All Posts By:

Brit Wolfe

  • LIFE Lifestyle

    Yoga for Self-Care: Why It’s My Go-To

    Looking for a new form of self-care? Try yoga! Yoga is great for healing your mind as well as your body. Here’s why yoga for self-care is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

    Yoga for Self-Care
    Image courtesy of Shutterstock

    Self-care is all about taking care of yourself and doing what feels good to you. It can be what feels good to you in the moment (taking a nap), or something that you know will help you in the long run. It doesn’t always have to be bubble baths and shopping, it can be eating a cookie, playing with your dog, filling out paperwork, literally anything that makes you feel good and happy. But my ultimate form of self-care, the one that I always turn to? Yoga.

    Yoga is one of the most popular forms of self-care. It’s great for calming down your brain, easing your stress, and helping you stayed centered. But on top of all that, it gets you in shape. And I don’t know about you, but easing stress while getting in shape at the same time sounds like a win-win to me.

    My favorite part about using yoga for self-care is that yoga is all about you and where you’re at that day.

    It’s totally tailored to you, and you can modify anything you need to. Feeling a little sore? Modify the poses! Feeling energetic? Push yourself to try new poses you’ve been nervous to try. Let me introduce you to my favorite yoga channel on YouTube: Yoga with Adriene. I’ve been hooked on her channel for about a year now for a few reasons:

    • There’s a wide variety of yoga routines, so there’s something for however you’re feeling. There are harder, strength-building routines like power yoga, all the way to slow-paced breathing exercises.
    • It’s easy to follow along to her routines without looking at the video because she describes everything so well. I’ve watched a ton of yoga videos where I need to be constantly watching the screen because they don’t call out the poses or explain how to do anything.

    I’ve followed along to a ton of Adriene’s yoga flows, probably about 90% of them, and I’m still enjoying them. Through Adriene’s channel, I’ve discovered power yoga, and now it’s the type of yoga I turn to most often. Power yoga includes all of the calm, relaxation, and breathing techniques of regular yoga, but it gets your heart rate up and keeps you moving. It’s a fantastic workout, but also great for keeping me distracted on those days when I need a little extra self-care.

    Once I started doing yoga regularly, I realized that it could be my self-care every day of the week. Some days I’ll get in a good workout, and some days I’ll enjoy a calm, easygoing, slow-paced yoga to give my muscles (and brain!) a break.

    Have you ever tried an at-home yoga routine? If so, do you use YouTube videos or just do it on your own? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Breads & Muffins FOOD

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan)

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins – tall, thick, bakery-style muffins packed with tart raspberries and rich dark chocolate chips, topped with crunchy sugar

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan)

    Hi friends, happy Friday. We’ve got a lot of things to celebrate today. Well, I’ve got a lot of things to celebrate, but I’d like to think that you’re celebrating along with me.

    First of all, not super exciting, but I finally created a weekly schedule for myself. New blog posts will go up on Monday & Friday around 11am-noon, instead of on Monday & Thursday. I also made a much better schedule for my YouTube videos and Twitch streams (I stream every Monday and Thursday, if you’re curious). I was having a little trouble with my schedule, so I’ve spaced things out better and I feel like I’m actually able to plan ahead now. It’s like this gigantic weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan)

    Speaking of weight lifted off my shoulders, I am FINALLY moving! I can’t even handle how excited I am, for so many reasons. First of all, it’s bigger than where I live now. Second of all, I actually have a role in the remodeling of it, which means tons of DIY projects for the blog! Maybe even some YouTube videos too?

    Also, Black Mirror is back, and that’s pretty darn cool. How do you guys feel about the new episodes?

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan)

    So these Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins are to celebrate so many things right now. I’m at that place where everything is finally smooth sailing and I feel so happy and peaceful. And I can’t think of anything better to celebrate than some raspberry and chocolate, one of my favorite combinations of all time. These muffins are perfectly light and fluffy, with that big muffin dome on top. They’re filled with melty chocolate chips, vanilla bean, and dried raspberries, which I love in muffins. It gives a great texture and flavor without adding excess liquid into the batter that fresh fruit usually does.

    What are you guys celebrating lately? Let me know in the comments!

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan)

    Looking for more muffin recipes?

    Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins (Vegan)

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time35 mins
    Total Time45 mins
    Course: Breads
    Servings: 18
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 scant cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 cup nondairy milk, such as Silk
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance melted
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 425ºF.
    • Combine the ground flaxseed with 6 Tbsp. of water, mix well, and set aside to let thicken (about 5-7 minutes).
    • Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Add the sugar and mix well.
    • In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients (applesauce, flaxseed mixture, nondairy milk, oil, melted butter, and vanilla bean).
    • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix!
    • Fold in the chocolate chips and dried raspberries. Scoop the muffin batter into a lined muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with a pinch of sugar.
    • Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425ºF, then lower the heat to 350ºF without opening the oven door or removing the muffins. Bake an additional 30 minutes until golden brown.
    Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • Breads & Muffins FOOD

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones – Delicious, crumbly vanilla bean scones filled with a layer of brown sugar & espresso streusel

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    I’ve mentioned in previous recipes that it took a while for me to become a scone type of person. I think this is pretty common, because let’s be real. When’s the last time you had a good scone? Well, the answer is about to be TODAY. Because… I hope you make these today.

