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Mary Ann

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From creating a successful online business to travel and photography tips, to dishing out banging recipes, while cozing up with glass of wine while getting real and personal, this is the place! Welcome to Mary Ann Life where it's all about the creating, sharing, connecting, and inspiring! 


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I got the juice!

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Craving comforting, cheesy, and warm dishes during the winter is a normal situation in my household. January’s health goals often infringe on the desires of the heart, or rather, the stomach. Trying to maintain a balanced yet satisfying dish under such constraints is not impossible.

My go-to veggie that naturally adds creaminess is butternut squash. The fact that the name includes “butter” already causes my heart to stir with joy. Roasting simply with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper already brings comfort and creaminess.

Risotto may seem daunting to some as labor-intensive. Typically for rice, you add water, cover, and it’s done. Risotto needs to moderately absorb the liquid as it simultaneously releases creaminess. And when you think it can’t get any creamier, add parmesan and a touch of cream for the ultimate indugence. Top with some bacon for bacon aficionados, but it also stands outstanding on its own. Enjoy with a glass of wine!  Cheers!

 

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Butternut Squash Risotto

Prep Time10 mins
Active Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, one pot meal, risotto, Vegetarian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven (or Instant Pot/Crockpot)

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cups Butternut Squash cubbed
  • 1 Yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1 ½ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay
  • 4 ½ cup Vegetable or Chicken broth
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated plus more for topping
  • 1 tbsp Basil torn or chopped
  • ¼ cup Heavy cream
  • 3 slices Bacon (optional) chopped for topping
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp Cracked Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Peel and chop the butternut squash- about the equivalence of half of the squash.
  • On a cooking sheet, evenly spread the chubbed butternut squash, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle a nice pinch of salt on top. Mix with your hands. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes before turning them over for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown, roasty! Optional, add a few slices of bacon on top of the butternut squash. It not only flavors the butternut squash, but you can break up the bacon and add before serving. Only cook for 7-8 minutes!
  • Chop the onion. Add the stock of choice in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Grate the Parmesan, and set it aside. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large dutch oven or a large pot. Add the onions and cook until translucent and slightly browned. Add the garlic, and stir. Once you smell the garlic, it's done cooking. (about 30 seconds). Add the rice, and toast for 2-3 minutes. Then add the white wine and stir until it evaporates.
  • Use a ladle, add a spoonful of the warm stock to the rice, lower the heat to about medium so the rice gently bubbles. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon until the stock is absorbed. Repeat and cook the same way with the remaining stock.
  • Taste the rice for doneness. It should be al dente but not crunchy. If it’s still a little crunchy, add more stock. The rice should take 20 to 25 minutes total to cook.
  • Remove the roasted butternut squash, and scoop out about ½ cup and smooch them to a rough paste. Add it to the rice, and stir. The color will instantly change, and the texture will become more creamy.
  • Turn the heat off, and add the cream and Parmesan, along with the remaining roasted butternut squash, and stir vigorously until melted and creamy. Stir in the salt and chopped basil. Taste for salt- you may want to add a little more. Serve topped with pepper, Parmesan, and bacon pieces (optional if you want to keep it vegetarian).

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Detoxing does the body good, and this drink does and taste good. Hot yoga, also referred to as Bikram yoga, strengthens, lengthens, and detoxifies through its various positions in very humid and warm environments. When packed in a studio room with 30 plus bodies along with a heat index of 110°, you find yourself in a swamp of your own (and perhaps others) sweat. Not pleasing at all, but the stretches and the post-workout drink is oh so satisfying.

After such extraneous strains placed upon your body, give it a quench of Watermelon Blossom. Along with it’s pairing tropical fruits and lemon, orange blossom is a fragrant, distilled essence from the bitter blossoms of the orange tree. A little goes a long way, and it’s commonly found in the international section of the grocery store. The orange blossom is perhaps the most interesting flavor in this mouth quenching juice. If unfamiliar with the taste, you’ll instantly fall in love!

Want to explore ways to live a wholesome life, check out THIS POST! You’ll receive tips on what items to buy organic, and the overall rule-of-thumb to live and eat wholesomely.

