Dandi Blueberry Beet Smoothie (Your liver will love you!)

 blueberry beet smoothie-dandelion greens

I don’t know about you but I just LOVE this time of year! One of my favourite things about it is that I get back into my smoothie routine now that the warmer weather has returned. I have found that living so far up north, eating seasonally has been the way to go for me and I much prefer eating warm foods for breakfast during the winter months. Now that the dandelion greens are appearing all over my backyard, it’s truly time!! I was actually just really disappointed realizing I was out of spinach for my smoothie and while looking outside, I suddenly remembered why I don’t typically buy greens for my smoothies in the summer… They grow all over my backyard. Thanks to Beverley Gray and her book “The Boreal Herbal, Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North” I have had the chance to discover many wild options for my smoothies. That’s what inspired today’s recipe, a dandelion, blueberry, beet & mango smoothie. If you’re picking your own dandelion greens, make sure to pick them away from high car traffic areas (to avoid exhaust fumes) and dog walking trails (you can probably imagine why!). If you can’t find them wild, you can often look at your local farmer’s market, or (if in Whitehorse, Yukon) at Riverside Grocery.

Dandelion leaves tend to be slightly bitter but I found they were very well balanced by the sweetness of the mango, blueberries and beets. Dandelion greens and beets are both liver supportive foods, making this an excellent choice in case you’ve chosen to indulge over the long weekend!

Dandy Blueberry-Beet Smoothie (Your liver will love you!)
 
Your liver will love you!
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Ingredients
  • ½cup frozen mango
  • 1cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 small beet (or ½ a larger one)
  • handful of dandelion greens (about ½ cup)
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1tsp honey/maple syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in high speed blender* for 60-90 seconds, until smooth.
  2. *If using a regular blender, lightly steam beets first.

Homemade Therapeutic Bath Salts (Oh, so simple!)

Therapeutic Bath Salts

Therapeutic baths have long been my go-to when it comes to self care and keeping myself happy & healthy. This particular recipe is, hands down, my absolute favourite.  I came across this detoxifying bath recipe in this book while attending a hydrotherapy course, and it has long been a staple in my self care routine. I personally tend to easily get run down (less and less now that I'm figuring out which foods I'm sensitive to!) but I have found this recipe to be indispensable when going through a stressful time, experiencing fatigue or simply wanting to start or finish my day on the right foot.

Therapeutic Bath Salts-2These therapeutic bath salts call for very simple ingredients that you will easily find at your local health food shop, or drug store. Sea salt, epsom salt, and baking soda, easy peasy. Chances are you may have what you need already! Epsom salts have traditionally been used in baths to help with arthritic pain and nervous tension, and thanks to their high magnesium content, they're ideal for cramping or muscular pain. Sea salts promote detoxification, and act as a tonic, while baking soda has the reputation to ease a wide variety of skin ailments. I typically use a full recipe per bath, but I suggest cutting the recipe in half the first time you try it, as it can be quite detoxifying. As it draws toxins from the body, it can create uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches or nausea if we don't drink enough water to keep up with the detoxification process. I would recommend drinking 500ml-1L of water while in the bath, and keeping the water warm (98º-104ºF), rather than super hot.

Therapeutic Bath Salts

Homemade Therapeutic Bath Salts
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1½ cup Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Mix all three ingredients well
  2. Add to running bath water
  3. Soak and relax for 15-20 minutes. Don't forget to hydrate♥

   Light some beeswax candles, focus inwards, and breathe deeply… Enjoy♥

Safety First! Caution- Epsom salt baths are not advised for high blood pressure, or any other cardiovascular issues.  If you have any health conditions, or are on medications, it is always wise to consult your health care practitioner before engaging in any new detoxification routines to ensure it is a proper fit for you. For example, hot baths are not advisable for pregnant women, or for people with hypertension. Ask your doctor or naturopath about your health concerns, after all, the best prevention is through education!

References – “Modern Hydrotherapy for the Massage Therapist” by Marybetts Sinclair

                                                       

Sweet Magic Vegan Caramel Sauce

Vegan Caramel Sauce
All you need is two ingredients, and two minutes… Magic indeed. 
(vegan, dairy free, gluten free, paleo) 

Regular caramel sauce typically calls for sugar, heavy cream, and butter. Luckily, I found one that calls for two, much healthier ingredients. I call this sauce magic because I unexpectedly created it as I was attempting to make granola bars. The recipe called for brown rice syrup, and I didn’t have it, so I used maple instead. Turns out maple syrup is much, much sweeter than rice syrup. My partner sometimes gently pokes fun at me because I pretty much always, (someway, somehow) change the recipe I’m working with. Often, it is out of necessity due to allergies, sometimes to “healthify” the recipe, and sometimes, probably just cause I like the thrill. Sadly, this sometimes leads to a disaster headed for the compost pile, and sometimes, a few tears. Every now and then, however, I come across a result that is so delightfully delicious that I giggle to myself that I mayjust be a a freakin’ culinary genius. This was one of these instances. I actually didn’t finish making the granola bars, because I took a long break to enjoy it over a bowl of my homemade coconut milk ice cream (yes, I’ll share the recipe with you someday!)

