Mid-Week Faves

Every now and then I am going to talk about some things that I have been loving lately – and I want you to start loving them too.

Glass Straw by Strawesome. Reusable, BPA Free, and makes drinking those super thick smoothies super easy. After all, life sucks without a straw!

Raw Mascara by Earthlab Cosmetics. I switched over to this stuff a couple months ago and it’s amazing. Parabeen free, no clumping, and completely washes off with water.

Enerjive Quinoa Snack Crisps by Enerjive. This is the perfect mid-afternoon snack for me. High protein, gluten free and sweetened with maple syrup. My favorite is the Chocolate Fix with almond butter, banana slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon. They are local too!

Website: Young and Raw. These peeps have the best, most creative smoothie recipes I’ve seen yet. Want to try them all.

Song: Somebody That I Used To Know – Walk Off The Earth (Goyte-cover) Such an addictive chorus.

I know that this post probably belongs on Pintrest, but hey who cares. Enjoy hump day folks. Contact me if you want to buy a glass straw!

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What The Situation (and You) Should Do When He (or You) Runs Out of Protein Powder

I woke up this morning to do my usual routine of Gym-Take care of my skin-Laundry; and OH NO no more protein powder!! I thought to myself “what would The Situation do?”, and opted not to go in that direction (he would probably give up the day all together, poor himself a glass of Ron Ron juice, and hit The Shore). But for those of us who aren’t so lucky to be making $100,000+ an episode, we have to think flexiand continue out our day as usual.

There is no need to opt for a different breakfast when you run out of protein powder. You can always enjoy your farm fresh eggs or warm gluten-free oatmeal during the weekends, but during the week let’s stick to smoothies shall we? They are super fast, super powered, and super easy on digestion. Drinking smoothies for breakfast gives your digestive system the time it needs to wake up and start doin’ its thang without the shock of a heavy meal first thing in the morning. Since smoothies are basically liquid, they take little energy to digest and your body can absorb the nutrients right away for instant energy to kick-start your day. Adding protein to your smoothies balances your blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full until your next meal. Protein is a must!

Ran out of protein powder like me? Have no fear! There are so many other great super foods you can throw in there to make up for the powder. If you’ve filled up your pantry like I have, then you will have all the ingredients on hand.

The Situation’s (and yours) average protein probably contains between 20-30 grams per scoop. The smoothie I made this morning (without protein) contains 20 grams of protein. All from plants! I made it with hemp seeds (10g), flax (3g), almond butter (3g), spirulina (3g) and spinach (1g). I threw in some maca for extra stamina and hormonal balance – we all know how jacked up The Situation is on testosterone (and he will probably LOVE the fact that it improves libido as well), and a tablespoon of coconut oil for instant energy and healthy fats. I added some berries for natural sweetness instead of the highly processed sugar found in most “body building” protein shakes; and voila, a protein smoothie without the powder! Put it in a to-go cup and you’re ready to continue your GTL.

Protein Smoothie without Protein Powder

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup spinach

3 tbsp hemp seeds

1 tbsp ground flax

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp almond butter

1 tsp maca

1 tsp spirulina

1/2 cup almond milk

1 cup water

irish moss, optional

Directions:

– place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth, enjoy.

Mexican Bur-raw-tos

The internship I did this past Fall really took my healthy cooking skills to the next level. I thought I knew a lot before heading off to Toronto, but when I came back, I was a whole new plant-based, chocolate-y raw, business savvy woman. A little trick I learned along the way was using walnuts in replace of ground beef…

Why Walnuts?

  • walnuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats which promote cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol
  • they are rich in Omega 3 (high in ALA which is the pre-cursor to EPA & DHA), providing anti-inflammatory benefits
  • excellent source of phytonutrients and powerful antioxidant activity
  • concentrated source of the sleep-promoting amino acid l-tryptophan

When you grind walnuts they resemble the meaty texture of ground beef, without all the saturated animal fats. Spice them up however you like, whether it be parsley and basil for spaghetti and walnut balls or chili powder and cumin for a raw home style chili.

But for me, nothing beats authentic Mexican food. Except for this recipe 😉 Take out the freaky hormonal ground meat and the salty melted cheese and you’ve got yourself some raw burritos.

Raw Burritos

Ground Walnut Meat

1 1/2 cup walnuts, soaked

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tbsp cilantro, minced

2 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions

– rinse soaked walnuts and pulse in food processor until crumbly in texture.

– add all other ingredients and pulse until well mixed, scrape sides a couple of times.

8 collard leaves

Toppings

1 cup fresh pico de gallo (diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime, s&p)

1/2 cup sour cream, which is my red pepper mayo minus the red pepper

1 small avocado, sliced

Directions

– wash collard leaves, scoop walnut meat onto each leaf and top with pico de gallo, sour cream, and avocado. Roll up and munch.