 

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Watermelon Blossom

Prep Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: detox, healthy, Juice, workout
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 med-lg Watermelon peeled
  • 1 Pineapple peeled
  • 1 Lemon peeled
  • 8-10 Mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp Blossom water
  • 2 cups Coconut water

Instructions

  • Prep all of the ingredients by discarding the skin from the watermelon, pineapple, and lemon, and cut into slices if plan to use a juicer, and cubes if using a blender. NOTE ON SIZE OF WATERMELON: If using the entire fruit, you'll have around 3 to 4 liters of juice. 
  • In a juicer, add the watermelon, pineapple, and lemon pieces. Then add the mint leaves, and flush the juicer with 2 cups of coconut water.
    NOTE ON SINGLE AMOUNT: If making a single serving, use 1 cup of sliced/chopped watermelons and pineapples.
    IF USING A BLENDER: Blend the watermelon, pineapple, mint, lemon and coconut water well. Strain the juice into a bowl, and add the orange blossom, and mix well. 
  • Fill a large pitchermason jar, or carafe with the juice. Add 2 tablespoons of orange blossom water into one liter of juice. If you made a huge batch, just add a tablespoon to each liter. Stir well. For a single serving, about 2 cups, add the 1 ½ tsp of orange blossom. 
  • Refrigerate up to 5 days, or freeze for up to a month. This drink is my go-to post-workout drink! I feel as though it's giving me a final rinse for my insides. Super refreshing, and difficult to have just one glass full. The juice will separate, so shake or stir well before consuming! 
    BENEFITS FOR: Post workouts, running, and hot yoga.

Notes

JUICER
I personally like Hurom- Get $40 off on your first purchase!
Another tip: store the fresh kale (after rinsing, of course) in the freezer. It not only makes the drink ice cold (ahh, refreshing!), but it saves on rotten kale in the fridge. 
For those who don't like pulp, strain through a fine strainer, Above all, enjoy this!  

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Plant-Based meals don’t need to lack in flavor or texture. Nor does it need to leave you feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled. These roasted cauliflower steaks, however, are simply divine! Smothered in a garlicky, herby tahini sauce, cauliflower can be enjoyed beyond being smashed like potatoes.

I get it, craving a steak is irreplaceable by any vegetable substitute. Cauliflower’s robust structure can withhold the same searing preparations as steaks. It just needs a nice pairing of flavors in the sauce, and this tahini sauce is the winning ticket, and super easy to whip up. Even if it was steak night, I would have this sauce on the side, just sayin’!

For a smokey flavor, place these cauliflower steaks on the grill along with their tomato and garlic companions and some olive oil. Vegan will never come across your mind while gorging into these bad boys! Enjoy, dear friend!

 

 

 

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Cauliflower and Cherry Tomatoes with Tahini Sauce

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole30
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Baking dish
  • Zester

Ingredients

  • 1 head Cauliflower sliced into steaks
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic cut in half
  • 2 cups Cherry tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Tahini Sauce

  • ½ cup Tahini
  • 6-8 Basil leaves
  • 5-6 Mint leaves
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 Lemon zest & juice
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • Kosher salt & cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Cut and discard the bottom of the cauliflower carefully. Cut in half lengthwise. No worries about any broken pieces- they will taste just as good! ANOTHER OPTION-- this would also be amazing on a grill! 
  • In a roasting pan, add the cauliflower, along with cherry tomatoes. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper well. Let it roast for 15 minutes, then turn the broil on, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until nicely charred. 
  • After the cauliflower and cherry tomatoes roast (15 minutes plus 3 minutes broil time), Remove the cauliflower and cherry tomatoes roast.
  • Serve the cauliflower with the tahini sauce, along with fresh roasted cherry tomatoes. This plant-based meal is entirely vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Serve as a side dish or a main course with a nice glass of crisp white wine. 
  • Add more fresh basil, and keep the sauce near by- it will nearly be impossible to stop adding more to your plate!

Tahini Sauce

  • In a food processor, remove the stems and add the basil and mint. Add the tahini, along with the zest and juice of a lemon. Add a clove of garlic (no need to chop, just directly add them). Lastly, season with ½ tsp of salt and pepper. 
  • Turn the food processor on, and slowly drizzle the olive oil until everything is mixed well. Check for seasoning. If too thick, add more olive oil. You will create the most beautiful, creamy green sauce in under a minute!  

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Adding milk is an ingenious way to consume afternoon tea! For years, the British influence of adding milk never sounded appealing or appetizing. All changed during my summer abroad in India where I was not just introduced to milk additions, but spices!

Chai tea is widely known in India and Pakistan. Creamy with a spicey kick, it satisfies any afternoon drink pick-up. Either serve warm or over ice for the ultimate Chai! Enjoy!

 

 

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Chai Latte

Prep Time8 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: chai, iced, milk, Spicey, warm
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Black tea equivalence of 2 tea bags
  • 1-2 cups Milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp Honey optional if desire some sweetness!