    The joke wasn’t good, but these scones definitely are.

    Scones are always so crumbly (in a bad way) and too hard and bone-dry. But these espresso scones are exactly what a scone should be: crumbly (in a good way), with a good crunch along the top edges but soft inside. They also have tons of flavor, which is another thing scones are usually lacking in. These scones have a double hit of flavor, from the delicious vanilla bean dough to the layer of coffee “streusel” in the middle. It’s not technically a streusel, but that’s what I’m calling it because I don’t have a better word for the delicious brown sugar espresso deliciousness.

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    How to Make Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones:

    These scones are easy to throw together, even if you’re someone who has never made scones before. The trick to good scones is to keep all your ingredients cold, and to work quickly without overworking the dough. This ensures a light, fluffy, flaky scone.

    Sift your flour, baking powder, and salt into a big bowl, then add sugar and a scraped-out vanilla bean. Add the cubed butter and use your fingers to work it into the dough. The consistency you’re looking for is crumbly, almost like clumpy sand. Then add the remaining wet ingredients, fold it together gently, and chill for a few minutes to keep it cold.

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    Mix together the coffee streusel (mixture? crumble? I really don’t know what to call it, so we’re sticking with streusel). Divide the scone dough into 2, flatten one into a big circle, and top with the coffee mixture. Top with the other piece of dough and pat it all together to make sure it’s sealed on the edges. Some of the coffee mixture will probably seep out, but that’s ok! It gets nice and crunchy and caramelized, which is even more delicious. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar, bake until golden brown, and that’s all there is to it.

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    Looking for more scone recipes?

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    Vanilla Bean Espresso Scones (Vegan)

    Prep Time20 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Total Time45 mins
    Course: Breads
    Servings: 8
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    Vanilla Bean Scones

    • 12 ounces all-purpose flour
    • 0.75 ounces baking powder
    • 3 grams salt
    • 1.5 ounces granulated sugar
    • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
    • 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    • 4.75 ounces vegan butter, such as Earth Balance cold and cubed
    • 5.25 ounces nondairy milk, such as Silk

    Coffee Streusel

    • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 2 Tbsp. vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 1 1/2 tsp. ground espresso

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
    • In a small bowl, mix the ground flaxseed with 6 Tbsp. water and let sit until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugar and vanilla bean, then mix well.
    • Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter (or you can use your hands like I do!), and work the mixture until crumbly. It's ok if there are a few slightly larger, unincorporated chunks of butter.
    • Add the liquid ingredients (flax mixture and milk), and fold together gently until a dough comes together. It will be sticky! Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.
    • Dump half the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and pat into a circle. Spread the coffee streusel over the top of the dough in an even layer. Top with the remaining dough and pinch the edges to keep the streusel inside the dough. Using a serrated knife, cut across the dough into 8 equal triangles.
    • Transfer the scones onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and chill an additional 10 minutes.
    • Right before you put the scones in the oven, brush with a small amount of milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • Breads & Muffins FOOD

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan)

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread – moist chocolate chip-packed banana bread swirled together with rich chocolate banana bread. The best of both worlds!

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan)

    I am a firm believer in “More is More”. Part of it is because I get excited and tend to go overboard on things, but I usually just blame my Too-Much Gene for my inability to know when to stop (I’m an Aries Moon-Pisces Sun, what can I say). It’s a bad habit when it comes to how long my eyeliner wings are (too long) or how much glitter I should wear (too much) or how many jars of vegan quest I should buy from Trader Joe’s this week (too many). But “More is More” is always true when it comes to baked goods, and that’s one area we should never cut back on. Let your Too-Much Gene run wild!

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan)

    Why choose regular banana bread when you can have chocolate banana bread? Or better yet, have both. This marbled banana bread combines the best of both worlds: moist chocolate chip-studded banana bread, and rich chocolate banana bread.

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan)

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread makes the perfect snack. It’s rich enough to be a dessert but not too rich that you couldn’t have it for breakfast. This recipe is adapted from my tried-and-true recipe called The Best Banana Bread EVER, and trust me, it’s named appropriately. It’s the perfect amount of moisture and density, and packed with chocolate chips to give it a good texture.

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan)

    Looking for more banana bread recipes?

    Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread (Vegan)

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
    Total Time1 hr 15 mins
    Course: Breads
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 cup nondairy milk, such as Silk
    • 4 medium bananas, mashed
    • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • scant 1/4 cup cocoa powder

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350℉.
    • In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed with 6 Tbsp. of water, mix well, and set aside to let thicken slightly (5-7 minutes).
    • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the flax and vanilla and mix an additional minute.
    • Sift together the dry ingredients (flour and baking soda). Add half of the flour to the butter mixture, mix, then add the milk, mix. Add other half of flour and mix until just combined (the mixture will be very thick but be sure not to overmix it!)
    • Fold in the mashed bananas. Divide this batter into two separate bowls. To one bowl, add the chocolate chips. To the other bowl, add the cocoa powder (make sure to sift it first so it doesn't get clumpy).
    • In a parchment-lined 9"x5" loaf pan, alternate adding the two batters. My favorite way to get the marbled effect is to add scoops of each batter randomly in the loaf pan, then use a knife to gently swirl the layers together.
    • Bake 65-70 minutes until fully baked. Because of the chocolate, it might be hard to tell, but the regular banana bread sections should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf will come out clean.

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • LIFE Lifestyle

    Easy Zero Waste Swaps to Make This Summer

    I’ve been trying to become more eco-friendly this year, as I’m sure a lot of people have. Every day, tons of articles are published regarding the state of our planet and how we can help make it better. It can be overwhelming and cause you to feel helpless because you’re just one person. But one small thing we can all do to make a huge difference is to start implementing zero waste swaps, which means we swap out some of our everyday essentials for plastic-free or eco-friendly ones.

    Easy Zero Waste Swaps to Make This Summer

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you!). Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

    Landfills are one of the biggest contributors to pollution. By recycling or switching to no-waste products, we could prevent up to 80% of landfills. This type of information has caused a surge in no-waste living, and the materials to do so have become cheap and easy to find. Here are a few easy, stress-free, cheap zero waste swaps you can make in your own home!

    Reusable water bottles (vs. plastic water bottles)

    This is one of my favorite zero waste swaps, and the first one I really committed to. When I read that 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour (in the US alone!), it really opened my eyes and I ran out to buy a bunch of reusable plastic tumblers. At first it can be a little tough to remember to bring your own tumbler, but soon it will become second nature. Bring your tumbler to work, to Starbucks (if you’re in the drive-through, just let them know that you brought your own cup!), to hang out with family or friends, or even to a restaurant.

    Reusable canvas grocery bags (vs. plastic bags)

    This is one of the most popular swaps, especially in California where they charge for plastic grocery bags. Not only does it save me money to bring my own bags, but my reusable canvas bags also store 2-3x more than a dinky little plastic bag! Plus you’re saving marine life, as 80% of the negative effects on ocean life are caused by plastic.

    Reusable produce bags (vs. plastic produce bags)

    This swap is becoming so popular that most grocery stores carry their own line of reusable produce bags, and they’re usually stored right next to the produce! Produce bags are super durable and made of natural materials, which means once you get home, you can keep your food stored directly in these bags.

    Metal or silicone straws (vs. plastic straws)

    I was a little late to the metal straw game, as I usually save my plastic straws and use them until they fall apart. Gross? Maybe. But it made me feel a whole lot better than just tossing them. But then I got some silicone straws and I’m obsessed. They fit perfectly in any of my reusable tumblers, plus you can throw them in the dishwasher to make it even easier on yourself.

    Glass soap dispenser and bulk liquid soap (vs. small plastic soap bottles)

    This swap is not just good for the environment, but also good for your wallet. Refilling your own soap dispenser can save so much money in the long run. Plus, whenever you want a new soap dispenser, you can buy a new one and recycle the old one. Did you know that glass can be recycled indefinitely without losing its quality?

    Waterpik (vs. regular dental floss)

    I finally bought myself a Waterpik (on sale at Target, $30!). I still use regular dental floss once a day (at night), but I use my Waterpik in the morning and any other time I need it. That’s still cutting down waste by 50%!

    A regular coffee pot (vs. non-recyclable K-cups)

    I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Keurig coffee machines. They’ve just never appealed to me, mostly because I need a whole lot more than one cup of coffee in the morning. I’d rather brew one pot than keep coming back to make another cup! Plus the K-cups always seemed so wasteful. However, a while back they introduced a reusable plastic K-cup you can use every day with your own coffee grounds. I love that, but I still think the best option is a good old-fashioned coffee pot. Plus the filters and coffee grounds are compostable, so it really is a no-waste product!

    Disposable paper plates and silverware (vs. regular plates)

    The average American uses roughly two trees every year in paper products. Sometimes these paper products are unavoidable, but it’s best to cut down wherever we can. Use plastic, stoneware, or wood plates at home, and try to avoid plastic cutlery whenever possible. There are tons of portable reusable cutlery sets out there, most of which are $10 or less!

    Reusable silicone food bags (vs. Ziploc plastic bags)

    This is a huge one. Cutting down on Ziploc bags and plastic wrap can have a huge effect on our planet. Try switching to reusable silicone food bags to carry your lunch or store leftovers. The best part is that most of these bags and microwave and dishwasher safe, and some of them you can even cook in!

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