Tuesday 31 January 2012

Morning Glory

Around our home, there is one request that I receive more than," can you make some cookies today?" As we snuggle in bed, I ask Darius what he'd like for breakfast, and almost every morning his reply is,"um, how bout some pancakes?" Said so sweetly, and with such a hopeful smile, I have a hard time refusing the request. And so, more often than not, I make pancakes, and everyone is happy - including me because I know these pancakes are healthy for my little men! I shun away from packaged goods, and that includes when it comes to making breakfast for my kiddos. Which is the reason why I developed a pancake recipe that incorporates vegetables, natural plant proteins, and health fats. Make a batch of these for your family, and you can relax when they ask for a little syrup [as long as it's 100% pure maple syrup that is.]

Pumpkin Pancakes
an original recipe created by me!

 2 c. almond milk
1/2 c. water
1 c. pure pumpkin puree
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp. vinegar
2 c. stone ground whole wheat flour
1 c. raw frozen cashews [not salted]
1/4 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. hemp hearts
3 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat your pancake grill to 300*F. Put the cashews in a blender, and blend until a fine powder [having the cashews frozen ensures that they turn into a powder when blended, instead of turning into cashew butter.] Next, in a stand mixer, add all the ingredients, including the ground cashews, and blend together. Remember to use a spatula to clear off the sides of the bowl a few times while blending. Once all the ingredients are nicely blended, use a 1/4c. measuring cup and scoop batter onto the hot pancake grill. Make your pancakes nice and round, and remember to flatten them with the back of your spatula when you flip them so that they are not too thick [this will ensure that they cook all the way through.] Watch your pancakes so you know when to flip them, but I find that 3-5 minutes is the magic number per side. Yield approximately 18 pancakes

Once your pancakes are off the grill enjoy them with 100% maple syrup as my little Darius does, or with cut up fresh fruit on them as I do [I also love them with natural peanut butter spread on top of them!] If you have left overs [as we do every time I make them] freeze them for a quick toaster breakfast in mornings to come!


Saturday 28 January 2012

Health and Nutrition Class

Last night I was lucky enough to get out with the girls and enjoy a class on nutrition, and an excellent class on competing in an ironman and the lessons learnt along the way. As I was ruminating at the end of the evening on all that I had heard, and the inspiration I gained from the second class [on triathlons and life] what kept on coming back to me was how I was bugged by some of the miss information presented as fact in the nutrition class. The fact of the matter is that you need to constantly be updating yourself in the field of nutrition to truly stay on top of the current information, but that the basics of nutrition haven't changed in eons. So, as the packed room soaked up the information presented, anxiously jotting down notes, and the presenter repeatedly offered up information that was only halfway there, it started to bug me. For example, said presenter said,"Salmon is the best, and only whole source of omega oils, and should be consumed daily." From this sprung a stream of questions and answers on which fish oil supplements are best, whether you should eat farmed or fresh salmon, and how to deal with the nasty 'fish' burp side effects of ingesting fish oil supplements. As an afterword, flax was mentioned an an other source, but was not recommended as it is not a high source of the desired oil. Here's my rebuttal:

Fish and Fish Oil Linked to Diabetes Risk

posted 8/14/09

A new Harvard study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links fish and omega-3 oil consumption to type 2 diabetes. Following 195,204 adults for 14 to18 years, researchers found that the more fish or omega-3 fatty acids participants consumed, the higher their risk of developing diabetes. The risk increase was modest for occasional fish eaters, but rose to a 22 percent increased risk for women consuming five or more fish servings per week.
Prior studies have suggested that fat accumulation within muscle cells can lead to insulin resistance which, in turn, contributes to diabetes. People who eat no animal products have less fat in their cells and much less risk of developing diabetes. A low-fat vegan diet has been shown to improve type 2 diabetes.

Kaushik M, Mozaffarian D, Spiegelman D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print]
Goff LM, Bell JD, So PW, Dornhorst A, Frost GS. Veganism and its relationship with insulin resistance and intramyocellular lipid. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59:291-298.
Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ, Turner-McGrievy G, Gloede L, Green A, Ferdowsian H. A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-week clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1588S-1596S.

So, what is my recommendation for the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids?

Hemp hearts.

