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Homemade Nutella Granola Goodness

Taking traditional snacks and reworking them into something healthy has always been something I’ve loved to do. I love knowing my kids little bodies are being fuelled with real food and that I’m teaching them healthy can taste good.
We are in a constant struggle in our home over the amount of sugary snacks allowed, and have to wrestle the chip bag away so that dinner actually gets eaten! I wish I could tell you my kids would choose an apple over gummies, but honestly we are not in that stage and my kids love treats. So getting creative with their snacks and school lunches is essential .
These delicious bars can be used as an after school snack, dessert with some coconut whip, or the perfect pairing for that much needed cup of coffee.
Enjoy friends!
Photography By: Meghan Bustard

Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates pitted & soaked for at least 1 hour
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk (add more if needed)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8×8” square baking pan with parchment paper and grease, set aside.
  3. Mix oats, coconut, almond meal, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl, set aside.
  4. Add the soaked dates and coconut milk to the container of your Vitamix (or other high-powered blender).
  5. Blend, starting on low speed and increasing to high until ingredients are well blended but not totally smooth.
  6. Scrape down the sides of your container and add the peanut butter and vanilla extract. Blend again until mixture is smooth.
  7. Pour wet mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Mix by hand until well-combined.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and spread until evenly distributed. If desired, add chocolate chips to the top.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is set and the edges are golden brown.
  10. Set dish on a wire rack to cool. Once completely cooled, cut into bars and top with homemade Nutella.
  11. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container!

Homemade Nutella Topping

I found this recipe on Savoury Lotus and loved it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup cacoa powder (like this) (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (where to buy BPA free coconut milk)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches unrefined salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375’F. Place hazelnuts onto baking sheet and roast for 12-15 minutes until nuts are fragrant and slightly brown. Remove from oven.
  2. To peel off skins, place roasted nuts into the fold of a kitchen towel and gently massage until most of skin comes off.
  3. Place peeled hazelnuts into food processor and process until creamy smooth – about 8-10 minutes. Be sure to scrape sides a couple of times.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and process again until smooth. This may take a couple of minutes. Adjust consistency with extra coconut milk if too thick.
  5. Store in airtight glass container for about a week. Enjoy!

The Soup Exchange

One of the things I love most about the holidays is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. In the past I would always host events like cookie exchanges, wine and cheese nights, or some other variation of a sweet treat party. But this year with so many events, school programs, and last minute to-do’s, I decided to switch it up and host a Soup Exchange.

The Soup Exchange idea came to me after a friend sent me a little nutrition reminder on the importance of warming foods this time of the year. Often I hear from clients and friends that they struggle with cravings and lack of energy this time of year. There are many things that can contribute to this, and what we eat is a major player. This time of year our body needs foods that are warm, comforting, and easy on our digestive system. Things like smoothies, cold salads or even cold pressed juice can be too hard on our digestive system leaving us feeling tired, cold, and cravings foods that warm our bodies up.

So, this year I decided to get a couple friends together, make a few soups and do a soup exchange to not only support my warm eating but also to add variety to my weekly meals.

All you need to do is invite a few friends over. Each person brings 1 type of soup, packages for each person attending. If you have 5 friends, you all end up going home with 5 different soups! How good is that?

This is also a great way to prep meals together and support one another in making healthier decisions when it comes to our meals. It’s so much easier to stay on track when your meals are already prepped and you’re not trying to figure our what to make last minue!

I made my soup servings for up to 6 people, this way my friends could feed their family or use it for a couple lunches/dinners that week.

This is currently one of my FAVOURITE soups from Natalieshealth.com!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 large carrots peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup celeriac root peeled and cubed
  • 4 ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 inch (2.5cm) fresh ginger root peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • a pinch of himalayan salt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often until onion is translucent.
  2. Add carrots and celeriac root. Sprinkle with pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Don’t let the carrots or onion brown.
  3. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Add ginger, cover and cook for at least 20 minutes, or until carrots and celeriac are tender.
  4. Remove from the heat. Puree in blender until very smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in turmeric, cumin and cayenne pepper. Add more salt to taste. Pour the soup into bowls and serve.
  5. Garnish with cumin and/or parsley.

Recipe Notes

Keep refrigerated up to 3 days. Can be frozen up to 3 months.

