“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the self” (Jung, 1965, pp. 334-335).


#mandala #mandalaproject #100daysofmandalas (49/100) #The100DayProject

A photo posted by @brilliantaqua on


I started coloring mandalas about a year and a half ago when I started my M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.  I find the practice of coloring mandalas very relaxing and it helped with my restlessness on class days when we were supposed to pay attention for 12 hours of lecture.

At some point I decided to start drawing my own mandalas.  Initially, I wanted to follow Suzanne Fincher’s book, but struggled to follow a set progression of mandalas and wanted to draw more intuitively.  So, I followed Andrea Schroeder’s instructional video on how to draw intuitive mandalas and then took her online class.  I started drawing one every morning as well as many random ones throughout the day.  At some point I found Louise Gale’s work and signed up for her Mixed Media Mandala class in October (can’t wait!!!).  I also found out about #the100dayproject through her blog.  I joined (instagram @brilliantaqua) and back counted my mandalas (I started on April 1st instead of April 6th…).  Tomorrow will be 50/100.


#mandala #mandalaproject #100daysofmandalas (24/100) #The100DayProject

A photo posted by @brilliantaqua on

Morning #mandala #mandalaproject #100daysofmandalas (34/100) #The100DayProject

A photo posted by @brilliantaqua on

#mandala #mandalaproject #100daysofmandalas (37/100) #The100DayProject

A photo posted by @brilliantaqua on

Tempus fugit #mandala #mandalaproject #100daysofmandalas (41/100) #The100DayProject

A photo posted by @brilliantaqua on

#mandala #mandalaproject #100daysofmandalas (44/100) #The100DayProject

A photo posted by @brilliantaqua on


I’ve been using Micron pens (05 and 03 are my favorites), a Moleskine journal, a Moleskine watercolor journal, Prismacolor colored pencils, Prismacolor watercolor pencils, this set of watercolors and various watercolor brushes.  So, depending on my mood I will create a pen & colored pencil mandala, a pen and watercolor mandala, or sometimes I decide not to add color at all.

In August I will be traveling to Bali for a Mandala Retreat.  I’m so excited to actually take a vacation & to create art for an entire week in such a beautiful place.

Jung, C.G. (1965). Memories, dreams, reflections. New York: NY: Vintage Books.

Gluten-Free Grand Marnier Pancakes

I woke up Saturday morning with a craving for pancakes.  After remembering that I had a huge bag of Pamela’s Artisan Flour Mix (gluten-free), I quickly googled a recipe on my phone while still in bed.  Armed with what looked like a good recipe, I headed to the kitchen to try it out.  After mixing all of the ingredients it was super thick, so Deryck suggested that we throw in a 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier to thin it out.  I also had to add probably another 1/4 cup milk.  The pancakes turned out amazing!  Slight orange flavor & not boozy.  It made enough for breakfast yesterday and today (mmm…heated up pancakes).  Sorry for the horrible photographs, I did not think to photograph them yesterday & Deryck is “just a man photographing his breakfast”…  

pancakesGF Grand Marnier Pancakes

2 C milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 C Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 C Grand Marnier
1/4 C additional milk (as needed to thin the batter)
butter to grease the skillet

1.  Pour 2 cups of milk into measuring cup and add the lemon juice. This will create “buttermilk” for you. Put it aside.
2.  Pour flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk until blended (I used my kitchenaid).
3.  Add “buttermilk” and melted butter to the dry mixture and whisk.  Add egg, vanilla, and grand marnier. Whisk until smooth.  Add additional milk until mixture is slightly runny (like normal pancake batter).
4.  Melt butter in a frying pan.  Drop approx. 1/4 cup of batter into the frying pan for each pancake.
5.  Cook for a few minutes or until the center starts to bubble.  Flip and cook for another few minutes (Deryck cooked them for 3 minutes per side).
6.  Serve & Enjoy!

Yield: Approximately 15-16 pancakes


Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread from The Paleo Kitchen

I made this banana bread this morning.  It went together easily & it’s so good that I’ve already eaten half of the loaf.  Now I can’t wait for the cookbook to come out!!!  I’ve been following both of their blogs for awhile & the recipes never seem to disappoint.  Ok, please excuse me while I get another slice of banana bread (with butter…mmm).

Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread from The Paleo Kitchen

Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread from The Paleo Kitchen


Spicy Paleo Chocolate Cake in a Coffee Mug

I’ve been craving chocolate cake, but I don’t need a whole cake and sometimes you just want a little bit of cake quickly.  This recipe is paleo & not as spicy as I would like, definitely adding more cayenne next time!!!  

Spicy Paleo Chocolate Cake in a Coffee Mug with Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream!!!

Spicy Paleo Chocolate Cake in a Coffee Mug with Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream!!!

Spicy Paleo Chocolate Cake in a Coffee Mug
1 egg
3 Tbsp almond flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
a few dashes of cinnamon
a few dashes of cayenne (need to add more next time, but I LOVE spicy food)



1.  Add all of the ingredients to a coffee mug & mix until combined.
2.  Microwave 1 minute and 45 seconds.
3.  Enjoy!  I added chocolate coconut ice cream…so good!

