Monday, December 31, 2012

A healthy start to a New Year

One thing is for sure- I certainly have not been posting enough. I like to blog because it keeps me inspired. It helps me to try new things. My goal for the year is 2 posts a month (I had originally thought of more- but I'm trying to be realistic!). 

In October I made a commitment to a pretty serious personal training package. I have been working with my inspiring and fun friend turned personal trainer about 4 times a week. I have always been an on-again/off-again type of person with fitness. My goal is to be someone that incorporates physical activity in my life long-term. I'm certain I can achieve this goal with Jessie's help. 

I know that what I put into my body really makes a difference in terms of how I feel. This year I hope to be more of a balanced eater. I hope to incorporate more regularly what I know makes a huge difference (superfood smoothies, raw salads). 

I wish all of my friends and family (and anyone else who may be reading this) so much health and happiness and peace in the New Year. Here is a recipe that I adapted from an amazing blog called "Green Kitchen Stories". It can help you to start you year off right and is very comforting and clean. 

Winter Stew
-1 T coconut oil
-1 sweet white onion, chopped
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 T ginger
-1 tsp minced garlic
-1/2 tsp chilli powder
-2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
-1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
-1 head of broccoli, cut into smaller florets 
-1 zucchini, sliced
-1/2 cup/3/4 cup of red lentils
-1 small can organic kidney beans
-1 large can whole plum tomatoes
-1 small can half fat coconut milk 
-1/2 cup of water

1) Sauté onion, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and chilli powder in coconut oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant in a deep pot. 
2) Add carrots and sweet potato and sauté for another 5 minutes. 
3) Add broccoli, can of tomatoes, water and red lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes on medium-low heat. 
4) Add zucchini and coconut milk and simmer for another 20 minutes or until everything is cooked. Add the beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking. 
5) Serve over brown rice, millet, quinoa or just eat as is. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy :) 

So much love in 2013! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Food for thought!

Super  Duper Superfoods!!!!!

David Wolfe is a raw food advocate and superfood enthusiast. He has found what he describes as 'the best food ever'. I have known about David for years and have been reading his books, going to see him speak live and incorporating some of his knowledge into my own life. For some reason, I have been listening to David so often these days. It's hard to listen to him speak and not be inspired. It's hard to listen to him talk about this superfoods and NOT want to consume them. I just thought I'd write a quick post with information about some of the amazing foods I've been consuming these days (some for years). One of the most amazing aspects about a lot of these products is that they are bioavailable. This means that your body doesn't have to break them down or work hard for you to absorb their amazing benefits. Most of them I consume as part of a smoothie. 

Chocolate
-Raw, unprocessed chocolate is one of David Wolfe's favourite things ever. It's very important that you buy high quality, organic, raw chocolate. It comes as beans, nibs, powder or paste. 
-Cacao is so so rich in antioxidants (much higher than red wine or berries). 
-It is also chalk full of important minerals and vitamins that we are often missing in our diet including magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper and vitamin c. 
-Cacao contains all essential omega-6 fatty acids. 
-Cacao makes you feel happy and contains 5grams of protein per tablespoon! 

Wild Chaga
-This is something I have JUST started consuming. Chaga is a mushroom that grows over the course of years on birch trees. 
-The kind I have I boil in water and drink as a tea. This base can also be used for smoothies. David Wolfe is obsessed with chaga. 
-It is also viewed as one of the best antioxidant sources in the world. 
-Chaga is anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. It helps with too many ailments to even list! 
-Chaga is an immune system strengthener. 
-Check out www.wildchaga.com for more information and for where to access this amazing product in Ontario. 

Maca
-Maca also has too many benefits to list. It is known as a strength and stamina enhancer and is also known to be libido-enhancing (never a bad thing!). 
-It is an adaptogen so it can balance and stabilize all different systems in the body. 
-It can improve anemia, fatigue, depression, malnutrition, menopausal symptoms,, stress tension and many other issues. 

