Morning Mantras

“We all want to be extraordinary and we all just want to fit in. Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in.” –Sebastyne Young

Getting set for the week.

zucchini bread photo

We were slow to get the week started around here–it was an eventful week/weekend. One of my oldest friends came through town last week leaving this delicious zucchini bread shown above. Paired with an ample dollop of Earth Balance spread and a cup of black tea, it was an irresistible breakfast.

Earth Balance is vegan, made without artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, free of gluten, lactose, and eggs. It’s also Non-GMO Project certified. I use it instead of butter when I can, especially if there’s no local, organic butter on hand.

breakfast photo

I’m also a fan of black tea, which helped me to wake up this morning. As you can see, Madison wasn’t having it. A study done at Rutgers showed that black tea may help prevent stomach, breast, and prostate cancer. A study in the Netherlands showed that drinking black tea daily decreased by 50 percent your chances of dying from heart disease. It also prevents tooth decay. And it looks more like coffee, which for some reason, appeals to me.

Bella guarded the basil as I planned ahead for the week to come. I made a curried butternut squash bisque (I’ll publish pictures of it later this week) and a simple cold sesame noodle salad with mustard green shavings. Hopefully this will last the husband and I a few days, so I can get ahead on my work and avoid take out all at the same time.

cold sesame noodle salad photo

Cold Sesame Noodle Salad with Mustard Green Shavings

1 package soba noodles
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp organic peanut butter
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp hot sauce (add more if you like)
1 tsp cold pressed sesame oil
2 cloves minced garlic
The juice of 1/2 lime
2 large leaves minced mustard greens
1 tbsp sesame seeds


1. Cook noodles as per directions.

2. While you’re cooking the noodles, whisk oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and lime together.

3. Dress noodles and top with greens and sesame seeds–toss well. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld.

4. When serving, drizzle with sesame oil and a squeeze of lime.

Breakfast of champions.

breakfast of champions photo

I get asked all the time what I eat for breakfast and to be honest it changes. But I am rather picky about my morning intake because it’s the way I start the day. Start with junk and the day is likely to move in the wrong direction.

I’m a big fan of Earth Balance crunchy peanut butter with banana slices, raw honey, and sprouted grain bread, which of course gets shared with Madison and Bella. Bananas are undoubtedly their favorite.

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10 Meatless Thanksgiving Dishes

artichokes with walnut stuffing photo

It’s the Thanksgiving countdown. Whether you’re late to pack or hit the grocery store, the holiday can involve a lot of pressure. But if I were to give one piece of Thanksgiving advice, it would be to keep your recipe as simple, fresh, and local as possible. Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember that Thanksgiving is about relaxing with family and friends. Cheers to remembering what matters!

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Turkey-Less Thanksgiving: Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie

tofu pot pie photo

For those who partake in a turkeyless Thanksgiving, the holiday can seem like a bunch of side dishes but if you’re the host or you’d like to bring a hearty main course, this tofu pot pie is ideal. Pour yourself a glass of good red wine because it takes a while to construct, but the end product is rather impressive.

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Are You Toxic? 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins and Impurities

detoxing photo
Photo: hannahsheltonTT

We are exposed to hundreds or even thousands of chemicals and toxins every day. The food we eat, the personal care products we use, the water and beverages we drink, and the air around us may be  saturated with toxic chemicals and toxins. These toxins lead to a host of diseases down the line. The more we reduce and remove these chemicals, the better. Here are some ways to easily reduce your exposure to toxins and impurities:

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A Week in Serene Eats (Week 11) and the Recipes to Get You There

polish cabbage rolls vegan photo

I need to get back to the kitchen. This week has been a lesson in going with the flow. My dad was visiting this weekend and then the election was on Tuesday. The husband lacked a packed lunch much of the week and I only cooked a very few days. But now I’m hoping to pull life back into the routine I crave with some tasty fall recipe. So here goes:

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Prop 37 Defeated: Next Steps For GMO Labeling

prop 37 defeat photo

Photo: cheeseslave

For the folks at California Right to Know, LabelGMOS, and Organic Consumers, the disappointment after a Prop. 37 defeat was palpable. The story was much the same for the 3,800 businesses, nonprofits, and stakeholders that worked tirelessly to pass the measure. But in the face of a 6 to 1 spending machine, the Goliath pulled out a victory.

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Spicy Vegetable Soup

spicy vegetable soup photo

I’m admittedly so off schedule this week as a result of the election and my dad being in town. Soup was really the only option when it came to feeding us in any healthful manner.

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Go Get Your Vote On!

women's sufferage photo

Happy Election Day!

Sara Kovak
Welcome to Serene Kitchen, your destination for tasty meatless eats and mindful living. My name is Sara Novak and I'm a health and wellness expert for Discovery Health and TreeHugger.