April 18, 2014
Today we had a bit of a celebration at the Yoga studio, it’s Good Friday so lots of people were off work so our 9:30am Power Yoga class was packed! And our run club is training for the Ottawa Half-Marathon in May and completed 19km today, so they came up for a good stretch after the run. We had a full house enjoying coffee and treats, it was so good to connect with each other, laugh and chat! Below are the recipes for the chocolate inspired treats I made, both were big hits!
The coffee we enjoyed this morning is School Breakfast Program Coffee in stores throughout Ottawa. Buy a bag and feed 6 kids!
Nutty Chocolate & Date Power Balls
These are my new favourite little chocolate treats, inspired by a recipe on this website. These are super simple to make with basic ingredients, and are an awesome treat to refuel with after a workout or a good pick-me-up as an afternoon snack. Make sure to use soft Medjool dates, if they’ve dried out a bit then soak them in water for 30 minutes or so and discard the water.
Almond flour is just blanched almonds, ground into a flour-like texture, Bob’s Red Mill is a good brand to have on hand. For this recipe you can really use any nuts or combination of nuts (walnuts are delicious). The first step is to add them to the food processor and grind them to a flour-like texture, don’t process for too long or it will end up as a nut butter.
- 2 Almond Flour
- 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder (or Roasted Carob Powder)
- 2 cups Dates, pits removed
- 2 TB Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp sea satl
- Dried shredded Coconut
- Add the Almond Flour and cocoa powder, salt to the food processor and whirl around to combine.
- Add 1 cup of the dates plus the maple syrup
- Blend together in the food processor, adding more dates until you get a “breakable” dough (not to goo-ey and not too dry like sand) that can form into balls
- Form into walnut sized balls in your hands
- Roll and gently press the balls in the coconut.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days… if they last that long!
This recipe is a staple in our house, it’s very easy to make and delicious. The recipe is from a wonderful cookbook called Vegan World Food Cuisine. I use a hand held blender to combine the wet ingredients but you could just mush them all together with a fork, just make sure to cut the dates into small pieces.
- 2 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup banana mashed (about 2 bananas)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple sauce (sugar free)
- 1/2 cup date pieces
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (vegan: look for ones with no milk ingredients, PC brand is milk-free)
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil a 9×5 loaf pan
- Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well
- Combine wet ingredients in another bowl, with a hand held wand blender, blend all the ingredients together, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour into the oiled loaf pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out dry. Be careful not to burn the top.
April 17, 2014
During exercise you lose two important electrolytes, sodium and chloride, through your sweat. Women athletes as well as beginner endurance exercisers are most at risk. Also at risk is anyone who has been taking mineral depleting chemicals such as antibiotics or insulin.
According to John Winterdyke and Karen Jensen authors of the Complete Athlete “By regulating the fluid balance inside and outside the cells, electrolytes are necessary for muscle contraction, relaxation and general muscle metabolism. An imbalance in the minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) which become electrolytes in the body can lead to early muscle fatigue and a corresponding drop in performance. For athletes, the muscles may feel ‘great’ but they just won’t respond to the demand you place on them.” To keep our muscles fueled many of us reach for electrolyte replacement drinks – but beware many are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients which can do more to deplete your energy than add to it.
Here are some guidelines when purchasing Electrolyte replacement drinks
- An eight-ounce serving should contain between twenty and twenty-eight grams of carbohydrates for maximum benefit
- Drinks should contain key electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium and phosphates
- Avoid drinks that contain sucrose
- Fructose and maltodextrin are easily absorbed by the digestive system
- Avoid all artificial colours, flavours etc
- Consume drinks slightly chilled if possible, this allows for better absorption
Below are 2 that meet the above criteria and have been proven effective by our coaches
- Ultima Replenisher
- Vega Sport Performance Optimizer, my favorite right now, available at all health food stores
One of the best ways to avoid depletion is to eat foods high in electrolytes such as (in fact together these ingredients create an amazing smoothie)
- Coconut water – highest source of electrolytes found in nature
- Kale – provides heavy minerals necessary to nourish the muscles and alkaline elements neutralize lactic acid build-up
- Celery – replaces sodium lost during perspiration
- Cucumber – provides excellent fluid and fibre
- Bananas – great source of potassium
I try and add all of these to my daily smoothie to keep me energized not just for training but for all my daily activities. My favorite green smoothie is posted on the website, and I pulled out one of my favorite natural nutrition guides, the Sunfood Diet by David Wolfe for a few more recipes guaranteed to keep you replenished and full of energy!