 Marine Phytoplankton
-After hearing David speak many times about this product I just had to give it a try! I've just started out so I'll see how it goes. I put a drop under my tongue each morning. It tastes like the ocean. 
-Benefits: energy without stimulation, an improved immune system, decreased aches and pains, fewer cravings, normalizing blood sugar imbalances, improved memory, improved concentration, better sleep, more energy to start your day, improved digestions... (and the list goes on)...

Other products worth looking into...
-Chlorella
-Goji berries/ Goji & schizandra drops
-Coconut products (oil, water)
-Chia seeds

My beautiful friend Chantalle Asselin knows way more than I do about these products. She also sells many of them from her home and at the market. I visit her at the market for her delicious raw chocolate cake. You can contact her at: yoga@albedo.net 

You can also google David Wolfe. He is well worth listening to! 

I also recommend checking out Giddy Yoyo chocolate. Chantalle sells it at the Guelph farmers market and you can also buy it at the stone store. Amazing! www.giddyyoyo.com

Love, Sarah


Monday, September 3, 2012

Grilled Peach Crostini

Peaches are probably my favorite fruit- but only in the summer when they are local and so sweet and juicy. One of my favorite desserts of all time is probably my mom's peach pie with the crumble top. 

I made this crostini as a light appetizer and it was absolutely delicious! You can judge how many you want to make- I am not even going to put down quantities. Enjoy this now while the peaches are still delicious! 

-fresh peaches, washed and cut in half
-goats cheese (Rivers Edge if available)
-fresh thyme 
-fresh baguette 
-olive oil 
-salt and pepper

I oiled the grill and put the peaches on medium/high heat. Let them grill for a few minutes on each side until they are extra soft and juicy. 

Slice your baguette and brush each side (generously) with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the bread on a tray in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes until nice and crispy and lightly golden. Make sure to flip them about half way through. 

Mix your goats cheese with some freshly chopped thyme and ground pepper. Spread the cheese on the crostini when they come out of the oven and top with a slice of grilled peach. To finish, drizzle with honey. Enjoy many. 

xo Gat

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Potato Pizza

I remember having my first potato pizza. Hilary and I were on the west coast of Australia and we had looked up a place that claimed to have the best pizza in all of Perth. I had never seen potato pizza before and I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it! It's a simple pizza that is best served as an appetizer and not as an entire meal. 

My dear friend Abby and I have been making pizzas together for a while now. I have to say that home made pizza is one of my favourite meals ever. (I also have to say that I will never look at pizza in the same way after my trip to Italy). I have been playing around with this particular pizza for a while now- it's been difficult to get the potatoes just right. 

Abby and I always buy the pre-made fresh pizza dough from the grocery store. I leave it out in some flour so it comes to room temperature before with it. I'm not going to lie- I broke into a little bit of a sweat working with that dough yesterday- but it was well worth it. This recipe uses about one third or a bit more of a ball of dough. The key with the dough is rolling it very very thin. This is something else that I struggled with. I remember making pizza one time and it coming out about 3 inches thick- not so delicious!

Potato Pizza

-8-12 baby potatoes (size dependant)
-thyme 
-salt and pepper (freshly ground) 
-mascarpone cheese 

1) Roll out your dough and place it on a round pizza tray. Brush it lightly with olive oil. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
2) Place whole potatoes into boiling salted water and boil for about 7-8 minutes until tender but still firm in the centre. Drain and run the potatoes under cold water. 
3) Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Slice potatoes very thinly and place in pan. Season with salt, pepper and thyme and sauté until starting to brown. Take the potatoes off of heat and allow to cool a bit until you can handle them. 
4) Place potatoes all over the pizza, overlapping and covering it entirely. Place spoonfuls of mascarpone on top (I might even do more next time!). 
5) Place in the oven and bake until the crust becomes golden brown. Allow to cool a bit before eating. Enjoy (and follow by the bbq pizzas to be posted in another one of my blogs soon). 

