Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why good morning Margarita!

I was intending to try a Liferegenerator (hi Dan!) juice recipe, but was inspired to make a breakfast smoothie for tomorrow instead!  And BOY OH BOY am I glad I did!

Good Morning Margarita! Raw Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 Haas avocado, nice and ripe
1 fresh young coconut, water and flesh (see here on how to open them)
2-3 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)
1/2 cups fresh pineapple (see here how to choose and cut a fresh pineapple)

Put everything in a blender.


If you prefer super-cold smoothies, add some ice in with the ingredients.

Also, if you can't find young coconuts, feel free to use coconut water, and adjust the taste as you like. : )

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yesterday was dark and dingy all the live long day.  I went to the market like a good girl, but I found myself feeling heavy and tired the whole day--I usually do on days like that, unless it's one of those rainy summer or spring days which although grey, somehow seem kind of wonderful...  I love those kinds of rainy days! 

I awoke this morning to the sound of birds chirping, and opened my drapes to greet a beautiful sunny day!  It's a lot cooler now than it had been for the previous two weeks, unfortunately, but that's OK.  The early crocuses are up, the trees are budding, and spring weather is thankfully just around the corner.

I also awoke this morning with a need for a creamy smoothie!  I'd made oatmeal (the real kind of course) thinking I might feel the need for some healthy grains, but nope!  My body wanted a smoothie.  Well OK then...smoothie it is!

I had soaked almonds ready to make almond milk in the fridge.  I discovered a couple of weeks ago that you can keep soaked almonds in the fridge for a few days, if you drain them and rinse them after soaking overnight.  What an amazingly helpful tidbit! What it means, is that I can soak a couple of days worth of almonds for almond milk (aka about 2 cups), and keep them in the fridge to use if I don't need almond milk right away.  Isn't it amazing how such simple things can make our lives so much easier?!

Anyway, after I made the almond milk, I threw in about 10 strawberries (I found organic ones at the market, which is amazing.  They're obviously not local, but since just about nothing is local this time of year, what can you do?), a tiny bit of raw honey because the strawberries are of course a bit tangy, some maca powder, a banana, and about 2 tbsp chia seeds.  I added the chia seeds because I know that my body likes a bit of protein with each meal, and the almond milk has hardly any.  The chia seeds will also help to keep me full!

The blended smoothie ended up being the exact colour of pink bubble gum.  Ever wondered what bubble gum would be like for breakfast? ;p

Of course, then I had to change it, by adding 2 big handfuls of spinach.  Gotta make it as nutritious as is reasonable, and since spinach has no taste in smoothies, why not right?  So bye-bye bubblegum, hello green goddess goodness!!

I made an entire blender full, a good 6 cups, so I poured 2/3 of it into the biggest glass I could find for my breakfast, and the rest, about 14 oz worth, is in the fridge for later. 

Now, you may be asking why not just eat what I put in the blender, and have the almond milk to drink with it?  The answer, at least for me, is that I get a lot more produce in me this way.  Similar to when I make kale chips and eat the whole batch, when I would never in a kajillion years eaten a whole bunch of kale in a salad, I wouldn't be eating what amounts to a decent-sized spinach salad for breakfast.  I will however drink a decent-sized smoothie.  To me, it's all about working with what works for me, if you know what I mean.  Whenever I make a smoothie of whatever kind, I always end up consuming far more fruits and veggies than I would have otherwise.  This way I get them in, the other way I wouldn't as much.  Can ya dig it? ;p

Oh by the way--I'm almost finished the smoothie, and it's delish!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What an interesting week last week was!

I'd made a commitment to go mostly raw, as you may have read in my previous post.  I wasn't sure how it would go, not because I didn't have a plan to make totally delish raw food, but because I wondered if my mind would go to the "food poverty" place.  Knowing that I wanted to eat mostly raw, which meant not eating a lot of other stuff, may set me off to thinking that I was deprived. 

I started on the Saturday (the 17th), after I'd gone to my local farmer's market for the whack and a half of plants I'd need to keep me nourished over the next week.  See the pic to the right of my fridge--it was stuffed in every nook and cranny, and there were also fruits on my kitchen table like apples, bananas, young coconuts and a fresh pineapple.  

