Life Lessons from Planting Seeds & Teriyaki Eggplant Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry


Part II of the Garden Sexy series, sharing recipes and life lessons from the garden.


I didn’t add compost to my garden’s soil nor put a fence up to protect my garden from furry invaders. Conditions were not perfect before I planted and everything, minus my dandelion greens, have grown, and while Peter Cottontails have been loitering the carrot section, nothing appears to have been hijacked.

Conditions were far from perfect when I created the Self-Love cookbook. I had never seared, poached or braised anything. I didn’t have a fancy camera, only my IPhone. I didn’t have a permanent spot in my apartment to take photos, so each time I took some I had to set up my white foam board and piece of white painted wood, that I had to keep repainting, on my kitchen island. With the added inconvenience of only being able to shoot under natural light, this set up had to be done, as well as dishes cooked and styled when it wasn’t too bright or dark out. Winter time was extra difficult as I was limited to weekends and before work. I had the Volvo of ovens that took a full episode of Gilmore Girls to preheat. My cooking equipment consisted of a cast iron pan, a small stove pot, a stoneware dish, and a baking sheet purchased from Home Goods, and midway in, I added, “Ole Blue,” an Amazon Basic turquoise dutch oven. I wasn’t trained in photography, I didn’t have an editing staff, and my only formal culinary training was done on Folger’s bunsen burners by the accredited institute of Girl Scouts, but somehow I managed to create and write over 200 photographed recipes. If I had a team of people, the book wouldn’t have taken years to develop, but if I waited to have a team, it’s likely I wouldn’t even have a book.

Some believe perfectionism is really procrastination, and if you push pursuing your dreams aside until conditions are perfect, you will never open your business. You will never write that book. You will never start dating. You will never cross marathon off your bucket list.


One of my zucchini plants flowered but it died before it could produce anything. This might have happened because my automatic sprinkler, unbeknownst to me, was moved and the zucchini plants missed a few days of watering on the hottest, sweat your ass off as soon as you walk outside days. I also had a groundhog situation. With enough time to grow, a lock down on the sprinkler location and a relocated groundhog, I planted more zucchini seeds. A week later they have already sprouted.

I’ve had competitions where I didn’t take home a trophy. While I felt a bit defeated I knew what I could control and needed to improve on, ahem…walking in heels, and what I couldn’t control, matching tattoos with the judges. While it may seem like a helluva a lot of work to leave empty handed, what I walked away with was much more valuable than a bronzed statue.

I pushed through my stage fright, and in spite of feeling unsure and self-conscious, with no encouraging coach or teammates to pump me up backstage like my fellow competitors had, I walked out in a bikini, that didn’t leave much to the imagination, to be judged on my muscle mass and body fat percentage. I faced adversity and fear, and although my hands left empty, my heart and mind left with greater strength and resilience.

And what did I do when I lost? I tweaked my competition prep and stage performance from what I had learned from the previous competition, and the next time I competed, I didn’t come home empty handed.

Even if you start a business and it’s not bringing home the bacon, yet, or you start dating and you haven’t found your plus one, yet, you are still growing invaluably inward. And at anytime, you can use your new knowledge and experience gained to restrategize and replant.


My first summer with my garden, I planted tomatoes too late, not giving them time to fully grow and provide me with even just one slice for my zoodles. This year I planted them with plenty of time and I have so many tomatoes already, I’m likely to go in lycopene overdose!

I’m guilty of being a serial up rooter. I started a boot camp and personal training business in Myrtle Beach then I moved back to Maryland to start a personal training business there, then I moved back to Myrtle and started a meal service, then I moved back to Maryland. Giving them each no more than two years to grow, which isn’t a ton of time when you are doing every aspect of the business on your own and you have a very small network of connections because again, it seemed like I was constantly uprooting with no time to build relations.

I started an outdoor women boot camp called RockStar Boot Camp. I loved the ladies who I trained and if I was profitable with just my core seven day oners, I might still be out at the stadium directing them to simply do 10 more as I lunged alongside with them. Despite front cover magazine publicity, successful client results, Facebook marketing (this was the only social media engine back then), consistently showing up every Mon/Wed/Fri at 5:15am, continually changing up the workouts, and charging only $6 per workout…no that is not a typo, I did not forget the 1…despite all my efforts, after one year I failed to increase clientele.

One year may seem like a lot of time, but the boot camp needed more time to grow. It was developing and transforming year one, so its identity wasn’t figured out until near the end of the year, therefore I couldn’t properly market it. What I thought it was at the beginning, was not what it was at the end. It was much more. I was breadcrumbing its growth. I put a lot of energy into designing the workouts, which to me was most important, and working three additional jobs and doing everything on my own, I had little leftover energy to give to the business development.

