Beach Yoga & Choco Energy Balls

Throwing it back this Thursday to last summer’s beach yoga. Practicing barefoot in the mud during low tide took me right back to happily playing in the mud when I was a child.

And what is summer all about if not keeping your inner child happy?

Another thing that keeps my inner child happy is chocolate. Here’s a grown-up, healthy and vegan chocolate snack that will make your inner child smile and do your body good:

Choco Energy Balls

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

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Local Living and Blueberry Muffins

I’ve been eating only local foods lately for two reasons ~ first, fresh BC foods taste so incredibly good and second, our beautiful province is in a state of emergency again because of global warming (and human) induced forest fires. We have over 600 fires burning in total right now and I need, for my own happiness, positivity and mental health, to be part of the global warming solution.

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I already have what some would consider an extremely green lifestyle ~ live in a small space, don’t have a car, don’t love being a consumer so keep my possessions to a minimum…but, with dark smoke hanging in our skies and beautiful BC being choked by smoke and fire, I need to do more.

So, I’ve been educating myself lately about the huge carbon footprint created by transporting our food across the world. Did you know that Canada ships farmed salmon to China for processing and then the fish are shipped back here for our consumption. Ugh, the madness has to stop. And what kind of chemicals and preservatives does our food have to be laced with to stay “fresh” during the many miles covered to get to our plate? As someone who grew up with a big backyard garden that fed the family, what is now happening with global food transport seems so unnatural and is clearly taking its toll on the planet.

To bring a more natural, eco friendly way of eating back into my life, I’m rediscovering the 100 Mile Diet. The last time I did this challenge a few years ago I felt amazing and eating close to home helps our beautiful planet that is currently in crisis. It might seem like we don’t have a lot of personal power in saving the earth but as David Suzuki says, if several million people made even small changes to their lives the result would be astronomical!

Last but not least, local food tastes so amazing. In fact it’s bursting with flavour. An imported papaya from the other side of the world just doesn’t compare to fresh, beautiful BC fruit!

And, to get you inspired to love local, here’s a yummy, healthy recipe that features BC berries:

Wholesome Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh and local
  • 1/3 cup oil if your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then whisk the wet ingredients together and add to dry, folding in blueberries last. Put in lined muffins cups and bake for 25 minutes. Then enjoy the goodness!

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Sunday Smoothie

This luscious smoothie is full of vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes to nourish and energize.

Serves 2 smoothie-loving people.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew milk
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 scoop Vega greens plus protein powder
DIRECTIONS
  1. Toss everything in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass (so you can see the beautiful shade of green) and enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Lentil Soup

My little garden is still looking pretty lush. And not wanting to let any of this goodness go to waste, I thought I’d whip up a hearty, tasty soup, using a little bit of everything from my patio garden.

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Garden of Eden Soup

  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 onion, cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 potato, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, cubed
  • one cup water
  • parsley
  • chives
  • T. tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup pasta
  • sprinkle smoky paprika
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper

Throw everything into a large saucepan and simmer until veggies are soft and blended together, approximately 40 minutes.

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A hearty, warming soup to curl up with as the last days of summer turn into the crispness of fall.

Creamsicle/Dreamsicle

I have a bunch of happy childhood memories that involve me running around on hot, sunny, Ontario summer days with a bright orange creamsicle melting in my hand. And the other day as I was perusing one of my fave food blogs, I stumbled on a post about the blogger’s juice cleanse last winter. One recipe in particular made me drool. It was a juice called the dreamsicle.

Unfortunately I’m not really a juicer. I don’t own one, it seems really expensive to buy a bunch of fruit and veggies, get a tiny bit of juice and have a ton of pulp left behind. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love buying the occasional raw juice but would never invest in a juicer and try to make them at home regularly. But, this dreamsicle/creamsicle was calling my name….

So, I decided to transform the juice recipe into a smoothie version. Should work right? It did. I went a little crazy with the greens, so mine doesn’t have the brilliant orange hue that the juice version has but, damn, it tastes good and reminds me of those sunny, summer creamsicle days.

Creamsicle Smoothie

  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, cubed
  • one orange, cubed
  • 1/2  sweet potato, shredded
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • handful dark greens
  • scoop of Greek yogurt

Blend until smooth.

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Flowers in the Rain

I took an extra day off last weekend to squeeze in as much beach time as possible before summer fades into a distant memory. And, guess what? The weather report lied. It had shown a sky full of a happy, smiling, bright yellow sunshine and what the weather gods delivered was a misty, grey Vancouver day accompanied by the gentle pitter patter of mellow but constant raindrops.

So, after taking some time to be annoyed at not being able to spend my day strolling on the seawall, I took Nick for a walk in the neighborhood and found this…

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My neighbor’s zucchini garden. The bright, sunshine-y flowers were almost shocking against the muted greys and greens of the rest of my world. My neighbor had already told me to help myself to his garden, so I obliged.

Pan-fried zucchini florets are one of my favourite things and they are so easy to prepare:

Fresh Zucchini Florets with Blue Cheese

  • Pour a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan
  • add as many florets as you have or will fit into the pan
  • fry until soft
  • add crumbled blue cheese at the very end (local, organic is always best)
  • put on a pretty plate and serve

One word of warning: When you start growing your own food and/or foraging, bugs often make an unwanted appearance. Unlike conventional food which is radiated, gmo and/or sprayed to within an inch of it’s life with pesticides, real food is a yummy home for a number of insects. After I thoroughly washed the outside of my florets, I put them in the pan and, guess what? Two slugs quickly appeared and ran around, as if to say “Why is it getting hot in here? What the heck is going on?” I grabbed a piece of paper and guided them out of the frying pan and into a pot in my balcony garden, screaming periodically whenever they crawled towards my hand.

Anyway, this can happen with fresh, organic food so be prepared. I think it’s a small price to pay for the exquisite, just picked taste and health benefits of real, unaltered, honest to goodness food.

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Gillian Aldrich started growing vegetables in her backyard three years ago, and she’s now working on planting a bed of hydrangeas along one side of her property. As she digs in the garden, her 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son often play around her, sometimes taking a break to dig for worms or pick strawberries. Instead of watching them, Aldrich is playing, too — “my kind of play,” she says.

“When you sit at a desk all day, there’s something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually creating something that’s really beautiful,” says Aldrich, 42, a magazine editor in Maplewood, New Jersey. “There’s something about just being out there that feels kind of elemental.”

Aldrich isn’t the only one who feels this way. Many gardeners view their hobby as the perfect antidote to the modern world, a way of reclaiming some of the intangible things we’ve lost in our busy, dirt-free lives. – Health.com

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