Tuesday 27 September 2011

Busy, Busy

Wow, I've got so many projects, recipes, and work outs on the go right now I don't know where to start [or finish!] So, while I work on completing all my mini-masterpieces, here's some photo teasers of what's to come!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Saturday 24 September 2011

Black and Green

Burgers have been a big part of my little families diet for... well a long time. As we've made the transition to a plant based diet, our lack of burgers has been the hardest part on my boys (harder than switching up our milk, cutting out yogurt - everything.) So, when I made these burgers, I served them with much trepidation. To my shock - and extremely pleasure - my boys love these! Darius told me they're the best burgers he's ever had, and my amazing Husband proudly told my brother that they were in fact veggie burgers, and not made of meat. If you're ready to dive into a burger that will lower your cholesterol - instead of the very popular alternative - give these a whirl. Oh, and don't be scared of the green color - when they're baked, they turn brown!

Blackbean and Greens Burger 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

  • 5 cups chopped greens (such as kale, swisschard, spinach)

  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

  • 2 cloves fresh pressed garlic

  • 1 can black beans (19 oz), drained, rinsed and shaken dry (about 2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats 

  • 3 tsp parsley

  • 3 tsp cumin

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions
    1. In frying pan, toast sunflower seeds over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes; transfer to food processor.
    2.In same frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil medium heat; saute greens, chopped onion, garlic and salt and pepper to season, stirring occasionally, until greens are bright and soft, about 5 minutes. Add to food processor.
    3. Combine. Mix in oats and parsley. Add more oats if mixture looks too wet. Form mixture into patties. Cover burgers with plastic wrap and cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes*.
    4.Preheat oven to 350°F. Place burgers on a lightly greased sheet pan (or use a non-stick baking pad) and bake 15 minutes. Flip burgers and bake another 10 minutes until firm and lightly crispy.
    5.Top burger with garnishes and serve on toasted buns.
    * letting the burgers set in the fridge is EXTREMELY important. The longer the burgers set, the better they'll hold together.
    We ate these burgers with cabbage salad, guacamole, grainy mustard, sprouts, and spinach. So delicious! Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking of these...they'll definitely be on the menu for next week!
    Have you tried out a new recipe lately?

    Thursday 22 September 2011

    Summer Stew

    On long car rides we sing songs. Top of our lungs, way off key, and full of joy! One of these songs is "Purple Stew." I was shocked to find out that this song is not in everyones repertoires, so if you are unfamiliar with it please YouTube it - it's entertaining and really easy to memorize. Anyways, I decided to try my hand at making a real purple stew, thinking Sweet Darius would think it was funny. He didn't. In fact he was afraid to even try it. Fail. However, everyone else tried it, loved it, and ate it all up. The idea comes from my Mother In Law, which in and of itself should tell you its worth trying. Ready?

     Purple Summer Stew


    lots of garden fresh veggies (I used potatoes, carrots, green beans, onions, and zucchini)
    black bean flour
    salt and pepper to taste

    Chop all the vegetables into chunks. Place in a stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Let cook on a low boil for about twenty minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
    Shake black bean flour and water in a shaker cup until blended, then add to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

    Even if the picture doesn't entice you (I admit, it doesn't look as appealing in photo) give this stew a chance - it is completely delicious and absolutely nutritious!    

    Have you ever been inspired to try something based on a song or story? I often find myself thinking through a recipe based on children's songs...maybe it's all the children's songs I sing ha!

    Tuesday 20 September 2011

    For Spenser

    I have a sweet little cousin, who has just entered kindergarten this year. Spenser is a superhero at heart, plays make believe with abandon, reads up a storm, and builds[and tests!] jumps for his bike. At five years old he has a bigger personality [and more confidence] than most adults I know! Spenser and his parents [my very young aunt and uncle] came and visited this summer on their way through to a family reunion. While at my home, Spenser enjoyed my Lemon PoppaSeed 'cupcakes' and loved them so much that I thought I'd re-post the recipe for him. I've tweaked it a bit to make it healthier more delicious, and think it will be a wonderful addition to my sweet cousins school snacks. Enjoy Spenser!

    PoppaSeed* 'Cupcakes' created by me!