Variations- this pizza would also be delicious with caramelised sweet white onion and parmesan shavings- I personally like it simple though. You could also substitute the mascarpone for crème fraiche! 
xo Sarah

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Orzo Salad

I brought this salad to a wedding shower today. It's a perfect blend of some of my favourite summer ingredients. I went to the market this morning and picked up some fresh organic ingredients. Sometimes organic is very expensive but I swear, it tastes better. Let's face it, the thought of eating vegetables and fruit covered in toxic chemicals isn't that appealing. I am really enjoying the market this year and I'm also really looking forward to enjoying all of the delicious food in Europe this summer. I hope you can try this recipe, and I hope you enjoy it! 
Summer Orzo Salad
-4 cobs of corn
-1 pint of mixed organic red/yellow cherry tomatoes 
-a handful of fresh basil (about 8-10 leaves) 
-1 avocado
-1/2 cup of pine nuts or slivered almonds
-1 1/2 cups of orzo 


1. Cook the orzo in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and transfer into a bowl. 
2. Cook the corn in a pot of boiling water for about 8 minutes. Drain and run a bit of cold water over the corn. Cut the corn off of the cob and mix into the orzo. 
4. Sauté the pine nuts in a teaspoon of butter until golden brown. 
5. You can refrigerate the corn and orzo mixture in about a tablespoon of olive oil at this point. 
6. Before serving, add the washed and halved cherry tomatoes. Add a full avocado cut into pieces and stir into the mixture. 
7. Chiffonade the basil and stir it in as well. 
8. I made a simple vinaigrette out of olive oil (maybe a 1/4 cup), red wine vinegar (maybe 2 tbsp), 1 tsp of dijon mustard and 1/4 tsp of each sea salt and black pepper. Toss the salad with this vinaigrette and half of the pine nuts. Sprinkle with the rest of the pine nuts and a few basil leaves to serve. 

Enjoy!!!


A few notes: 
-this salad is better room temperature. 
-do not add the tomatoes in until the end as they do not do well refrigerated. The basil and pine nuts are also better if it's incorporated at the last minute. 
-This would be absolutely divine with Rivers Edge goats feta, or any other soft, crumbly cheese. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You should eat Bee Pollen!

I'm sitting here this morning, eating some fresh frozen bee pollen, hoping that it will help give my body what it needs to fight the cold that I have. It's creamy and smooth and tastes like sweet flowery honey. The colour is vibrant. Bee pollen is a serious superfood that many people don't know about. My beautiful friend Chantalle is selling some right now at the Guelph Market. I'm sure you could find it elsewhere but it's important that you find the kind that is fresh and not freeze dried. 
Can you believe how amazing it looks?


Here are some of the many amazing benefits of bee pollen:
-High antioxidant levels.
-Potent aphrodisiac and fertility-improving properties. 
-Increases strength, endurance, energy and speed. It helps provide a quicker recovery from exercise. 
-It reduces the production of histamine, neutralising many allergies. 
-Bee pollen is full of B vitamins which helps with stress, increases longevity and helps clear acne. 
-Pollen can also help with anemia, constipation, colitis, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis. 
-An excellent source of 18 vitamins and fatty acids. 
-It is also one of the richest sources of bioavailable protein in nature. Pollen is approximately 25 percent protein. Gram for gram, pollen contains more protein than meat, cheese or eggs. 