Performance: David recommends blending together 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup ice, 1 heaping tbsp spirulina, you can drink this during your run. To that I add 1 banana and 1 orange as my pre-run smoothie.
Spirulina is the highest protein food on the planet, it comes as a powder and a little goes a long way. This is a superior replenishing drink for any athlete
Rejuvenator – made with a juicer
- 1 Bunch of kale
- 4-6 ribs of celery
- 1 cucumber
- 1 burdock root
- 1 lemon
- 1-2 apples
This is a lot like my green smoothie, with the addition of burdock. Juicing helps the nutrients get right into your cells. Burdock root is a blood purifier and an excellent base to help the body create hormones. Burdock contains one of the highest amounts of iron in any food. Kale provides a dense source of alkaline minerals including calcium. Cucumber and celery soften the taste and provide more minerals. The lemon should be shaved down to the white pith. Apples add sweetness. This is one of the most health-promoting juice combinations, great to consume every day.
April 14, 2014
There is no cooking required for this porridge making is super fast, you can even prepare this in the evening and keep it in a sealed container int the fridge for an easy breakfast on the go.
I used diced mango and fig, 2 of my favourite fruits, feel free to use an combination of fruit that you have on hand, fresh berries are particularly yummy.
Chia Power Porridge with Mango & Fig
- 2 tbsp chia,
- 2 tbsp hemp
- 1 cup organic and fortified plant-based milk
- diced mango and fresh figs
- in your favourite breakfast bowl combine the chia, hemp and milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes or so to absorb the liquid
- top with mango and figs or any fruit you have on hand
March 22, 2014
As the snow and wind are swirling outside, I’m craving something warm and nourishing, trouble is I’m tired and don’t feel much like cooking, and the fridge is looking a little bare! Luckily I live very close to a couple of amazing natural food stores, and in no time I was home with a few key ingredients for a simple soup.
This is my quickest soup yet – 10 minutes start to finish; it’s tasty, and of course full of nutrients, you guessed it, one of them is kale.
The kale is included in a product from Cookin Greens called Athlete’s Mix (a frozen mix of kale, spinach, chard, red pepper and white beans), and the ravioli is from Rising Moon Organics, I used the Spinach Florentine filled with a soy ricotta. Both products are frozen so are great staples to have on hand. The broth of the soup is both vegetable soup stock and miso paste, together the add a depth of flavour and loads of extra nutrients. I used Cold Mountain brand Mellow White Miso.
Kale and Ravioli Soup with Sweet Potato and Miso
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 package frozen Rising Moon Spinach Florentine Ravioli
- 1/2 package Cookin’ Greens Athletes Mix
- 1 small organic sweet potato, peeled and diced small
- 1/2 onion diced small
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced small (no seeds)
- 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp light coloured miso paste
- In a large soup pot bring 3 cups of organic vegetable soup broth to a boil
- Add 1 package frozen Rising Moon Spinach Florentine Ravioli, 1/2 package Cookin’ Greens Athletes Mix, the onion, jalapeno, and sweet potato
- Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, remove from heat
- Stir in 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and the miso paste. The miso gives the soup some depth of flavour so don’t leave it out
- Serve topped with whole grain organic croutons
- Curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy.
Note: replace frozen Cookin’ Greens Mix with 3 cups fresh kale, cut into small pieces.
March 16, 2014
This is one of my go to recipes, it cooks up in under 30 minutes and tastes delicious! This is also a variation on one of the staple recipes in the 5 Day Fat Blast online cleanse, a recipe everyone loves.
In the picture above I used Quinoa + Kale and topped with cherry tomatoes, beets, zucchini and yellow pepper. I used a cool kitchen gadget called a Spiral Slicer that I purchased online on Amazon.ca, it turns ordinary veggies into noodles, and makes all salads so much more interesting. Of course you can also use a grater if you don’t have a Spiral Slicer.
