how I’m becoming a morning person (the night before!)

mornings from this brown kitchen, how I'm becoming a morning person

It’s been a resolution of mine to become a morning person for a long time. Like not even joking I’ve been telling myself for years to do it and each morning I objectively fail at the challenge. Not that it’s a bad thing, I believe some people just naturally are not morning people. That being said, I think it’s possible to turn yourself into one if you come at the challenge with some concrete steps and a routine to wake up to. This year I am pushing myself to become a happy sunny person in the waking hours of the day. I’ll be honest in that so far, it hasn’t been super successful. Some mornings I’m good at getting up around 7am, and others I’m lucky if I make it out of bed by 7:45am. 

Since I’ve been reading a lot about how to incorporate Ayurvedic principles into my life I started putting together my list of guidelines from this practice that involve morning routines. Man was I slightly perturbed to see that the recommendation is to wake up before the sun. *insert side eye here* But since I did just finish watching How I Met Your Mother, it felt kind of right to say “Challenge Accepted”. (: As it turns out, a lot of how you wake up in the morning has to do with how you sleep the night before. So my first step is to develop a good bedtime routine.

Here’s how I’m going into this ::

– Over the next few weeks I’ll be in bed before 10pm. This felt fair as I currently go to sleep around 11pm and I want to ease into my new routine.
– No screens after 930pm. This one might be the most challenging for me as I LOOOOVE scrolling through my Instagram feed right before bed.
– Drink some water before sleeping, not too much because I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night, but I’ve read a lot about how one of the reasons waking up in the morning can be hard is because your body becomes dehydrated overnight and keeping yourself as hydrated as possible while cleansing and restoring yourself.
– Stretch or go through my yoga flow.
– Use my essential oils, I’ve been really into Lavender Oil lately and it releases so much stress right before bed.
– Wake up between 630 – 7am. I know the sun is currently rising before 6, but I’m trying to ease into this y’all!

Looking at these steps objectively, I felt like these were great starting steps without going to extreme, and hopefully as the weeks go by I’ll start to notice a difference in my morning self. 

I’ll be sharing my newfound morning routine in the next week once I figure out how these mornings are going, wish me luck!

this list

This Brown Kitchen on Instagram

My new favorite podcast. (Joy the Baker and Alisa Vitti are my favorite episodes so far!)

I shared a recipe for a Cumin Chickpea Salad with my favorite Mint Chutney on Camille Styles.

This frittata is everything I want for brunch.

Been on the lookout for prints – and this one is the cutest.

One of my favorite local dinner spots for farm to table food.

I’ve been really into cycle-syncing lately after reading about Lee’s experience with it.

After I made teff pancakes last week, I now need to try these teff waffles.

My new apartment is going to have a balcony and these ideas are getting me super excited to decorate!

cumin chickpea salad + mint chutney

a cumin chickpea salad with mint chutney served on a sheet tray!

Y’ALL. I’m super excited to share that I’ll be over on Camille Styles with a new column called “Global Kitchen” where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes that incorporate some of the best spices you could have in your kitchen! If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know my big focus on wellness and how I believe that food is such a big part of being your best self. I’m lucky to have grown up in a household that emphasized the use of spices and natural remedies for health, and I’m so stoked to be able to share that on another platform. 

The first recipe I’m sharing is this cumin chickpea salad with a delicious mint chutney, it’s a classic recipe with my addition of chickpeas and savory chaat masala – the perfect summer salad. You can get the full recipe here and follow along with the column as well!

Hope y’all enjoy the weekend! (:

a cumin chickpea salad with mint chutney served on a sheet tray!

chai spice GF banana pancakes + on yoga practice

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

banana teff flour pancakes with chai spice

As I’ve previously mentioned, what I really want to use This Brown Kitchen as is a place to serve all things wellness in my life. One of my focuses and intentions this year was to focus on being mindful of what is going on my life and to prioritize wellness. For the most part, I think I’ve done a pretty good job and have found so many ways to incorporate better decisions in regards to life and food into my everyday. An idea I’ve recently come across is Ayurveda. Now to be clear, I have known about Ayurveda and its principles for a long time as I did happen to grow up in an Indian household. What I’ve never done however is place emphasis on applying those principles into my day to day life. Last week, I started to. Of what I’ve learned about Ayurveda is that in a concise way of putting it, the idea is centered on addressing all aspects of well-being and healing for both the body and mind. 

As my birthday was this past weekend and spring is finally in bloom here in MPLS, I decided this would be the perfect time to revisit my intentions and refresh my goals for this next year of life. My first area of focus almost accidentally ended up being on my yoga practice – which just so happens to coincide with many of my wellness goals. While I’ve practiced yoga for a few years now, this is the firs time I’ve been so consistent about my practice and making efforts in class to really hone in on the movements and breathing that coincides with each pose. As much as I love a high intensity spin class, yoga has opened up an entirely different realm of wellness focused exercise that stretches me both mentally and physically. Whereas in a spin class the music is SO SO loud and the instructor is basically yelling the different adjustments at you so you’re not really focused on each movement and its effect for what it really is, yoga almost forces you to pay attention and listen to your body. Each day is different, and as one of my instructors mentioned, some days you have a good day in class, and some days you don’t. There are some evenings where you can go through your flow with minimal effort and others you’re pouring sweat after just one downward dog. Some nights my mind is running through all the to-do lists I have going on, and then the next day I am so present in my practice it’s weird. But – those days where you finally get into a pose that you’ve been struggling to reach for week and can hold another pose for just one breath longer are what all those other ups and downs are for. There are wins and losses each time you practice, but in the long run you notice the difference – it’s kind of like a metaphor for life as my instructor told us. 

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

So in the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my full on wellness plan. I finally got around to reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and in her search for leading a happier life she was very meticulous and structured about following what she preached with lists and graphs and tables. Not that I’m a total Type A, but I think some structure will at least provide some much needed guidelines to practicing what I preach, so to say. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated.

Another way I’m trying to be structured about my wellness? Meal planning.

I’m one of those people who needs a meal plan, because if I don’t know what I’ll be eating through the week I will just grab whatever food is right in front of me, good, bad, or ugly as it may be. And one of the meals I have written out in my meal plan section of my #bulletjournal is this pancake recipe. While I’m pretty loyal to my faithful smoothies in the morning, I need to switch it up so as to not get bored and to give my system a break too. These guys are pretty simple and easy to whip up, plus I make a batch that’s enough for two breakfasts so I can eat one hot of the pan, and wrap the other one up in my tupperware to take to work to eat the next morning. You could easily add in some of your favorites like blueberries or chocolate or seeds right into the batter, I like mine with some homemade fruit syrup (literally just frozen fruit, lemon juice, and water in a pot – boiled until thick), and you should definitely make a batch over the weekend to eat in bed, brunch style. (:

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

banana teff chai spice pancakes

prep time :: 10 minutes
cook time :: 10 minutes
yields :: 4 medium sized pancakes

ingredients ::
1 ripe banana
1 egg
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup teff flour
1/8 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon chai spice

directions ::

  1. in a mixing bowl, mash the banana, removing large lumps, then combine in the other wet ingredients until well mixed.
  2. add in the dry ingredients and combine. batter should be thick.
  3. heat a non-stick pan up to a medium heat and add about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of batter to the pan, cooking for about 2 – 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
  4. serve warm with your favorite toppings.