Now, I'm not someone who can eat the same thing over and over.  In fact, I really can only eat a food twice in a row.  Because of that, my mostly raw week required some planning!  Luckily, I've been collecting raw recipes for nearly a year that I've found online, and I also went to the library and checked out two raw cookbooks that I'd liked in the past.  I haven't used the cookbooks yet, but I will for sure.

Green smoothies have always been a big favourite of mine, so I made sure to make at least one big green smoothie last week.  I made a pineapple/young coconut/spinch smoothie and it was absolutely to DIE for.  Young coconuts have such a unique flavour--quite unlike the older coconut that most people are familiar with.  It's a pretty intense flavour actually, and people usually either love it or really don't.  I shared it with the girl that I usually work out with, and I think her life has been changed!  I don't know if she'd ever had a green smoothie before, and to have the heaven-in-a-glass green smoothie that I'd made as her first...well, let's just say she's a very entheusiastic convert!

For snacks, I made things like 2 kinds of kale chips (LOVE LOVE LOVE kale chips!), smoothies, apples with almond butter, fruit salads, that kind of thing.  
I also made sure to take pictures of some of the things that I'd made over the week that were pretty enough to share!

On the top left, was the first thing I made on that first Saturday--a big shredded salad.  Very quick and easy, with a food processor with the grating blade! 

I don't really like raw mushrooms, thought I love cooked mushrooms.  So since I wanted to eat them raw, I sliced and them marinated them in Bragg's soy seasoning and lemon juice, while I was grating and chopping the salad.  I grated zucchini, carrots, and a beet, and thinly sliced fresh green onions.  I added radish sprouts.  Finally, I made a dressing of cold-pressed olive oil, lemon juice, and honey.

WOW!  It was tasty and quite filling!  It must have been all the root vegetables.  That's a lot of fibre!

The second image is going to take a bit of imagination on your part! ;)  It's actually a surprisingly tasty raw taco.  The 'meat' is made up of wanuts and spices, courtesy of Dan MacDonald the Liferegenerator.  He's so kooky!  But watching his videos make me crave fruits and veggies, so it's inspiring. 

To go with the 'meat', I added slices of fresh avocado, fresh sprouts, and I also made a mango chutney out of cubed mango, lime juice, a tiny bit of sea salt, a bit of fresh chili, and chopped fresh cilantro.  AND I added mushrooms, marinated with the same ingredients as before, but I also added some smoked paprika, because I thought it would be a nice compliment to the nut meat.  I wrapped the whole thing in two lettuce leaves.

It was definitely different than what I would think of a taco, but it was also quite intreguing tasting!  Everything complemented everything else, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It was different, but a good different!  I couldn't believe everything in it was a plant.  Seriously--you wouldn't have thought it by the taste and texture!

The third image on the left is the heavenly green smoothie just finished in the blender.  I told you it was big!!  I used one whole young coconut (the water and the flesh), about 1/2 a pineapple (because I needed to use it up), and 2 or 3 big handfuls of spinach.  Spinach has no taste in smoothies, so you can get away with using quite a bit.  It was pretty thick, but oh so good!

A friend of mine and I have also been drinking a green superjuice each day for the past 2 weeks.  It's called Lemon Ginger Blast, from the same Mr. Liferegenerator.  If you watch the video, you'll note that he makes it with habanero peppers.  Now, no freaking way was I going to make it with even a teensy piece of habanero, let alone a whole one!  So, I made it with a small piece of jalapeno in each serving.  Wimpy?  Maybe.  Alive?  YES!!

It's been amazing!  I was a bit incredulous that we'd feel a difference, though of couse the juice is nutritious.  But we are!  My friend is noticing that she has a bit more energy, and when she and I were talking yesterday, we realized we both were happy for some reason.  OK that makes us sounds like sour surly individuals, but what I mean is that we were happy just randomly while we were working.  A general overall feeling of happiness.  It was unusual enough that we both took note of it, and compared.  Random feelings of happiness--do you need another reason to try this juice?  We've been drinking just 500ml (about half a quart) each day, so it's not that much.  I'd love to drink about double that, but that would be double the cost, and since this juice is in addition to my regular food, there's a limit.  It's not that expensive, but the cost would double, if I were to double the juice (obviously! lol). 
Anyway, I'll be doing it again next week, but this time I got smart!  I decided that I should make juice just once a week, to avoid the constand washing of the juicer.  So I'm going to fill up 10 small water bottles, enough for one bottle per person for each workday, and bring them to work.  I'm going to put them in the freezer, and take them out as needed!  Aren't I smart?!  SO much easier!  I love things that make chores easier!!

