Strawberry Salad & Orange Basil Tea

We seem to have stumbled into a warm spell over the last few days. The weather keeps calling for rain and thunderstorms but we’ve yet to have more than a light morning drizzle to quench our thirst. And the humidity remains. I’m not really complaining; after all, this past winter in Ontario was one of the most brutal that I can recall in my 25 years and I’m happy to be back in the sunshine. My uncle from the Shillington area was around for a visit over the weekend and even he and my father - two cold-hardy Canadian men - were commenting on the brutality of this winter season; not so much the temperatures (though 20 or 30 below zero is nothing to scoff at in my opinion) but the length and darkness that can really affect your overall mood. 

So to say the least, I’m soaking up the sun when I can and enjoying the perks of the season. I’ve been adventuring to the markets and local farms a lot more and this weekend I picked up a flat of some gorgeous strawberries from Heeman’s Strawberry Farm and have been putting the delicious lil suckers to good use! 

Last night’s dinner spread was a light combination of a few local flavours and some personal favourites. On Saturday I picked up some local asparagus and onions from the market, and so I chopped and lightly sautéed those together with some lemon juice and pepper to pair with some organic brown rice. But the best part of the meal - in my humble opinion - was the Seasonal Strawberry Salad and Sweet Orange & Basil Tea!

image

Sweet Orange & Basil Tea

It’s like the nectar of the gods! You can have it chilled on ice to ease the humid effects of these hot summer days - or hot and freshly steeped for getting cozy by the camp-fire! The recipe is simple: just brew a fresh pot of your favourite organic tea - for this particular round I chose a hibiscus and blood orange blend - then toss the following ingredients into your cup for added zest and flavour! 

  • 1 valencia orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful of fresh mint
  • 1 tsp of raw agave

I put one bottle in the fridge for an hour or so to cool and tossed in a few ice cubes before serving. 

image

If you’re not a tea drinker or just simply want to switch it up in a healthy way - you can opt for water instead of tea and have a refreshing vitamin-infused glass of H2O! 

Seasonal Strawberry Salad

This is why I love eating seasonal foods! By narrowing the distance between the farm and your plate you’re not only helping the environment by reducing the carbon-emissions via the transportation of the food, but the freshness of flavour is undeniably superior! I mean, who in their right mind can say no to fresh local spinach and strawberries picked the morning of?! 

image

Thanks to the spinach and strawberries, this meal is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits! As with all my recipes, feel free to opt in or out any particular ingredients you wish - food is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed after all! ;) 

  • 4-6 cups of red stemmed spinach 
  • 1 cup of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1-2 cups of strawberries, halved
  • handful of cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup of diced dried apricots

You can blend up some cherries and lemon juice for a simple, light and refreshing dressing. Or top it off with your own house favourite

What are some of your favourite seasonal, summery meals? Do you like to venture to your local farms or farmer’s markets? Let me know what you think in the comments below! <3 

  • k 3 notes
  • / print

His & Hers Green Smoothies

Love is a lot like a green smoothie. You bring all your raw ingredients to the table and hope that by somehow uniting it all together in a big blended mess you can create something amazing! Since the weather’s been warming up a little, Cam and I took a trip to my family’s cabin last weekend to dust and air the place out a bit. It was a nice little escape from the city life. We’re in the process of moving (more details on that HUGE adventure soon) and so with most of our belongings in boxes or stashed away, we took full advantage of the opportunity to stretch out and enjoy the open space and sunshine.

His & Hers Green Smoothies

My boyfriend’s blender is unique in that it has the option for one big 2L jug or two removable and portable mini mugs. It’s a Hamilton Beach model and while I can’t say I have much experience with their other kitchen tools, this blender seriously packs a pulverizing punch! It has two power settings and a pulse option to reduce oxidization while you’re blending.

