Favorite thing – Namely Marly

It’s the beginning of May, and we wore winter jackets for our walk this morning. You never know the weather in the Midwest. I’m excited for warmer weather so I can plant my biquinho peppers that I started from seed. More on that below.

A yellow butterfly sits on a purple flower.
Cloudy Sulphur, Missouri 2000

Sean is a nature photographer. This picture of a beautiful butterfly is perfect to start the spring season.

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Tennis is a life lesson

I recently heard Patrick Murataglu, a famous tennis coach share the secrets of champion tennis players. When we play a match, we think we are playing the opponent.

According to Mourataglu, the truth is we are playing ourselves.

The more we can overcome our insecurities and fears on the court, the better we can play.

It may not always translate into wins, but I know that my tennis game is helping me become a better person.

self care

  • Daily facial — I recently received a Nuface and have been using it daily as per their instructions. In fact, I’ve been using it every day for six months. What’s great. That’s a long time. So far so good and I am happy with the purchase.
  • deep breath – I recently learned that the best way to relax when you’re feeling stressed is to take deep breaths. The specific breathing technique I read about goes like this: Breathe in deeply through your nose, then pause and breathe in a little more, then slowly exhale through your mouth, pushing to get as much air out as possible. Repeat this five times. It can make you light-headed so definitely don’t do it while driving.


I always have home projects on my list. These are the ones I have planned or dreamed of.

  • I am working on a new shade top for our patio swing. This is a 3-person swing, and because of this awkward shape, replacement tops are not easy to come by at a reasonable price. So, I came up with an idea to reuse a tablecloth. We’ll see if it works!
  • As I mentioned earlier, I want the “flowers” on my front porch to be “food.” And I’m in love with the biquinho pepper because the plant is bushy and produces a little red pepper. The seedlings are growing so hope to plant them in larger pots soon. There are many ways for this to go wrong so we’ll see!
  • I hope to one day build a stone or brick path that leads from the front to the back yard. Like this stone path on Pinterest. It’s in the dream category for now!

to read

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately when it comes to finding novels I’m enjoying. I started with high hopes, but for some reason abandoned them. Here are some books I’ve enjoyed recently:

  • the storyteller By Dave Grohl. Actual factual literature. Dave’s autobiography is enlightening and entertaining. As you can imagine, he has led quite an interesting life. I thought I was a great mom, but learning that Dave’s mom took him to jazz bars when he was young made me question myself!
  • Nora goes off script By Annabel Monaghan. fiction The description says it all, it’s a good beach or pool read. It required no heavy lifting, and it was great. I enjoyed this book about a woman who finds inspiration in the face of a breakup and uses it to make the best of her life.
  • It starts with us By Colin Hoover. fiction I literally laughed out loud while reading this book, not because of the plot but because of the character names. There are names of characters from soap operas like Atlas and Ryle. There are more such names, but these two come to mind. But this is another easy beach read that I was entertained enough to finish.
  • Remarkably bright creatures By Shelby Van Pelt. fiction I loved this book about a woman, an octopus and a whole cast of characters Part of the description comes from an incredibly bright octopus. I highly recommend this one!

I see

We made time for TV this month, and here are some favorites:

  • legacy. Legacy has a new season coming up, so we decided to start with the first season, and I’m so glad we did. It’s such a great show and probably one of my favorites. To quote Greg, “Yeah, if it’s said, so be it, so be it.”
  • Beach Cottage Chronicles — This HBO show makes mini-episodes about people who redesign beach houses I don’t have a beach house, so I don’t know why I love this show so much, but I do.

I just learned about the gentle art of Swedish death cleaning, and I’m so excited to try it out soon.


There’s no end to the food I’m obsessed with, but here are some recent favorites I’d like to share with you:

  • Zucchini noodles — I’ve been on a volume-eating kick lately, so I’m pulling out zucchini noodles. Volume eating is about eating a lot, which I love to do. But the goal is to eat lots of vegetables to keep yourself full, which is my favorite way. So these Garlic Zucchini Noodles are definitely a favorite right now.
  • Truber — Costco had boxes of TruBars on sale, and they said “vegan” right on the box, so, I had to try them. They make a delicious meal.
  • lemon — We returned from a trip to Arizona with lots of lemons. Lots and lots of lemons. After giving some to family and neighbors, now I’m making interesting things like lemon smoothies. This might be my favorite way to eat lemons now!