On a non food-related note, I've really enjoyed the first week of this raw thing.  So much, I'm going to continue for at least another week!  All new food!  All new experiences!  I'm so excited!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Late last week, I decided that I would be eating mostly raw this week.  The beautiful weather made me start thinking of the end of winter, and how the growing season would be upon us in the next couple of months.
I've also been feeling a little...stifled I guess...by the winter, and thought it might be nice to give my body a break at least, and eat wonderful light meals, rather than the heavy dishes we usually eat in the winter.  Not that there is anything wrong with healthy stews and the like--they're important in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that they keep our bodies warm--but since it's going to be so nice all next week again, it seemed like a great opportunity for a little spring cleaning!  No, it's not a cleanse--I personally don't believe that anything can be accomplished by an organized cleanse, which can't be done eating clean whole foods--and it's a lot nicer!

Anyway, I needed to be smart about it.  Not only because I want to make sure I have meals planned out for the week, and shop accordingly (which I already do as a matter of course), but I also wanted to make sure that I am getting all the nutrients that I need as well.  Just because I'll be eating mostly raw food, doesn't mean that I'm going to abandon the eat clean way of life.  Some raw foodists just eat whatever, but in my opinion they're not doing their bodies any good.  If you eat half a watermelon for breakfast, some broccoli for lunch, and a salad for dinner, you may not be getting in all the nutrients you need.  For my body at least, I need all my nutrients! : )

Now, you may be thinking, "Wow that sounds so limiting!" but let me tell you, it absolutely is NOT.  The common misconception about raw food is the same as the misconception of clean eating--that it's so limiting.  But as with clean eating, I have the entire world of natural foods as my menu.  The only difference is that the way raw foodists eat the foods is a little different.  Even things like some fish and dairy can be consumed, so long as they're raw.  Sushi-grade raw salmon for example is FANTASTIC!  OMG I LOVE it so much.  SO SO MUCH!  But I only get it when I go out for sushi, because it's so expensive otherwise.  Mmmmm...now I'm craving salmon...

What was I saying?  Oh right--raw food!

Yesterday I had a "normal" clean breakfast, because I needed to go to the farmer's market to get everything that I need for this week.  I didn't want to skip breakfast--that's not part of the eat clean lifestyle, and besides, I get GRUMPY when I'm hungry!

When I got home, I made a FANTASTIC salad. 

I'm not someone who likes the taste of raw mushrooms all that much (thought I LOVE cooked mushrooms...go figure).  But, I bought a package of shiitake mushrooms from the Asian supermarket downtown (they're the same price as the regular kind at the grocery store, so HELLO why wouldn't I?), so what I did, was marinate them in Bragg's all purpose soy seasoning (known as Bragg's Liquid Amino's in the US) and lemon juice. 

While they were marinating, I grated up a carrot, a zucchini, and a beet.  Then I thinly sliced a fresh green onion.  I put them all together in a bowl, along with some radish sprouts I caved and bought from the health food store I go to.  I'm currently sprouting some seeds I bought from there, but I wanted sprouts for my salad NOW, not in a few days! lol

For the dressing, I combined cold-pressed olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and a bit of honey.

It was DEEEELISH!  It smelled amazing even before I put on the dressing, which says a lot about the taste of clean foods.  I should mention that the bowl in the picture is a small mixing bowl, so the salad was quite large!

Another great thing about eating raw food, is that the cleanup is a snap!  You practically just need to rinse things--there's really no time you need to scrub.  A little hot water and soap (hopefully biodegradable) is all that's needed.