    1 tbsp vanilla soy milk
    1 tbsp water
    1/4 cup grape seed oil
    2/3 cup apple sauce mixed with 1tsp-1tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 cup honey

    1 3/4 cup flour
    2 tbsp poppyseed
    1 tbsp lemon zest
    1/4 tsp lemon extract
    2 1/2tsp baking powder
    2 1/2tsp baking soda
    1/2 salt
    1/2 cup confectioners sugar
    2 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

    1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 24 mini muffin tin,
    2. beat milk, oil, lemony apple sauce, and honey together. Stir in flour, poppyseeds, lemon zest, lemon extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Spoon into muffin tins, filling roughly 3/4 of the way.
    3. In a separate bowl, mix together fresh lemon juice and confectioners sugar. This is your glaze.
    3. Bake at 375F for 8 minutes, or until just golden. Drizzle with glaze immediately and let cool on rack.

    These are soooo good! Very lemony, so if you like your poppyseed with only a hint of lemon adjust accordingly. I call them 'cupcake' because really they're muffins, but the glaze makes them taste like dessert. Darius and I prefer these without the glaze, so don't be afraid to skip the extra sweetness. The amazing thing is, with honey instead of white sugar, and no dairy or eggs, these muffins are great if you're on a cholesterol lowering or vegan diet, and you won't feel deprived!

    *if you're wondering about the alternate spelling for poppyseed, it comes from my sweet Darius, who had a Poppa that LOVES poppyseed muffins.

    Saturday 17 September 2011

    SO you want to be a Vegan...

    When I started down the vegan path, I was shocked at how easy it was to transition. Before I was eating Greek yogurt daily, whey protein isolate shakes after most workouts, and meat without thought. I dealt with gastrointestinal distress daily - something that I only realized once I eliminated dairy, meat, and eggs from my nutritional intake. Becoming vegan is a very daunting idea for many. What I hear most - admittedly even from my own lips - is "But what about cheese? I could never give up cheese!" Well guess what? There is life after cheese. And life without cheese is wonderful!

    To help you find your footing, and learn the vegan ropes so to speak, here are a few sources that I have found extremely helpful:

    Love Veggies and Yoga  Averie is a vegan who blogs about fitness, lifestyle, and food. She is partial to sweet recipes, and usually gives a vegan and/or gluten free option to her recipes.

    Healthy Tipping Point  Caitlin is the creator of the "Operation Beautiful" movement, and blogs about lifestyle, fitness, and food. She is a vegetarian and has some great recipes that you can easily transform into a vegan dish!

    Whole Food Mommies is a blog authored by three Mom's: Veteran, Maintenance, and Newbie Mommies. Their recipes are all plant based, no revisions required!

    Live Extraordinary is a blog authored by a good friend of mine whom is a ways further down the plant based nutrition route than myself. Estelle studied Holistic Nutrition and has many insights, recipes, and informational tidbits to share. Her blog is definitely worth looking at!

    No Meat Athlete is a fantastic resource for athlete and non-athletes alike. For those unsure as to whether they will get enough protein eating a plant based diet, definitely take a look at this site! Protein is not the be all, end all that we've been led to believe!

    And here's two I found recently, which I haven't looked at too carefully myself, but thought I would pass on to you all as well:

    Une Vie Saine  and That Normal Vegan

    I hope this gives you a good jumping off point! Sometimes all we need is a little bit of knowledge to make the vegan leap - and I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised at how wonderful food is on the other side!

    Thursday 15 September 2011

    Heaven on Earth

    While getting creative in the kitchen I made a little discovery that I have now made a few times. No joke. It is a gluten free, dairy free, egg free little number that has my taste buds singing! I started out with the express purpose of creating a muffin that I could share with family and friends in the gluten free camp.  Reports have been coming back that this 'muffin' is the BEST gluten free treat on earth - and while I am not one to brag, I think they might be right! Without further ado, I give you a little piece of heaven on earth!

     Chocoholic Banana Dream Muffins

    3/4 cup rice flour
    1 cup black bean flour
    1/2-2/3 cup cocoa powder
    3 large ripe bananas
    1 cored apple
    1 tsp vanilla
    3 tsp baking soda
    3/4 c honey
    1 cup peanut butter
    plus dark chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (I used roughly 2/3 cup)

    Preheat oven to 300F convection (or 325F if not on convection)

    Place banana and apple in vitamix and blend together.

    Once pureed, add the honey, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix.

    When all wet ingredients are completely mixed together, start adding the dry ingredients, stopping to scrap down sides and pulse mixer often.

    Scoop mixture into lightly sprayed muffin tins (I use a canola oil cooking spray, you can use what you like best!) and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Place the muffin tin into the oven, and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean.

