Friday, 29 June 2012

Dark Chocolate Smoothie

Summer is here.

You are hot and sticky and in no mood to cook. You can't keep driving through the drive through to get those icy coffee drinks, the waistline will not allow it. What to do?

Dark Chocolate Smoothie is your answer.

There is one catch though...there is no chocolate in it.

The addition of blueberries deepens the colour of the shake. The Carob powder in it gives it it's flavour.

1 frozen Banana (optional)
Canadian Wild Blueberries ( Frozen of fresh)
2 tsp Carob Powder
1 tsp Chia Seeds

Kale or Spinach, 1/2 cup.
Ice cubes
Almond Milk (Vanilla or Original, but unsweetened is best)

You have your greens, fruit, protien all in once refreshing smoothie!

Now if you want to add a little kick, add a tiny bit of instant espresso powder.

You don't have to compromise your health just to stay cool. You CAN have your smoothie and drink it too!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

If I had to do it over again.

Rex the Alligator, he feels squishy like marshmallows!

There is nothing like a sunny Saturday to make you feel energised. This afternoon we ventured out to the official opening of our brand new local community centre and there were many attractions and no entrance fees. There was a table selling the usual stuff (hot dogs, hamburgers and chips etc)  and I didn't have any. I had just had a smoothie at home. The community centre offers wonderful opportunities for families to remain active together.

This time my smoothie contained Almond Milk ( unsweetened), a banana, chia seeds, a little psyllium fibre and a spoon full of peanut butter. Ice cubes were added of course and also a few fresh crisp Kale leaves.

I know Peanut butter is not the best choice, but it is a whole lot better than having a burger. You have to choose your battles sometimes.

Zoo to You had animals there on show and you could make friends with a few of them. Rex was one of them. He was a little American Alligator and rather a friendly chap I would say. He felt different to what I thought he would. Rather like stale marshmallows with that sort of dry squishy feel to him.

I had not problem getting to know Rex, but then I had the pleasure of meeting Sting. No, not the British singer, Sting, but an Emperor Scorpion. He was actually quite surprisingly beautiful colour, not just black but the light was making him a dark blue-green colour. I kept my distance though... I have seen way too many movies that cast the Scorpion as the bad guy.

I was tempted to overcome my fear of them and hold Sting ... I really did think about it.
As I was about to ask if I could hold him, the lady holding Sting said that he was getting ancy and she was going to put him away. I didn't know if I was relieved or disappointed. 

All I can say is that if I DID hold him, I wanted a photo of it for bragging rights. My kids had run off to see the Tortoise and the hare ( real ones) and so I suppose even if I had have plucked up the courage, there was no way of proving it. 

At the end of the day as I think of it I think I am disappointed that I didn't get to know Sting a little more. An opportunity to overcome a fear was lost and should the chance arise again, guess who will be first in line? I will. 

See Right:

Friday, 22 June 2012

Ushering Summer with Seasonal Delights

Summer is officially here and it is time to enjoy the local produce. Ontario Strawberries are in the stores and you can stop by the farmer's markets or farms and support out local farmers. I have been making a point of getting local produce instead of those other strawberries we get the rest of the year around, and let me just say, Ontario Strawberries are amazing! So sweet and tasty! No sugar needed.

There's nothing nicer than a cool morning out in a pick-your-own field and there are many around. More about PICK YOUR OWN here.

A friend delivered a basket of mango (Mangifera Indica) to me and they are so fresh and colorful. In addition to being rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals they contain poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds. For the men, Mango is rich in Potassium. They are also my favorite fruit.  To learn more about their nutritive value, click here.

This was my breakfast this morning:

Greek Yogurt, mixed nuts and dried berries, pumpkin seeds and diced fresh mango.

Delicious and so beautiful, they say if food looks good, it tastes better too and I concur.

Now there is a trick to slicing mango. Mango cutting directions here: SimplyRecipes

With the official start of summer being blazing hot in Toronto I hope that you stayed cool. Our family had smoothies for dinner one night and I added Kale to my children's custom made smoothies ( One child likes banana, the other does not, so I had to make them each a separate smoothie.)

My son said: " Mmmm mom, this is delicious!"

One Victory for MOM!