For dinner, I made raw tacos, the recipe I got from YouTube, courtesy of Dan the Man!  It was super easy, though I should have used two lettuce leaves per taco, 'cause they SO didn't stick together.  I made a mango chutney to go with them, with fresh mango chopped up, fresh green onion, a bit of fresh jalapeno pepper, lime juice and a bit of salt.  Seriously yummy.  I know it looks like a big smoosh, but there are two tacos there.

I'm supposed to make them again this week, and I think I'll just make a half-size.  I could only half finish the second taco because it was SO filling!  Who would have thought?!  SO good.  I was really surprised actually--even though I'm committed to this raw week, part of me still doubted that I could actually feel satisfied (hunger-wise) by eating nothing but plants most of the time.  Live and learn!

Today (day two) my breakfast was a raw smoothie.  A raw strawberry chocolate smoothie!!  HELLO!

I made raw almond milk (super easy), then added half an avocado, a few tbsp raw cacao powder, 4 honey dates, about 1 cup sliced frozen strawberries, and some maca powder.  The maca powder is optional--I added it because I had it.

Whir it together, and VOILA!  A big glass of chocolaty-strawberry-y goodness! 

I felt AMAZING after drinking it.  In fact I felt amazing for a few hours!  I've found that when I consume something super good for me, my body thanks me by feeling fantastic.  Which is welcome!

Right now, I'm eating a local apple, with almond butter.  The apple/almond butter combo has got to be up there with the best combos--burger and cheese; chocolate and peanut butter; The Captain and Tennille.  About a month ago, I had a friend over for a delicious clean meal.  She asked if there was any dessert, and I said no, but do you want an apple and almond butter?  She looked at me all incredulous.  I said I take it you've never tried it?  She said no...  So I gave her some, and she said, "You've changed my life!!"  HAHA!  Yes, it's that good.

Also currently, I have in my dehydrator raw crackers and bread, which I started earlier this afternoon.  I got the recipe from YouTube again (gotta see how they physically do these recipes--it's so different from cooking).

I had to head out not too long ago because I was totally out of honey (and was shockingly able to find raw honey at the grocery store!).  I should note, to anyone who might want to buy raw honey, that it's very good for grown-ups, but should under no circumstances be given to young children, and NO HONEY WHATSOEVER, even the pasteurized kind, should be given to babies.

Anyway, when I got back to my apartment, as soon as I walked in the door, it smelled AMAZING!  If the crackers and bread in the dehydrator taste as good as they smell, they're not going to last long!  They're probably not going to be ready for at least 24 hours (particularly the bread, which will likely take longer).  Raw crackers and breads really do take a long time, but the vast majority of the time is hands-off, so all you have to do is remember to make them enough ahead of time.  Also, they will last for about a month if thoroughly dried, and put into an air-tight container, so when you figure the 10 minutes or so I took making them, spread out over a MONTH of eating it, it sure doesn't seem like that much time!

Speaking of the crackers and bread:

In my blender, I put the 2 cups of flax seeds I'd soaked briefly in 2 cups water; 2 orange peppers, a handful of fresh cilantro (love cilantro!) a bit of sea salt, and 2 cloves of garlic.

Originally I was mixing it in the blender, as you see to the right, but (as I should have known) my blender had trouble mixing it.  It's not that the blender is wimpy or anything, it's just that the soaked flax seeds are so very gooey.  So, I switched to my food processor and that was that.  

It made 3 entire trays worth, so I decided, since the last bunch was a bit more than the first 2, that I would make it thicker, and call it bread.

I scored the crackers and bread before putting the trays into the dehydrator, so they would be easier to break apart when they're done.  The bread I made into bigger pieces, thinking that I might want to use it as sandwich bread sometime soon.  Perhaps an avocado and sprout sandwich?  Who knows!  I'll have to remember that the bread doesn't need to be super hard, so can come out earlier, but that it will also not last as long, since it won't be super dehydrated.