Here's why:

"Hemp hearts (also known as “shelled hemp seeds” or “shelled hempseed”) are a rich source of nutrition, putting them in the “superfoods” category. Hemp hearts typically contain 33 percent protein, 9 percent omega-3 essential fatty acids, and are an excellent source of iron, vitamin E and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), an Omega-6 fatty acid.
Omega fatty acids are essential because human bodies cannot make them on their own, which means we need to get these good fats from our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial to the brain, skin, joints and heart and Omega-6, such as GLA, is important to hair, skin and bone health; and regulates metabolism and the reproductive system.
The protein profile in hemp hearts makes them one of the densest sources of plant protein, which can be of significant benefit to vegetarians, athletes and anyone looking to add a healthy source of protein to their diet." [source]

Hemp hearts are the only source, whether it be plant or otherwise, with the optimum balance of omega 6 to omega 3. To be readily absorbed by the body, the oils must be balanced at a 3 or 4:1 ratio. Even in other great plant sources, like flax for example, the ratio is not optimal, and therefore puts the balance in your body slightly off kilter. It is also important to factor in the quality of the source when considering where you are getting your nutrients from. Sure you can get vitamins from enriched prepackaged 'foods', but do you really consider them to be on par with the vitamins you will be getting from fruits and vegetables? This is the same scenario  you must consider when looking at the various sources of omega oils: sure you could get them from fish, or you could get a higher quality, more absorbable form from plants - is there really any question what you should choose?

The bottom line, and point I'm trying to make is please do your own research. No matter what a teacher says, you need to make sure that you have the facts right. It is your body, your health, that is at stake - do you really want to gamble that the teacher really knows all he/she thinks they do? 

Make the most of your nutrition, and your body will amaze you with what it can do!

Friday 27 January 2012

Aunt Terri's Underpants

Growing up in Vancouver, the schools were big on 'stranger danger' education. Every student had i.d. booklets, which included our finger prints, blood type, a recent photo and our stats [height, weight, etc]. As families we were encouraged to create a password, a code that could be used to ensure that the right person was picking us up from school, so that even those whom we were familiar with could not abduct us [sounds funny writing it down, but it's the sort of thing I'll most likely do with my boys when they go to school.] My families password was, "Aunt Terri's Underpants." It was ridiculous enough that we would never forget it, plus it involved the name of one our Mom's sisters, an aunt whom we loved - and still love! - to go and visit. Today is my Aunt Terri's birthday, and so Darius and I headed into the kitchen to whip up a treat in her honor. Aunt Terri loves sweets, and so it was only fitting to bake some cupcakes! Per her request we made then without sugar [well, we didn't use the refined stuff anyway; instead used natural sweetness in the form of honey and 100% fruit puree and juice] and they can be made without fat [her other request] however I put a bit of fat in ours since healthy fats are great for every body [in moderation of course.]

 Happy Birthday Aunt Terri! I hope you enjoy these as much as we enjoyed creating them [and eating them!] in your honor!

Mouthwatering Mango Cupcakes
an original recipe created by me!

1 cup fresh ground whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 c. naturally creamed honey
1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. unsweetened apple sauce
3 tbsp coconut oil, softened*
1/2 c. 100% unsweetened mango juice and puree

Preheat your oven to 350*F. Mix the dry ingredients together, then set aside. In your stand mixer, mix all the wet ingredients together until thoroughly combined. With the mixer on, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stop the mixer on occasion to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Pour the batter into medium sized cupcake liners [which are in a muffin tin of course ;)] and place in preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven to wire rack, and let cool for a few minutes before placing cupcakes directly on wire rack. Cool completely and then enjoy! Yield 16 cupcakes

to make these fat free, simply add more apple sauce instead of the coconut oil

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Baking for Buddies

I got to see my Sweet Hubby and one of his co-workers today in the middle of the work day! I love those surprises! The first thing I was asked is,"are there any snacks? or baking?" My Awesome Hubby takes goodies to work all the time, sharing them, and talking me up [its hard to live up to such hype ;)] to his buddies. The co-worker he was with today told me that he had asked his wife for banana muffins the day before, and when she didn't bake them for him he thought, Katie would have baked them for me. And so that's what I did as soon as he left! Darius and I created a new recipe in said co-workers honor, and my goodness is it amazing! If you love healthy snacks that are high in fibre, a good source of protein, contain no colours, preservatives, or refined sugar, then you're going to love these! Oh, and did I mention that they are drool worth-ily delicious and vegan? No word of a lie, these babies are perfect!

Banana [Coco]nut Muffins
an original recipe created by me!

