Monday, May 30, 2016

Fresh Herb Quinoa Salad

Happy Memorial Day to my US friends and readers!
I hope you are taking time to enjoy your long weekend.

I'm totally loving cooking with herbs right now.

They are full of so many vitamins and antioxidants and they make ordinary food taste delicious.

My current favs are:

Parsley - full of disease fighting vitamins A & C (also amazing for your skin). I'm putting it on all of my salads and in my green smoothie - it makes it taste so fresh! Its also really good for your tummy!

Mint - contains fibre and iron (yes you read that correctly ;-). So perfect chopped with fruit or muddled in a ice cold summer drink. It is also very soothing and anti-inflammatory.

Dill - high in magnesium, calcium and potassium, dill is an essential summer herb - I love it in a basic cucumber and tomato salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh ground sea salt - yum.

The best way to get herbs? Plant your own herb garden! They take up very little space so they will fit on your balcony or porch, they are easy to maintain and if you don't use them for cooking you can always cut a fresh sprig or two for a vase making your kitchen smell so good. Lots of stores and garden centres already have herb gardens pre-made in pots you can buy - so easy - and cleaner than dealing with all that dirt!

Experiment for yourself - you will be amazed at the great flavour some fresh herbs will give whatever you are cooking. Chop them and sprinkle them on your salads, rice dishes, pasta and veggies. The possibilities are endless.

Today's Meatless Monday recipe is a Fresh Herb Quinoa Salad.

It is light, flavourful, full of clean protein, fibre and lots of vitamins. Perfect for an evening bbq or a sunny summer lunch. This recipe makes a big bowl so you make it for a party or keep the extras in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch - I like to put it over a bed of arugula day 2 to change it up a bit and get some greens.


"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow"
~Audrey Hepburn

Fresh Herb Quinoa Salad

serves 6-8
2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
handful of dill sprigs, roughly chopped
large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & fresh ground pepper

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Once it is done, let it stand for about 20 minutes or put it in the fridge to cool down. You can make the quinoa in advance so that it is completely chilled by the time you are ready to serve it but it also serves well at room temp.

Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, tahini and garlic to make the dressing.

In a large serving bowl combine the cooked quinoa, the beans, red onion and stir in the dressing made in the previous step. Add in sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Before serving mix in the chopped herbs and maybe a couple squeezes of lemon.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

My Fav Fast & Fun Cardio

Yes you read that correctly.

Fun and cardio aren't two words you usually associate with one another.

I have nightmares of spending a zillion minutes on a cardio machine getting nowhere. I totally look at the clock after what has seemed like 40 minutes only to find out its been 4. Ughhhh.

A good friend of mine inspired me to try something new for cardio and now I love it.

Jump rope.


  • it burns a ton of calories
  • its easy
  • its fun
  • its inexpensive
  • it improves cardio fitness and tones your body
  • it sculpts your legs, bum, shoulders and arms
  • you don't need to do it for very long
  • you can do it anywhere
  • you can easily travel with it
I use a good, lightweight jump rope, put on my running shoes, blare some tunes and jump rope for about 10 - 15 minutes a few times a week.  I like to do intervals to step it up a notch - 30 seconds of going as fast as I can and then regular/slow pace for a minute. 

That's it!

When the weather is nice, try it early in the morning outside with no music - and listen to the world wake up. 

"Those who don't jump will never fly..."

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chilled Sweet Matcha Latte

Its no secret I adore matcha tea.

It has so many amazing health benefits (read about all of them here).

I usually drink it straight up - only the powder and hot water which can taste a little bitter.

Its also not the greatest warm weather drink..

So I've found a new way to love matcha - a cool, refreshing latte.

This is so easy to make and super yummy.

Let me know if you like it in the comments below...


Chilled Sweet Matcha Latte

1 1/2 tsp matcha tea
2 Tbsp hot water (boiled but not boiling)
1 tsp pure maple syrup (you can sub with honey or agave)
1/4 tsp pure vanila extract
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
sprinkle of cinnamon

In the bottom of a large glass cup or mason jar whisk the matcha tea with the hot water.

Add in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and almond milk and stir really well.

Throw in a few ice cubes and sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Quick Crunchy Cherry Crisp

Happy Victoria Day to my Canadian readers! I hope you are enjoying this gorgeous long weekend.

As the days get longer and the temps get warmer we want to spend more time outside soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh air - its the best medicine you can get!