Spice

  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Allspice
  • ¼ tsp Cardamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
  • ¼ tsp Ground Clove
  • tsp Ground Nutmeg

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, frother, or steamer pitcher, pour your milk of choice. Froth or heat up over the stove on medium-high heat. Once heated and froth, add a black tea bag and let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes.   
  • Remove the tea bag after 2-3 minutes, and add the honey and the chai spices. Either mix well with an electric frother
  • Pour into a mug, sprinkle with some cinnamon, and serve hot. If preferred cold, pour over ice and mix well with a straw

Notes

FROTHERS
There are serval kinds of frothers. Some heat and froth, and some just froths:
Handheld Frother
Electric Frother & Steamer
Frother attached to Espresso Machine

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Is the juice worth the squeeze? Absolutely! Juice from nature’s finest veggies and fruits does the body good. Not only do they deliver an abundance of nutrients and vitamins, but also detox your system giving it a needed reboot.

We are creatures of habits, and once we’ve settled into a morning routine, “squeezing” in some juice time will get the day started on the right foot. For this busy teacher, I double the recipe to create 2 liters for an easy pour-and-go method. I’ve known others to fill individual glass/plastic containers. Whichever method you decide to lead with, your insides will greatly love you! Enjoy, dear friend!

 

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Morning Green Juice

Prep Time5 mins
Active Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: fruit, healthy, Juice, lemon, Vegan, vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 inch Ginger, raw
  • 4-5 sprigs Mint leaves
  • ½ Cucumber
  • ½-1 cup Coconut water

Instructions

  • Prep all of the ingredients: peel the lemon and ginger, quarter the apple, and rinse the kale.
  • Push all ingredients through a juicer. A blender may also be used but will have lots of pulp!
  • Alternatively, chop all the ingredients and pop them into a Ninja/Blender with ½ cup of coconut water (or regular water), then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and drink immediately over ice.
  • Pour over ice (my favorite), and feel your insides smile. Easily double the recipe to store in a carafe for up to 4 days in the fridge for your upcoming mornings. 

Notes

JUICER
I personally like Hurom- Get $40 off on your first purchase!
Another tip: store the fresh kale (after rinsing, of course) in the freezer. It not only makes the drink ice cold (ahh, refreshing!), but it saves on rotten kale in the fridge. 
For those who don't like pulp, strain through a fine strainer, Above all, enjoy this!  

Yum

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“Love at first bite!” Almond Orange Cake is just that- simply delicious. Often people skip out on cakes or have them around special occasions such as birthdays and weddings. This cake of wondrous dreams will be at the forefront of your mind after that initial first bite of loving bliss.

Amaretto is one of my favorite flavors. I first fell down the amaretto rabbit hole in Italy a few years ago. Typically grappa is served after a several course Italian meal. Not knowing what was being served (I’ll accept any “gratis” drink, when in Rome, right?!?) I instantly fell in love with the fragrant, and sweet amaretto. I thought bourbon was smooth, but it certainly doesn’t match amaretto’s silkiness. Amaretto is made from almonds, so why not create a cake with an almond base!

Almond flour and orange marry well in this divine cake. Not only is it (I refuse to say m__st!) succulent, but ever so slightly sweet with the amaretto. Dollup a helping heap of Grand Marnier whipped cream to complete the cake of dreams! Want more amaretto recipes? Try Amaretto Latte, especially with this cake. There’s no such thing as too much amaretto!

 

 

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Almond Orange Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Almond meal flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 1 Orange juice & zest
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Amaretto liqueur
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt

Syrup

  • ¼ cup juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp Sugar

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups Heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp Confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier 

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to  350°F with the oven rack in the middle. Either line a 9-inch springform pan with wax paper, or spray with cooking spray the entire pan to avoid the cake sticking. 
  • In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer bowl), use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the room temperature butter until creamy. Add the sugar, orange zest, and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides down with a silicone spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Then beat in the amaretto liqueur. 
  • To the cream mixture, add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until all are well incorporated.
  • Scrap the cake batter into a springform pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 35 to 38 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. This cake won't be a dry one! 
  • At the last 10 minutes mark before the cake is done, squeeze the juice of the zested orange into a small saucepan, along with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Over medium heat, simmer the syrup until the sugar dissolves and thickens. I like using a metal frothing cup since it can stand the heat from the stove.
  • Once the cake is removed from the oven, poke several holes with a toothpick or skewer. Pour the thickened syrup over the cake, and use the back of a spoon the spread the syrup evenly.
  • BOOZY WHIPPED CREAMPlace a large metal bowl in the freezer while the cake rests. Before serving, remove the bowl from the freezer, add the heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, and bourbon (or Grand Marnier), and on medium speed, mix until soft peaks form.
  • Using a strainer, sprinkle more confectioner's sugar on top to cover those beautiful holes! Serve the cake with the boozy whipped cream, and enjoy! 

Notes

DRIED ORANGE SLICES
In a 200° oven, cut orange slices, and place them on a sheet pan, and dry for 1 hour. The heat will slowly dry the orange slices. This could be done the night before or in the second oven. totally optional, but oh so pretty!

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Welcome to Today or Never Podcast where we will explore all of these questions, pursuits, desires, and so much more! 

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