Winter Pho | SPIRITPLATEYes this stock uses a lot of ingredients, but the majority of them are probably already staples in your fridge or pantry.
The Best Winter Pho | SPIRITPLATE
The best thing about this pho is that it is SO healthy. It has all the warming spices that fight inflammation to keep you healthy through the winter AND there’s no oil in this recipe! If you want to add some protein, try my Smoky Baked Tofu sliced on top.
The Best Winter Pho | SPIRITPLATEStay warm friends!

If you’re participating in our GIVEAWAY this month, don’t forget to follow us and like this post on Facebook and Instagram!

Vegan Pho Stock
Serves 12
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr
45 calories
10 g
0 g
0 g
2 g
0 g
336 g
357 g
5 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
336g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 45
Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 357mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 10g
3%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 5g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
40%
Vitamin C
44%
Calcium
4%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 large onions, chopped
  2. 1 leek, washed thoroughly and chopped
  3. 2 carrots, chopped
  4. 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  5. 4 cloves garlic
  6. 3 - 2" inch slices of fresh ginger
  7. 1 hot red chile, halved
  8. a few sprigs each of fresh thai basil, fresh cilantro and fresh mint
  9. 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  10. 1 tsp whole cloves
  11. 1 stick cinnamon
  12. 3 qt cold water
  13. 2 slices of orange
  14. 1 lime, halved
  15. 1 preserved lemon, halved (optional)
  16. 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place ALL ingredients into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer.
  2. Allow to simmer uncovered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.To avoid added bitterness to the stock, be sure to remove the citrus halfway through the cooking process.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl (or use a strainer lined with cheesecloth). Pour the stock into the strainer, allowing the liquid to pour through.
  4. The stock should be dark and golden in color. If it's not then return to stock pot and reduce for longer to concentrate the flavors. Taste for salt.
  5. If not using the stock immediately, quickly chill, then store in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to use in an airtight container.
  6. Serve hot over rice noodles and steamed veggies of your choice. Garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, thai basil, sriracha or a squeeze of lime.
Notes
  1. This recipe yields 3 quarts, or 12 cups of broth.
Adapted from Rouxbe
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calories
45
fat
0g
protein
2g
carbs
10g
more
Adapted from Rouxbe
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

There are plenty of things I like to gift myself: Chocolate. Foot massages at that Thai place. Pumpkin spice lattes (soy, of course). Kitchen gadgets. Fuzzy socks. Anything with avocado.

There are few things that I actually need though. In fact, I would call these things treats rather than gifts. A gift is something far grander. A gift doesn’t need to be tangible, but it most definitely should be substantial. 

The important thing to ask yourself here is,
“What do I long for most? – that I have the power to gift myself?”

So what can you gift yourself with?

  1. Grace. Be kind to yourself. When you put your foot in your mouth at a meeting, when you screw up a family member’s big day, when you’re late – again, when you look in the mirror, when you can’t squeeze into those old jeans, when you can’t finish a workout, when you know you should’ve, but didn’t; be kind. Turn off that barrage of hateful commentary in your head, and extend yourself some mercy. You’ll be surprised how light you feel. 
  2. Confidence. Take pride in whatever you’ve accomplished in your short time here on earth and don’t let the small things go unnoticed. It is so difficult for many to simply get up every morning and persevere through each moment of their day. Your struggles are your badges of honor, don’t short change them! There is always much more on the horizon to reach, accomplish, or conquer, but that’s tomorrow’s battle. Get ready for that battle by building your confidence from your past ones and how you’ve learned and grown from experiencing them.
  3. Honesty. Oftentimes, we let our emotions cloud our reality. Whether it’s regarding our health, our wealth, or our emotional well-being, we often lie to ourselves saying we’re OK, or we’re fine, or we’re trying our best, when we aren’t. Not really. Honesty is the foundation for integrity, proactivity, and success. Our truthfulness about who we are, what we do, and how we function is important because it allows us to see our reality and not build false pretenses that will ultimately hurt us in the long run. 
  4. Gratitude. Thank yourself. No, really! Sometimes it’s hard to be a present parent when work is at its busiest time of year, or to listen to a friend’s problems when you yourself have had a long, exhausting day. Much like you would thank others for their time, their energy, their knowledge, thank yourself too! The other side of the coin is to show gratitude to God, the Universe, Fate, or the Powers that Be. Whatever it is that you believe in, showing gratitude to someThing or someOne “above” for your lot in life is one of the most powerful things you can do because it is the most humbling. So give thanks, and give it often! 
  5. Letting go. Often times we hold on to slights against us or slights we’ve made against others. Whether it’s guilt or anger, pride or despair, letting go can be a difficult thing to do. But these emotions bind us, and we can only be free once we let them go. So let go of that hurt, that pain, and gift yourself with a sigh of relief. 
  6. Forgiveness. Maybe you’ve started noticing a trend here 🙂 Forgiveness is a part of letting go, and it’s so coveted because it is something so rarely given. We’re not built to be quick about forgiving or forgetting anything. The smallest of slights stick in our mind forever, but we’ve got to train ourselves to face those tough situations, people, or emotions, and come to terms with them. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings, your weaknesses, your mistakes. Forgive, and in time, forget. 
  7. Love. There’s a difference between learning to stop being your own enemy and loving yourself. Loving yourself requires active participation, it is not a passive act. Loving yourself is very similar to loving others. You take notice, and you begin to find things you like: physical things like the way you smile or crinkle your nose when you laugh, emotional things like how you show restraint when someone verbally attacks you, or mental things like how you persevere through a tricky problem at work to find a solution everyone can agree on. Pretty soon you realize how unique these things make you, and how you light up every time you notice them happen again. This is how our love for others grows, it is also how our love for ourselves grows. Gift yourself with taking the time to fall in love with yourself.  

This holiday season, in all your selflessness, don’t forget about gifting yourself with what you really need: a heart filled with ease and joy. Happy holidays!!