Bee pollen is definitely a super super food. If you're looking for more information visit:
www.beinglovely.net


xo Sarah

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Raw Macaroons

As you know, I love finding 'healthier' treats to enjoy. I especially like to avoid processed white sugar. I absolutely love coconut. I've enjoyed raw macaroons at raw food restaurants around Ontario and I decided that I wanted to created some of my own. I couldn't be more pleased with how these turned out. They are perfectly sweet and chewy. Everyone I've shared them with have just loved them. I'm a chocolate lover- but I enjoy the vanilla ones even more. Almond meal can be purchased in the health food section of the grocery store. 
The best part about this recipe is that they only take about 10 minutes to prepare. The most important part is that you LICK your fingers clean after rolling the 'dough' into balls. 
Raw Macaroons 
-3 cups of organic, unsweetened, shredded coconut
-1 cup almond meal
-1 cup raw blue agave
-1 tsp vanilla bean powder
-1/2 tsp sea salt 
-1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw chocolate powder 


Place the coconut, almond meal, vanilla and sea salt in a bowl. Mix to combine. Add the agave and mix until moistened and equally covered. Form half of the 'dough' into small balls and place on sheet in dehydrator. Add the chocolate (to taste) to the mixture and mix to combine. Form balls with the rest of the mixture (mine were quite small) and place on dehydrator rack. Dehydrate at around 115 degrees for 12-15 hours. The dehydrating time will depend on many factors. You want them to be firm on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. 


*If you don't have a dehydrator, you can bake them in the oven on the lowest heat and keep an eye on them for time. 


Enjoy these sweet sweet treats. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Succotash Style Quinoa

We've been hearing about all of the nutritional benefits of quinoa for years now. It's gluten free, a complete protein and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes alike. Quinoa is so versatile. I usually just pick a combination of vegetables that I like and mix them in with the quinoa. It's a great, light lunch that leaves me feeling full of energy. 
This combination is loosely based on succotash recipes that my mom has made in the past. Succotash is a traditional Algonquin dish and normally is made with lima beans. They would also be a delicious addition to this dish. 
Succotash Quinoa
-1 cup of quinoa 
-2 ears of corn (removed from ear) 
-1 red pepper (cut into small pieces) 
-1 zucchini (cut into chunks) 
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp dried parsley
-sea salt and pepper 
-1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar 


1) Cook the quinoa according to directions. Transfer into a bowl and leave to cool. 
2) Sauté the red pepper in a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
3) Add the zucchini and sauté for another 3-5 minutes until tender crisp. Add the corn and sauté until it turns bright yellow. Add another tablespoon of olive oil as well as the salt and pepper and parsley and sauté for another minute. 
4) Add the vegetables to the quinoa and the vinegar. Stir to combine. 


There are a couple of things I would suggest adding to this dish depending on your taste and what you eat. Add some or ALL of the following: 
-crumbled feta 
-finely chopped fresh basil 
-toasted almond or pine nuts
Bon appétit! 











Saturday, April 14, 2012

Almond Milk

Almond milk is so popular and readily available these days that I haven't really been taking the time to make my own for smoothies anymore. I have been buying it in the grocery store for my smoothies- but I use is up so quickly that I decided to try making my own hemp/chia milk instead. I simply blend a few tablespoons of hemp seeds and a tablespoon of chia with water to make the 'milk' for my smoothies and I have been really enjoying it (thanks Chantalle!). 


Today I decided to make myself a big batch of almond milk. It lasts in the fridge for a few days and I love the ways it tastes. It's a simple recipe- and there are a million variations of the milk that you can make. I won't put this in my smoothies- I love to drink it cold and as is. 

Almond Milk
(makes about 7 cups)
-2 cups of raw organic almonds
-8 cups of water
-vanilla bean powder
-agave


Soak the almonds in a bowl full of water over night. 
The next morning, place the almonds in a high-power blender with 8 cups of water. Blend well. Strain the milk in a milk bag or cheese cloth. Really ring the bag to get out every last drop. You can put the dry pulp in a dehydrator or on the lowest temperature in the oven to dry out and to use as almond flour. I put the milk back into the blender and blend it will about a teaspoon of vanilla bean powder and maybe a tablespoon of agave. Dates also work well as a sweetener. Enjoy cold! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mango Smoothie

