Salads for the week ahead

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Some of you had asked for my recipes… as usual, most of them are in my head (and I still haven’t learned to write them down!)  So I will do my best to give you an idea of what was in them!  A few hours in the kitchen on the weekend (when I can manage it) sure saves on time during the busy work/school/hockey/activities that go on during the weekdays.

The quinoa salads.  I start by making a large batch of quinoa. i.e. 3 cups quinoa in half water/half vegetable broth (about 6 cups liquid).  Once cooked I divide it up to make different salads.

 

Zesty Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad Orange Curry Cranberry Quinoa Salad (all measurements approximate)

  • Approx 2 cups cooked quinoa (for the liquid in cooking I used half veggie broth half water)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 1/2 can of sliced mandarin oranges in their own juice (save the juice for the dressing)
  • 1/2 bunch of green onion cut up
  • 1/2 to 1 avocado cubed
  • 1/3 cup black beans

While the quinoa is still warm I mix in the dried fruit for it to soften.  Then let it cool in fridge while making dressing.

DRESSING

  • 1 can of the mandarin orange juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 – 2.5 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  • small amount of fresh ginger
  • two big spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt

I blend all the dressing ingredients in my vitamix then pour and mix into quinoa mixture and add the remaining ingredients (avocado, beans, green onion etc.)  I don’t always use all of the dressing, and I save some for my green salads during the week.  Or you can just keep dressing on the side and add when you go to eat the quinoa salad.

 

ImageQUINOA CILANTRO BLACK BEAN LIME CUMIN SALAD

  • Cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 of a can of rinsed black beans
  • red/yellow grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch green onion
  • kale
  • 1 carrot shredded

mix the kale in with the quinoa while warm and then let cool while making dressing

DRESSING

  • juice from 1 1/2 limes (and a bit of zest)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp (or more) minced garlic
  • 1 – 1 1/4  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • small amount sea salt & pepper
  • 2 big spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt

blend all the dressing ingredients in blender.  And keep to the side or mix into quinoa salad.

once quinoa is cooled a bit then add the remaining salad ingredients.  Always up for modifications of course add any veggies you want!  It’s also good with bell peppers.

 

Image     ROASTED YAM AND FETA SALAD

  • 1 large yam roasted  (wash yam, cut into small cubes, spread out on cookie sheet with parchment paper, drizzle a bit of olive oil and sea salt, roast at about 375 for 30-50 mins) let cool slightly before making salad
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 of red onion chopped
  • (also yummy when you add any leftover cilantro chopped up)
  • I also added any leftover quinoa to some of this salad as well

DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup      (*note that’s the only sweetner I had on hand, you can probably use honey, or agave etc.)
  • 2 big spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp dijon mustard

Again, I blend in vitamix.  Add directly to salad, or keep on the side to have at the time you eat it.

 

Image ASPARAGUS POTATO SALAD WITH DILL  

 

Roasted Potatoes:

  • 2 lbs potatoes I used baby yellow. washed & chopped into 1” pieces
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh thyme

roast in oven until soft when poking with a fork, then I roast a bit longer for crispness

Dressing:

  • 1/2 – 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • juice from 1 – 1/2 fresh lemon and some zest
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • salt and pepper

blend all the dressing together.

 

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped into 1” pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • roast in oven

add all together, with some chopped green onion and fresh thyme and some kale

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes and seasonings. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment or non-stick mat. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once half-way through baking. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

 

4. Mix the potatoes, asparagus, and dressing together in a large mixing bowl and season to taste. Serve immediately, warm. Makes about 4-5 servings.

Note: I used just a touch of maple syrup to balance out the dressing. You could also use a touch of sugar or other sweetener. Or simply do not use it at all. I thought it balanced it out really well and you couldn’t detect the maple.

 

 

beet and apple salad with cabbage

 

BEET & APPLE SALAD

 

 

  • 4 beets ( I use the ones from costco already cooked)  chopped into small bite size bits
  • 2-3 apples (red and green) I keep the peels on and chop into bite size
  • feta cheese
  • green onion

mix all together

for the dressing:

  • raspberry vinagrette
  • sea salt
  • syrup
  • dijon mustard
  • ground peppercorns
  • oregano

 

 

 

 

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Summer Salads

I love salad!  I love the fact that you can just throw a variety of fruits and veggies together and they taste delicious… salads are only limited by your imagination.  With the local Farmer’s Market opening today I thought I’d share with you a couple of my favourite recipes made from a number of fresh fruit & veggies that I pick up at the Farmer’s Market.