Serve with a Matchsticks delicious fermented sourdough on the side

Enjoy~~*

Share this post on your social media and tag me! I would love to see your soup exchange!

Photography By: Megan Bustard

In Goop Health

It’s 8:30 am and we are welcomed at the media tent with Mala beads, which based on their color, instructed us what group we will be in for the very first Goop Summit in Vancouver, BC Canada!

Our morning begins with an amazing cold pressed juice from Glory Juice Co, Chia fruit cups, and a delicious assortment of toast options. We move into a brief time of meditation and some body movement to clear our minds and prep our bodies for the day ahead. I couldn’t help but think during the first couple moments “Why do I not start every day like this…and I wonder if Gwyneth moves like this every morning?”

We then head into a series of workshops, speakers and snacks, that absolutely feeds my obsession for healthy treats and trying new things.

Our second workshop was a facial experience, unlike anything I’ve experienced before, with Anastasia Achilleos

This bold, energetic, and extremely informative British woman instantly became one of my new favorite people. I realized in these short 30 minutes together that I had never had someone properly teach me to wash my face, apply face cream, or massage the tension that finds its way into every square each of my facial structure. I was completely in love with her and then it turned into a mild obsession when she personally offered to massage my jaw line! Ladies, that experience alone would have been worth the $400 ticket. The rules, tools, and tricks we learned in that session were game changing.

With my skin glowing, I got to experience both the freedom and adrenaline that comes from being makeup-free in a room of 200 woman with cameras flashing. Side note it was also hilarious that Miss Achilleos, made all of us remove our perfectly done makeup so early in the day. Some handled it better than others J

Next I decided to head over to the Fig Facial station to have them stick a vitamin B12 shot in my butt. For some reason, I thought it wouldn’t hurt. I was very WRONG! I ended up feeling amazing post shot though! Maybe placebo? Maybe not? Either way, I love the Fig Facial team!

Next, we continued our Goop Wellness journey to the lululemon yoga tent with Cara Ross.

Although I had never taken class with Cara, I instantly liked her.

She not only read the room well, but she also made a room filled with people from all levels feel like they were playing on the same team and gently/playfully encouraged us to let go of our ego and have a good time. If you have not taken a class with Cara, I strongly encourage it. She is a local Vancouver girl and you will not be disappointed whatever level you are at.

After being stopped by Goop protestors and having hot dog water shoved in our faces, (if you missed my Insta story…it was nasty) we headed to the digestive panel discussion with some of the most incredible leaders in the wellness community and although I felt there were some helpful tips and good insight on the topic, I was hoping for a little more of an in-depth discussion. With a panel of three amazing and intelligent nutritional leaders, tI was hoping they would have dove deeper into things like digestive health, what diets are right for certain people, game changing research, hormonal health, adrenal support, sleep, and proper use of supplements.But there is always next time;)

I ended my day with buying some expensive perfume that won’t cause headaches, which I wear almost every day. I also left with an incredible swag bag full of some of my favorite products! I would 100% recommend, if you have the opportunity, to attend a Goop event. There is something truly incredible about being in a room with the game-changers in the health industry.

Goop,

I left feeling refreshed, inspired and glowing.

Thank you for the opportunity to experience this!

 

Special Thanks to Megan Bustard for capturing these images and being the perfect person to experience this day with:)

 

The Perfect Sweet And Salty Appetizer

 

 

With the holidays coming, it can be difficult to stay on track with your fitness goals and healthy eating habits. I recently teamed up with Food Should Taste Good to put together a couple delicious appetizers so that you can actually ENJOY the food you eat, while staying on course with your health over the holidays.

This delicious sweet and salty appetizer is the perfect treat for a holiday party, or a quick snack before enjoying some holiday classics on Netflix.

Click on the video below to watch how easy this recipe is to make!

Sweet and Salty with Food Should Taste Good

Ingredients:

Directions:

Lay your chips out on a tray or baking dish (if you want to warm)

Spread a thin layer of vegan cream cheese, top with a thinly sliced pear, add a walnut, fresh or dried thyme, and finish with a balsamic glaze.

Enjoy!

For our previous appetizer with Food Should Taste Good, click here!

Making Space To Dream~~*

As much as I loved our slow summer mornings complete with sleeping in, no schedules, and PJ’s for hours…fall has arrived and with it comes schedules, alarm clocks and clothes on before 8:30 am.