His Smoothie:

Since my man enjoys a bit of a kick to his healthy meals, I like to add a bit of ginger into his smoothies and juices. You can increase the amount of ginger you throw in if you really want to sweat and detox. Ginger is great for clearing up the sinuses and eliminating mucous. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can also aid with joint pain.
  • 2 cups of chopped pineapple
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 inch nub of ginger
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon 

Hers:

I’m a tropical soul at heart and I absolutely love mangos! My first time throwing a mango into my blender with some kale and it was love at first slurp! Mangoes are a great way to sweeten up a smoothie and add some Vitamin C, Vitamin A & skin cleansing power to your morning routine. The lemon also aids in elimination and flushing those unwanted toxins from your body.
  • 2 cups of chopped mango
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 small orange, peeled
  • 1 cup of chopped romaine lettuce
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Preparation

In my experience, the best way to prepare for the routine of morning smoothies is to clean, peel and chop your staple fruits ahead of time and pop them in the freezer. This saves you dishes and clean up time in the morning and makes it easy to keep all your favourites on hand. You don’t have to worry about having over-ripe or un-ripe fruit either because they’re always ready to go! I like to keep at least a few bags of frozen pineapple, mango, bananas and LOTS of berries in my freezer. You can also buy or store your own chopped frozen greens, like kale, spinach or herbs etc.

Get ‘Er Done

It’s always a good idea to put your leafy greens at the bottom of your blender to ensure they get pulverised first and foremost. In fact, if you have an older or weaker blender it might be best to blend up your greens and liquid base first. Sometimes the low-powered blenders have a hard time with greens and occasionally you might end up with small chunks of kale in your teeth. That’s okay. It happens to the best of us. ;) When in doubt about what ratios to add or how much of this or that, just follow the 60/40 rule: use 60% fruit and 40% greens to ensure a sweet and juicy green drink.

Play around with a few flavour combinations and see which ones really tantalize your taste-buds! For more info about making delicious & nutritious green smoothies check out the following links:




  • k 7 notes
  • / print

Why I Post ‘Smoothie Selfies’

About a year ago I decided to join Instagram to see what all the buzz was about. I wanted to try to find and connect with other raw foodies, vegans and healthy peeps. At that point, none of my ‘real life’ friends cared much about nutrition or ethics in the way that I was exploring and so I was really searching for some like-minded folks who were passionate about the same things as me: I was looking for some cruelty-free conversation to fuel my creative fire. It turns out that taking lots of smoothie and juice pics was enough to draw out a few fellow fruit-fiends and veggie-lovers. So I started posting ‘smoothie selfies’ and the recipe combos to my favourite juice blends and before long I was developing great friendships with people all across the globe, who like me just wanted to chit chat and learn more about health!

Many of my friends and family members don’t really understand the ins and outs of social media, and while I definitely don’t claim to be any kind of expert on the subject, I thought I should give some sort of explanation for my curious camera habits and why I take time out of my daily life to like, comment and post about something so simple as food. 

image

1. It helps spread the message. As a health activist, my biggest goal is to help people become more aware of the impact their food choices can make not only on their bodies and minds but on our world and environment as a whole. When you think about the amount of natural resources (not to mention suffering) required to sustain the Standard American Diet, compared to a plant-based diet it’s a no-brainer! A single picture on a social media feed might not directly cause any drastic change, but it can spark inspiration in someone to make small, little changes to their day-to-day life that, when you think about it, seriously add up!

2. Meal Inspiration! There is such a lively community of healthy foodies out there - if you’re ever in need of a meal ideas or searching for a plant-based alternatives to your junk-food favourites, browse through the popular hashtags to see what other people are coming up with! And what better way to show off your latest and greatest green-juice recipe than broadcasting to the world your creation? You can help inspire others to try something new and the seasoned foodies are more than willing to give feedback or suggestions for improvement.

3. Discover and review restaurants, clothing & products. Whenever I visit a vegan-friendly spot or find a cruelty-free product, I let my followers know. It’s a great way to connect with local vegan foodies and see where the best flavours in town are. If you’re visiting a new or unfamiliar city, you can ask around and get a feel for what restaurants to try out and what places to avoid. Many vegan-friendly companies are getting hooked on Instagram too - you can find and follow your favourites - more often than not they’ll offer exclusive sales, deals or discounts to their loyal followers! Some of my personal favourites to check out are Dr Bronners, Lush Cosmetics, Blood Tight Apparel & Simply Straws.

So, yes - it may be kinda silly to post a picture of my blended breakfast in a jar while grinning like a mad fool next to it, and some people may think I’m nuts - but I’m going to tell you a little secret: I don’t really care. I’m passionate about living foods and I’ve seen first-hand the amazing benefits that can come from getting a little goofy about greens! This is who I am. I’m not a photographer and I’m not a model. I’m just a girl who loves clean, wholesome food and sharing it with the world! 

