Unwrap the Present


You have dressed in your holiday best, but do you ever feel like the presence or present of ‘you’ just blends into the other holiday decorations?


A beautifully wrapped present needs to be opened and enjoyed, don’t you think? Let’s not make the holidays just about the food, hosting and only speaking to people who may share your political and religious agenda. There is value in sharing a variety of views, opinions, experiences and traditions.


I have always been intrigued and found enjoyment in exploring different cultures and religions. This month, I have had the honor of lighting the Menorah candles during Hanukkah as well as setting up the Christmas tree and Nativity scene during Advent. These events give my heart a peaceful smile as I connect to the traditions of my friends and family.


Exploring different customs, tastes and the flavors of international cuisine is fascinating to me… well, as long as it’s not meat. You see, I have been eating a meatless diet my entire life and that’s a long time! These days, it seems that everyone is on a restrictive diet but the primary food of life are found in relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity. These are as important as the air we breadth.


It is my joyful family tradition to remember the birthday of our Lord at Christmas time, the gift of eternal love.


Thank you for unwrapping the gift of this blog. My present to you this holiday season is to relax into renewal.

Relax-n-Renew – Guided Imagery and Soothing Music 

Relax-n-Renew on Spotify  Relax-n-Renew on Amazon


Wishing you peace, love and joy,

Maria Lauren, AKA Maria Elena Alberici

Your Powerful LIFE blog


My Webiste



Your Powerful LIFE blog is about Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment…. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated.


Healthy alternative for Pizza lovers – “Piz-za-my-heart!”


Non-gluten, Non-dairy Vegan Pizza


“Non-gluten,” “Non-dairy” and “Vegan” have become the new buzz words! For me, it’s nothing new. I was raised on a vegetarian diet before it became “Hip.” When I was growing-up, a good meal was a plate full of meat and potatoes but not for me and my eight siblings.

It’s easy for me to embrace a cauliflower crusted pizza with dairy-less cheese but I do have high standards. It better taste good too! Of course, when it’s made with love by someone you love, that’s the best with a “Piz-za my heart!”

My daughter, Marianna, made me the delicious pizza pictured above. It is low in carbohydrates, which means low in sugar. So, if you are prone to Diabetes, this is the pizza for you! This amazing pizza is made with all plant-based ingredients.

For us, the crisper the cauliflower crust, the better. It was topped with a cashew based Alfredo sauce, fresh vegetables and Burata style buffalo mozzarella vegan cheese made mostly of coconuts.


A trip to our local Farmer’s Market


Mother and daughter selfie! Marianna Riccio and Maria Lauren

We found most of the produce for our pizza, including three kinds of basal, at our local Farmer’s Market!

Grazing through the Farmer’s Market is always a fun mother/daughter expedition for us.

It’s an adventure to explore the variety of fruits and vegetables that are on display. If the vendors offer us free samples, we are eager to reply, ‘Yes, please!’ 🙂

It’s fun to support your local farmers. Try being creative in your food preparations and enjoy healthy, delicious alternatives in eating.



NO GUILT Non-Dairy, Non-Gluten RECIPE …

~ Start with Trader Joe’s Pizza Crust (Check link for cooking instructions).

Take the Cauliflower Crust out of the oven and put your favorite ingredients on top. 

First, my daughter, Marianna used a dollop of Victoria’s Vegan Alfredo Sauce in the middle of the pizza and lightly brushed it around the pizza in a circular motion.

Then, she added sautéed portabella mushrooms and white onions on top of the sauce and placed raw sliced heirloom tomatoes with purple, green and lemon basil, a colorful display! Sparingly, she scattered bite-size pieces of Miyoka’s Mozzarella Cheese on top with just a few sprays of Spectrums Olive Oil Spray. Broil for a few minutes more until the edges of the pizza begins to turn brown. Buon Appetito!

Thanks to my daughter, Marianna for this healthy and tasty treat!

Healthfully yours,

Maria Lauren, AKA Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio

Your Powerful LIFE blog

My Website

Marianna Riccio’s Website


Marianna Riccio and Maria Lauren are certified fitness and health professionals

This is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.