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Do you look forward to your breakfast?

-- if it's a choice (or combination) of supermarket-storage eggs, plastic bread, and crinkled cereals - breakfast will be beyond boring and worthless calories.

-- or if you face a groaning board of variety like Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel: "… eggs, ham, hot biscuits, fried apples seething in their gummed syrup, honey, golden butter, fried steaks, fragrant brown sausages, a bowl of wet cherries, fat juicy bacon, stacked batter-cakes…" breakfast could be the makings for a perfect nutritional melt-down.
 
Thankfully, there's a stack of nutritious, delicious options between these two food book-ends.
 
Taste-test and tweak the following recipes to suit your taste buds and energy needs.
 

Sunflower Seed Omelet

 
4 eggs, beaten very light 
1/2 cup sunflower seed meal (a coffee grinder does a fine job grinding seeds)
1/2 tsp. minced dulce flakes
1 tsp. minced chives (more would be better, this is all I could steal from the early offerings of my spring garden chives)
 
Heat a heavy skillet. Blend ingredients. Add to the hot skillet (I used a medium-med/high heat) a bit of coconut oil or olive oil. Pour in the mixture; let brown on the bottom, tipping the pan as needed so the runny mixture gets to the hot part of the pan. Cut in quarters; flip over and brown on the other side. serves 2-3
 
 
note: The sunflower meal may seem an odd addition but it adds healthy polyunsaturated fats; minerals: manganese, magnesium, selenium; and vitamins B1 and E. This omelet would travel well too, in a sandwich or pita pocket with shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, cucumber and sprouts.
 

Nutty Apples with Yogurt

 
2 apples, washed, unpeeled
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 - 2 tsp. raw honey
1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup cashew halves
1 tsp. ground flaxseed
(additional options: other nuts, dried fruits, banana chunks, etc.)
 
 
Core apples and shred. Blend in everything else, folding in the yogurt last. This is one of those breakfast meals that doubles as a dessert or a salad. Makes 2 generous servings. (This is becoming my favourite "anything" meal!)
 

Instant Breakfast with Attitude

 
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
 
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger powder (or more, to taste)
 
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup of milk of choice (dairy,soy,almond,rice,hemp) - if so desired
options - fresh fruit and more crunchy nuts
 
 
Pulse ingredients (except for liquid) in a food processor or coffee grinder - a small Bullet blender works well if you pulse half a recipe at a time.
 
To serve:
Mix 4 Tbsp. of the mix with 1/2 cup very hot water.
Let sit and thicken for about 7-8 minutes.
Add milk and other options:  chunky nuts, fresh fruit.
 
Store leftover mix in a glass container in the refrigerator. Recipe makes enough for 7-8 servings.
 
 
 
This recipe also works well for taking along:
- to work
- out camping
- on a touring bike ride
- on a day hike
.......wherever you can heat water (or transport it) and take along your choice of milk, if desired.
 
(recipe credits to the "domesticdiva" )
 

Breakfast Pudding - with Rice or Oat Flakes

 
In blender, mix together until crumbly but not gummed together:
- 5 - 6 pitted medjool dates* (or 7-8 other whole dates)
- 1/3 cup cashews*
- 1/3 cup unsweetened large coconut flakes*
*if not using high-powered blender {e.g. Vitamix} - pulse blender often until ingredients are pulverized
 
 
 
Bring to boil in saucepan:
- 3 1/2 cups of your choice of milk (dairy, almond, soy, etc.) or use half milk and half water (I use equal amounts of water and soy)
 
Add:
- 3/4 cup rice flakes OR oat flakes - along with the blended mixture of dates, cashews and coconut
- 1/3 cup currants or raisins
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- dash of sea salt
 
 
Stirring often, cook for about 8-10 minutes.
 
Remove from heat, stir in 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Serve while still hot - (the rice variety has a tendency to thicken up quickly).
Adding more milk is optional - I like to eat it as is.
 
Sprinkle with toasted pecans and cinnamon.
 
Makes 3 good-sized servings of "dessert for breakfast".
 
 
Yummmmy!
 
(Thanks to my son-in-law, Damien, for this recipe.) 
 