Pecan Vegan Caramel Sundae

 I used homemade pecan butter, but you can use any kind of nut butter for this recipe. As I very recently bought these organic pecans, and did not have time to soak & dehydrate before making this, I simply roasted the pecans at 350 for 5 minutes, and allowed them to cool before whipping them up into nut butter in my nutri-bullet. I have to say, hands down, it is my favourite lil kitchen tool, mostly because of it’s size! The idea of cleaning a huge blender is a bit daunting sometimes, so the nutri-bullet is ideal to make things in smaller batches, efficient and easy to clean. Definitely a big help when living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying a whole food based diet!

Sweet Magic Vegan Caramel Sauce
 
Two ingredient caramel sauce, takes less than five minutes to make!
Author:
Recipe type: Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, paleo
Cuisine: Healthy Desert
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Pecan Butter (or any nut butter)
  • ⅓ cup Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. Place the nut butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until fully combined. Once it bubbles, reduce heat and keep stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and enjoy over a desert of your choice. Use right away as it hardens as it cools.
  2. Store any leftover sauce in a glass jar or container and keep in fridge. Place container in hot water when ready to serve to allow caramel to soften up again.

Pecan Vegan Caramel

Tantalizing Chocolate Hazelnut Vegan Cheesecake

Tantalizing Chocolate Hazelnut “Cheese”Cake

(vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, hedgehog inspired)

Chocolate Hazelnut Vegan Cheesecake

As a child, I was literally obsessed with Nutella. Although I was trying to mimick the flavour of Nutella, it turned out tasting more like hedgehog chocolates, which, lets be honest, are so much better. So I hope you enjoy! This decadent vegan cheesecake is rich in healthy fats, minerals & protein. You would never guess there isn’t a lick of cream cheese in this chocolate hazelnut vegan cheesecake!

Raw, Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut cake, dairy free, gluten free

Tantalizing Chocolate Hazelnut “Cheese”Cake
(vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, hedgehog inspired)

Ingredients for Crust:
– 1 cup hazelnut
– 1 cup dates
– ¼ cup raw cacao powder
– Pinch of sea salt

Ingredients for Cake Filling
 – 1½ cup cashews (soaked for 4+hrs & drained)
– 2 lemons, juiced
– 1/3cup coconut oil
-1/3cup raw cacao
– 1/3cup hazelnut butter
1/3cup maple syrup
-sea salt, pinch
– 1tsp ground vanilla beans or the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean or 1tsp vanilla extract
– water (2-6tbsp)

Prep: Soak cashews for 4+hrs (or overnight) and drain before using.

Making the crust: Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor such as the Ninja blender or the Vitamix blender and pulse until everything sticks nicely together. Press crust firmly & evenly on the bottom of a springform pan or saran wrap lined pie plate and set aside.

Making the cake filling: Add all ingredients (except water) to your high speed blender or food processor, and scrape down edges as needed. Add 2tsbp water and blend some more. In my experience, adding a lil extra liquid allows everything to mix more efficiently in the blender, resulting in a smoother cake. Add up to 6tbsp of water as needed. Once filling has reached it’s desired consistency, pour over the crust, and spread evenly. Freeze until solid. When ready to serve, allow cake to thaw for 30min-1hour  (I prefer it softer myself, but it makes a nice frozen treat as of 30min)

              

Make Your Own Protein Powders & Nut butters!

Make Your Own Protein Powders & Nut Butters! 

Protein Powders - Almond flour, pumpkin seed powder, hazelnut powder

Over the last year, nuts & seeds have literally changed my perspective on cooking & the way I eat. Integrating them in my every day diet helped me realize that living a healthier lifestyle is about finding healthier alternatives rather than depriving yourself. They have proven to provide the most versatility when it comes to recreating my favourite comfort foods (without dairy or gluten!). Today I will be sharing with you the importance of soaking raw nuts & seeds before eating, and the how-tos when it comes to making protein powders & nut butters.