Let’s be foodie friends! If you’re someone who’s also interested in health and fitness - let’s connect! Feel free to add me on instagram or search for other people posting smoothie selfies like the fabulous ladies featured above (Kristina, Loni, Rawvana, Nina & Betty) - I guarantee you’ll find lots of delicious and nutritious recipes to try out AND you’ll meet some awesome folks along the way! 

  • k 8 notes
  • / print

Globally Local

If you’ve been following my Instagram account or Facebook feed over the last few months, you probably noticed the influx of food haul pics on and around Wednesday afternoons for a while there. For a few months I was working with Globally Local - an new organic food distribution company based here in London, Ontario, that provides people with cheap and affordable organic produce. The organization is the brainchild of James McInnes; a long-time business entrepreneur with a passion for healthy and primarily affordable food. His company offers pick-up bins of quality organic produce at cost and connects customers with other health and eco-friendly products made by local artisans and craftsmen in the area (handmade natural soaps, vegan energy bars & deserts, olive oil etc.)  By keeping the produce cheap, the company earns revenue from the sales of the add-on items.

How It Works:

Members pay a $20 bin deposit when you sign up (which you get back whenever you choose to dis-continue the service and return the bins). When you arrive on pick-up day, you are given a full bin with pre-arranged organic produce. The exact items and number of each vary from week to week depending on price, season and availability.  The members are notified of the selections ahead of time via email, but occasionally last-minute substitutions might need to be made. A typical selection in a large bin might be: kale, chard, peppers, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts/living greens, cucumber, zucchini, potatoes, bananas, mushrooms, onions, beets, squash, celery etc.

Small boxes are $35 and large shares are $50. All members have agreed that each option is a hearty amount of produce for their needs; the large bins are usually enough for a family of 3-5 and small boxes are suited for couples and individuals. There are also individual items (such as lemons, avocados, blueberries, ginger, garlic etc.) available to purchase as add-ons when you order and purchase online. For those who wish to order in bulk, you can buy items like fair-trade bananas, oranges, kale and pretty much anything that you like by the box or half-box. I bought several boxes of kale and enjoyed them thoroughly! And with the prices being so cheap, ordering bananas in by the case is a no-brainer! 

image

Get Involved:

If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of this delicious looking organic produce, you can head on over to shop.globallylocal.ca to place an order and sign up for the weekly mailing list here. There’s been a big response from the community here in London and so many folks have offered their time and support to keep the project moving forward. A few volunteers get together each week to help out with filling and organizing the boxes and if you’re available and willing to lend a hand on Wednesdays, feel free to add yourself to the volunteers mailing list or contact James directly for more information.

image

Stay In Touch:

You can also keep in contact with the organization via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more frequent updates and info about what they offer. Check out and use the hash-tag ‘#GloballyLocal’ to connect and see what other folks are doing with their gorgeous greens and fabulous fruit! 

Where do you choose to buy your organic produce from? Is cost the main factor in your decision making when it comes to stocking your fridge?

  • / print

Enjoying the Sweet & Sour

Hey guys! Apologies for the lack of updates recently, all I can really say for myself is that I’ve been busy! Life has thrown a lot of curve balls my way over the past few weeks and months and I’ve been spreading myself a little too thin trying to manage it all. There’s soo much to catch up on and share with you guys! 

If you were to ask me a year ago what my ‘dream job’ might be, I would probably have told you something involving copious amounts of fruits and veggies, clean food and helping people get healthy! Somehow, through the power of intention and a little personal magic, I found a way to make that a reality. Without even realizing it! I found two amazing ways to fuel my passions; volunteering with a local organic food distribution company called Globally Local (more info coming in the next post!) and working at the brand new, 100% raw, organic & cold-pressed juice shop; Pulp & Press Juice Co.! Life is so juicy sweet and I am very thankful for these opportunities that are so in line with my passions and allow me to fuel my creative fire. 

Working at the juice shop

My studies, personal goals and relationships had taken a back-seat to the madness and excitement of it all for a while there, but things are settling into a new pattern of organization now, and it feels refreshing. This winter was especially long, hard and drawn-out and now that the warmer weather has finally started springing up here in London, Ontario, I’m excited to start fresh with my healthy habits.