3 very ripe bananas
1/4 c. coconut oil
3/4 c. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 c. coconut milk

2 c. fresh milled whole wheat flour
1/2 c. coconut flakes
1/3 c. chia seeds
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Peel and mash bananas in a large bowl. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the banana mixture, and blend well. Add all of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and blend thoroughly. Spray muffin tins with canola cooking spray, then fill each well 2/3 full.  Tap the muffin tins on the counter a few times to release the air bubbles, the place in preheated oven. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of muffin comes out clean. Once baked, remove from oven and set on cooling racks before removing from muffin tins.

Enjoy these for breakfast, or as we have today, anytime!

Saturday 21 January 2012


Yesterday was my Amazing Husband's birthday! It seems like just yesterday that he was 24 and my older brothers hot friend [for the record, I asked my brother if it was okay to pursue his hot friend.] Or 25 and holding my hands while saying,
"I do; I mean, Yes!"
 Or 27 and hearing,"It's a boy! Congratulations!" The past seven and a half years together [six and a half of them being married] my Wonderful Man has grown into a loving father, supportive husband, and incredible friend.

Happy Birthday Hottie of Mine!

Saturday 14 January 2012

Photographer Giveaway

For all those readers who are also photographers [whether it be professionally, or as a hobbyist] check out J.A.C. Photography's 1K Giveaway! There are so many little goodies I would LOVE to win from her giveaway, that I thought I'd share the wealth and see how many of you would love a little photography treat or two [or rather $1000 worth of goodies!]

Friday 13 January 2012

Eli Eats

notice the tears and runny nose? Poor kid feel over a few times during his 11month photos!

I'm often asked what I get my boys to eat, since we consume a plant based diet. The short answer: plants. But, seeing as that cheeky answer isn't the full explanation that is being sought out when asking the question, I kept track of what Eli ate today, just to give you a snapshot of what goes into my babes little bod!

*I forgot to mention that Eli is still breastfed. The 'N' will denote the times he breastfed as well.

Prebreakfast: N

Breakfast: cooked rolled oats with hemp hearts, cinnamon, a smidgen of honey, and almond milk and 0.5oz of Vemma

Snack: Apple pieces [skin removed,] hulled raw sunflower seeds, one oatmeal pumpkin cookie [chocolate chips removed,] puffed wheat, and a handful of cheerios

Prelunch: N

Lunch: Quinoa Stew and half a banana

After Nap: N
Snack: half a CLIFF bar broken into bits, with no chocolate chips in it [not an everyday occurrence, but it sure made him happy after a late nap!]

Dinner: Creamy Asparagus Soup with homemade buns

Before Bed: N

So you see, my little 11 month old man-o eats a lot of vegetables, some fruit, whole grains, seeds, and a scattering of nuts. I'm don't give him refined sugar, as there is absolutely no nutritional value to it, and at Eli's age I need to maximise the nutritional content of what I give him, as he goes through spurts of less interest in food, and more interest in figuring out the stairs/toys/walking/etc that his big brother is constantly doing.

If you have questions about any of the above meals fire away!

Wednesday 11 January 2012

spill the beans

I love chocolate. Are you surprised? When I spotted this recipe on a wonderful friend’s blog, I stopped for a moment and contemplated the fact that I had all the ingredients on hand to make these brownies my way [meaning, modifying some ingredients to suit my dietary preferences.] The only problem for me was that making them would mean I'd eat them...and if I was the only one home, I'd most likely eat more than I need to. So it took me a few days to whip up a batch haha! These brownies are moist, rich, and every bit as wonderful as I thought they would be. I do not have a picture for you [feel free to check out Cheri's blog, where she did indeed snap a photo] simply because I needed to get these babies portioned off and away from me before I ate the entire pan while making supper. These were a little too rich for my sweet little man, but that’s okay with me...it means more for me haha!

Blackbean Brownies

(from Spilling the Beans, found on cher stuff, and modified to be egg and dairy free by me)

1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans

1 1/4 cups broken pecan pieces

1/2 cup vegan margarine, like earth balance

2 oz unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking and Biscuit All Purpose Baking Mix

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp freshly milled flax, added to 1/4 cup cool water

1/2 cup naturally creamed honey

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup good quality dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Spread the rinsed and drained beans out on a double layer of paper towel and blot gently with more paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.* very important step

After milling the flaxseed, add it to the cool water in a cup, and set aside so it can form a gel. This is your egg substitute, and the binding ingredient for the recipe.