According to Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions: Soaking nuts & seeds allows vitamin B & carotene levels to rise. This process also neutralizes phytic acid (a subtance found in nuts, seed & grains, that binds to minerals, metals & other nutrients and removes them from the body; it particularly interferes with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper & zinc.) Soaking also encourages enzyme inhibitors to be neutralized, allowing better digestion & absorption.

Many protein powders available on the market are loaded with additives, sweeteners & artificial flavours, so it’s very important to read through the ingredient list before choosing a product. The best I ever came across was a pumpkin seed protein powder that I found at the sweet lil health food shop I work at. I loved it so much I decided to make my own! Turning nuts & seeds into  protein powders  or nut butters proves to be an easy, nutritious way to sneak more protein, healthy fats, minerals (and flavour!) in your diet.

Directions for soaking & dehydrating nuts: Soak 1 part raw nuts or seeds of your choice in 2 parts clean, filtered water (4-12hrs). Strain and place on baking sheet in a single layer. If you have a dehydrator, use it. Allow 12-24hours of drying time. If you do not have a dehydrator, heat in oven over lowest temperature, ideally under 150°F (many ovens can be set lower, refer to your manual). Most ovens typically go down to 170°F, allow 6-8hrs of drying time (or longer, until totally dry).
Make sure they are completely dry, as any leftover moisture could allow mold to develop.

Ingredients 
1 cup of nuts or seeds of your choice (soaked & dehydrated)

To make your own protein powders, simply use a high speed blender or food processor. I have gotten the job done using a Nutri Bullet, an Omega J8006 Nutrition Center & Juicer, a Ninja Blender, and a food processor. Add nuts or seeds & to blender or food processor and blend on high until a fine powder is created, stop to scrape by the sides as needed. Be mindful not to over blend, as it will turn into nut butter before you know it! Store in a clean, dry jar or container & refrigerate.

5 ways to add extra nutrients to your diet using protein powders:
– Use in smoothies & shakes
-Add flavour to healthy deserts (chocolate hazelnut anyone?!)
-Add to soups & curries
– Add to your oatmeal or morning cereal
-Sprinkle over salads

Protein Powders - Almond, Pumpkin Seed & Hazelnut

Protein Powders – Almond, Pumpkin Seed & Hazelnut

To make nut/seed butter: Using a high speed blender or food processor, (all the equipment mentioned above also worked great for this.) Add nuts or seeds to blender and blend on high, stopping to scrape down the edges with a spatula, blend until a rich creamy butter is created. Store in a clean, dry jar or container & refrigerate.

5 ways to add extra nutrients to your diet using nut & seed butter: 
– Use to thicken smoothies & shakes
– Spread over rice cakes or celery sticks or an apple for a quick, nutritious snack
– Add to soups & curries
– In salad dressings & sauces
– Add flavour & extra nutrients to deserts

Nut Butters - Almond, Pumkpin Seed & Hazelnut

Almond Butter, Pumpkin Seed Butter & Hazelnut Butter

 

 

Outta This World Chocolate & Vanilla Dairy Free Ice Cream Bars

Outta This World Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream Bars 

(raw,vegan,dairy free)

Dairy Free Ice Cream

What can I say… I have a soft spot for ice cream! It’s one of those things I can rarely resist… I’ve been trying to eliminate processed food from my diet, but I’m having a hard time kissing my “Häagen-Dasz habit” goodbye…! I figured that if I couldn’t kick the habit, I would simply have to become a kitchen magician and invent a super healthy- yet out of this world delicious alternative…  And seven ingredients later, I did.
These dairy free ice cream bars turned out rich, creamy, and oh so delicious. 

Dairy Free Ice Cream


Outta This World Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream Bars
(Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Paleo, Raw)
1cup cashews (soaked for 4+hrs)
3tbsp hemp hearts*
1½cup water
½lemon, juiced
¼cup maple syrup
2tbsp raw cacao powder
4dates
1tsp ground vanilla beans or the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean or 1tsp vanilla extract

*optional (recipe will work without these, but add extra cashews)

Instructions: Allow cashews to soak for 4+hrs, strain and rinse. Add cashews, hemp hearts, water, lemon juice, maple syrup and vanilla bean powder to blender. Blend on high until very smooth. Pour approximately 1/2 of this mixture into a measuring cup, and set aside. Add raw cacao powder & dates to remaining mixture, and blend until smooth. Fill ice pop molds, alternating between vanilla & chocolate mixture. Use toothpick or popsicle stick to create swirl effect, or leave layered… Freeze for 4 hours & ta-da! Oh, and… You’re welcome 😉

Vanilla Vegan Ice Cream Bars, Cashew Ice cream, Healthy desert Chocolate vegan ice cream, healthy desert, cashew ice creamVanilla Vegan Ice Cream Bars, Cashew Ice cream, Healthy desert, bpa free