It’s All In The Sauce

Say it with me, saouce. Like a hillbilly gettin’ excited for a nice home-cooked meal. Saouce. 

Oh hey there. Sorry for my absence last week. The sis was home for her reading week, so I was doing some quality family time.  Thought about finding the time to post some blogs, but didn’t want to stress about it. Remember the flexi rule – our goal is a stress free life. So instead, we laughed, we sang, we ate. We hit the kitchen and created recipes like whoa. Can’t wait to share them all with you!

First up is a yummy pasta. Pasta is a tricky thing. Some say it’s bad, some say it’s good. I say just make it flexi and you’re a ok. No need for a starchy, fatty, creamy, insulin raising, instant belly fat pasta, when you can just as easily have a gluten-free, dairy-free, veggie filled, health promoting one that tastes even better than the traditional. Just stick to these rules when eating pasta…

1. Make it gluten-free. Brown rice noodles are my fave. The texture is different at first, but your healthy taste buds will adjust. This way you won’t feel heavy and bloated after you eat, much easier for digestion.

2. More veggies than pasta. Make your dish 1/3 pasta, 2/3 veggie. This way it will fill you up, but not out.

3. Always add a green. Spinach and kale baby!

4. It’s all in the sauce. You usually want to use a tomato base, but when craving a silky alfredo or rose, substitute heavy cream with cashew cream or organic greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is super high in protein and a good source of probiotics (the healthy bacteria that boosts immune, improves digestion,, keeps you regular). Sauce can be just as nutrient dense as the dish itself.

5. Watch your portion. Unfortunately we can’t all be part of a giant Italian family. Just make enough for one serving a person, or put the leftovers in the fridge immediately for a satisfying lunch the next day. Pasta is so easy to overeat…especially this one! Putting it in a smaller bowl is another great trick. and please, don’t have pasta every night of the week.

Sorry if this post sounds like an article straight out of Women’s Health or Chatelaine, I just know that pasta is one of those guilty pleasures we all have. I’m just here to show you that it doesn’t have to be.

It’s All In The Sauce Pasta

1/2 package of organic sprouted tofu diced
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Onion; finely chopped
1/2 a large red pepper. chopped
5-6 large mushrooms. sliced thinly.
Large handful of baby spinach.
3-5 Garlic Cloves; minced
2 1/2 tbsp chickpea flour
1 cup organic Veggie Broth
3/4 cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt
Cayenne Pepper&sea salt to taste
Gluten Free brown rice noodles of your choice

Directions

– boil a pot of sea salted water, and pour pasta in.

– while pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft (5 mins). Add minced garlic and cook another minute.

– in another frying pan cook mushrooms, red peppers and tofu with a bit of olive oil until medium soft.

– in the first saucepan,(onion-garlic) add the chickpea flour and stir until combined (it will be lumpy, don’t be scared). Add the veggie broth slowly to the onion/garlic/flour mixture and stir until creamy consistency. Turn down heat to low and add greek yogurt.

– fold in spinach until softened, then add in pepper-mushroom-tofu mixture. Stir until completely combined.

– add cayenne & sea salt to taste

– top the pasta with the sauce mixture and ENJOY.

Restaurant Review: Zen Kitchen

Tweet this @ZenKitchen613

I had a friend coming into town who had done the CNE course with me, and knew exactly where I wanted to take him. I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant forever (since I watched the TV show on their crazy restaurant adventure), and who better to enjoy it with than a fellow culinary nutrition expert.

The Zen Kitchen is a gourmet vegan restaurant in Ottawa, located just outside of Chinatown on Somerset St. Ottawa is a little behind in the holistic nutrition movement, so it is nice that we have at least one vegan restaurant to go to (a raw one will be opening very soon if I have anything to do with it!). We got there early and were the first ones in the restaurant for dinner, but it filled up quite quickly. So I definitely suggest making a reservation! We quickly skimmed the menu, but Dominic and I are total foodies who are up for anything. So the chef’s tasting course it was! We had 5 delicious courses and got the wine pairing to go with; a beautiful, smooth Australian Red. The owner Dave was great, checking up on us and getting our feedback with each course. We felt like quite the vegan food connoisseurs!

First was the amuse-bouche, a vegan cream cheese filled endive leaf. To be honest, neither of us are fans of vegan cream cheese. Remember the flexi rule, just because it’s vegan does not make it good for you!  The endive did have a nice crunch and it looked pretty so they get points for that.

Next was a salad, with carrots, dates and cara cara oranges. The sweetness of the dates went well with the saltiness of the dressing; really refreshing. We had never heard of cara cara oranges before. They look like mini grapefruits with a sweet, but tangy zing. You learn something new everyday!