Quick and Easy Kale + Quinoa Bowl
Makes 4 servings
- 1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed, and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 beet, grated
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1 large red pepper, diced small
- 1 small red onion, minced
- Optional: one 14 ounce can chickpeas (drained)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Tahini Miso sauce ingredients:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2-4 Tbsp. water
- 6 Tbsp. tahini
- 2-3 tbsp miso
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
- Dried cranberries (unsweetened)
- Diced avocado
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add quinos, lower heat to simmer, cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and keep covered.
- As soon as you take the quinoa off of the burner, minced onion and kale, on top of the quinoa, cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, transfer the quinoa and veggie mixture into a large bowl, add beet, zucchini and red pepper and optional chickpeas.
- To assemble the bowl, divide among 4 plates, top with additional toppings of walnuts, dried cranberries, and avocado if desired. Drizzle the bowls with 2 tablespoons of tahini sauce.
*Any remaining sauce can be stored for up to one week. The tahini sauce is also great on a salad or over mixed steamed vegetables.
March 4, 2014
It’s Shrove Tuesday, and according to Wikipedia, pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer foods. In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy, or eggs
These pancakes were a good kick start to Lent, because of course they already had a healthy twist, made with whole wheat flour, almond milk, flax, and of course bananas.We topped them with lots of diced berries and a drizzle of pure maple syrup – Divine.
If you observe Lent you have a wonderful opportunity to fuel your blessed body with Pure Food for the next 40 days, check out all our rockin’ vegan recipes and experience the amazing connection between clean food and a clear mind, get started with our recipe below!
Blissful Banana Pancakes – makes 6-8 pancakes
- 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup non-dairy milk, such as almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water
- 1 medium sized ripe banana, sliced thin
In a large bowl combine the flour and baking powder, add the cinnamon and salt and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine the non-dairy milk, vanilla and flax-water mixture and stir through. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir through until just well combined, if it seems a bit thick add a tbsp more non-dairy milk. Stir in the banana slices
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes and then reduce to low. Scoop the batter into the skillet to form pancakes and let cook for a few minutes until small bubbles start to form on the outer edge of the pancakes and then the center. Flip and cook on the other side for a few minutes.
Top with fresh sliced fruit and pure maple syrup.
February 13, 2014
This recipe from MindBodyGreen is not only delicious and decadent but it’s also good for you and super simple! It only takes five minutes to prepare and you only need five ingredients!
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup almond butter (you can also use unsalted crunchy peanut butter)
- 2 cups raw cacao
- 1 cup dates (pitted)
- 1 to 2 pinches of unrefined sea salt
Soak your dates in hot water for about 20 minutes to make them soft and sticky.
Carefully melt your coconut oil on very low heat.
Place all your ingredients, except the almond butter, in your high speed blender and blend until soft and well combined.
Add the almond butter at the end to keep the crunch.
Spread evenly in a tin or container, or – for a special occasion – press into specially shaped candy molds!
Place in the fridge for about one hour.
If you like this recipe, check out Elation Centre’s Recipe Page with tons of healthy and delicious, plant-based recipes!
January 9, 2014
This tea is incredibly easy to make and has immune boosting properties to help combat nasty cold and flu bugs. This has been my go-to remedy whenever I feel a cold coming on.
The lemon in high in vitamin C and the ginger and honey are both know to help boost the immune system, ginger as well helps to clear sinuses and combat nausea.
Here are the simple steps to brew Cold-Busting Tea
you will need:
- juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
- 5-6 slices of fresh ginger (remove peel if not organic)
- 1 tbsp honey (raw and unpasteurized is best, but use what you have)
- your favourite mug
- tea strainer (optional)
To your favourite mug add:
- lemon juice and honey
- place the tea strainer in the mug and add ginger slices
- if you don’t have a strainer add the ginger right into your mug
- pour boiling water into your mug and let everything steep for 5 to 10 minutes
- remove the tea strainer, you can also leave the ginger slices in your mug, they kind of float around the bottom and don’t really get in the way.
- Curl up on the couch with a good book and blanket and enjoy.