    Let muffins cool on wire rack for five minutes, then gently lift muffins out of tins and onto rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm, cool, or frozen - they're amazing just about every way we've tried!

    Have you made any yummy discoveries lately? Have you begun your Canadian Thanksgiving recipe search? I know I have!

    Wednesday 14 September 2011


    I've been sidelined for a week as my foot heals. It is not a serious injury - thank goodness! - but the size, depth, and location of the bruise makes walking a tender affair...so obviously anything high impact is out for now. I miss you running! 
    Patience is not my strong suit. My two little boys stretch and test me daily as I ernestly seek a more patience disposition. Even now, sweet Darius is sitting behind me, pushing and shoving me - silently of course - trying to get a rise out of me...and so my foot is just another way of practicing patience I guess.
    Before my super silly acident, I was trying out a training plan that incorporates trekking (it's a new class at select gyms that I recently heard about, researched, and became intrigued with) and cross fit. On alternate days, one of the two heart pounding workouts is endured enjoyed with a yoga break in the middle of the week to recharge and stretch out. Interested? Here's my little 'how to' on increasing your cardiovascular abilities!

    Trekking (a treadmill workout)

    5 minute warm up @ 0% incline ( I warm up at 4.0mph - make sure you're going at a normal speed for you)
    Once warm up is complete, increase speed by 0.1mph increments, at 20 second intervals, until you are no longer able to hold a run. For example, 4.0 - 4.1 - 4.2 - 4.3 etc until hitting 5.2mph. This speed (5.2 in the example) is now your set point. If you would like to complete the workout at a run, increase your speed by 0.5mph. If you would like to complete it at a walk, decrease you speed by 0.5mph. For example, 5.2 + 0.5 = 5.7mph running speed, or 5.2 - 0.5 = 4.7mph walking speed. Now for the workout!

    During your trek you do not adjust the speed (unless ABSOLUTELY neccesary for safety sake) but do adjust the incline to mimic climbing hills (now are you seeing why it's called trekking?) Here is a sample hills workout:

    1-3 minutes 2% incline
    3-5 minutes 4% incline
    5-7 minutes 2% incline
    7-10 minutes 4% incline
    10-12 minutes 5% incline
    12-14 minutes 4% incline
    14-17 minutes 5% incline
    17-19 minutes 6% incline
    19-20 minutes 0% incline

    After the minute at 0% incline, speed work is now the focus, and the incline stays at 0%. Your goal: 10-20 20 second sprints. Sprint for 20 seconds, then straddle the treadmill mat for 20 seconds to catch your breath. Alternate this pattern for a minimum of 10 sprints, and a up to 20 sprints. Remember, 10 is your goal - but don't sacrifice speed to make it. Meaning, if you have to run slower for all 10 sprints to accomplish a total of 10 sprints, don't do it. Run full out. Training at your top speed is the only way to increase your speed, so don't cheat yourself.

    This trekking workout should take you a total of about 40-50 minutes

    a treadmill is a lot more convient this this, but man I'd take the fresh air and scenery anyday!

    Alternate trekking days with Crossfit days. For a variety of crossfit workouts I love to reference this site. Check it out!

    Try this training combo out (with a yoga day mid week) for a couple of weeks, and tell me what you think! Do you feel stronger, have a higher endurance capacity, or reach faster speeds? I'd love to hear from you!

    Tuesday 13 September 2011


    When I received a note from Estelle over at Live Extraordinary last week asking if I would do a guest post for her I was thrilled! Not only do I love Estelle - have you checked out her blog yet? - but her blog is excellent and full of nutritional information in a readable and informative format. Well today, my guest post is featured on her site, so head on over there, give it a read (and tell me what you think!) and check out all the other great posts!

    Sunday 11 September 2011

    Lest we Forget

    Where we you ten years ago today? What were you doing? What were you thinking?

    I walked up the stairs, glasses on, hair a mess, and crumpled clothes thrown haphazardly on  - I was home sick from school -  I walked into the family room adjacent to our kitchen and froze. The TV was on, replaying the same clip over and over, an image that to this day I can not remove from my mind. My parents were on vacation in New York City, and that morning they were to be visiting the World Trade Center before heading out to Pennsylvania to visit my Mom's brother. Shock ran through me, yet I was still unable to move; unable to do anything but watch. My older brother walked in to find me frozen in place, and immediately let me know that Mom and Dad had called. They had changed their plans after talking to us the day before, and decided to go to Mom's brother's on the 10th instead. So many parents, siblings, friends were lost that day, and I am so very grateful that mine were spared from that tragedy. In honor of all those who were lost, not only in the attack, but in the rescue efforts and war that ensued, I urge you to count your many blessings as you reflect today. Marla over at Family Fresh Cooking has asked everyone to join her in remembering - over cake.