This leaves less time in the kitchen and therefore the need for simple quick dishes.

Today's recipe is a delicious cherry crisp. Its easy to make, gluten free, healthy and perfect to take to a weekend get together. Its also yummy to enjoy while sitting out in the late evening sun with a glass of wine or a tea.

So go out and soak up the sun - cheers to long weekends!


"I love that this morning's sunrise does not define itself by last night's sunset."
 ~Steve Maraboli

Crunchy Cherry Crisp

6 cups frozen cherries (organic if possible)
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
3/4 cup earth balance, melted

Pre heat the oven to 350.

Rinse the frozen cherries in a strainer and let them sit on the counter while you are mixing the rest of the ingredients.

Use a little Earth Balance to grease a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, flax seeds and sugar. Stir to combine. Pour the melted Earth Balance over the dry mixture and stir well.

Spread the cherries evenly out over the bottom of the pan. Top with the crisp mixture.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What is Matcha Tea and Why I Drink It Everyday

Matcha Tea is amazing.

  • 1 cup is the nutritional equivalent to drinking 10 cups of regular green tea
  • it is a hard core cancer and disease fighter
  • it has more antioxidants than goji berries, pomegranates and blueberries combined
  • it boots metabolism and burns calories
  • it helps the body naturally detox
  • it reduces inflammation
  • it calms your mind and increases concentration
So basically yes, you totally should be drinking it.

Matcha tea is in a powder form so you are actually consuming the entire tea leaf, not just the water that has been steeped in tea leaves like with regular brewed green tea. That's why it is so much higher in antioxidants. Studies have shown the antioxidants, particularly EGCg, in matcha tea especially effective for cancer prevention and reduced risk of heart disease.

Where do you buy Matcha Tea?
You can get matcha tea at your local heath food store, Whole Foods or search to order it online. Make sure you are buying "premium" or "ceremonial" as these are best for drinking. Also organic is preferred. If you see a bamboo whisk when you are buying the matcha buy it - you will use it to mix the powder with water. It isn't necessary but it does a better job mixing than a fork or spoon.

How do you make Matcha Tea?
Its easy. Boil water in your kettle and then let it sit and cool for about 5 minutes - you don't want to use boiling water as it will burn the tea. Put a teaspoon of matcha in the bottom of a large mug - I use a teaspoon of matcha but I worked my way up to that (the taste is going to be bitter) so you may want to start with half a teaspoon and go from there. Pour a little water in the mug to just cover the powder and then whisk it with your bamboo or wire whisk or a fork until it is like a paste. Then pour more water to fill the mug and stir. You may want to stir in a little natural sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup to start as the taste is going to be bitter but in time you will get used to it and you won't need the sweetener anymore. That's it! You will want to stir or swirl your mug as you are drinking it so that the powder doesn't collect at the bottom.

Keep in mind that Matcha tea does have caffeine (but doesn't come with coffee jitters) so if that keeps you up at night make sure to drink it earlier in the day. It is also quite strong - I like to have something to eat before drinking it but feel it out for yourself.

Be careful when ordering a Matcha drink at a coffee shop - most times they are made using a sweetened mixture that has tons of sugar and calories and actually isn't healthy at all (Starbucks). Ask if they use real matcha powder and what else is in the drink to make a healthy decision.

Stay tuned for more posts on my fav ways to enjoy Matcha.
"Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?"  
~Peter Pan

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Healthy Granola Bars

"Be careful when you blindly follow the masses...sometimes the "m" is silent"

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal stated that the FDA was working on changing their criteria of what makes food allowed to be labelled "Healthy".

Currently their standards are from 1994. YES! You read that correctly...1994.

Right now Pop Tarts and Frosted Flakes can be labelled "Healthy" but almonds, avocados and salmon would not be able to be labelled "Healthy".


The current (severely outdated) criteria takes into consideration fat amounts and if the food is fortified with vitamins. It does not have any regulations on sugar amounts - yet we know today that sugar is the main culprit of diabetes and obesity in our society.

Food like avocados and almonds do not qualify because they have too much fat - however we know now that it isn't about the amount of fat but rather the kind of fat. Avocado and almonds have good fats - ones that keep your brain healthy and your cholesterol low. They also have a zillion other vital vitamins and nutrients that definitely are NOT in pop tarts.

This is proof that terms like "Healthy" and "Natural" on food packages are often not the truth and are often more of a marketing tool than an aid to help you make good choices.