It's been an interesting few weeks for me. I've decided to take a month 'off' from drinking. Thank goodness I have so many pregnant friends! It's been 3 weeks now- and I've really enjoyed the experience. I have to start by saying that I wouldn't classify myself as a heavy drinker- but binge drinking was definitely something I was doing often enough. I noticed that my health was really being effected by my drinking. I've really enjoyed the time I've had without drinking. I've physically felt so much better, I've been eating better foods and I have more energy. I have more time to spend with people that make me happy and I go into the work week feeling rested. In times where I have been feeling down, or going through something- I immediately long for a drink. Sitting with those feelings and moving through them without booze has been a much more positive (and helpful) experience. My naturopath and yoga instructor, Laura, was talking in class the other day about how we can get out of our own way. I feel like I am finally starting to do so. I guess the challenge is to learn about how I can have some drinks again without getting into the same patterns before. 


Alongside this endeavour, I have also been trying to make sure I get a smoothie in every day, and I have been trying to drink more green juice. I normally make the same old smoothie that I love. It's chocolate and delicious. I had a very ripe ataulfo mango to use, which inspired this chocolate free smoothie. 


Mango Smoothie
-2 cups filtered water
-3 heaping tablespoons hemp seeds
-1 tablespoon chia seeds 
-1 ataulfo mango, peeled and diced
-1 tablespoon maca powder
-1 tablespoon tocotrienols 
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
-1 small medjool date
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
-1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil 


Put the water, chia seeds and hemp into the blender and blend well. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. I like mine cold, so I leave it in the fridge until cold. You could also add some ice cubes in the blender to make it cold. Enjoy! Hope you're all enjoying your long weekend!


PS- Go to this website to learn about why these foods are good for you! http://www.sunfood.com/

Friday, January 27, 2012

Raw Vanilla Cashew Ice Cream

I've faced the facts. My body doesn't really love dairy (although I really do). Ice cream is especially tough. Let's also agree that it's really not very good for you. 


An amazing alternative is raw cashew ice cream. You can buy cashew ice cream probably in Toronto I imagine but I haven't seen it very many places around here. I like it because it's easier on my tummy and it's actually quite healthy. I also like it because it's not full of processed sugar. 


This was my first time making raw cashew ice cream. I think for the next batch I'm going to try to get better quality cashews. I am also going to look into how to make it taste less "icy" (I want the texture in the finished product to be smoother). Maybe some of you can help me out with this one! 


Cashew Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 cups of the best raw cashews you can find
2 1/2 cups filtered water 
1/2 cup maple syrup
seeds of 3 vanilla beans 
pinch of salt
1 tbsp maca powder 

There really are that few ingredients! 

Blend all of these ingredients until smooth in a very good blender. Put in the freezer in a glass bowl to cool down. Pour the ingredients into your ice cream maker and process according to its directions. For me this meant letting it churn for about 35 minutes. At this point the mixture was like soft serve ice cream. Transfer the mixture into an air tight container and keep in the fridge. Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ps I have been eating this ice cream for breakfast as I write this :)

xo Gat

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My classic Lentil Soup

This recipe is based on one that comes from Fresh restaurant in Toronto. If you haven't been there- you are missing out. It is glorious. Especially their new quinoa onion rings. Toss a bit of quinoa on deep friend onions and it's good for you- right?


Lentils are a source of fiber, protein and are very low in fat. Today I made my soup a bit differently. Usually I do not add zucchini and I only sometimes add tomatoes. That's what I love about soup- it's yours to change every time. 

Thai-Style Red Lentil Soup
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder 
1 tsp turmeric powder 
2 cups red lentils
1 carton vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1. Sauté the onions, ginger and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of oil until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and sauté for about 5 more minutes.
2. Add the lentils, the zucchini and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender (at least 20 minutes). Add more broth if necessary. 
3. Add the can of coconut milk, the tomatoes and simmer until all heated through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

This soup keeps well in the fridge and is great for lunch. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do! 

xo Gat