A Halloween Smoothie

I like to describe myself as a lone wolf. That sounds more glamorous and dangerous than saying I’m an introvert who lives alone (which is what I’m really saying). I don’t have children or a hubby or any family living on the West Coast and I find that I tend to miss out on a fair amount of family-type traditions. So when my friend Robyn told me she was visiting a pumpkin patch with another friend and her daughter, I found “Ooh, can I come along?” coming out of my mouth before I even realized it.

I guess I miss those family traditions a little more than I like to admit and, really, what is October without the ritual of a trip to a family farm and pumpkin patch?

I grew up in the country, surrounded by farms and I had definitely forgotten how much I miss hanging out with chicken, sheep, horses and how much I like the smell of manure. Yes, like the smell of manure. You can take the girl out of the country but….

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It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright. – Erin Morgenstern

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 frozen banana
1/2-1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or other dairy-free milk
2 T. agave or maple syrup (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
Small pinch of cloves
Small pinch of Himalayan pink or sea salt

Blend and serve.

Note: I made this smoothie twice. Once with almond milk and all of the above ingredients and it tasted exactly like a liquid pumpkin pie. The second time, in a hurry, I used coconut milk, a splash of water, pumpkin insides (with a few raw seeds too), banana and cinnamon and it was like a tropical version of the recipe with a subtle, natural sweetness.

And, in the spirit of zero waste, the pumpkin seeds were roasted (yum) and my sweet, little jack-o-lantern will be composted when the time comes. Waste not, want not and keeping food scraps out of our land-fills.

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Wishing you a fun, creepy and treat-filled Halloween! xo

Farmers Markets & Mojitos

A visit to the Farmer’s Market is a summer Sunday tradition and the later in the season, the better it gets. Big, juicy, Okanagan peaches were proudly on display at almost every stall. Their sweet, peachy goodness is so irresistible this time of year, I had to grab a few to take home with me.

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You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita von Teese

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After the market I wandered home through the community garden, stopping to munch on a few raspberries and chase after the gorgeous, but grumpy, neighborhood cat in a vain attempt to pet him. I always try to tempt him with various morsels from the Farmer’s Market but he’s a tough customer.

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Once home, I retrieve my little Okanagan gems from the bottom of my bag, un-bruised and un-squashed (yay) and settled down with my laptop to decide what to do with them. I stumbled on this recipe on Jillian Harris’s blog and decided to make my own version of her delicious, BC celebrating cocktail. After a gorgeous day spent buying fruit, smelling flowers and soaking up the sun, a fresh peach mojito on the patio is the perfect ending to this Sunday story.

Sweet Peach Mojitos

  • 2 cups BC peaches
  • Handful fresh mint
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 4 ounces dark rum
  • 2 ounces peach schnapps
  • Club soda

Directions

  1. Muddle the peaches, fresh mint and limes
  2. Add rum and peach schnapps
  3. Top with club soda and serve!

Serves four if you’re and normal person and serves two if you’re like me.

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There are two kinds of people I don’t trust: people who don’t drink and people who collect stickers – Chelsea Handler

Wild Berries

Did you know that Bertie s are unbelievably good for you? They’re full of anti-aging anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals and are also “juicy foods”, meaning that they are mostly water and, therefore, incredibly hydrating. Freshly picked berries are also full of live food enzymes that are so good for every single cell in your body.beach and berries2

Wild blackberries grow in abundance at the beach near my home and I decided it was time to have one last berry-picking afternoon before the season was over.

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Nick, the camouflage dog,  always finds a lot to investigate on a nature walk/berry hunt.

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We made it to the path leading to the berry bushes.

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Forget the berries, let’s play!

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The beautiful decay of fall is starting already.

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Uh oh, the ripe ones have been picked over by birds (or pesky humans).

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But these haven’t…

At home, I mix the wild blackberries with raspberries from the local Farmer’s Market. Then I add Rain or Shine Apricot Blackberry Sorbet (the pint of vegan Chocolate Chunk is for later). Rain or Shine just opened in the neighborhood and make their ice cream from local, organic ingredients right in the back of their store. This local love is reflected in the ice cream’s incredible flavour and their ice-cream is a little like crack cocaine for foodies.  Next I add Frostbites, a Whistler, BC company that makes unbelievably delicious fruit cordials from local, organic produce.

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And, voila, a fresh, local, wild, extra special Sunday dessert.

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#eatmoresugaryourenotquitesweetenough

Simple Summer Salad

The sun has been shining for the last several days in our lovely, little rainforest town and a lot of Vancouverites are walking around town with a smile on their faces. On a day like this I plan to stay out of the kitchen and on the beach for as long as possible. So, this morning I hit the Farmer’s Market to see what yummy, easy, local, organic-ness I could bring home for tonight’s dinner. And this is what I found:

A huge bag full of sweet, baby peppers and a big bunch of baby kale, only $5.00 each. Both locally grown, organic. The farmer who sold me the peppers told me she started using ladybugs a few years ago as living, natural pesticides. I’m always so impressed when farmers work in sync with nature like that. Ladybugs as pesticides? Apparently they do an amazing job of killing aphids and other problem insects.

Tonight’s menu: A salad that’s cool and simple on a hot, summer night.

I added avocado, walnuts, dried blueberries and red onion to the ingredients above. Then pan fried a piece of wild, BC salmon and drizzled everything with a home-made dressing of olive oil, balsamic and yummy, Canadian maple syrup. This salad is delicious with organic blue or goat’s cheese crumbled on top too.

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An almost effortless dinner that’s refreshing and full of antioxidants. Eat al fresco if possible and enjoy the sweet, lazy, summer evening ahead of you.

Canada Day Parfait

parfait 011This pretty, red and white parfait is a yummy way to start the birthday celebrations of our True North, strong and free.

All of the ingredients are either homemade or bought at the local Farmer’s Market and are simple, natural and delicious.

And, although some of the items on my ingredient list are very Vancouver specific, I’m hoping the pure, organic equivalent can be found at your local farmer’s market… eh!

Canada Day Parfait

  • Fresh local, organice strawberries or  raspberries
  • Homemade granola (see Happy Hippie Granola recipe)
  • Berry flavoured fromage frais from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
  • Strawberry or Raspberry Vanilla cordial from Frostbites in Whistler, BC (Canadian maple syrup can be substituted)

Grab a glass and start layering. Berries first, then fromage frais, then a bit of granola. Repeat the process, pour delicious strawberry cordial over everything, top with a fresh berry and, voila! Canada Day Parfait

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It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw. – Emily Carr
The Canada we see today does not reflect the one we hold in our hearts. Canadians expect more and they expect better. We should be outraged that environmentally we are among the worst in the industrialized world.David Suzuki
Canada’s the best country in the world. – Justin Beiber
Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.
– Pierre Trudeau