Scheduling is not one of my greatest strengths, but I’ve learned that a little pre-planning really helps me stay on top of my Mom-game and relieves a lot of my daily parenting stresses.

One of my greatest successes so far this fall has been planning out our family’s weekly meal schedule and preparing parts of it the day before. Having the yams cooked ahead of time, muffins baked for snacks, and breakfast prepped in advance, gives me just the right amount of breathing room to get myself together for the day. It also gives me a chance to sit down and really connect with the kids after school or even just enjoy the silence during quite time instead of running around trying to figure what we are going to eat. Easier said than done, right? I agree. This has taken me years to start putting into practice.

The truth is that I have many times allowed Motherhood stress, daily distractions, and social media water down the goals and dreams I have for myself as a mother and woman. Being a Mother, wife and business owner can often times leave me with this feeling of “THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO” that I end up doing nothing at all. I let dreams fade, opportunities pass me by and find myself saying “When life is less crazy I will be more organized, get back to my goals, and dream again.” But reality is life is not slowing down for us Moms, and chaos will continue unless you take control of your life and start scheduling your freedom while leaving space to breath, dream and work on your goals.

Where to start? Start small.

This week just work on writing all your appointments, to do’s and free time down. Try cutting your social media time down. I’m so guilty of not doing this! Because when the babies nap it’s the perfect time to scroll, but you are also throwing away valuable time for your personal development and missing an opportunity to focus on some of your goals. Don’t go cold turkey on Insta 😉 Just schedule your social media time for the day and when your time is up, get back to YOU!

Make a vision board.

Often times we can even forget what we really want or what we are working towards, so keeping visuals in front of you to remind yourself of where you are going and what is at of the end of the rainbow. This is also a great project to do with your kids to get them involved with your goals, but also encourages them in their dreams.

I’m so excited for you to get started! Dream big dreams and find more breathing room for yourself!

Here’s a delicious over-night oats recipe that I love because it helps get some solid nutrition into the kids before school.

Enjoy~~*

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup Earths Own Almond Milk
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Fresh fruit, nuts and seeds to top your oatmeal

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together  (except items to top)
  • Separate mixture into 3 small mason jars (for kids) or into one large one if it’s just for you.
  • Place a lid on your jars and store in fridge overnight.
  • Add a little extra milk in the morning to loosen up the oats and top with your favourite fruit or nuts.

 

 

Vegan Chocolate Protein Brownies

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These brownies are one of our current go to breakfast options. They are simple, delicious and also add a little bit of extra protein into your day. Recently I started doubling the recipe and using them as dessert served with Earnest Ice Creams vegan “strawberry toasted coconut ice cream”. Earnest Ice Cream has some of the most delicious flavours of vegan ice cream and has become one of our favourite spots for date night with the kids.

I hope you guys enjoy this delicious and healthier treat;)

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Vegan Protein Brownies:

  • 1 TBSP Flax meal
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 Cup Gluten free perfect blend baking mix from Natures Fare Market
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 3 Very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/3 Cup coconut oil melted
  • 3/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1 TSP Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2-3 (Depending on how much protein you want to add)
  • Scoops Genuine health chocolate protein powder

Directions:

Mix flax seed & water together and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to form a egg like substance.

Once the flax seed has set, mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Spray a 8×11 pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with vegan ice cream or yogurt for a breakfast option.

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Improving Your Health From The Inside Out With Sproos

All it takes is one big injury to forcibly regain focus on the health of one’s body. These past few months have been an intense battle with inflammation, stomach issues and to top it all off, a bulging disc! The reality is injury is not only caused by the stress we place on our bodies in our workout, but also the stress we hold in our bodies. There have been many areas I have focused on healing over these past few months, but one of my main focuses has been my gut. So much of what is happening to us emotionally stems from our gut and our ability to process foods correctly, as well as flush toxins from our body. Giving our body the proper support it needs to recover from workouts, carry our children around and clean our homes is essential!

Collagen was something I started to introduce into my diet after doing some research on the benefits of its anti-inflammatory properties. When comparing collagen brands, Sproos quickly rose to the top of my list. While sourcing the highest quality ingredients, Sproos has a simple approach to health that doesn’t include all types of pills and confusing labels. It’s literally one scoop, once a day…and you’re done! High quality collagen has the ability to restore the balance in our digestive tract, which is a major player in reducing inflammation in our bodies. When we reduce inflammation, we can recover at a quicker rate from our workouts, digest food properly leading to increased nutritional benefits, and reduce the risk of injury and disease.