One of the things that I'm finding I need to get used to, is the idea that I can eat things like crackers, which the majority of the time are terrible for you, without feeling guilty, because raw crackers have nothing unhealthy in them whatsoever.  I wouldn't want to eat an entire tray of flax crackers though, not because of any unhealthiness, but because flax...uh...cleans out your pipes.  As a friend of mine discovered (after me warning her first!) when she took home about a half-batch of raw onion bread I'd made.  I warned her to not eat them all that night, not matter how good they are.  The next morning, she said to me, "I found out why you didn't want me to eat all the onion bread last night."  And I LAAAAAAUGHED my head off.  I warned her!  HAHA!  I mean yeah, it tastes just like onion rings, but you'll end up pretty darned clean if you eat too much!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Different But Delish Chili (Vegan!)

Normally, any chili I make is beef-based, if only in the broth.  This time, I realized I didn't have any beef broth (I normally make my own from cheap bones I buy at the farmer's market--it's SO not the same to use the store kind!), but I forgot to buy bones!  So, I used vegetable bouillon cubes (they're made with just dried veggies and are very low-sodium).  I had to adjust the ingredients as well of course--and this is what I came up with!

(serves about 6)


1 tsp olive oil

2 salt-free vegetable bouillon cubes

5 medium tomatoes, chopped fine

1 lb fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned, chopped

3 cups mixed legumes (I used white beans, pinto beans, and adzuki beans), soaked overnight and boiled until almost cooked.

1 lb fresh mustard greens (or greens of your choice) chopped relatively finely

1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped (for digestion and lightening of flavour)

½ cup frozen edemame (optional)


3 bay leaves

1 tsp ground ginger

2-3 tbsp dulse (optional)

1 tsp honey or maple syrup

1-2 tsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp garlic chili sauce (the kind with the rooster on it) optional.

Garlic powder/granules to taste (I used about 3 tbsp)

Onion powder to taste (I used about 3 tbsp)

Chili powder to taste (I like a lot)

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp nurtitional yeast (optional--but better if you use it.  You can find it in health sections of supermarkets, and sometimes in bulk stores or bulk sections of health food stores)


In a spritz of olive oil, sautee mushrooms over medium-high heat. It’s always a good idea to sautee your mushrooms first, in any recipe you can—it brings out the mushroominess.

Add onions and cook until translucent, then add chopped tomatoes. Sautee for an additional 2 minutes or so.

Add bouillon cubes, and about 7 cups of water. More water can be added later if needed.

Add all seasonings, except fresh parsley.

Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium/medium low (depending on your stove), and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Add remaining ingredients except fresh parsley, and simmer again, covered, for about 15 minutes, until greens are cooked. If you’re using something like spinach which takes no time to cook, adjust cooking time accordingly.

Add fresh parsley. Simmer for 5 minutes.


Roasted Beet and Brussels Sprouts with Blue Cheese and Candied Pecans

When attending The Arnold this past weekend, I re-discovered my love for cooked beets (I've been juicing them for a few months, which I also LOVE), and also discovered a way that I actually LIKE Brussels sprouts!  Amazing!!

The salad tastes best when eaten right away--thankfully, even though it takes an hour to make, most of the time it's not hands-on, so it is still an easy meal to make.


•4 small beets (any kind), cleaned, trimmed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces

•4 small Brussels sprouts, cleaned, trimmed, and halved

•1 tbsp crumbled blue cheese (or alternatively goat cheese)

•1 tbsp RAW pecans (pieces are fine and cheaper)

•1 tbsp honey

•sea salt

•black pepper

•Cinnamon, ground, 1/2 tsp

•Eat Clean cooking spray

•2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed


1) Pecan glaze--combine honey, sea salt, and cinnamon in a microwave-safe container. Heat until honey is liquid (just a few seconds), and set aside.

2) Heat oven to 375F. On a foil-lined baking sheet, arrange beets. Spray with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and dot with half of the crushed garlic. Bake for about 30 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces) until they're half-way done.

3) Arrange Brussels sprouts cut-side down, spray with a bit of EC cooking spray, dot with remaining crushed garlic, and return the baking sheet to the oven. Cook until beets and sprouts are cooked--they will be soft, but with a tiny bit of resistance. Remove sprouts and beets from the oven, and arrange on a plate. Turn the oven down to 300F.

4) Re-warm the honey until it's runny again (just a few seconds) and mix together with pecans, until all pecans are covered thoroughly.

