Glowing Green Smoothie

So, I’ve been dipping into the chip bowl again (Miss Vickie’s Original, I can’t resist you!) and now I’m feeling the need to get my system back in balance, fast. Nothing does it better or quicker than a few big, juicy, green smoothies. The perfect yin to my Miss Vickie’s yang.

green smoothie

The recipe for this emerald green tonic is an ultra-healthy blend of green veggies, fruit and a couple of superfood extras to detoxify, energize and alkalinize your fabulous body.

Green Goddess Tonic

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup organic dark greens 1 cup cucumber
  • 4 stalks celery
  • pinch of parsley
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • dash of turmeric (anti-cancer & anti-aging)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Blend. Pour. Savour.

Fresh. Local. Feast.

Last Friday was one of those classic Vancouver days where the weather seems to change every time you blink. But after a gloomy afternoon, the weather gods smiled and the changeable day turned into a perfect September evening. A few friends and I decided to celebrate the returning sunshine and the upcoming weekend with dinner and drinks on my patio.

The evening began with my specialty, a blender drink of stoly vodka, organic raspberries, fresh lemons and organic Santa Cruz (or homemade) lemonade.


I’m originally from a small town called Buckhorn, where people take their liquor seriously. Very seriously. In fact, there are two things in the middle of town, a large statue of a buck and an even larger liquor store. So, whenever I make cocktails, I tend to do this thing my friends call the “Buckhorn Pour”. I’m not quite sure how it happens, subconsciously maybe… but  a LOT of alcohol ends up in my alcoholic beverages. Needless to say, my bartending services are usually highly in demand.

Next, to start our evening feast is the first course, Kusshi oysters from Vancouver Island. In this case, good things definitely come in small packages. Kusshis are small, sweet and addictive. The oysters were served with a mignonette and cocktail sauce (all recipes listed at the end).


oysters 2The dinner discussion jumped from topic to topic as we slurped down our oysters, but the one that left the biggest impression on me was the topic of people dining with their smart phones right beside them. All thoroughly attached to the internet, it’s common now for people to disconnect from their in person companions to hunch over their glowing phones, texting, emailing or posting a photo on Facebook or Instagram (okay, I have to admit, I can be a bit of an offender too). One of my dinner companions had recently read an article explaining that when people communicate in person, face to face, bonding hormones are released in the brain. The hormones immediately connect you to the person you are speaking with. When you communicate with someone via an electronic device, guess what? Absolutely no bonding hormones are produced. Getting “likes” and comments on facebook or twitter actually releases an intense hit of dopamine in our brains, similar to the feeling of being in love or a drug high (hence the addictiveness of social media) but no bonding chemicals or lasting good feelings.

Is this why our society is becoming so alienated and disconnected from each other? This is especially upsetting since every psychological study ever done has found that humans receive their deepest feelings of happiness and contentment from connection with other humans. So as a society, we are turning away from the very thing that would give us our greatest pleasure for a bunch of quick hits of dopamine? Definitely food for thought.

Okay, back to the food for our stomachs, as we move on to our main course. Halibut tacos served with homemade guacamole and spicy salsa. This course was accompanied by a crisp, fruity pino grigio from St. Hubertus winery in BC`s Okanagan. The slight sweetness of the wine makes it a perfect companion for spicy food.

Fresh BC halibut went into the oven, soaked in a beautiful marinade.


And 30 minutes later, tacos are served!


Last but not least, dessert. Organic vanilla ice-cream topped with fresh basil from my herb garden (vanilla and basil are really good together) and a bowl of berries to share. This was the cherry on top of a three course, four hour dining experience.


Mouth watering food? Yes. A face to face bonding experience with really awesome friends? Definitely. And nobody looked at their cell phone even once.

Now, the recipes…

Cocktail sauce

  • 1 cup organic ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. strong horseradish
  • ½ Tsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ Tsp. sweet smoked paprika

Mignonette Sauce

  • ½ cup chianti vinegar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 medium Shallot minced fine
  • ¼ Tsp. granulated roasted garlic
  • 1 to 2 pinches sea salt
  • quick grind mixed pepper fresh ground
  • 2 Tbs. honey

Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 3 to 4 heirloom tomatoes, various colours
  • ¼ med. red onion finely diced
  • 2 med mixed orange, yellow, red peppers finely diced. Complement the colours of the tomatoes.
  • ½ squeeze fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro
  • Several pinches sea salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • ¼ Tsp. chili powder, or to taste
  • ¼ Tsp. chipotle chili powder. Or to taste
  • ¼ Tsp. granulated roasted garlic

Combine all and let macerate for 3 to 4 hours to let the juices come out.  Strain and taste, pre-season as needed.  Save the liquid for the fish.


  • 3 to 4 large avocados
  • ½ Tsp. Buffalo brand chipotle salsa hot sauce.
  • ¼ Tsp. granulated roasted garlic
  • Several pinches sea salt
  • Fresh pepper

Scoop out and use a pastry knife to coarsely chop.  Add all ingredients and fold in, being careful not to completely mash the avocados.

Halibut Marinade

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ Tsp. granulated roasted garlic
  • Several pinches sea salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • ½ Tbs Korean chili flakes( any dry chili will work)

Let marinate 6 to 8 hours.  Place in a roasting pan add reserved salsa juice.  Roast at 350’ just until cooked.  Should be flaky but moist.

quote food and friends

The Wild Air

Sometimes it’s deeply necessary to unplug our laptops and ipads, turn off the television and smartphone and leave our cares behind in search of silence, solitude and the astounding beauty of our natural world. Sometimes we need sand in our toes, salt in our hair and the sound of ocean waves to soothe our frenzied souls.


Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. Sarah Kay


When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused. Rainer Maria Rilke

cannon beach 098 - Copy

It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy… Beach Therapy. Amy Dykens


Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air – Ralph Waldo Emerson

spanish banks 078a

Photos taken at Cannon Beach, Oregon and Spanish Banks Beach, Vancouver, BC

When Life Gives You Lemons


freelemonsLemons. I love fresh, summery, citrusy lemons. I love squeezing lemon in my water, on fish, I adore lemony baked goods and I even like smelling like lemons. That particular obsession started with Love’s Lemon Fresh spray and cleanser when I was a teenager. So for the last four years of the 70’s I walked around smelling like a big lemon.

Right now I have a beautiful bowl of bright yellow lemons sitting in my kitchen. And when I find I have a plethora of lemons in the house, I definitely make lemonade, but I also do this:

  • Use lemons as a blackhead treatment. It may sound too good to be true, but because lemons are antibacterial, they can help treat acne and blackheads. Just slice a lemon, and squeeze the juice on your face. Those annoying blackheads will start to fade before you know it.
  • Use in cleansing wipes. Mix a couple drops of lemon and tea tree essential oil in about 6 ounces of distilled water. Put in a spray bottle to use as a toner or the mixture can be applied with cotton pads as a cleansing wipe for problematic skin.
  • Lemons can also be used to lighten hair. Score dye-free DIY highlights with lemon juice. Apply it before you expose your hair to sunlight to give your locks a natural, sun-kissed color. Lemon juice can also help treat a dry scalp and dandruff, an added bonus.
  • Strengthen Your Nails. Soaking nails into lemon juice for about 10 minutes and rinsing them with warm water once a week will not only help them to grow but will also help whiten them.

And there you have it. Lusciously lemony, all natural, chemical free, cruelty free and budget friendly (whew, that was a mouthful) beauty treatments that will have your hair shining, your skin glowing and your nails bright and beautiful.

And now, the lemonade…



Raspberry Lemonade


  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 6 ounces raspberries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water and agave over medium heat until the agave has dissolved, about 1 minute. Add raspberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until raspberries have broken down, about 5 minutes.
  • Blend raspberry/agave until smooth, about one minute.
  • In a large pitcher, whisk together blended raspberries, lemon juice and 5 cups water. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  • Serve over ice or frozen raspberries



The Love Experiment

Several years ago a friend told me the story of a woman who was dying of cancer.

Chemotherapy was not helping, the cancer was advancing and in a last ditch attempt to save her life it dawned on her one morning that she may be losing the battle because of the hatred she felt for certain parts of her body. She had never liked, accepted or been particularly nice to these parts of her body and she decided that day to embark on a radical journey to self-love. She decided that she would pick a hated body part and stare at it in the mirror, meditate on it, dig up any old buried pain from the past surrounding it, and keep thinking about this body part until she loved and accepted it. Then she would move onto the next body part and repeat the process.

And, after months of doing this, guess what? Her cancer went into remission. Now, I’m not suggesting that this will happen for everyone suffering from cancer but the fact that it happened to this woman amazes me and is a big reminder of how powerful our thoughts are. All beings on this earth respond to energy. We all thrive when given positive energy and we all suffer if too much negative energy comes our way, so think about what us hating ourselves or even a part of ourselves will do to us over time.

After remembering this story, I decided that it is time. Time to start walking the walk as well as talking the talk. It’s easy to proclaim that you accept and love yourself and have embraced the aging process. But I personally am still horrified at certain things I see in the mirror and it’s time for me to really dig deep into the experience of deep love and acceptance of myself. A number of things I don’t like or love about myself quickly pop into my mind as I write this. My rather large hands with really prominent veins, my expanding wrinkles around my eyes, how my face is hollowing (and drooping a bit) as I age, the list goes on. I definitely have a few issues to work through to get where I want to be. And none of these issues will be resolved by changing how I look. No botox, fillers, breast implants or lipo will help. Changing my perspective about my perceived problems is the only thing that will heal what needs to be healed. love experiment So, a couple of days ago I was shopping in the neighborhood and stopped by my local Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up some toiletries when I noticed an Oprah magazine as I was at the till. I stared at the large font on the cover, How To Love The Skin You’re In, then turned away and paid for my purchases. As I walked out the front door, I felt compelled to turn and look at the magazine again. How to love the skin you’re in. How can I not buy this mag, I thought as I walked back in and scooped up a copy.

Next on my shopping list was something for dinner from Whole Foods. My mind went over all of the healthy items I could buy and, after considering them all, I realized that I didn’t want any of them. Not a one. I feel like I’ve been so extreme with my no-gluten, no-dairy, no-sugar regime and, although I do feel better and my skin looks better, I needed to forget it all for awhile. My inner child was desperate for some fun food. She wanted to eat something extremely delicious. She wanted chocolate.

So, I went home and read this… Oprah And ate this… chocolate And then fell into a deep peaceful sleep on the sofa about half an hour later.

Well, it looks like it’s time for “The Love Experiment” to begin. I am going to start with one hated body part and focus on it until I have transformed the way I think about it. Then I’ll move onto the next one and so on and so on until there is nothing left. I’ll write upcoming posts about this whenever I have something share-worthy. I’m excited to start this next journey and if any of this resonates with you, please come with me.

cute dog 1

Mmmmm, looks good mom!

cute dog 2

So, where’s mine?