And my writing habits for that matter! I began writing an ebook several months ago, but have neglected it quite a lot since. So in a mild effort to get some work done on the project, I’m committing myself to writing a page a week - which should be easy enough to sneak in, even when I’m feeling lazy or uninspired. Slow progress is better than no progress, the way I see it. I also promise to post on the blog at least once a week from now on, even if it’s just a quick little blurb like this one letting you know what I’m up to. :) 

Three links I love week:

Hope the weather is clearing wherever you are in the world too! What are some fresh habits you’d like to start up now that Spring has sprung? 




  • k 3 notes
  • / print

A Heartfelt Meal

The two words that seem to be on everyone’s mind (and social media feed) this week are ‘Valentines Day’! And while I can’t say I’m a particularly big fan of the holiday per se; I believe that actions speak louder than Hallmark Cards, I still couldn’t help but throw together a simple but fun & romantically inspired dish - perfect for nutritionally spoiling your loved ones and your taste-buds! ;)

This is another example of my spiralizing skills gone wild in the kitchen! I can’t help but marvel at the veggie-noodles every time I use my spiralizer! It’s just fun to watch them thread their way through! This dish is a basic melody of:

  • 3 rainbow carrots (purple, white & orange)
  • 2 small red beets

The ends needed to be fairly flat to work with my spiralizer - but my arms appreciated the mini-workout and got the job done quick. There are a million different types of spirlaizers on the market - you can check out Amazon for a few cheap varieties - mine is the ‘Asian-Spiral Slicer’. 

image

The sauce can be done raw with almost all the same ingredients*, but for this round I chose to include a couple cooked ingredients as well. It’s completely up to you how you wish to treat your taste-buds and your body. <3 And always know that you can throw in any flavours that you prefer over my suggestions at any time!

image

The Sauce:

  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 handful of fresh basil 
  • 1/2 a chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 spoonfuls of cinnamon
  • 1 small chopped beet
  • chilli flakes
  • 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste*
  • 1/4 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes*

It makes for a rich, creamy and a little spicy dressing for your crunchy pasta! Alternatively, if you’re not catering to a raw foodie, you can bring a small pot of water to a boil, place your spiralized carrots and beets into a strainer and dip into the water for 15-30 seconds or until tender. Some folks who prefer cooked pasta dishes, or just want something hot in their belly will enjoy the warm and familiar texture. 

image

Let me know what you think! I always love a hearty pasta dish and I think there’s something about beetroot that’s just deliciously romantic! ;) Whatever your plans are this Valentine’s Day, I hope you have a great love affair with yourself and with your food! <3 

  • k 9 notes
  • / print

What Clean Eating Means to Me

These days it seems like there’s a lot of different opinions as to what the term “healthy” means. If you browse through some tagged photos on instagram or briefly through your twitter feed, you can easily find some recipe that claims to be ‘healthy’ and ‘clean’, but contains overly processed and nutrient-deficient foods! I guess my definition of clean eating might be a little extreme for some people - and that’s fine, but I believe we simply need to set the bar higher when it comes to our health. 

We’ve all had those moments of fried-food self-sabotage, where we re-learn the lesson: "you are what you eat". Our food is our fuel and what we eat can have such a drastic impact on not just our physical bodies, but our mental state as well - why WOULDN’T we want the best for ourselves? 

image

Clean Foods

Clean food is natural food; it comes in the perfectly designed package of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre. It is easily and readily digested and absorbed into the body with little to no effort. Intuitively we can already determine which foods are the best for us to consume: they’re usually brightly coloured, naturally attractive and easy to collect or harvest. Clean food leaves you feeling light, energized and vibrant. 

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • leafy greens
  • whole grains
  • nuts & seeds

It’s also important to keep in mind the source of your food. Organic is obviously preferred over conventional and local foods are generally higher in micro-nutrients. 

'Dirty' Foods

I don’t really like to think of any foods as good or bad in such black and white terms, and limiting or eliminating all or any of these foods from your diet may or may not be right for you. But it is important to realize that there are many food items on our shelves that do not promote health in the body and many in fact cause dis-ease.These foods generally require a great effort to digest and are lacking in absorbable vitamins and minerals. They are difficult to obtain by natural means and require more natural resources from our planet to produce. These items may also cause a number of minor physical side effects including bloating, weight-gain, dehydration, fatigue, headaches, constipation, phlegm & mucous build up to name a few. 