Yield: 1 coffee mug cake

Science-y Green Pancakes

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow & instead of adding green food coloring to everything I’ve decided to use science to help out.  According to Sunbutter’s website there may be discoloration when cooking with sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) due to the chlorophyll present.  The chlorophyll acts differently in an acidic environment than an alkaline environment, so recipes with baking soda present (more alkaline) will cause foods to turn bright green.  Woo hoo!  Science-y St. Patrick’s Day Pancakes!!  Grain-free, dairy-free, etc. too!  

Science-y Green Pancakes

Science-y Green Pancakes

Science-y Green Pancakes
2 eggs
1/2 cup sunbutter (sunflower seed butter)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
coconut oil or butter for frying

1.  Beat the eggs, add the other ingredients and mix until combined.
2.  Melt coconut oil or butter in a frying pan.  Drop approx. 1/4 cup of batter into the frying pan for each pancake.
3.  Cook for a couple of minutes or until the center starts to bubble.  Flip and cook for another couple of minutes.
4.  Serve & Enjoy!  The green takes a little bit of time to develop, so if they aren’t green immediately don’t panic.  They’ll green up soon enough :)

Yield: Approximately 6 pancakes

When first prepared, not so green...

When first prepared, not so green…

Add strawberries & could be x-mas pancakes!  Also, delicious :)

Add strawberries & could be x-mas pancakes! Also, delicious :)


Mocktail Hour

Well, it’s the end of the week & it’s been a long one…  I’m on Day 11 of my Whole30 & that doesn’t allow for a cocktail, so I’m going to have the next best thing….a MOCKTAIL!!  Muddle up some fruit, throw in some sparkling water, & voila!  I even have a lovely bartender on hand to fix my mocktail while I work on dinner.  

Strawberry, Ginger, & Lime Mocktail

Strawberry, Ginger, & Lime Mocktail

Strawberry, Ginger, & Lime Mocktail
2 “coins” of peeled ginger
1/2 lime (quartered)
3-4 strawberries
3-4 ice cubes
sparkling water

1.  Peel the ginger, cut a couple of “coins”, throw in glass.
2.  Quarter half of a lime, throw in glass.
3.  Remove hulls from strawberries, slice, throw in glass.
4.  Muddle fruit.  No muddler?  No problem!  We used the handle from an IKEA potato masher.
5.  Add ice then pour sparkling water over the ice & muddled fruit.
6.  Garnish, add a pretty straw, stir up a bit & Enjoy!



1.  Slice ginger coins

1. Slice ginger coins

Quarter limes

2.  Quarter limes

Muddle fruit

4.  Muddle fruit

Strawberry, Ginger, & Lime Mocktail

5.  Pour sparkling water over the ice & muddled fruit

6.  Enjoy!

6. Enjoy!

Paleo Fried Roast Beef

My boyfriend introduced me to this amazing thing….fried lunchmeat.  I wanted some leftover grass-fed roast beef that I had thrown in the freezer a few months ago and didn’t have time to thaw it out for dinner tonight.  Turns out that you can fry it up & have this amazing crispy meat-y treat.  He used both duck fat and butter, so it is super tasty.


Paleo Fried Roast Beef
1/4 lb grass-fed roast beef
1 Tbsp grass-fed/pastured butter
1 Tbsp duck fat

1.  Melt butter & duck fat in a pan over high heat.
2.  Shred meat and throw in pan.  Stir meat to distribute the fat.
3.  Allow the meat to brown.  Once the meat begins to brown stir frequently.
4.  Enjoy!  I’ve thrown mine on top of a salad, yum!

Browning meat

Brown the meat

Stir meat frequently once it begins to brown

Stir meat frequently once it begins to brown

Coconut Flour & Witchcraft: Banana Nut Bread/Muffins


I recently purchased 3 cookbooks by Kelly Brozyna of The Spunky Coconut and decided to try out her Boulder Banana Bread Recipe from The Gluten-Free Baking & Desserts Book.  The recipe is also posted on her blog here.  I swear this stuff is held together with witchcraft & love.  I made a double batch if you look at the recipe on her blog (I made 12 muffins & a loaf of banana bread)–I also made a couple of substitutions (vanilla extract for the vanilla stevia & arrowroot starch instead of tapioca flour/starch, because that’s what I had on hand) and I threw in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (dairy free) for good measure.

I was absolutely shocked by how well they turned out.  I’ll definitely be making the recipe again (and again) and I can’t wait to try out her other recipes.  I’m not going to re-post her recipe here since you can just pop over to her blog for it, but I thought I’d share my mom’s Banana Nut Bread recipe instead (decidedly not gluten- or dairy-free–no witchcraft needed!)

Mom’s Banana Nut Bread
2 1/2 C AP Flour
1 C sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil (can use melted butter or applesauce)
3/4 C milk
1 egg
1 C mashed ripe banana (2-3 medium)
1 C nuts (chopped)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F
2.  Throw everything in a bowl and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Don’t over mix.
3.  Bake 55-65 min or until wooden pick is clean.

Yield: 1 loaf of bread

Nutritional Info (using applesauce instead of oil)
(calculated using SparkPeople’s recipe calculator)
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 263.8
Total Fat: 6.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.3 mg
Sodium: 332.5 mg
Total Carbs: 47.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 5.2 g