486578_10151929570870597_1021576739_nWATERMELON CUCUMBER FETA SALAD

 

Watermelon (cubed)

fresh blueberries

feta cheese (broken up)

chopped up fresh mint

craisins

edible flowers

alfalfa sprouts

cucumber

all layered together for a delicious fresh salad

 

dressing: 

 

RASPBERRY CREAMY VINAIGRETTE 

 

fresh raspberries

juice of one navel orange

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

3 tbsp honey

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

 

Put raspberries, orange juice, red wine vinegar, greek yogurt & honey in blender… pulse gently until mixed.  while

blending on low, add in olive oil until fully mixed add in Salt & Pepper

 

IMG_3897FRESH FLOWER GREENS SALAD

fresh greens from farmers market (variety of lettuce types – arugula/butter/romaine/red)

thinly sliced onion (I use red onion)

avocado

alfalfa sprouts

green grapes halved

chopped fresh herbs (basil & mint)

shredded carrot

edible flowers (farmers market)

 

dressing:

 

CUCUMBER DRESSING

1 cucumber peeled & chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp agave (or honey – local honey is delicious)

1 tsp tarragon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

 

blend all ingredients until smooth.

Naturally Made Chia Pudding

Loving Life... Naturally

Image

Chia seed is a fantastic way to increase fiber in your diet.  1 Tbs has 5 grams of Fiber!  You can sprinkle it on top of yogurt, salads, replace them for poppy seeds, add to your smoothies, oatmeal or make a delicious, powerful, Chia Pudding!  What is so great about Chia is that unlike Flax Seed, Chia doesn’t need to be ground to get all of its benefits.

The word Chia actually comes from the Mayan language which means “strength.”  Thousands of years ago the Aztec warriors believed that it provided them with strength and power and it was a staple in their diet!  It makes complete sense why the Mayans were so fond of Chia seeds, they are the richest plant source of Omega-3‘s (which is perfect for me since I do not like fish!) and contain MORE Omega 3’s than Salmon! Because of their high…

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CHALLENGE #9 – A VIDEO BLOG

Well, having never done a video blog before I was very unsure of what to do.  And since I wasn’t really that into sitting in front of a video camera and talking to you all.. I made a video of photos.   Our challenge this week was to make a video and share with you the things we have done to improve our health and lessons we have learned along the way.

 

Sweet n Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

delicious snack

delicious snack

I think I just found my new snack!  One of the ladies in my Kin’s GreenFighter Challenge posted a recipe for Roasted Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas so I thought I’d give them a try.  We love roasted chickpeas for snacks in our home, but I had actually never considered making them sweet!  Usually we add sea salt, garlic, paprika etc…

THEY ARE DELICIOUS!  …  I didn’t really follow the recipe that was provided (no measuring done for this one).  When cooking I usually consider recipes a guideline (which is why I rarely bake!)

This is how I made them (again measurements are approximate!)… one day I’ll actually measure for you ha ha

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (organic low sodium)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • few pinches of hawaiian sea salt
  • few pinches of cayenne pepper
 
*** for part of the batch I also used just the Garlic Ginger infused Honey I happened to have on hand
 
Preheat oven to 375
rinse & dry chickpeas
I roasted for about an hour at 375  (you can test them to see if they are crunchy)
once dried in oven I mixed them in (hot) with the honey mixture
back into the oven convect at 375 for about 10 mins 
 
YUMMMM!!!!!!  I love that salty sweet spicy-ness!
 

Let me know if you tried them… they are such a good option for a crunchy snack – and now, thanks to the recipe Alicia shared. I’ve learned they can be a sweet treat as well

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Earth day .. every day

Happy Earth Day!

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 … after U.S. Senator Nelson witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. On the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. And so became an annual event.