Melt the chocolate and margarine together in the micro-wave being careful to stir frequently so as not to burn the chocolate. Remove and let cool slightly. In a separate bowl whisk together the salt and flour, then set aside.

Place the dried-off beans and the margarine/chocolate mixture in a food processor and process until very smooth, scarping the walls of the bowl a couple of times. Add the flax gel, honey, and vanilla - process again. Scrape the mixture into the dry ingredients and gently fold together. Add the pecans and chocolate bits and combine.

Scrape the batter into a greased 8x8" pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the batter doesn't jiggle when the pan moves - a toothpick inserted would come out very chocolaty. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting, so that the brownie can set completely.

Once cooled, store at room temperature for softer brownies, in the fridge for firmer brownies, or in the freezer if you lack will power and want to eat the whole pan. We all know where mine are haha!

What is your sweet weakness? Or are you like my Awesome Hubby and go for the salt?

Saturday 7 January 2012


Fresh slates are additive for me. Mornings, Mondays, 1st of the month, and the creme de la creme JANUARY! I have been letting myself start goals early [meaning, right when I decide to do it, whether it be the afternoon, the 15th of the month, or March] lately, which means I have a running to do list of items needing to be checked off at all times. But January brings order and determination with it, and so I seem to set my grandest goals at this time of year! With my goals written out, posted in my most often view areas, and broken down into steps [yeah for manageable segments!] I have busted through the 2012 starting gates and am feeling great! One of my resolutions is not yet set though, and currently, I'm okay with that. I created this blog to track my progress back to the marathon starting line, and all the wonderful adventures that I encounter along the way with my little family. Now, I'm wavering as to whether I will be doing another marathon in the next couple of years, or whether I will stick to the half marathon distance. Here's the internal debate:

 [POSITIVES] lofty and courageous goal; feels great to finish; only a small percentage of the population will ever even attempt a marathon, and fewer will complete one [or more in my case ;)]; [OBSTACLES] time consuming training plan which is trickier than a rubixcube with a young family in tow

Half Marathon
 [POSITIVES] long enough distance to challenge me and keep me interested; easy on my body; training fits my schedule; more races to choose from; more training partners to run with [a serious plus!] [OBSTACLES] does not give me the same thrill that a marathon does

And so you see, they're both great options, but neither is completely perfect for me right now. Either my family will need to make great sacrifices so I can run another marathon right now, or I will change my mental state and meet the half marathon with the same zeal and passion of a marathon. One of my sisters, who is also a runner and my favourite person to run with, suggested running back to back half's [for example one on Saturday then another on Sunday] which would be a challenge, and may just be the tipping point towards the half for me.

January is rolling along, the rest of my goals are formed and stepping along to greatness, and soon enough my running goals will be solidified and ready to pursue full throttle.

Both are fantastic - which would you choose?

Thursday 5 January 2012

Protien Packed Mac'

I posted the other day on facebook about the macaroni and cheese I had really enjoyed eating, and wouldn't you know, I got a few requests for the recipe. So, here you go!

I have recently been loving the blog Healthy Happy Life where blogger Kathy shares yummy vegan recipes. In her 2011 Recipe round up, I noticed a Mac and Cheese recipe that actually looked like it would taste like a real cheese sauce instead of the cardboard tasting oil sauces I have come across up till now. I made Kathy's recipe as directed, then added in just a couple of tweaks, so I'll be sending you to her for the bulk of the recipe, then read on for what I did to make it better - and boy did it ever!

Mac and Cheese Bake

all listed at Healthy Happy Life for her Mac and Cheese recipe
plus an additional three cups cooked pasta
can of corn, drained
corn flakes, roughly 1 cup


once pasta is cooked, drained and rinsed, and the cheese sauce is bubbly and hot, combine the two in a bowl along with the corn. Once thoroughly combined, transfer to a oven safe corning ware dish, cover with cornflakes, and bake in a 375*F over for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving so that the sauce does not scorch any little mouths!

With beans, sweet potato,  and nutritional yeast hidden in this gem of a dish, it is a nutritional powerhouse. Use whole wheat pasta to up the ante and your set! I need to put a bit of a disclaimer on it though, as my husband informed me that it is delicious, but does not taste like real cheese. So, if you eat 'real' cheese don't expect this to mimic the real deal, but for those of us who haven't tasted cheese in a while, this is a delight!