5) On another piece of foil (re-use the same one if you can), on the baking sheet, arrange the pecans in a single layer, and put in oven.

6) DON'T LEAVE THE KITCHEN! They will not take long to bake, and you don't want them to burn.

7) After about 1 minute, stir the nuts, and return them to the oven. Repeat often, until the nuts are roasted. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then unstick them. They should come up easier as they cool and the honey hardens.

8) Sprinkle beets and Brussels sprouts with crumbled blue (or goat) cheese, and nuts.

9) Eat with GUSTO!

Tips & Bonus Information

Purchase small beets, as they are tastier, and you don't have to peel them. Much of the honey will end up on the foil, so don't worry that the sugar content will be too high. You can sub maple syrup if you prefer too. You may add a bit of chili powder to the honey mixture, if you like a bit of zip. Add some sort of grain, to make this a complete meal.

Yield: 1 meal. Can be multiplied as many times as needed.

Preparation Time: About 7 minutes.

Cooking Time: About 1 hour (most is hands-off)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Arnold!

The Arnold was SO COOL!  Check out the very bottom of this blog--there's a video!  At about the 2 minute mark, it's about the Robert Kennedy booth--which is partly the Eat Clean Diet team!  Come check us out!

The festival was nuts!!  There were so many people--I heard today that in just one day (the Saturday) there were an estimated 150,000 people who went through the doors.  DUDE!  It took so long to go to the bathroom!  I had to take it on faith that I was heading in the right direction, since all I could see was muscly backs in front of me, muscly chests behind me, and muscly arms to either side!  It was a wall of testosterone!!

To the left is Tosca Reno, Eat Clean Goddess, and Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk).  Who says you can't be firm and hot, when you are "older"?  What is older anyway?!  I don't plan on ever being "old"!!

I found myself, when walking around, being so proud that I was wearing Eat Clean Diet merchandise, and that anyone who saw me would know that I was working at that booth.  I felt very honoured to represent Clean Eating as an Ambassador. 

One lady I was talking to, was excited for me that I was an Eat Clean Ambassador!  After talking for a moment, she exclaimed with a big smile, "You're an Eat Clean Ambassador!"  I said, "I sure am!" and she replied, "That's so COOL!"  I said, "I KNOW!!!

A couple was in line to talk to Tosca and get a picture and autograph from her, and I learned that it was actually the (rather buff and handsome) husband who was encouraging his wife to lead a clean eating lifestyle, which was great to hear!  Most of the Eat Clean Diet fans are women I believe, many of whom are trying to get their families on board, so hearing the opposite was really cool!  He apparently even does the cooking!  HOLLA! 

I got to hear so many inspiring stories about how Eating Clean changed and even saved people's lives.  The old adage "you are what you eat" is very true, and I was reminded over and over of that.  I have no idea how many people I spoke to during the three days of the festival, but it was probably hundreds

Being at The Arnold in turn inspired me to remain committed to eating clean--and to take my health and fitness to the next level.  I'm motivated to feel good and be healthy, especially as I age, but I realized I'm inspired by something else, something which surprised me--I want to make Tosca proud of me. 

That was a surprise, because it's not like we hang out or anything.  But for whatever reason, it's important to me that if I ever get asked to be an Ambassador again, I'll be another step further toward being the lean mean clean-eatin' machine I envision for myself!  Yeah baby!! 

Eating clean, wholesome food, which builds us up, not tears us down (like the Standard American Diet) is most definitely the way to lead the be the healthiest you can be!  It just makes so much common sense!  No calorie counting!  No measuring teensy grams of this and that.  No being hungry all the time--or ever!  It's about giving your body all the nutrients it needs--and you'll be amazed at how fantastic you feel.  When I first started eating clean, I couldn't believe how I had no idea what feeling good was really like.  That was amazing...and also kind of alarming.  I had no idea how bad I felt, until I didn't feel that way anymore.  Sobering thought. 

If you would like to know more about clean eating, I suggest reading The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged.  It's the clean eating bible, and has all the information you need to change your life for the better!  Eating Clean is about changing your life, not just going on some diet, and if you're ready, it's time to make that change!