  • oils & salts
  • packaged & processed food items 
  • meats
  • dairy
  • beige or bleached foods
  • heavily fried foods

Balance is Key

I’m not about perfection, or restriction - I treat myself  and thoroughly enjoy it and I encourage you do to the same. I just try to re-asses my idea of what a treat is for my body. Is it just about the temporary satisfaction of flavour or is there a pleasure in treating your body to a health buzz as well? 

Personally, I chose a vegan lifestyle because of ethical reasons, but I eat a plant-based diet for health. I have seen and experienced first hand the benefits of a cleaner body and mind and for me, it’s just not worth it to go back. I think there’s a lot to be said for the type of satisfaction you get by treating yourself to a clean-conscience too! ;) 

image

Wherever you are on your health journey, becoming more aware of your food and in-tune with your body is ALWAYS a positive thing. You don’t have to change anything overnight. I find it best to take it one meal at a time and seize the opportunity to create a healthy body with each and every bite! It makes for a very rewarding and exciting experience! Your taste-buds and your waist-line will thank you! <3 

  • k 22 notes
  • / print

Veggin’ Out in Ontario

image

When I was growing up as a lonely vegetarian kid in rural Ontario, the idea of an entirely vegetarian restaurant was unheard of - let alone a completely VEGAN one! I was always ‘the odd one out’ when it came to social gatherings and dinning at restaurants; I asked the waiter one too many questions and was just a little too picky to make eating out a truly satisfying experience. Now in my home-town of Owen Sound, there are plenty of veg-friendly locations and plant-based options. There’s even a new juice bar called 'The Bleeding Carrot' that recently opened up on the main strip! It’s wonderful to see healthier trends becoming so high in demand! People are no longer simply eating out to spoil their taste-buds, but we’re becoming more conscious of our food choices and how they affect us AND the world we live in! 

Now I’m lucky enough to live in a bigger city, where there are lots of choices when it comes to cruelty-free dinning. Since moving to London about a year ago, I’ve discovered a few solid smoothie spots, juice bars and vegan-friendly locations. But the place that takes the dairy-free cake has got to be 'Veg Out' - London’s only 100% vegan restaurant! I’ve been there more than just a handful of times and I keep coming back for their spectacular menu and commitment to quality. 

This week we choose a rather blustery night to make the trip downtown, but it was well worth suffering the sub-freezing temperatures - not long after our arrival we were offered complimentary hazelnut hot chocolates to help warm us up! In my opinion, it’s that kind of added touch that makes the difference between a regular meal and an eating experience! 

image

I can quite honestly say I’ve ordered just about everything on the menu at one point or another and their weekly specials are always a delight. They’ve had a hard time putting a meal in front of me that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy - everything is top notch with very fair prices and delicious seasonal ingredients. This particular evening, for our appetizers, we ordered the spicy tempeh wings and poutine with daiya cheeze and shiitake mushroom gravy. This is the kind of meal that I indulge in with gusto! I went vegetarian at such a young age that there are some more traditional dishes that I simply never tried; like chicken wings and poutine. 

image

Even as a proud Canadian girl, I had never experienced traditional poutine with the cheese curds and gravy, so when I found these vegan versions here, I of course HAD to see what all the fuss was about! And I was NOT disappointed! Definitely not the most nutritious selections but absolutely packed full of flavour! :) 

image

For the main course, it was a sunflower seed pate sandwich for him…

image

And a raw zucchini pesto pasta salad for me! This is currently my favourite dish on the menu. It offers lots of greens and healthy veggies with sprouts and sesame seeds for an added crunch and protein punch! 

image

If you live in London, or ever find yourself in the area, I highly suggest you check this place out. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or just trying to eat a bit more consciously, this joint is a gold mine of flavours and you’re sure to find something that truly satisfies your body and soul!

You can Find & Follow Veg Out here for the latest news & specials:

Please Note: Veg Out is a fur-free restaurant. If you drop in for a visit, please refrain from wearing fur. 

Do you have a favourite vegan, vegetarian friendly or all-organic dinning location you like to visit? :) Let me know in the comments below! I always LOVE finding new spots to check out - even if I might not live close, we can share our love of plant powered foods by supporting the businesses that support our lifestyle! <3  

  • k 8 notes
  • / print