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Collagen is one of the most common proteins in the body, but due to the cultural shift to eating leaner meats or plant-based diets, we often miss the benefits of the collagen that comes from more dense bones and fattier meats. While collagen helps to improve our hair, skin and nails, collagen also contains glycine, an amino acid with proven anti-inflammatory and immune boosting  effects which works below the surface of our skin as well.

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Some additional benefits of collagen:
•plays an important role in maintaining skin elasticity
•connective tissue flexibility
•bone strength.
.
This green smoothie recipe is my current gut jump start! Check out Sproos and their wide variety of collagen products.

  • 1 Cup none dairy milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 scoop Sproos collagen
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder

Blend with ice and enjoy!

Fighting inflammation and reducing fatigue is one of the best ways to not only improve our health but also our performance during workouts. Having a consistent workout routine plays such a huge part in eliminating mental stress and increasing positive endorphins to the body, but on the flip side, it also puts stress on our muscles and increases lactic acid buildup. If we aren’t fuelling our body correctly, our workouts can start to break our body down instead of supporting it.

When our bodies don’t have the proper nutrition for the demand we place on our systems during workouts we risk fatigue, injury and potential damage to our hormones. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “You can’t out-work a poor diet.” In a lot of ways this statement is very true. When it comes to fitness and health, we always want to approach our plan of action with the mindset of setting ourselves up for longevity, not a quick fix. If we approach our food and fitness thinking long term we will not only feel better physically and mentally, we will also reap the long term benefits of less aches, body breakdown and inflammation.

I often get asked about pre and post workout drinks. If I use them? What would I recommend?

Although I have used different forms of stimulants in the past, I totally stay away from them for many reasons now! The boost of a stimulant is a short term gain which typically results in a very negative long term result. Whether it’s caffeine or another form of stimulant you’re using before your workouts, these energy boosting products often lead to damaged adrenal systems, anxiety, mood swings, poor skin and gut issues. So what are some delicious, natural ways of boosting our energy pre and post workout.

When I started weaning myself off stimulants, I decided instead of focusing on what I was going to have to give up, I would get excited about what I would get to put into my body! I decided in order to kick things like coffee, I would actually have to totally give up warm drinks for a season to re-train my body to crave fresh water and juices in the morning. In order to change our habits, we need to change our mindsets and avoid the pleasure traps we have created for ourselves. This process worked surprisingly well for me, and also inspired me to really focus on what I was giving my body for energy pre and post workout.

Juicing is one the best ways to quickly get nutrition into our muscles and blood stream. It’s also a great way to personalize exactly what your body needs for the season you are in. Whether you are long distance running, weight training or going through a period of light workouts for detoxing, There is a juice for you.

 

So what juices should you be drinking pre and post workout?

Before we workout we want to give our body a little bit of sugar for energy but also combine the natural sugars with fiber and vegetables that help our body to fight inflammation.

This anti-inflammation juice recipe from Blender Girl is one of my current favorites for my pre-workout drink. It’s the perfect combination of greens, a little zest from the ginger and just the right amount of sweet.

 

  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 green apple, cored
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 2 1/2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1-inch knob ginger root, plus more to taste

Try to purchase organic produce if possible. This way you can get the extra fiber from the skin being left on. If they are not organic, make sure to peel your vegetables and fruit.

 

Directions:

Wash all items before juicing and enjoy immediately to get the most nutrition out of the juice.

 

 

For post workout, I love juices that are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals to re-fuel my body from the stress that has been placed on my system.

Things like celery hearts are amazing for reducing post workout inflammation and beets have nitrates to help bring more oxygen to the blood aiding in quicker recovery.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large organic beet peeled and quartered
  • 2 organic celery hearts – rinsed with ends cut
  • 2 organic romaine lettuce hearts
  • 8 organic carrots

Activated Charcoal Smoothie

A couple of weeks ago I got food poisoning. I literally have never been that sick in my life. I will spare you the details but lets just say I basically camped out on and over the toilet for 10 hours.