You need to be your own decision maker on what is "Healthy". Low sugar, whole, unprocessed foods closest to their natural state are your best options. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.

With this in mind today's recipe is for Healthy Homemade Granola Bars. They are low sugar, have no preservatives, are vegan and gluten free. They are super quick and easy to make, taste amazing and you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for up to a month.

They are loaded with fibre, omegas, zinc, antioxidants and magnesium.

You can also make them nut-free by using sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter.

I like to make a big batch and keep some in the freezer. They are my absolute favourite "to go" snack.

And I know they are truly "Healthy".


Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

2 cups gluten free oats
2 cups brown rice crisps cereal
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup roasted almond butter (I like the crunchy one)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup*
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle of sea salt

Line a 9x9 baking dish with two layers of parchment paper, large pieces so it is hanging out over the edges.

In a large bowl combine oats, brown rice crips, seeds, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sea salt.

In a small saucepan stir together the brown rice syrup, maple syrup and almond butter over medium heat until it is lightly bubbling and well combined. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.

Pour the warm mixture over the dry mixture and stir to combine. It will get a bit tough to stir but make sure everything is well mixed together.

Pour the combined mixture into the baking dish and put hot water on your hands to press it into the dish. Be  firm and make sure that the mixture is pressed hard into the dish and into all the corners.

Put the dish in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and use the parchment paper to take the now hardened mixture out of the pan. Cut it into bars any size you like. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap to keep them fresh and easy to take with you. Refrigerate for up to 1 week and freeze for up to 1 month.

*do not substitute the brown rice syrup as they will not turn out. You can buy it at your local health food store or at Whole Foods.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Why You Need Plants Inside Your Home...

Eating clean, whole unprocessed food is a great way to start the detoxification process on the inside.

But toxins aren't only inside our bodies, they are also inside our homes - cleaning products, furniture, carpet, flooring, electronics, cooking - there are so many things that cause indoor air pollution.

The answer to clearing up this indoor air? Plants.

So simple and so pretty.

Aside from being practical - they are also very trendy right now.

Look for easy to maintain plants in pots that compliment your decor. They don't have to be expensive or exotic. Take note of how much light they need when deciding where to put them. I water all of mine once a week. Super easy.

I keep a lot of plants in my office space in an effort to reduce the radiation emitted by my electronics. Also, since plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen - they are good to have around to keep me alert and clear headed.

Other great spots to put house plants are in the bedroom for peaceful, clean air rest and in the kitchen to clear some of the air from cooking.

Wondering which ones to buy?

Any type of palm (big or small), succulents, ferns, spider plants and banana leaf plants are rated the best for air purification. As a side note, if you enjoy fresh flowers (and who doesn't???) tulips and gerber daisies are the best for removing toxins from the air.

So get out there and bring some gorgeous plants home - they will look great and will keep your home a healthier place to live.

7 Naturally Detoxing Foods

Detox is a hot word.

And why not? It makes us feel like we are clearing out the "bad" stuff and going to be all fresh and clean - thin and glowing - which is awesome.

Here's the great news - our amazing bodies are already designed to detox everyday - without a juice fast or smoothies for dinner. Our kidneys, our liver, our digestive system - they all play a part in healthy detoxing all the time.

Now don't get me wrong - eating bags of bbq chips and chocolate milkshakes are NOT going to help the natural detox process along - much the opposite - they create clutter that slows the process down.

Healthy, whole, unprocessed foods will help your body detox more effectively - getting rid of unwanted toxins and free radicals.

Feeling like you need a little detox? Or you simply want to eat healthier and cleaner? Here are 7 Naturally Detoxing Foods...

"Do something today that your future self will thank you for"

1. Cabbage - its cleansing properties come from a high content of sulphur containing compounds that promote the elimination of potential carcinogens in the body. These compounds are destroyed by heat so for best detoxing benefits enjoy cabbage raw. My favourite way? Detox Cabbage Pear Salad - get the recipe here.

2. Brazil Nuts - these amazing nuts are full of selenium which is key in flushing mercury from your body. Selenium also plays a role in healthy thyroid function. Snack on 2 or 3 Brazil nuts a day.

3. Avocado - full of antioxidants and fibre, avocado's work well with the digestive and cardiovascular system to detox. Try it mixed with two other detoxing powerhouse foods - cilantro and olive oil for a yummy dip or dressing.