Earth day .. should be every day. We all can take steps to help our earth.. to leave this earth a better place for our kids, grandkids .. their kids. Be a good ancestor! Think ahead, what are YOU leaving for our future generations?

In our home we do our best to teach our kids to be conscious of the impact they have on this earth. We each have to do our part.

Trim your Waste …. We recycle anything that can be recycled (and nowadays there are more and more opportunities to recycle).

recycle

We use reusable bags when shopping. Think about it… when you grocery shop, on average how many bags do you use? Let’s say 5? How often do you shop? Twice a month? More?… So if you used reusable bags for the entire year you alone could avoid using at least 120 plastic bags!

green bags

Shop local or grow your own food. I love when it’s Farm Market season. We will buy our berries in large quantities and freeze them for the year. You can find jams, veggies, fruit all sorts of goodies at our local farm market shop local

Plant your own food. Don’t have room in your yard/condo? Why not check out a local community garden. Only a 5 min drive away from us is Maples Discovery Garden you can rent a plot from them and start growing your own herbs/veggies etc.  My friend Ginger and her family have a plot there, they have inspired our family to look into renting a plot and growing our veggies/herbs etc. as well!

Not only are you eating local you are also then increasing the number of plant based meals you consume! And who can’t use more green in your life! (spinach or kale salad anyone?)… and you just can’t beat fresh herbs!

And if you want a glass of wine at dinner… there are so many local wineries and even breweries for you to sample from.

Carpool when possible. Often in our household we are pulled in so many directions with little time between activities or activities at the same time in different cities, we do our best to arrange for car-pooling. Not only does it help schedule wise, it also helps the environment.

Unplug and power down unneeded electronic devices and appliances. Chargers, computer peripherals, home entertainment devices and other appliances can all be unplugged when not in use. This can help reduce your utilities bill and carbon emissions simultaneously. This morning when I left for work, I shut down my computer (it won’t be used all day and often I am in the bad habit of leaving it on… all the time!), I unplugged the toaster oven, microwave, cell phone chargers (those tend to get left in the wall even without the phone attached)…

Disconnect and Reconnect… if you have teenagers in your house, you know they love their phones, electronics etc. (we have 2 teens and they are attached to their phones – okay, so am I!) Even our 2 year old loves the iPad etc. So disconnect, leave the phone, the TV, the iPad grab the kids, family, friends … and go outside… play, go for a walk, enjoy nature! If you go for a walk bring along a garbage bag and pick up any garbage along the way.

I encourage you to make one positive change for our earth today and every day…

the secret to getting healthier…

yup.. I’ve figured it out! Work your ass off and then work some more... ! That’s right, no pill, no 2 week diet, no magic soup, no specific workout routine… none of that will get you there if you aren’t ready to take it on yourself and get YOURSELF there!

Exercise: walk, run, bike, swim, dance, lift weights, join a gym, take a belly dancing class, go to yoga, get a DVD, find a wii/xbox game … whatever it is… do IT. Scared to try something? just go and try it! who care’s if you aren’t perfect (uhh Angie? yeah I’m talking to you!) whatever you do, you are doing more than the person sitting on the couch saying “I wish I could lose weight/get fit/be skinnier”. Leaving that fear at the door has been awesome. I’ve gone on my own (big step for me!) to classes/activities. I’ve done belly dancing class, pole dancing, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, meditation classes, bootcamps, run clubs, water aerobics, played hockey …. just go for it! You never know what you may fall in love with!

Eat: yup, eat to lose weight. Don’t starve yourself! Don’t try a fad diet (as tempting as all those “after” photos look) Eat, enjoy, be creative, try new food/recipes. Take a nutrition course, take cooking glasses.. use google to your advantage. Prep food ahead of time, plan meals, don’t grocery shop in a rush when you are starved and have a kid hanging off your arm (although at times that can’t be avoided!)

I enjoyed my 3 day Dr. Oz cleanse, and actually it made me aware of the way some foods were affecting me (once I started eating some of the regular foods I eat again). For example, I’m a popcorn addict. I had some popcorn after my 3 day cleanse and 1. I got bloated 2. I got a killer migraine 3. my joints got achey. Years ago I did an allergy challenge diet… I’ve been very lax on foods that I was “sensitive” to. Yes certain foods I MUST avoid (eggs) due to severe allergies, but all the other stuff I just knew I’d deal with these reactions and left it at that. Last week, those reactions to just eating popcorn reminded me that, it’s no longer worth it – I don’t want to have those reactions. It’s not worth headaches, looking 8 months pregnant, stomach aches, sore joints (yes, food CAN and will do that to you).