In the process of being sick I posted on Instagram asking anyone if they knew how to get their gut back on track after food poisoning. Countless people messaged me saying to drink or take activated charcoal. I knew somewhere in my house there was a little bottle of activated charcoal from Organika sitting waiting for me but in my sick delusion I could not locate it nor stand up for 48 hours.

Since being sick my stomach has not been the same. Everything was stripped out of my gut and I have had to repair and re-build. In this process my stomach has been crazy bloated, I have had trouble staying regular (Sorry TMI) and I feel exhausted from feeling like my body is working overtime to process food.

It was defiantly time for some activated charcoal.

 

Many studies show that when taken internally, activated charcoal can improve our digestive health and immune system by helping to remove metals and toxins that cause us to have allergic reactions. It also helps to flush out viruses and parasites we may have floating around in our system. Activated charcoal also helps to cleanse the pesticides from foods, everyday chemicals and pollution from the air. These types of chemicals often affect not only our body’s energy and immune system but also things like our hair, skin, and nails. People will often see an increase in energy, the ability to fight off sickness, and a reduction in bloating or gas due to the gut support activated charcoal gives to the body.

After reading up on activated charcoal I decided to try out a few recipes and remedies to help my body get back on track.

My first experiment was charcoal lemonade…I drank a little too much we will just say that;)

Some tips I learned for us charcoal virgins.

1)The cleansing benefits of charcoal are amazing but you can also over do it! So make sure you are drinking lots of water and start off with small amounts.

2)Also do not take other supplements within 3 hours of drinking the charcoal or taking charcoal. One of the amazing benefits of charcoal is that it attaches itself to toxins cleansing them out of the body, but it can also attach itself to nutrition our body needs such as supplements . SO be mindful of the times you drink or eat charcoal.

3)Prior to ingesting activated charcoal, consult a physician or health expert to determine whether it is appropriate for your condition, and to ascertain the appropriate dosage.

Troy and i both have been working on our gut health so I decided to make this as an option for this weekend’s dessert. This can be made into a smoothie with fresh bananas or ice cream by simply freezing the bananas.

Enjoy!

Activated Charcoal Smoothie

Check out my little prep video on Instagram. Leave your comments and questions! I want to hear what your experience has been with activated charcoal.

Ingredients:

2 bananas

2 tbsp peanut butter

2-4 tbsp (depending on how thick you want it) coconut milk

1 tsp Organika activated charcoal

Topping options:

chocolate chips

chocolate coconut flakes

coconut whip cream

Smoothie version

Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Ice cream

Blend till smooth and place in freezer until firm (about 2 hours) then serve!

Valentines Day Grapefruit Bowls

It’s funny looking back at the days of no children, sleeping in and every romantic holiday/moment revolving around us. Troy and I have never been big on Valentines Day, but children change you and watching them learn to love people is probably one of the greatest gifts we are given as parents. The special bonds they create or the ways they include others that are left out is enough to melt any moms heart into pieces. So fast forward 10 years (almost 11 ) into marriage and we are all about Valentines Day or any other sappy holiday that reminds our children to put others before themselves.

In the process of teaching them to craft gifts for school (which I suck at) I’ve also started my own little traditions of special breakfasts, fun gifts and special treats to make them feel special. Today’s after school snack was geared to impress the boys taste buds and awe Adelaide with my use of pink flowers 😉 I originally got this recipe from Sugar and Cloth but decided to re-work it a little bit to get a tad more nutrition in it for the kids. This smoothie is packed with Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and immune boosting minerals.

I made a huge batch and then froze the left-overs for snacks this week.This smoothie is also an excellent post workout snack! Throw it in your Swell bottle and bring one for the road.

Enjoy~~*

Ingredients

3 Grapefruits

1 large orange

2 frozen bananas

1 cup frozen cherries

1/2 cup Prana chia seeds

Toppings: Cashew pieces, granola, coconut flakes,

dried fruit, bee pollen, flowers etc

Instructions

First make the grapefruit bowls by slicing the top third off each grapefruit. Run a pairing knife around the edge,loosening the fruit. Then, use a serrated spoon/grapefruit spoon to gently remove the fruit and juice. I scooped the fruit right into the blender to make it easier and conserve as much juice as possible.

Place all remaining ingredients in blender in mix till it has a smooth but thicker consistency. If it’s too thin just add more bananas or chia seeds to thicken.

Immediately pour the smoothie in the grapefruit bowls and decorate with your favourite toppings.

 

Enjoy~~*