What do you eat to"break-your-fast"?
 
Blog P.S. How could I have forgotten this one? I dressed this dish up nice and pretty for my Dad's 90th birthday brunch. The recipe is on this previous post. One tweaking: I'd leave the peel on the apples and add a splash of lemon juice. 
 
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Does nutrition have anything in common with naturopathic medicine?

When I posed this question to Dr. Ben Connolly, ND, this nutrition nut (me, not him), was thrilled to hear: "... nutritional counselling is my first consideration when I see my patients." That nutrition includes dietary changes and supplements - with his plan for the latter as initial building and restoring, and some for maintenance - with the goal as food being the primary source of healthy nutrition.

My appointment with Ben had been due to pain and swelling in my left hand, specifically at the base of my thumb (something happened while hiking and grasping a walking pole?!). He introduced me to acupuncture treatment, demonstrated appropriate stretches, and prescribed vitamin E, and fish oil, rich in omega-3 fats. There might have been more recommendations but this is all I remember from that visit two years ago. Since then, I've completed my nutrition studies and am grateful for the opportunity to do nutrtional consulting with some of his patients.

For the record, since then the thumb is functioning much better.  And I've learned more about Ben's naturopathic medicine philosophy.

"To promote innate healing of the body through safe and effective natural treatments."

Besides clinical nutrition, some of these treatments include:

- hydrotherapy - using the properties of water (temperature and pressure) - to help alleviate symptoms of disease and to improve circulation. My own experience/experimenting has been fluctuating the hot and cold temperatures while in the shower - an awakening! This is to improve circulation and to help flush toxins. For hardy souls - Ben's advice: take this on gradually, but is oh so reviving!

- acupuncture - this technique has my vote of credible healing/treatment 
 
- hands on body work, muscle manipulation
 
- lifestyle modifications - exercise, sleep, stress, aids for functional living
 
- herbal therapy
 
- orthomolecular medicine
 
What can't a naturopathic doctor do? "Refer patients for blood tests (can recommend that patient ask MD for specific tests) or perform surgery." 

 

From childhood, Ben had been interested in medicine and started his training with a Bachelor of Science degree at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. His job in a hospital lab, specifically related to transplant patients, was interesting work but other "aspects" of the job enforced his decision not to follow through on his original plan for mainstream medicine.

Four years later, he obtained his Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

Ben's purpose as stated on his business card.

"To improve quality of life for patients by addressing the fundamental causes of disease, by healing the whole person through individualized treatment and by promoting the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine." 

Knowing Ben's postive and professional attitude, expertise in his field, and friendly manner I can recommend that he will follow through on his purpose. 

Dr. Ben - and his wife, Julie, a massage therapist and certified laser therapist - work out of Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia, and can be contacted through cornerstone naturopathic inc. . 
 
The sure link between this ND and nutrition? There are recipe books using whole, real food ingredients for sale in the front office. Let's just say, you probably won't see that at most mainstream doctor's offices.
 
It would only be right that I should have at least one recipe to suggest. The original recipe used kale but I thought the chard was a fine substitute.
 

Beet, Swiss Chard, and Walnut Salad

 
 
3 - 4 beets, peeled and cubed
1 bunch swiss chard (or can substitute kale), rinsed and chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, lightly roasted
2/3 cup (organic) feta cheese (optional but is a great addition)
 
Dressing:
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (carefully chopped)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
 
Steam cubed beets until tender, for 15-25 minutes, depending on their size. Put into bowl to cool; steam chard (or kale) greens for 5-10 minutes - until tender but still bright green. Rinse in cold water and carefully squeeze out excess water. Place in bowl with beets.
 
Toast walnuts in toaster oven or in frying pan on the stove for about 10 minutes, stirring or shaking often, watching carefully so they don't burn. 
 
In a small jar with a lid, shake together dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss carefully. Top with feta cheese if using and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
 
Colorfully, delicious nutritious.
Beets - rich in folic acid and promote detoxification
Swiss chard - abundant in chlorophyll: purification and promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal flora
Walnuts - high in omega-3 fats: reduce inflammation, help protect against cardiovascular disease
 
 

The last few blogs have been on a bit of a salad roll - I think it's the hope and vibrancy of spring (as I finish this on a snowy Easter Sunday!!). But before I switch gears I have to leave a link for one more: this salad from FatFree Vegan Kitchen is  worth eating just for the dressing!