It’s a shame I ended the boot camp before I was able to showcase what is marketing gold, transformations. After one year, I had proof in its RockStar pudding because not only did my girls transform on the outside, they transformed on the inside. They earned job promotions, got engaged, and found their soul mates. They next leveled, and it was so rewarding to witness. Leading the boot camp was so fulfilling for me and still one of my favorite life experiences. I was exercising, I was teaching, I was leading a group of bad ass women, and I was changing lives. It also helped me stay strong to end a toxic relationship. Leading the boot camp I was living in the moment, and when you can find what does that for you, it is priceless.

Don’t give up too early. Don’t let comparisonitas or outside influences sabotage you like I did with my boot camp. The trainer who started her boot camp after me persisted and now has an entire fitness facility a block from the beach. Give your seed the time it needs to grow. It took me a gazillion years to have my cookbook, and although the waiting was painful, not having it would be more painful. It’s much less heart heavy to push through the waiting period, than it is to regret never planting your seed.

Journal prompts following recipe


To help illustrate lessons learned from sowing our seeds, a dish created using a vegetable from my garden that I finally gave its proper time to grow.

teriyaki eggplant cauliflower stir fry

Teriyaki Eggplant with Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry

Lyndsay Braswell
Recipe adapted from Sexy Starts in the Kitchen because Sexy Starts with Self-Love. This non sugar added teriyaki sauce can be used on salmon, chicken, tofu, shrimp…whatever you would use teriyaki sauce on!


  • 1 Food Processor
  • 1 Pan
  • 1 Small Stove Pot





  • 2 tbsp COCONUT AMINOS substitute TAMARI
  • ½ tsp GARLIC POWDER or FRESH GARLIC, minced
  • 2 tsp GINGER JUICE substitute ½ tsp FRESH GINGER, minced
  • 1 tsp SESAME OIL
  • 1 tbsp HONEY
  • 1 tbsp SESAME SEEDS optional


  • 2 cups CAULIFLOWER, riced
  • 1 cup BROCCOLI FLORETS, blanched
  • 1 cup CARROTS, grated
  • 1 RED BELL PEPPER, diced
  • 1 ½ cups PINEAPPLE, cut into chunks substitute canned PINEAPPLE CHUNKS in 100% pineapple juice





  • Slice 1 EGGPLANT into 1/4"-1/2" thick rounds. Then cut each round in half. Place in strainer or on a baking rack over a paper towel, or directly just place eggplants on the paper towel. Sprinkle generously with SEA SALT or KOSHER SALT to release moisture. You should start seeing beads of sweat after 10 min. Repeat on the other side. Allow to sit for at least 30 min up to 1 hr.
  • Rinse off salt and allow to air dry for at least 15 min or pat dry.


  • Place all ingredients in a small stove pot on high. As soon as it starts boiling reduce to a simmer and cook till it reduces down 50%. It will still be thin. Taste and if you would prefer more salty savory add more tamari. If you want sweeter add more honey.
  • Once cook add SESAME SEEDS


  • Add EGGPLANT SLICES to a lightly oiled (EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL) pan over medium high heat. Cook on both sides till softened. While cooking, add some of the teriyaki sauce. Add just enough to coat each slice. Add more oil as needed to cook eggplant through. The amount of oil needed will depend of how much moisture is still in eggplants.


  • Add CAULIFLOWER, CARROTS, and BELL PEPPER to a lightly oiled pan (EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL) on medium heat. You could also stir fry with just a few tbsp of water. Cook while stirring frequently until veggies are slightly softened. Apx 5 minutes.
  • Add BROCCOLI, stir and cook a few more minutes just heat up the broccoli as it is already cooked from being blanched.
  • Add PINEAPPLE. Stir and cook just to warm up pineapple.


  • To a plate, add some of the CAULIFLOWER STIR FRY. Top with TERIYAKI EGGPLANT. Garnish with SESAME SEEDS and CILANTRO. Add more TERIYAKI SAUCE or serve on the side.


The amount of sodium is half the amount in coconut aminos than tamari, I suggest to start with 2 tbsp for both, and after the sauce is reduced, taste.  If you prefer more, add 1 tbsp at a time.  Also remember what you are adding it to.  Seafood and poultry may contain more salt than vegetables.
To make cauliflower rice, break up a head into florets.  Place in a food processor filling up half way, pulse till you have a rice/couscous consistency.
To blanch broccoli, place broccoli florets in a pot of boiling salted water until they turn bright green apx 3 minutes. Take broccoli out with a skimmer and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Strain and allow to air dry for at least 1o min.
You don’t need to be apx with the amount of veggies used in the stir fry.
They do sell 100% pineapple juice, but you can also use the juice from canned pineapple chunks.  So instead of buying pineapple juice and fresh pineapple, you can used  pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice to use both the pineapple and juice. I would purchase 2 cans if doing this to be on the safe side.
Keyword glutenfree, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Have you been holding back on a dream of yours until conditions were perfect? Did a dream of yours not materialize? Did you not give a dream time to grow? It’s never too late to revisit a dream. Or maybe a new dream is meant to be.

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