Be consistent: for the past few months I wake up each day and (most days) reset my thinking. I don’t have an “all or nothing” attitude the way I used to. OR if I do, I’ve learned to recognize and correct it as best as I possibly can. i.e. I had a healthy breakfast but then I went to Starbucks for lunch and had a latte and some other high calorie nothing food.. it doesn’t mean the rest of my day is shot. It means the next meal will be healthy. It means I will go for a walk, go to yoga… OR just accept that yes I ate that food and I enjoyed it. So now, I ask myself – will I actually enjoy this, is it worth it?

Accept yourself now. Look at yourself. Be thankful for who you are now. Yup, I’m heavier than I want to be. However, I’m pretty sure that the people around me really could care less. They don’t like me for the weight I am or my clothing size... they like me for me. Yes, I can get whiney when my back is hurting so bad I can barely walk. But then I remember I can walk…. there’s others that can’t – that would do anything to just walk. Be thankful for what you have now. Take pride in the person you are right this very moment!

Plan ahead & make a date with yourself &/or friends: One thing that I’ve done for the past 2 months is sit down and map out all the hockey, badminton, ultimate, track and field, gymnastics dates and times and then work around that schedule and find time for me to fit in fitness. Right now fitness consists of yoga and walking (with a slight jog added in when my back is feeling okay). If it’s 6:30am or 8:30pm I make it happen. Some days I do miss it, some days just don’t go as planned. Again, it’s not the end of the world. Move on..

Yes you will get “stuck”, you may have a bad week/day … you might not want to drag yourself out of bed. Do you remember how good it feels to finish that workout? Do you remember how much healthier you feel when you eat well? Is that worth it? To me it is! Get up early to exercise, or after the kids have gone to bed. There’s so many days I want to lay on the couch in the quiet after our 3 kids are in bed. Go do that late yoga session, or take 30 mins to walk or do weights. A strong positive mental attitude will get you over those moments when it seems like nothing is working. And we all know there will be days like that, because that’s how life rolls.. it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference! I tend to only focus on my weight (the number).. I’ve stopped that. I look at things I’ve accomplished that I could never have done 6 months ago, 2 months ago, last week…. I’ve progressed. My number may not have gone down on the scale, but I FEEL better, I FEEL healthier… I am stronger, my balance is better…. celebrate every little positive thing on this journey called LIFE!

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Dr. Oz 3 day Cleanse / Detox

Today I started Dr. Oz’s 3 day Detox/Cleanse. So far .. all is good. Granted ……. it IS day 1, and it’s only 3pm (ohhh!! time for my “snack drink”). So far the only thing I miss is my coffee. I’m doing this Wednesday – Friday because 1. I’m not in the office those days (to my co-workers you are welcome!) and 2. the rest of my family is at school or work all day so they won’t have to deal with me if I get ummmm slightly “hangry” (they have told me is when I get hungry – I get angry!)

I enjoyed the breakfast and lunch smoothies, maybe because they consist of things I would normally put in a smoothie anyways? Even our toddler drank the lunchtime smoothie with me and she gulped it down! (okay so I took a little artistic license with lunchtime) I forgot to buy lime, so I added a chunk of fresh ginger & some avocado (negleted to put the coconut oil in). Also I can’t have too much almond (hives, tightness in chest) so I used unsweetened coconut milk. I’m wondering how dinner will be? I’ve never put cayenne in a smoothie before!!

I’m drinking lots of water, and thankfully I have a lot of ginger root & lemons here because that’s how I’m flavouring my water (also with fresh mint leaves) makes drinking water that much easier!

 

So this is the gung-ho me talking on day one – ask me again tomorrow how things are going?!

4_055_3DayDetox

 

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A Few of my Favourite things…

Okay come on … admit it.. you just started singing didn’t you?  When I hear “my favourite things” I suddenly want to run in a field in Austria whilst twirling my dress made out of curtains …. annnnnd back to reality!