Bon appetit!!

Hur-"raw" Salsa Salad

31 Mar 2012
Posted by karen
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I'm satisfying my craving for "fresh", dancing with this salsa salad.

dressing: mix together
1/2 avocado, mashed
juice squeezed from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. ground pepper (to taste)
 
 
Chop the following into small chunky bits - salsa consistency - and put into a small bowl.
 
1/2 of a red pepper
1/2 or more of a jalapeño pepper
1/3 of an English cucumber
1 large tomato
4 green onions
2 stalks celery
1 carrot peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp. pepper flakes (or to taste)
cilantro leaves - cut up, enough to fill 1/2 cup (careful not to bruise while cutting)
1/4 tsp. sea salt (to taste)
 
Mix in the dressing and start munching - and munching - and more munching - to properly digest it and get the full benefits of vitamins and minerals.
Bonus: the (hot) peppers and omega 3's in the avocado are great for your metabolism - fat burners, so to speak.
 
Add your favourite cooked beans to make this salad a meal - plus notching up the nutrition (B vitamins, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium and protein). Roll the salad up in a huge crisp lettuce leaf and you'll have one crunchy veggie burrito. Can be eaten out of hand, or if messy bothers you, use cutlery.
 
 

Need more "raw-raw"? If ever there was a time for green, this is the season.

 
 
Savoury Green Soup
 
Put the following into a blender and - blend well: I love my vitamix for always doing this job so well.
 
2 tomatoes
about 3 handfuls of greens - a mixture of spinach and kale or chard ( dandelion greens will soon be available)
3 stalks of celery (cut up into chunks)
1 avocado (without pit and peel)
some chopped spicy pepper - you choose your heat
juice of 1/2 lemon
 
Blend until smooth. Pour into a pretty soup bowl. At this point you transform it from a smoothie to soup. Cut up some more - small - avocado chunks and stir (hide) into the soup for added texture. Garnish the top with snippets of dulce (will give soup a salty flavour), or fresh sprouts (alfalfa, clover, pea, broccoli), or the first wee sprigs of parsley reviving in your garden.
 
What's your favourite "ode (recipe) to spring and all things green and raw?"
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{Breaking news! There is a winner for the giveaway, Nurturing Creativity: a Guide for Busy Moms. Comment number 6, as drawn by an online random generator, is the lucky recipient. Congratulations, Sara - please connect via my contact page with your email so Renee can send you your copy. Thanks to you all who left comments, and thanks to Renee who offered this copy to give away through my blog.} 

This is a remarkable day: one of memory and deep joy for my daughter.

Renee (Tougas) has launched her first e-book, Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms

 

Let me introduce you to the author I know.

Renee is my close friend, the mother of three (amazing) children, and lives authentic to the life she writes about in her blog, FIMBY. She home schools her three-some: sharing her passion and skills for language and learning, ever encouraging her students' imagination (and mess) to craft and display their creative works. Cardboard castles with knights and stables; glue guns, fabric, beads and markers;  soil, moss, plants and a jar with a lid - all these and more have taken up residence in their home and ours. 

Renee's grandmother (whose birthdate is today) expressed her creativity with fabric, yarn, nature's bounty -  Mom would have enjoyed this milestone day. The two of them could have reminisced those days at Grandma's house, creating slippers out of masking tape, baking together, and designing water slides for the lawn. 

Renee has nurtured her mother's creative soul: giving me permission to forego a spotless house if I'm "being called" to write or garden or knit. To pursue a dream at any age. To embrace the journey of trying new things and the time it takes to explore them. Thanks, Renee.

But of utmost importance, Renee has discovered and tended her own creative self - and from that she shares her experience -  encouraging young Moms that making creativity a priority can add meaning and beauty to their lives, that "everyone has the desire to create..."  

This guide was written especially to young Moms - but it will inspire others too...I've read the book! 