Chocolate Vanilla Vegan Ice cream bars, cashew ice cream, healthy desert
Get your BPA FREE ice pop makers here:

      

Eat Your Greens! Kale & Swiss Chard Chips

Eat Your Greens! Kale & Swiss Chard Chips

 Let’s face it… We all need to eat more greens! It has been a mission of mine to try and sneak them into pretty much just about anything- from smoothies, to frozen yogurt, to any main course… I discovered kale chips a few years ago, and it was love at first bite. I had an abundance of chard that year and decided to experiment, resulting in some equally-if-not-more delicious chips! I had heard that the best way to make them was with a dehydrator, and since I didn’t have one, I tried my luck using the oven. I experimented with different temperatures- most recipes I found called for baking them on 350° for a short period of time, but I found mine often browned or nearly burnt… I discovered that by baking them slowly at the lowest temperature for a little over an hour, they retain their beautiful rich green colour and always turn out crisp, flaky and delicious. All that’s required from you is… a little patience!

Gotta love that kale!

Gotta love that kale!

This cancer-figthing vegetable belongs to the Cruciferae family, and is a well known for it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Kale is bursting with nutrients, and it’s no wonder it has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. It has been known to regulate estrogen, ward off many kinds of cancer, protect against heart disease & regulate blood pressure. Kale is higher in calcium than milk, and also contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, many B vitamins, Vitamin E, vitamin K, and many phytochemicals.

Love me some swiss chard!

Love me some swiss chard!

Swiss Chard is a member of the beet family, known to improve digestion & increase energy levels. Chard is high in calcium, and other nutrients include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, maganese, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, vitamin E, folate, as well as phytochemicals alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, quercetin & chlorophyll.

 

Red Chili & Garlic Kale Chips

Red Chili & Garlic Kale Chips

 

Red Chilli & Garlic Kale Chips
1 large head of kale
3tbsp olive oil
2clove garlic, minced
1/2tsp maple syrup
1/8tsp red chilli flakes
1/4tsp sea salt

Honey Ginger & Sesame - Swiss Chard Chips

Honey Ginger & Sesame – Swiss Chard Chips

 

 

 

 Sesame, Honey & Ginger Swiss Chard Chips
1 large head of Swiss chard
3tbsp sesame oil
1/2tsp honey
1tsp sesame seeds
1clove garlic
1in p. ginger
1tsp braggs, tamari or shoyu

 

Wash kale & chard, dry well with paper towel, it is important for the greens to be dry. Gently tear leaves off  of the stocks. Whisk together oil & other ingredients in a small bowl. Apply a light layer of  to each leaf, using a pastry brush or clean hands. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake at 150-170°F (depending on your oven’s lowest setting) for 60-75minutes, until the chips are completely dry and crispy. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy♥

photo 2

With love♥

Sparkling Summer Spritzers

Sparkling Summer Spritzers

Fanny CASA-3

 Refresh and cool down with these easy to make spritzers! Conventional soft drinks are laden with high fructose corn syrup, and can have negative effects on our health over time. We all should really be aware that most corn products are genetically modified. From my perspective, there hasn’t been enough studies done on the potential negative effects of eating GMO foods, therefore I am not convinced that it’s something I want to be putting in my body. Sugar beets (which they use for white sugar) also fall in the same category. My favourite sweeteners are organic coconut sugar, maple syrup & honey. Stevia is another good option, agave has had much good and bad rap over time so it’s never become one of my go-tos. I think if you get really high quality and it has been processed in a careful manner, it may be a good option. Poor processing can turn a great product into, well a crappy one (pardon my French.) Ok now, enough about my sugar rant… Lets talk Spritzers!

I stopped drinking pop many moons ago, however but sometimes I do miss the sparkle… That’s when I turn to these spritzers! You can really get creative here and make your own combinations. This can also be done to spruce up regular H20! Hydration is key.