Next up was a take on french onion soup. I forgot to take a picture of this one before I dug in, but it had caramelized onions in a dark, rich broth with a cute little crostini on top. Nothing really compares to real french onion soup, but they did a nice job trying.

The main was both of our favorites. They made us qunioa and crumbled smoked tempeh filled cabbage rolls in a tomato sauce, with a side of homemade potato perogies with roasted pearl onions and a cashew sour cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again. I think I am going to make crumbled tempeh everyday for the rest of my life now…

Of course we were absolutely stuffed by the end of this course, but there is always room for dessert right?! We had pecan pie with coconut ice cream, dragon fruit, and mint syrup. Probably the best pecan pie I have ever had, but would have been that much better if they had served it warm. Maybe next time?

Overall it was a great experience, with even greater company. I definitely recommend it to all vegans, veggies, flexis, and foodies alike. It’s a place for anyone who is in the Ottawa area and wants a yummy plant-based meal with a fancy, gourmet twist. Thanks again Dominic!

Quickie Quinoa Stir Fry

I have been SO busy lately it’s crazy. Two weeks ago I was just your average natural foodie, dreaming of the day when I would start blogging about my recipes and get my plant-based career moving. I was taking so many pictures of food but not really doing anything with them. Fast forward to two weeks later…

Now I am working every day of the week, blogging, demo-ing locally made quinoa snack crisps, cleaning pulp off the ceiling, recipe creating at 6 am, making enough onion bread to always be smelling like onion bread, have a website in the works, and in my spare time shopping for industrial juicers and glass straws online and designing my business card. I am loving life right now, but with everything going on I can barely find time to make food for myself – sounds extremely ironic I know. One can only survive off smoothies and kale chips for so long (actually one can survive off of smoothies and kale chips nutritionally, but I love my variety and foods with texture).

So one night after an all-day juice grind, my body was craving a solid meal. It wanted protein, it wanted fiber, it wanted colour, and it wanted it NOW! I needed something quick and satisfying. There is nothing quicker and more satisfying than a stir fry. Stir frys are great because you never really need to follow a recipe. You can throw the kitchen sink in there and it will always taste delicious and nutritious. There are 3 components you need for the perfect stir fry:

1) Veggies – throw in whatever veggies you have in the fridge; roots, greens, night shades, whatever

2) Grains – quinoa is super easy and super fast to make. 12 minutes and you are done! It’s also a complete protein and high in fiber.

3) Protein – organic sprouted tofu is non-GMO, easy to digest and a good source of calcium.

It’s that simple. No recipe required, just plants. And soooo good. That’s what you call staying flexi.

Quickie Quinoa Stir Fry

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 package organic sprouted tofu, cut into chunks

2+ cups fresh veggies, chopped (I used onion, broccoli, red pepper, spinach, and kale)

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp sesame oil

cayenne pepper to taste

Directions:

– mix one cup quinoa and 1.5 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 12-15 minutes.

– while quinoa is cooking, heat a pan over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and onion (if using) and sautee for 2 minutes

– add rest of the chopped veggies and cook for 8-10 minutes, until veggies are tender. Add greens last

– stir in the cooked quinoa, tamari, and sesame oil.

– serve and enjoy!

Kale Chip Addicts Anonymous

I’m a sucker for chips. Those salty bites of pure bliss are sometimes just too hard to resist. The second that MSG touches my tongue I am a goner. Like any other addict, you can’t just stop at one. Those damn Lays people knew what they were talking about!

Thankfully, I have found my cure. Still a chip yes – but flexified. But unfortunately once an addict. always an addict. I introduce to you kale chips; my new drug of choice.

Cheezy Kale Chips

1 head of kale

1/2 cup cashews, soaked

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

– wash and dry kale. Break into chip sized pieces

– in a blender (magic bullet does the trick), blend together all other ingredients.

– pour mixture over kale, and mix with your hands until kale is all evenly coated.

– put kale on dehydrator racks or a baking sheet

– dehydrate for 3-4 hours in dehydrator OR bake at your oven’s lowest temperature for 3-4 hours (leave the oven door open a crack for moisture to escape)

– enjoy!

* WARNING CONSUMPTION OF KALE CHIPS MAY CAUSE IMPROVED HEALTH AND OVERALL WELLBEING.

Peanut Butter Love Cups

It’s that special day of the year again (heart eyes emoticon)! As taboo as it is, this is my favorite holiday. I’m just so full of love!

As the hopeless romantic that I am, just like all other women in the world, there is nothing better than getting a sweet box of chocolates from your honey bunny. There is just something about eating a chocolate out of a heart-shaped box guilt free and not having to feel like a big fat piece of poop. Oh but wait a second. You always DO end up feeling like a big fat piece of poop because those chocolates you are eating aren’t actually chocolate, they are processed sugar, caramel colouring, poly-chemical pieces of death wrapped up in pretty red foil wrappers.

