Category Archives: Beverages

What’s Been Cookin’ (And A Tasty Protein Shake)

It’s about time I shared with you the main reason for me being so inconsistent and sporadic with my posts these days (by the way, A BIG thank you to many of you who have written asking me ‘what’s up?’).

Well, I am thrilled to announce that I have gone back to school! 🙂 CSNN study booksNot as a teacher, as some of you would suspect (I work as an occasional school teacher in my small town). I am back to school as a student and loving every minute of it. It really feels good to hit the books once again. Most importantly, it feels good to finally work on completing something I started nearly 15 years ago.  By the end of 2015, I hope to have earned my certificate in Holistic Nutrition from The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Yay!!

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. ~ Earl Nightingale

I do realize that earning my Holistic Nutrition Certificate may involve some blood, sweat and tears, but I’m up for the challenge. At 45 years of age, it’s been some time since I’ve had to take tests and write reports. Thankfully, my busy family is on board and they are giving me all the love and support I need to fulfill my goals.

I have many interests and hobbies and one of them is this food blog. While I study, I will continue to post all the delicious gluten-free and plant-based dishes that are palate-approved by my family and friends. However, for the next little while my posts will be a little “here and there”. If time goes by between posts, as it so easily does, please know that I will be back!

If you haven’t already done so, I would love for you to like my Facebook page. I tend to use Facebook to share tidbits of interesting health and nutrition info, as well as recipes so worth trying. Lately, I’ve been inspired by the many vegan athletes fulfilling their dreams. You’ll see a few of those stories on my fb page, too.

Now…back to the books, but first I’ll whip up a shake.

PINEAPPLE PROTEIN SHAKE (from Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast)

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 cup filtered water (I used coconut water)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina*

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Ani Phyo, an award-winning chef and raw food guru,  says it will keep in your fridge for two days. I seem to drink it within minutes! 😉

* Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green algae. But don’t let that turn you away!  This superfood contains high amounts of protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. You can find it in many natural health food stores. I have seen it in powder form or in pressed tablets. I like to purchase it as a powder, so that I can add it to a variety of recipes. On its own, it tastes like seaweed.  If this is not your choice flavour, rest assure – you will not taste it in fruit smoothies like this one!!

Cheers!! 🙂

Pineapple Protein Shake

 

Shamrock Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

shamrock smoothie

SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE (inspired by Kriss Carr’s Greensicle Smoothie)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 small oranges, peeled
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 large handful organic kale leaves
  • 4 organic romaine leaves

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Cheers!!

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrock.

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring your bright, happy hours.

That stay with you all year-long.

Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

I read this quote not too long ago and I can’t agree with it more.

Last month, we were fortunate enough to abandon our not-so-nice Spring weather and drive nearly 3,000 kilometers to the sunny state of Florida.  I have an aunt that lives in a heavenly nook on the ocean in the Florida Keys.  Knowing we are avid travelers, my aunt has asked us several times to visit her – all the while enticing us with tales of iguanas, alligators, dolphins and some fabulous kayaking.  My husband and I finally decided earlier this Spring that June was the right time to pack up the family and pay my aunt a visit.

One of the first things we noticed when we finally pulled up to my aunt’s home was that she was surrounded by a splendid crop of palms and they were all lush with coconuts – beautiful, green coconuts!

Fresh, young, green coconuts are a true gem.  If you were to crack one open, you would find a nearly clear liquid that is mildly sweet, refreshing and fat-free.  This liquid is called coconut water.  Chock-full of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, coconut water is known in the tropics as a “natural sports drink” due to its ability to combat dehydration and heat stroke.  According to Bruce Fife, N.D., in his book Coconut Water for Health and Healing, coconut water has also gained popularity for its amazing “anti-cancer” and “anti-aging” properties.

With temperatures reaching the high 30s (Celsius),  you can imagine our excitement at having so many green coconuts right there within arms’ reach.

With some fruit smoothies and a kayak through the mangroves in mind, my husband, Dan, set out to harvest some coconuts.  This became a ritual each morning we were in the Keys.

Once cut from the tree, Dan would carefully cut off the top of each coconut.

He would then puncture a hole at the top.

The coconut water was finally poured into a large glass. We received nearly 2 cups from every coconut.

You may want to consider adding coconut water to your water bottle before your next outdoor adventure or workout.  Compared to commercial sport drinks and fruit juices, coconut water has far less sugar and contains more electrolytes and nutrients.

However, like most food products,  when choosing a brand of coconut water, it is very important to read the label of the product carefully.  Some brands do contain added sugar, artificial flavourings, and preservatives which make it no better than a flavoured drink.  Look for a brand that is “not from concentrate”.  You should find one in your local health food store and in the natural foods section of your grocery store.  It may cost a little more, but so worth it!

Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman Triathlete and formulator of Vega products, uses coconut water as the base ingredient in many of his sport drinks recipes.  One of our personal favourites is Brazier’s Classic Lemon Lime Sport Drink (from his book, Thrive Fitness).  Along with a full water bottle, my daughter likes to take this drink with her to the ice rink for training.  It’s super easy to make – just blend all ingredients together in a blender.  If you enjoy a sweeter drink, try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup. 😉

  • 2 large Medjool dates
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • juice from 1/4 lime
  • sea salt to taste

sportsdrink

Pear and Almond Smoothie

pearsmoothie

I have to share this smoothie!  We have made this smoothie every morning this week before school or work and I just made it again for myself this afternoon.  We are a little addicted.