    So bake a healthy cake (or a not healthy one), call in your family, and count you many blessings as you share a moment together. Be Grateful. Be Humble. Be Present. And always Remember.

    Thursday 8 September 2011

    Double Double

    While Darius and I were perusing my bloglist this morning, we noticed a recipe that begged to be tried. With all the goodness of a cupcake, and none of the 'badness,' we were drawn to these muffins instantly. Jotting down the ingredients, I bolted up the stairs after a very excited little boywhom was yelling, "chocolate! Chocolate!" as he pranced up each step and down the hall to the kitchen. Gathering our ingredients, we had everything assembled before openning the pantry to grab the zucchini. And what did we find? Mold! Covering our precious star ingredient! So, from frusteration sprung creativity. Having the rest of the ingredients assemlbed, we couldn't NOT make muffins, so we racked our brains, and came up with a suitable substitute replacement. Thank you apples for being an amazing pinch hitter! These cupcakes muffins are devine - and rather healthy to boot. But don't worry, you're kids won't know; they'll just think they have the coolest Mama around who gave them a cupcake in their school lunch! (Just think of all the fruits and vegetables you could put in these gems and serve up as a dessert, at a brunch, or anywhere really!)

    Double Chocolate Apple Muffins

    (adapted generously from cher stuff)

    2 cups grated apple

    1 1/2cup stone ground whole wheat flour

    1/2 cup oat bran

    1/2 cup good quality cocoa

    1/4 cup fresh milled flaxseed

    1/4 cup chia seeds

    1 tsp baking powder

    1 tsp baking soda

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    2 tsp cinnamon

    2 eggs

    1 1/4 cup coconut milk

    1/3 cup coconut oil

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 cup dark chocolate chips

    Mix together the flour, oat bran, cocoa, flaxseed, chia seed, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Add the shredded zucchini and chocolate chips and mix until combined. Spoon into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 375 F until the tops are firm to the touch, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then transfer to the rack to cool completely.

    Yeild: 2 1/2 dozen (or 1 1/2 dozen large, plus 2 dozen minis)


    Wednesday 7 September 2011


    Just over a week ago, former President Bill Clinton was a guest on CNN with Dr.Sanjay Grupta. Being the busy Mama that I am, I missed the segment when it aired. However seeing as Dr.Grupta and President Clinton were talking about heart disease, the number one killer of men and women (regardless of race) in North America, I was more than intrigued. Now having watched it, I am tickled pink that CNN is as credible as I've always hopped them to be - as this report is far from endorsed by the Dairy, Meat, or Egg industry (ie - not what the economists want you to hear.) So grab a glass of water, and some crudites for a snack and watch this video. If you're reading The China Study this report will only reinforce all that you're currently learning about. And if you're not reading The China Study yet, this report will give you more incentive to get your hands on a copy!

    Sunday 4 September 2011

    Apple Carrot Muffins

    Have you ever dug fresh carrots out of a garden? Bitten into the crisp, fresh, sweet carrot and thought you'd gone to heaven?  I can not get enough of just-dug-up carrots, but it is always nice to spice things up a bit. Having healthy snacks on hand is a "Must Have" for Mamas everyone so here is a little snack inspiration to get the school lunches, picnics in the park, midnight lunches rolling!

    Apple Carrot Muffins

    4 eggs
    1 cup apple sauce
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 cup honey
    2 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    3 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. sea salt
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 cup fresh grated carrots
    1 cup raisins

    Beat egg well. Add apple sauce, oil, and honey, beating well until thick. Add vanilla. Stir in dry ingedients. Fold in grated carrots and raisins. Yeild: 3 dozen (or 1 dozen large, plus four dozen minis!)

    Bake at 400F for 15 minutes (or 11 minutes for the minis)

    if you're wondering about the about the colorful backdrop to these delicious muffins, I took the pic while on a beach day wiith my boys. I suddenly realized as I unpacked our picnic that I had yet to snap a pic of these, and I really wanted to share thier goodness with all of you! Here's a zoom out of the 'plate' that the muffin is posed on:

    If only all my platters were so cute! ha!