4. Cilantro - its natural oils promote digestion therefore working with your digestive system to easily eliminate unwanted toxins. Add it to salads for a fresh twist.

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - loaded with polyphenols EVOO reduces inflammation therefore allowing your body to work more effectively and efficiently. You don't need a lot - 1 or 2 Tablespoons daily does the trick.

6. Kale - is there anything this leafy green doesn't do? Rich in antioxidants (including vitamin K) kale reduces inflammation and works to detox your body on a genetic level.

7. Dandelion Tea - most of us think of the dandelion as a pest in our lawn, but turn that frown upside-down because dandelion tea has been know as "liver tonic" for hundreds of years. Dandelion tea is made up of the plants leaves and roots and works hard to detox your liver. Try a cup today - you can buy organic dandelion tea bags at your local grocery or health food store.

Detox Cabbage Pear Salad

Cabbage may not always be on the top of your list of fav foods - but it should be!

It had amazing compounds that work hard to detoxify your liver and your digestive system keeping you healthy, your skin clear and your energy levels high. 

Cabbage works best in your body when it is raw as heat can damage its detoxifying properties. 

Get more in your day by slicing it thin on your salad, making it into a slaw with grated carrots and apple cider vinegar or make this amazing Cabbage Pear Salad. 

This is a tart and sweet salad that has great crunch and is absolutely bursting with antioxidants - your body will totally thank you.

"Chew less"

Detox Cabbage and Pear Salad
1/2 head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 Bartlett pear, cored and sliced
1/3 cup sliced red onion 
1/2 cup raw, walnuts
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Whisk together the vinegar, evoo, maple syrup, lemon juice and mustard. 

Mix the cabbage, pear, walnuts and  red onion together in a large bowl and top with the whisked dressing - tossing to coat. Season with fresh ground sea salt and enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Spring Veggie Pasta Primavera

"I can't control everything in life, but I can control what I put in my body."

A creamy pasta is one of those foods that hits high on my "comfort food" list. I'm guessing certain foods do the same for you.

There is a real connection between eating something you love and how it makes you feel. Sometimes it is a meal from our childhood that makes us feel safe and loved or it might be a dessert we eat on special occasions that makes us feel happy.

If we were rewarded with sugar or chocolate as kids that will stay with us as a form of reward in adulthood.

Yes, this is a bit deep for Meatless Monday - but its real.

Instead of denying yourself these foods - which can be close to impossible and can lead to binging or drowning in your own personal pool of food guilt (I'm a current subscriber to the latter), you can make a healthier version as I have done here with this pasta primavera dish.

If its chocolate you crave - go with dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao) and have one square.

If its dessert, make it yourself - at least you can control what is actually in it unlike packaged foods full of preservatives.

If its chips or french fries (aka my personal food guilt menu item) make kale chips, sweet potato chips or baked homemade french fries in the oven. If you want to reward yourself with something - try a bath, a workout, a warm cup of tea, a new pair of shoes (my personal fav), a facial, a massage, a good book...

For today's recipe, instead of using cream and cheese, I've swapped them out with starchy pasta water and nutritional yeast (which is a natural, low calorie food that is bursting with B vitamins - helping convert carbs efficiently to energy).

The veggie used are all loaded with vitamin C - a healthy antioxidant for every system of your body.

I've also chosen brown rice pasta which is a great gluten free option that is easier to digest and is lower in sugars for your body to deal with.

The navy beans have a creamy texture and are full of protein and fibre (which helps naturally remove toxins).

Spring Veggie Pasta Primavera

1 lb brown rice spaghetti noodles
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1 handful of green beans, trimmed
3 large pieces of broccolini, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 cup canned navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 small handful of parsley, lightly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
sprinkle of crushed red pepper
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste


Cook the brown rice pasta al dente according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then rinse and drain. Set the cooked pasta and the pasta water aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper on low for 5 minutes. Add in the red pepper, zucchini, green beans, and broccolini and sauté  for 7-10 min on medium low.

Add in the cooked pasta, 1/2 a cup of the reserved pasta water and the nutritional yeast and continue to cook on low heat for about 5 minutes stirring the pasta and the veggies. The pasta may become difficult to "stir" - I used a pasta "claw" type of spoon to lift and move the pasta around so it didn't clump up. The pasta water the the nutritional yeast will begin to make a light creamy sauce. If the sauce gets too thick add more pasta water until you are happy with the consistency.

Mix in the beans and parsley and cook for a remaining 5 minutes on low.


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