The challenge this week for us GreenFighters is to share with you some of our favourite things, and so… I present to you, my favourite things… NOW try not to sing!

Raindrops when running & making me hustle
20lb dumbbells and feeling my muscle
Great tunes on iPods making me sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Cream in my coffee and crisp juicy apples
Winning at negative tough mental battles
Cold dreary weather turning to spring
These are a few of my favourite things

Fresh Breakfast smoothies to drink in the morning
Feeling my healthy body transforming
40 degree heat and yoga and stretching 
These are a few of my favourite things

When the day’s tough, when there’s no zing
When I’m feeling sad
I remind myself of my favourite things 
And then I don’t feel so bad

hot yoga

hot yoga

I have really enjoyed discovering Hot Yoga at Oxygen in Walnut Grove, they have a great variety of hot yoga classes and I have found that while I’m recuperating my back (and still wanting to stay active and healthy) this has been a great solution.

I’ve signed up for a full year and don’t plan to stop!  I’ve been doing 3-5 classes a week, the instructors are so awesome there & always offer help in modifying for my injuries etc.  If you’ve ever considered giving Hot Yoga a try, I really recommend it.

I love my running shoes, my favourite shoes so far, the bright colours on a rainy day (have you looked outside today?) make me smile.  I love lacing them up and heading outside for a walk.  I’ve accepted that for now, I can’t push myself to run and I am IMG_4512(somewhat) okay with that.  I have gone running a few times in the past couple weeks and have definitely paid for it later on in the day.  So for now, I walk.

My smoothies are another favourite thing, I can throw any combo of fruit and veggies in there with some protein and I have a delicious meal ready to be enjoyed

cranberry & veggies w/ chocolate protein powder

cranberry & veggies w/ chocolate protein powder

My favourite meals are salads, again being able to throw such a variety of foods in … okay.. it excites me.  The other day I had a craving, I wasn’t sure what for but I wanted something kinda sweet.  I came up with a citrus salad with goat cheese and shaved dark chocolate… can you say YUMMM????

Citrus Salad

Orange
Grapefruit
Avocado
Boursin Cracked Pepper & Cranberry cheese
shaved dark chocolate

citrus salad with goat cheese and avocado

Another favourite thing… okay well PERSON is my awesome trainer Andrea.  She has a boutique studio for women in Cloverdale.  Anyone intimidated to go to a gym, or wanting more than just an on-your-own gym workout – go see Andrea.  Even though, at the moment I’m unable to do the HIIT classes, TRX classes or weight lifting, Andrea remains to be a wonderful supportive inspiration and I hope that I will be back training at Life Designs Fitness Studio very soon!

I love getting creative in the kitchen and trying new meals….. what are some of YOUR favourite things on your health & fitness journey?

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In Store Challenge #2 & Inspiration

Saturday was another in-store challenge for us Greenfighters. We were collecting donations for the Canadian Cancer Society & providing Daffodil pins for those that donated.  There is a prize for the GreenFighter that sold the most pins, and one of my fellow fighters has stated that if she is the winner she will be shaving her head!  Her story, along with all the other fighters’ is inspiring.  Each of us is doing this for a very special reason and I have to give a shout-out to all my fellow GreenFighters … you are ALL doing an amazing job! And keeping so many people inspired.

I love reading about their progress, or their ups and downs.. because, really… that’s life!   They have all put themselves out there and shared so much  – keep up the great work.  We are all winners in this one!

My Saturday started out early, 6:30am taking my son to the hockey rink and then meeting up for coffee with a friend & heading out to Fort Langley to photograph some amazing women that meet every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening as part of Abreast In A Boat, a Dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors.

Inspiring to say the least, these warrior women are out there paddling together and sharing a special bond.

What an awesome way to start the day!

I then headed off to Kin’s Market at Guildford for some Cancer Fundraising.  Met and chatted with some wonderful people (and a friendly bearded dragon!). We had delicious fruit samples, kids activity books, baloons etc.  for all to enjoy.

Finished off my day by going to a Canucks game.  All in all a great Saturday!

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