Some of the topics she addresses are:

- seasons of motherhood

- the value of creativity

- celebrating your uniqueness

- filling your well

- letting go of perfection

Included in the e-book are experiences of six other creative Moms. It's all wrapped up in about 50 PDF pages:  a nice length for busy Moms, busy anyone! 

Today, I am offering a giveaway of a downloadable copy. The one lucky winner will receive a download of three versions of the book. A printable PDF, a mobi file for your Kindle and an epub file for all other e-readers. To be eligible, all you have to do is leave a comment!

I will choose a winner at random on Friday night. Comments close at 8pm AT Friday, March 23rd.

If you aren't the lucky winner, you can purchase Renee's book here or at Amazon. At $3 a copy, Renee's making this book affordable for any budget.

 

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Can't sleep⇔stress: the age-old "chicken and egg" story.

Two clients this last week told me they had trouble sleeping. There are nights when I too have less-than-stellar "rest."  And when that happens? It's frustrating, can lead to fatigue, affects our quality of life - and relationships.
 
 
Sleep is anything but a luxury:  it's vital for our immune system, supports growth and healing, helps to regulate our blood sugar levels, feeds our brain function - and the beat goes on...
 
Is this problem of stress-anxiety a greater issue in this generation than those previous? If you watched last week's Age of Anxiety on CBC's Doc Zone it appears  so. Pharmaceutical prescriptions for anxiety (and its bedfellow, sleeplessness) are at unprecedented proportions. Why are we so stressed that sleep evades us?? The reasons are myriad: a topic reserved for another post.
 
Until then, rather than burying our head under the pillow and hoping we'll nap a few hours before the alarm, let's look at some sleep enhancers.
 

Action plan:

-- engage in relaxing activity before bedtime. Reading may help - provided it isn't study material for tomorrow's work or school, a thriller novel or related to a stimulating project. Handwork, like cross-stitch or knitting, can help mellow your mind too. (From experience, try to set it down before you're deaing with a challenging new pattern or recovering dropped stitches.)
 
-- this may seem obvious, but eliminate caffeine and other stimulants from your diet - at least after noon.  Some people may swear by "the glass of red before bed" to ease you off to sleep. Perhaps so, although the effects of too much alcohol may cause insomnia later in the night - plus the stress it adds to your liver.
 
-- Bach Flower Remedies are homeopathicaly prepared flower extracts - the label on the Rescue Remedy bottle offers "comfort and reassurance to help you cope in balancing life's ups and downs." Recommended dosage: a few drops when under stress or tension. 
 
-- a couple supplements that may help before bed: melatonin, the hormone that keeps our body in sync with the seasonal balance between day and night, light and dark; or inositol (one of the B vitamins) that has a mild anti-anxiety effect.
 
-- an Epsom salts bath and a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea can put you in a mellow mood for sleep. 
 
 
-- mineral deficiencies, e.g. magnesium, potassium and calcium, can sometimes trigger insomnia. Foods like sesame seeds, pecans and bananas contain these minerals and support the nervous system.
 
 
-- some sources may not agree but a protein snack before bed might be just what you need: yogurt (with or without fruit), nuts, or a piece of cheese on a healthy cracker (if you're okay with dairy). This may save you from waking up later to wander to the kitchen for that banana and yogurt - I've tried that too, with positive results - but why go through the disruption if you don't have to?!
 
-- exercise during the day - get your heart rate up, sweat a little, a lot is even better. Make your body work - get tired out. This should help your body be happy to crawl into bed and zonk out. A caution though, about exercising too late in the evening. Allow enough time to mover from overdrive to low gear. (From experience: adrenaline after a 9:00-10:00 p.m. swimming class was a recipe for a (too) late bedtime.)
 
-- having your bedroom cool and dark contributes to a better sleep - some people sleep better with a "white noise", e.g. a fan whirring in the room. Maybe it'll work for you.
 
-- go to bed before you're overtired, e.g. if at 10:00 p.m. you're feeling ready to go to sleep, then time to turn out the light. Reading a book or watching television for another hour may tip you over the edge into not being able to fall asleep.
 