The original recipe comes from  Wanigan Organic Fruits and Vegetables in Brampton, Ontario. Last weekend, I had my husband make a stop there for some fruits and veggies before his trek home.  This store has the best variety and the most gorgeous looking produce you will ever see!  On the back of his receipt, we found this smoothie recipe.  I made one little substitution and one wee addition.  I replaced the teaspoon of vanilla extract with a 1/2 scoop of Vanilla SunWarrior Protein Powder and added some grated nutmeg.  So, chai-like!

PEAR AND ALMOND SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 chopped pear
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (I used a raw almond butter)
  • 1/2 scoop of Vanilla SunWarrior Protein Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • bit of grated nutmeg or dash of ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  I enjoyed my last glass with a couple of ice cubes on my deck. 🙂

Sunday Morning Sunshine Smoothie

I’m just finishing off day 7 of the SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox.  This is a 28-day cleanse written by Ottawa’s own Natasha Kyssa, a raw foods chef and healthy lifestyle coach.  This is my third time in the past year that I have tried this cleanse and I must admit that each time it gets easier.  This time is particularly fun because my sister and sister-in-law are doing the same cleanse.  Not to mention, we are 3 out of 40 plus members of one very enthusiastic support group.

I was feeling great all last week until Friday night rolled around.  I was sitting at the ice rink (like I do every Friday night) watching my daughter skate when suddenly my throat started to ache.  My immediate response was to blame this on the kindergarten class I had been teaching all week.  A few of the little ones had pretty bad colds.  I was so upset!  I thought I was finally over the winter “hump” and the likelihood of getting sick now was next to nil.  I have had a good winter and I am very proud to say that I’ve been able to fight off the number of colds and flu bugs that have made their way throughout our small community.  To get a cold or the flu now just seemed cruel!

By the time my daughter had finished skating and we made the 50 minute trek back home, my nose was running like a tap, my throat was on fire, and I was nearly in tears.

Thankfully, this brief episode of being ill was short-lived.  Today, I feel so energetic! I can’t remember the last time I had so much energy.  I am now wondering if the symptoms I was experiencing was a reaction to my body releasing toxins.  Napping and lots of water probably lessened the severity of my symptoms.

The sun was not shining this morning, but I felt cheery.  I decided that after my wheatgrass shot and mug of fire water that I would make a delicious tropical drink that the whole family could enjoy.

This smoothie was perfect for our lazy Sunday morning.  I found the recipe in Judita Wignall’s “Going Raw” book which has been parked on my kitchen counter since day 1 of this detox (her new book is on my wish list).   It was my husband’s idea to add the lemon and lemon rind giving this smoothie a refreshing taste and altering the hue to a beautiful shade of yellow.  I purchased the coconut meat from Wanigan Organics during my last visit to Toronto.

coconutsmoothie

SUNSHINE SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup coconut meat
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • about 1/8 of organic lemon and lemon rind (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup ice

Process in high-power blender until smooth.  Satisfying and refreshing.

Looking forward to week 2! 🙂

Gingerbread Cocktail

I know it’s late, but I just couldn’t go to bed without posting this drink!  I am so excited – Christmas in a martini glass!

cocktail

After a long afternoon of mixing, rolling, cutting and baking gingerbread dough, my girls thought it would be nice to sit together to watch a Christmas movie.  I thought that was a super idea, so I promptly began working on snacks and drinks for some good television viewing.

I heated 6 cups of organic apple cider on the stove and added some sliced ginger root (2 tablespoons),  2 cinnamon sticks, mandarin zest (a little tricky – I had no oranges!), fresh lemon juice (1 teaspoon) and 1 teaspoon of agave syrup.   My one daughter has been fighting a cold all week and I am very determined to keep her healthy for the holidays, so the ginger root was added to boost her immune system.  I let this spiced cider simmer for about 30 minutes while I whipped up some guacamole.

I decided on something extra special for us adults.  I cooled 2 cups of the cider in a glass pitcher with a few bits of ice.  I then added 1 cup of coconut water and 2 cups of chilled sake. 

In a small bowl, I mixed together 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (the extra will be used in tomorrow’s baking).  Using an open mandarin slice, I rubbed the rim of a couple of martini glasses then dipped each in the bowl of coconut sugar and cinnamon.  I filled our glasses with the cider and sake and my gingerbread cocktail was born!

What is sake?  Sake is an alcoholic beverage originating from Japan.  Made from fermented rice, sake is natural and so rich in amino acids.  It is not distilled and it is not processed.  Check out these sites to learn more about sake and its health benefits http://www.learnaboutsake.com/2009/05/health-benefits-of-sake.html and http://www.sake-world.com/html/sake-faqs.html .

If you are in the mood for a cocktail, I suggest you try some Japanese sake.  It pairs so well with a variety of fruit juices.  Need some recipes?  Take a look at Sarma Melngailis’ sake cocktails in her books, “Living Raw Food” and “Raw Food real world”.   Cheers!