So all you men out there, you’re right about getting us chocolates for Vday, but how about this year you get us the real thing? Or even better make it (made with love converts into love making). I’m talking about REAL raw cacao. Some benefits?

– highest food source of antioxidants

– super high in magnesium. That’s why us women crave this stuff around that time of the month-the magnesium soothes cramps and gets rid of the headaches.

– prevents heart disease, promotes a healthy heart…especially around Valentine’s Day!

These peanut butter love cups are like Cupid’s crack. Make them for that special someone and they will instantly fall in love…

Peanut (or any other nut) Butter Love Cups

1/3 cup cacao butter

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cacao powder

1/4 cup raw honey + 1 tsp honey

2 tbsp natural peanut butter

1/8-1/4 tsp arrowroot powder (for thickening)

Directions:

– in a double boiler (pot with water, smaller pot inside pot of water over low heat) melt the cacao butter, coconut oil, cacao powder, and 1/4 cup raw honey together until smooth.

– using a popable ice cube tray, or mini muffin cups, spoon chocolate mixture into the cups just so each of the bottoms are covered. Freeze or refrigerate for 10 minutes.

– …meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together peanut butter, 1 tsp raw honey, and arrowroot powder together until you are able to roll the peanut butter in your hands with out sticking all over the place.

– take chocolate out of freezer, and place a small amount of peanut butter into each of the cups. Pour the rest of the chocolate mixture over cups, until peanut butter is completely covered.

– freeze for another half hour.

– put them in a pretty box and give them to a special someone.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Irish Coffee Flexi Style

I don’t know about all of you, but for me there is nothing more that I crave in the winter time than a hot cup of joe mid afternoon. There is just something so soothing about sitting by the fire at a winter cabin, or even at home on a Sunday afternoon with a good book, with a steaming mug of something warm and frothy. Especially with these new Nespresso machines that all of my friends seem to have, I just can’t seem to resist my afternoon treat. It’s always nice to take a few minutes to recollect your thoughts for the last half of the day – just you and your mug of something good. What’s even better, on those special occasions like Christmas brunch, or a Sunday afternoon with a good book…is making a sweet, creamy Irish Coffee. But since going flexi and learning that an Irish Coffee has over 200 calories in it (half of those from fat) and is made of acid forming coffee, whiskey, and brown sugar and topped with a dollop of constipating whipped cream I now realize that I need a new drink of choice. Or do I…

Now I could always drink herbal tea every afternoon for the rest of my life, but I am a woman of indulgence! There is nothing that I can’t turn flexi. Nothing I tell you! I used a coffee substitute called Dandy Blend and added lacuma powder and maca, which both have caramel flavours and loads of health benefits. Lacuma powder is low on the glycemic index and is a great source of minerals, and maca is a powerful adaptogen (helps you adapt) and balances hormones. Add a touch of coconut syrup for sweetness and a dash of irish moss to make it Irish, and you’ve got yourself an Irish Coffee!

So here you have it folks, my take on an Irish Coffee. Enjoy your own this afternoon – I know I will.

Irish Coffee

1 cup hot water

2 tsp dandy blend

2 tsp lacuma powder

2 tsp hemp seeds

1 tsp maca

1 tsp coconut syrup

1/2 tbsp Irish Moss

1/4 nut milk

dash of cinnamon

Directions

– put everything except for nut milk in a blender and mix well.

– steam/froth the nut milk with a milk frother if you have one. Otherwise, just add to mixture.

– pour mixture into a mug, and dollop with frothy milk.

– enjoy 🙂

Juicing Without A Juicer

There has been so much interest in my Flexi Juice Cleanse Services! I just sort of started it for fun but now I think I am going to need an industrial sized juicer soon. Is it humanly possible to make 116 juices in one day? That is my goal for Monday. But until then let’s think back to when I didn’t own a juicer (or a vitamix)…

How to juice WITHOUT a juicer.

Equipment

– blender

nut sack or mesh bag or nylon sock

– large bowl

– large bowl

– straw (preferably glass)

1. Put all your veggies in a blender and add about 1 cup of water.

2. Puree that baby for about 2 minutes until it is nice and liquified.

3. Pour mixture into your nut sack over large bowl.

4. Milk that puppy dry.

Use the leftover pulp in homemade muffins, crackers, and dips!

5. Pour juice into glass and slurp it back with your glass straw.

Green Juice

Veggies: kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, aloe, apple, pear, lemon, ginger

1 cup water

If you want to do a raw juice cleanse without any of the work send me an email/tweet for more info! Stay tuned for my post next week on all the reasons why you have to do my juice cleanse. Have a great weekend everyone and remember stay flexi!