More great cold remedies
LearningHerbs.com is another amazing resource for homemade herbal cures, John and Kimberly Gallagher run the site which is well know as the best herbal resource out there. Here is a link for “Eight Simple Secrets for Treating a Cold Naturally”
December 12, 2013
This recipe is from Simply Dish, and specifically their FaceBook page. This is one of the best dessert/sweet treat recipes I have made in a long time!! The recipe can look a bit daunting but it’s not at all, just 3 simple steps. I bought all the ingredients at my local health food store, very easy to find. Go ahead and make these you will be sooooo happy you did!
From Simply Dish “It’s no secret…we all love nanaimo bars and with the holidays coming up this is one recipe that you’ll want to share or print to wow your guests. No one will believe that these decadent little treat are actually quite healthy and so simple to make. You could double the batch and store them in the freezer.”
Before you get started, soak one cup of dates for at least four hours. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and you’re ready to go!
For the base…
- 1c of soaked dates
- 1/2c of cacao powder
- 1/2c of unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2c of almonds
Process the above in your food processor until it all comes together…about thirty to forty five seconds. Press the mixture into your lined loaf pan, flatten the top and set aside.
For the middle layer…
- 1c of unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2c of coconut oil
- 1/4c of coconut nectar (or agave)
- a pinch of turmeric (optional)
- 2 tbsp of coconut flour
Process the first four ingredients in your food processor until smooth, remove the blade and stir in your coconut flour. Now you’re thinking…turmeric? Yep. A little goes a long way and it will help you achieve the yellowy look, similar to a ‘traditional’ nanaimo bar. And I personally think it levels out the sweetness a bit. Yay! The mixture will seem a bit moist, that’s only because the coconut oil has melted from the heat of the food processor. Don’t worry, it all works out. Pour the mixture over your base and smooth out the top.
Place it all in the freezer for about thirty minutes.
For the top chocolate layer…
- 1/4c of cacao powder
- 2tbsp of coconut oil
- 1/4tsp of vanilla powder (optional)
Place the ingredients into a stainless steel bowl and rest the bowl over a pot of simmering water just long enough for the oil to melt. Give it all a good stir and drizzle it over the top of the first two layers. Because the first to layers have been in the freezer, you’ll want to spread the chocolate fairly quickly so that it doesn’t harden unevenly.
And that’s it folks!
Slice with a cool, dry knife and store the bars in the fridge.
November 22, 2013
This is a recipe I created in the summer for my good friends who were taking part in the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour, riding their bikes from Perth to Kingston, Ontario and then back the next day.
Our cottage is right along the route, so I met my cycling friends at end of our cottage road, and flagged them down as they were nearing my makeshift tea and cookies stand set up in the back of our pickup truck. After a quick refuel with my Powered-Up Oatmeal Cookies and a cup of tea they were off.
These cookies are fantastic to refuel after exercise and are a healthy and delicious pick-me-up snack any time of the day.
They are gluten-free, although you can use any type of flour you want, and I used chia seeds as opposed to eggs to add extra kick of healthy fat. They’re sweetened with maple syrup and banana, and super easy to make.
Preparation Tip: I used a hand-held wand blender to combine the oil, maple syrup, soaked chia seeds, vanilla and banana. This ensures everything is well combined and I think it helps to make the cookies nice and moist. You could also use a stand blender to combine everything.
Donna’s Powered Up Oatmeal Cookies
(gluten free and vegan) Makes one dozen cookies
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked gluten free rolled oats
- 3/4 cups All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour (or brown rice flour)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted (you can also use safflower, canola, or other neutral oil)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 2 Tbsp soaked chia seed
- 1 ripe medium-sized banana
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl -
- Combine oil, maple syrup, vanilla, chia and banana in a blender or using a hand held wand blender, make sure to blend it well enough that there’s no chunks of banana.
- Place rounded spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 7-10 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let the cookies finish baking on the cookie sheet for about 5 more minutes.
- Makes about one dozen cookies
Soaked Chia Seed
In a small jar combine 1 tbsp chia seed and 1 cup water, stir and in about 30 minutes you will have a gel. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You cad add soaked chia to smoothies or oatmeal or use as an egg replace in baking, 2 tbsp replaces 1 egg.