-- when you wake up in the night, concentrate on belly breathing  - breathing in slowly through your nose, then slowly releasing the air from your belly through partially open lips. This is a good habit to develop during your waking hours - it reduces tension in your neck and shoulders.
 
-- have a glass of water on your bedside table in case you wake up thirsty
 
-- meditation, prayer and other practices that nurture our spiritual health are vital for help with stress. (From experience: prayer has more power than counting sheep.) 
 
-- a short nap in the day helps for catch-up. My Mom (God rest her soul) did this only occasionally - probably the reason why my Dad snapped the photo below! 
 
 
-- a thankful attitude can contribute positively to our stress-sleep conundrum. Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection poses the theory we go to sleep burdened by thoughts of what we didn't get, or didn't get done that day and wake up to the "reverie" of lack...."hungry for more joy....we're malnourished (my emphasis, not hers) from a lack of gratitude." I'm not suggesting we be naive about nutritious and lifestyle changes to ensure we get our sleep. But I am suggesting we "live grateful". For the blessings we experience, for the sufficiency we have to choose the way how we think - and deal - with our circumstances.
 

Fast-track Bedtime Summary:

-- have a small snack
 
-- prepare restful bedroom conditions
 
-- have a warm bath, read a while, breathe deeply
 
-- journal your thanksgivings before turning out the light
 
 
Good night and sleep well, my friend.
 
 
 

gluten free workshop

12 Mar 2012
Posted by karen
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Going gluten free - it's mainstream health news.

Bookshelves, magazine racks, the media, our friends and co-workers - all broadcast their opinion and understanding on the why and how to eat GF. 

This workshop will help you navigate this journey for yourself by providing nutritional information, instruction and tasty GF alternatives. 

Even if you're not planning - or needing - to follow this diet route yourself, the recipes and handouts will help you serve healthy and tasty GF dishes to your family and guests who are eating that way.

If you're skeptical that {healthy, tasty and easy=gluten free}  here's one of  several recipes we'll be tasting.

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies - gluten-free

1 ounce dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater)

1 1/2 cups soft-cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or substitute with olive oil)

1/4 heaped cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. GF baking powder

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or substitute almond extract)

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 - 1/2 cup maple syrup or raw organic honey

1/2 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped (optional)

How to:

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease or mist 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.

Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat with 1 Tbsp. water mixed in. Combine melted chocolate, beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, baking powder, flavoring, applesauce and sweetener in a food processor (or powerful blender); process well until smooth. Stir in walnuts and pour mixture into prepared baking dish. 

Opt: sprinkle a few more chopped walnuts on the top.

Bake in preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides, about 35 minutes.

recipe source: Clean Eating Magazine

 

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Next to my passion about food (cooking, eating, working), I love fitness, a.k.a. cardio stuff: running, cycling, hiking, rowing. This love affair supports one another: they're joined at the hip. For my goals and abilities it's a compatible marriage - takes work but worth the effort.

 
Boosting that regime to endurance training for an ironman distance triathlon - is - another - story. 
 
It's NOT MY STORY. I hate competitive swimming, the training's too all-consuming, and I'm not that crazy.   
 
This is Tammy Slauenwhite's story.
 
http://www.realfoodmatters.ca/sites/realfoodmatters.ca/files/L1010149.JPG
 
 
I met Tammy almost five years ago - the two of us were thrashing our way around the buoys in Fancy Lake - surrounded by other triathletes, some absolutely flying doing the front crawl.  
 
We were both new comers to the Bridgewater Triathlon Club. Tammy was making the move to add to her personal trainer portfolio and I had just made a move across the country and wanted to meet active people.
 
Both of us met our objectives.
 
Fast track to the present. With a log book bulging with short races, several half-marathons, and two half-ironman distance races, Tammy is gunning for the big one.
 

What motivated her to commit to this??!!

- an ironman distance triathlon is on her bucket list
 
- the first ever EPIC Dartmouth is scheduled for the 2012 Maritime race roster - in Halifax, an hour-plus from Tammy's home
 
- a charity route was a registration option (fund-raising for $1200  in lieu of  paying $395). Her charity of choice was PRO Kids, an organization that matches youth and children in need with community-based recreational activities. Great fit.
 