Reader Spotlight

Here’s a review of my plant-based crème brûlée recipe.

Reader review

I could have this crème brûlée every day. It’s that good!


A spoon scoops out some cream from a serving dish of crème brûlée.

Recently in Namely Marley

Here are my recently published recipes.

A vanilla cupcake topped with a fresh raspberry topped with vegan raspberry frosting.  It is surrounded by fresh raspberries and more cupcakes.

Lemon Banana Smoothie

This delicious lemon smoothie tastes like lemon water! It is made with fresh fruit, protein powder and crushed ice. It’s so refreshing!

Lemon Banana Smoothie Recipe

A closeup of a lemon smoothie in a glass  The glass contains a yellow straw and a lemon slice.  In the background are fresh lemons and another smoothie.

Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake

You’ll love this easy eggless chocolate orange cake recipe. This recipe provides some essential tips for making an absolutely delicious, soft and moist chocolate cake infused with orange flavor. Combined with the creamy chocolate frosting, it’s the ultimate cake experience!

Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe

A slice of eggless orange chocolate cake sits on a plate.  There is an orange slice on top of the cake.

Chia Flax Pudding

Add superfoods to your day with this delicious, nutrient-packed Chia Flax Pudding. Ready in minutes, it’s perfect for your morning routine.

Chia Flax Pudding Recipe

A glass dish contains chia flax pudding with blueberries and raspberries.  It sits in front of another bowl of pudding and fresh berries.

The five most popular posts this week

  1. Easy Vegan Carrot Cake — I’m always excited for the opportunity to make this yummy cake. Glad to see others are liking it too. It’s especially good with dairy-free cream cheese frosting on top!
  2. Plant-Based Chicken Noodle Soup — I guess we’re not the only ones dealing with a cold spring because a lot of people are reaching for this vegetarian noodle soup. You can use different protein alternatives, such as plant-based chicken or even chickpeas.
  3. Dairy-Free Pineapple Cake — If you love pineapple, this cake will be your favorite! It incorporates an entire can of crushed pineapple into the batter. Topped with vegan whipped cream, it’s perfect for the spring and summer months.
  4. Banana Ice Cream — Speaking of healthy, this plant-based dairy-free ice cream recipe offers a variety of flavor options to try, such as chocolate, strawberry, and more.
  5. Raw Blueberry Cheesecake – Speaking of summer recipes, this raw vegan cheesecake is absolutely amazing. I like to keep slices in the fridge for quick and easy frozen cheesecake bites!

meal plan

monday — Make this plant-based taco soup on Monday and have leftovers for lunches throughout the week. Make some air fried tortilla chips and plant-based guacamole to serve on the side.

tuesday — This vegan meatball sub sandwich is perfect with easy lentil meatballs. But if you’re in a hurry, you can use store-bought veggie meatballs. Either way, this sandwich is filling and delicious. I love serving it with some sweet potato tots!

on wednesday — We love this dairy-free fettuccine alfredo for a perfect mid-week meal. It’s easy to make, feels elegant to eat and is a real crowd favorite! Be sure to serve it with dairy-free breadsticks or you can reheat leftover Olive Garden breadsticks.

Thursday — If Thursday nights are all about veggie burgers, these sweet potato bean burgers will be the star of the show. Serve with some vegan roasted veggies and air fried french fries for the perfect meal.

Friday — Let’s start this night off with some vegan pepperoni pizza dip. Served with crusty bread crumbs, it’s a perfect Friday night happy hour treat. Follow it up with some vegan deep dish pepperoni pizza and your Friday night has turned into something awesome!

Saturday — Speaking of dips, I love serving this Vegan Rangoon Dip because it’s so easy to make. And it reminds me a lot of the crab Rangoon I used to enjoy in my pre-vegetarian days. After appetizers, it’s time to move on to the main dish, which will be Teriyaki stir-fried with tofu. Add all your favorite vegetables to make it healthy and delicious!

sunday — Sunday = sweet all around. You can start the day with these Maple Donuts and Raspberry Muffins. It’s okay if you don’t eat them all. You can freeze the rest for later! So for dessert, let’s make this yummy Easy Vegan Black Forest Cake. Just wait for this one to ooh and aah!

Okay, let me turn the mic over to you, what dishes are you making or dreaming of making this week?

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