 Morrocan Mojito  Moroccan Mojito (Mocktail)
– 1/2 organic lime, juiced

– 2-3 slices of organic lime
– 1sm. handful fresh moroccan mint
– 2tsp coconut sugar or maple syrup*
– 6-8 ice cubes
– Soda water or pure, filtered water
*optional

Muddle the fresh mint & lime juice & lime slices in a glass (if you don’t have muddler, the top end of a wooden spoon will do the trick). This allows the mint flavour to really come through. Add ice, slices of lime, sweetener (if using) & soda water or water. Garnish with fresh lime. Moroccan mint can be substituted with any other fresh mint.

orange blush

 

Orange Blush
– 1 organic orange, juiced
– 1/4 cup fresh or frozen organic raspberries
– soda water or pure, filtered water
– ice, if using fresh berries

Juice orange, add raspberries, ice (if using) & soda water. Garnish with fresh orange slices

 

 

splash

 

Cucumber Blueberry Basil Splash
– 1/8cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
– 1sm. handful fresh basil
– 2tsp organic coconut sugar or maple syrup*
-6-8 ice cubes
– 4 slices organic cucumber
soda water or pure, filtered water
*optional

Mash the blueberries & fresh basil with a muddler (if you don’t have one, the top end of a wooden spoon will do the trick) Add coconut sugar or maple syrup (if using), ice, slices of cucumber, and soda water or water. Garnish with fresh cucumber slices.

Spritz

Himalayan Salt Baths – Benefits & Uses

Heavenly Himalayan Bath Salts

DSC_0807

Himalayan salts have long been used in baths as a way to rejuvenate & recharge the body.  Traditionally, they were used as a general tonic, known for their relaxing & detoxifying properties. Originating from deep in the himalayan mountains, they contain 84 minerals & trace elements. These nutrients are present in ionized form, which allows them to be easily absorbed and utilized by the body.

I love himalayan salts for their gentle detoxifying properties; the ionic trace minerals found in these salts allow toxins to be released via osmosis. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and is considered to be an important organ of elimination. Therapeutic baths encourage the skin to release built up toxins and help reduce acidity in the body, The alkalizing minerals affect the pH by entering the bloodstream via the skin, encouraging the body to reach it’s optimal alkaline state. Pretty fascinating stuff if you ask me!

Ooh and another thing! These salts are rich in magnesium, the “relaxation mineral”.  Magnesium deficiency is quite common, and stems from depleted soils, consuming processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and excess sugar. Symptoms, to name a few, include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, headaches, brain fog, and pms. Now, I don’t know about you, but these are all things that I have found myself struggling with in the past… I have personally found these baths helpful for all of the symptoms listed above, among others. I’m not saying that all of these symptoms could only stem from a magnesium deficiency, but it’s definitely something worth being mindful of! It is important to include magnesium rich foods in the diet, and bathing in these salts can help maintain a proper magnesium balance in the body.

DSC_0812

These gorgeous rosy-hued gems create the perfect “at home spa”, they are definitely at the top of my list when it comes to my self care routine. Over time, I have experimented with numerous types of salts & home made detoxifying bath concoctions and I’ve narrowed it down to two faves. I will be sharing my other go-to recipe with you in a future post, I promise! Therapeutic baths are an indispensable part of my self care practice; the simple act of taking a moment to yourself to unwind is restorative within itself, add a warm sacred oceanic setting and the benefits are sure to be amplified! I find them so very useful when emotions run high, in times of stress, or when feeling drained & lethargic. They are my favourite go-to when my body feels stiff following an great yoga sesh or any other active adventures. They leave my skin feeling baby soft and GLOWING! I have used himalayan bath salts successfully for muscular & joint pain, pms, cramps, sluggishness & low energy. From an energy perspective, salt baths have been known to dispel negative or stagnant energy and strengthen energetic boundaries. If you are (like me), a highly sensitive individual, you may find these to be a saving grace on your journey… Take my word for it!

DSC_0808

To enjoy this bath, simply add 500g to a warm or hot bath (a warm bath is less challenging to the body, as it is easier to maintain core temperature than in a hot bath. However, hot temperatures are favourable for musculoskeletal pain). Take the next 20minutes to relax, soak, and meditate… Note – You can use anywhere from a handful to 1kg of salts per bath, I personally find 500g to be a good amount.

It is extremely important to drink plenty of clean, filtered water while in the bath… (1L is ideal) This will aid in flushing out toxins and help prevent symptoms such as headaches, chills & nausea to occur, as they can sometimes accompany any detoxification practice. (To be honest, I’ve learned the hard way, and I’d rather you didn’t… So drink your water!) Same rule applies whenever you treat yourself to a massage or any treatment that helps to eliminate toxins.

Fun tip – fill a jar with cool filtered water & add a few slices of one or more of the following – cucumber, sprigs of mint, basil, lime, lemon, berries, and drink liberally.

Safety First! Caution – If you have any health conditions, or are on medications, it is always wise to consult your health care practitioner before engaging in any new detoxification routines to ensure it is a proper fit for you. For example, hot baths are not advisable for pregnant women, or for people with hypertension. Ask your doctor or naturopath about your health concerns, after all, the best prevention is through education!

              

Celebrate Light!

Happy Solstice & International Yoga Day♥

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