Why aren't we all signing up??!!

 
Because last week alone was an 18-hour training week. (With still four months until race day, I'd be afraid to check what's coming down the pike in the training program.)
 
To see how that looks in the trenches, check out  her facebook page: TamFit (Tammy Slauenwhite) is taking on EPIC Dartmouth for PRO kids, which will also provide information re: donating to PRO kids.
 

I wanted to know what a typical food-day looks like. From hitting the floor to hitting the sack.

- protein and fruit shake
- eggs with greens and salsa or oatmeal
- fruit and nuts
- salad greens - with some of these: veggies, unsalted nuts, seeds, chicken or beef or beans
- yogurt and berries
- veggies and protein (chicken, beef, fish, eggs)
- nuts, yogurt or hot milk
 
- other "whenever" - raw veggies, fruit, nuts, dates, sometimes home made peanut butter cookies.
- post-workout favourites - dates, nuts, thick protein shakes with banana, berries, yogurt, milk 
- on the bike and the run - water, oranges (and oj), dates, bananas, homemade gel
 
Here's the gel recipe, previously posted. Recipe tweak: finely chop the dates and soak for an hour before making for smoother blending.
 
 
 
The program:  eating every 2-3 hours. "I allow my body to tell me. I don't like to go hungry and I don't like to get bloated so I tend to eat really small amounts at a time." 
 
There's an obvious absence of grains, and Tammy's response to that: "since I cut back on wheat and grains I find my body less bloated and to fill up that space I find I eat more fruits and vegetables which I REALLY need - they have vitamins and minerals I need." 
 
Looks like clean eating to me.  And to date, this is what works for her. Tammy admits that consuming enough veggies and fruits is a challenge. Preparation, shopping (she likes to go organic if available) - along with the protein foods, the total food bill adds up.  Not to mention that she has a teen-age son who also has a healthy appetite - sometimes for different food than what's on her plate which adds time in the kitchen.
 
Tackling an event like this is close to a full-time job commitment. To show support - besides get in a good long run, it's been great fun logging the miles with Tammy and friends. Her program says long runs are slow - yes! - but the time flies as we chat about food, fitness, family and more.
 

I admire Tammy's drive (and her fitness level) to go for such an ambitious dream. The inspiration she wants to share?

"Women my age [almost 40] can do the things they aspire to. It's not too late! Go for it."

Her wish for race day:

- not to be injured

- to be fueled properly (and stay that way) so she's not feeling hungry

- to have energy to be upright and smiling at the finish line

I wish you the best of days, Tammy. 

Speaking of hunger, it's time to fuel up myself after today's 17km  - a beautiful "rave run" by the Atlantic. 

I've made a huge salad of greens, carrot strips, green onions, avocado, cauliflower florets, nuts, toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds and popped amaranth. The dressing - Creamy Tofu with Dill - is delicious, nutritious and reminds me of my grand-daughter, Brienne, who made it for many of our salads last summer. Do give this a try.

Creamy Tofu with Dill Dressing

1 1/2 cups soft or silken tofu

1 shallot, finely chopped

6 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

4 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. Herbamare

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. maple syrup

Mix everything in a blender (I used a Magic Bullet) until smooth and creamy. Makes about 2 cups - delicious on salads or as a dip for veggies.

Mmmmm goodness.

 

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I routinely follow about half a dozen blogs, others I check out occasionally, and the surprises are those discovered through curiosity or Web-wandering rabbit trails.

One of my wanderings landed me at the recipe for chunky monkey muffins - and that trail led to two quick-track baking sessions.

First time around I forgot to add the almond butter. Voila! Fudge brownies that had to be eaten with a fork.

Better texture and improved flavour the second time - using all the ingredients.

My recipe tweaks: used organic coconut oil, the chocolate option, toasted the nuts before adding them to the top. Needed about 20 minutes to bake.

Pretty yummy, and fast if you get it in one try!

Visit the rest of this motley mix for busy people - living healthy, living active.

 
My daughter home-schools her three (beautiful, intelligent) children, writes, lives with her adventuresome husband - and cooks delicious, healthy food. She's fine-tuned how to come up with the goods but spend less time in the kitchen. Her blog overall is targeted to young creative Moms but this post is brimming with practical time-saving tips, menu ideas and applies to busy cooks in any stage of life.
 
The "domestic divas" offer a wealth of wisdom about cultured foods - and a whack of other topics. This instant breakfast porridge recipe is a zinger for athletes, camping, packing in lunches, traveling - and of course, breakfast too. 
 
Have you recently walked by (or to) the coolers stocked with sports drinks? Their brilliant colours have to be be the first red flag they can't be all that good for you. An RHN colleague (and author) has recipes to make your own - they might even give you the leading edge you're looking for! 
 
If you are a walker, runner, weight lifter, cyclist, swimmer, hiker: a window washer, gardener, painter, carpenter, secretary: or anyone who moves muscles --self-massage techniques  could well lengthen the time span between professional tune-ups. (This isn't a family blog promo, but my son-in-law's site is worth checking out.)
 
 
If you follow some favourite nutrition-fitness blogs, do tell!
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Last week I spent Valentine's Day with my sister who lives in Alberta. For the record, we both have husbands who are our "true loves" but infortunately neither of them were there. In reality, her husband was as close as the other side of town, in the hospital (poor guy - the good news, he's since been discharged) - and my husband was at our home on the other side of the country. 

 
Us two girls needed a pick-me-up.
 
True to our personalities, my sister went out and bought us a rose (you can see a bit of it in the photo above) - I got busy in her kitchen. 
 

I was bent on making us a treat which didn't mean tossing aside good nutrition.

 
I found in the basement a dust-covered box containing a Donvier ice cream maker.
 
In the freezer were some frozen strawberries from last summer's pickings.
 
In the cupboard was a Magic Bullet blender, coconut milk, honey and vanilla extract (from Jamaica, no less!).
 
In my memory was a simple recipe I've often made from Whole Food Nutrition.
 
 

The recipe: strawberry-coconut ice "cream" without dairy and refined sugar.

 
I made a small batch as her Bullet wasn't a full-size blender (and really how much treat did the two of us need?!) but doubling the amount would have fit fine into the ice cream maker.
 
-- 1 can full fat coconut milk (check the label to ensure there's no added sugar)
 
-- 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries (other fruits like blueberries are equally as yummy)
 
-- 2-3 Tbsp. honey (could substitute with agave nectar or maple syrup)
 
-- 1-2 tsp. vanilla (I coaxed about 1 1/2 tsp out of the Jamaican bottle)
 
Place ingredients into blender and blend until smooth and creamy. To take good care of my sister's Bullet I stopped and started a couple times, but mixing doesn't take very long - especially if you have a stronger machine like a Vitamix. 
 
 
You can pour this immediately into the Donvier's frozen cannister but I let the blender and contents sit in the fridge and chill for about half an hour before doing so.
 
This type of ice cream maker requires turning the paddle about every minute or so - it was ready in 20-25 minutes.
 
 
Scoop it out of the cannister and into another container: let it sit in the freezer for about an hour before serving. It's okay to chill longer of course, but can get rock solid and has to sit out for quite a while before you can scoop it.
 
 
Honestly, this is the stage I could sit down and spoon up! Creamy, smooth, punched full of strawberry and coconut flavours.
 
Not as good as sharing the day with my life-long Valentine (another story - how I still have the Valentine card my hubbie gave me in elementary school!) but this hit the spot for an occasion when "....all you need is love..." wasn't quite enough :)
Posted by karen
karen's picture

Cleanse, re-junevate, re-energize - these can be the rewards when you want to:

-- allow your body to get back on track after periods of high stress or indulgent eating (been away for a vacation, on a cruise?!)

-- jump start a weight loss effort

-- prepare for a seasonal transition

-- are ready to get back on balance with a healthy life style

This workshop focuses on a food-based cleanse: an informal evening of information in the form of handouts, recipes and tasting.

There's still room - but space is limited so don't delay if you're interested. 

If you live too far away to attend, workshop material is available online.

 

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