With my husband away in Russia for almost 3 weeks I will have to get over my fear of propane tanks and use the BBQ in his absence. If I am remotely successful in conquering my fear of lighting up the BBQ, I will post some summer BBQ ideas. With my husband away it is easy to say, "While the cat is away, the mice (me) will play" and eat badly, since I am not cooking for fewer of us. It is easy to justify taking short cuts. Particularly since I really miss him (yes I know it sounds mushy) but he is a great guy. Also when I am stressed I tend to reach for the sugar, well, the OLD ME did, and I am not going that route. I decided that I want to eat extra well while he is gone and today I resisted having candy with the kids. They are allowed one tiny candy after dinner on weekends...and I resisted the urge to tuck in too.

Two Victories for MOM!

Since I am going to be holding down the fort, so to speak, I need to bring my A-game to the dinner table to stay healthy and strong. Being a temporary single parent has it's stresses, and I take my hat off to those who have to live as singe parents all the time. One more week of school and then they will be home and the summer vacation adventure begins.

Enjoy the summer and remember to stay hydrated.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Facing a New Adventure

Life is an adventure...just when you think you have planned out your summer, life jumps out at you and yells, "SURPRISE!"

So here I am embarking on another is a short term and the other is for an undetermined while.

The first change is one that I have expected for a while. My husband is going to be going off to Siberia this week to go on his own adventure to hand out eyeglasses to those who do not have access to medical care. He will be traveling to villages that are not accessible by road and so his mode of transport other than plane, will be horseback and river raft.

My adventure:
Survival for 3 weeks without my husband when the kids will be on school holidays most of the duration of his trip. I am going to have to get creative and make sure they stay active and amused. This is my short term goal until he gets back.

Long term goal: I no longer have a car to drive, which means that I will be relying on my bike.
What a great way to keep fit, I did all my errands today on my bike. Thankfully I have a good backpack and it did not rain!

I have heard of people drinking "green smoothies" and no that does not mean they have green tea in them, it means they have kale, or swiss chard or anything else green in them that you would normally eat. I have always just dismissed it as another one of those things health-conscious vegans do. Finally after hearing about them for a while I thought that I better give them a try before I write them off.

KaleOne of the reasons for having them is if you just don't manage to get all the greens you need to get into your day. Fancy Juicer machines are great, but they take out some of the fibre in the fruit and vegetables.
Smoothies really are blended up fruit and vegetables, fiber, nutrients and all.

I have one a day now, and I love it. My digestion is improved and I am getting the nutrients and goodness from the vegetables I would not normally eat. Another benefit, I give them to the kids and they drink them when they would not touch a leaf with a barge pole.
Take Kale for instance, I have tried the Kale chips, but I think I over cook them...I just can't seem to get them right, nor do I seem to get the flavour right. The last batch were so salty I could not eat them. After a few times of attempting Kale chips I think I will stick to the smoothies. My smoothies are not always green in colour, it all depends on whether I add carrots or berries. They are different every day. My post workout smoothies are different to my daily smoothies. Since I only have one smoothie a day, if I am working out on a particular day I choose to have my smoothie after I have hit the shower. I will then add whey powder ( Igor approved of course!)

For more information on the nutrients found in Kale click here.

Monday, 11 June 2012

It's a little seedy, I know!

A little Seedy Breakfast.
Here is a simple and easy and not to mention, nutritious idea for a hot breakfast.

2 Tbsp Chia seeds
2 Tbsp Pumpkin seeds
2Tbsp Hemp hearts ( by the way store these in the fridge)
1 teaspoon unsweetened carob powder
1 Tbsp roasted buckwheat groats

Hot water

Unsweetened Almond Milk

If you must add a little sweetness, add Coconut sugar, or if you can eat them, add raisins.

And there you have it,

It's a little seedy, but delicious!

Tonight we had steak salad for dinner, now I had just worked out so it was the perfect post work out meal. I am keeping an eye out for local produce, especially those in season.

I have introduced cardio to my program as a post work out "wind down" and I am loving it. I only do a maximum of 30 minutes at the moment, usually on the treadmill, but I am loving it.

Igor advised me to do my cardio after my weights and not before. Apparently it is more beneficial that way.

Friday, 8 June 2012

YorkRegion Article: Imagine if we each treated others with respect

YorkRegion Article: Imagine if we each treated others with respect

Guest Column in the June 02, 2012 Richmond Hill Liberal.

We need to be healthy in mind as well as in body, and showing respect shows a healthy heart.
Mr. Lloyd Daley, Melony Teague and the honorable Senator Don Meredith. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Sensational Seasonal Snacks

Sensational Seasonal Snacks

So the seasons are changing and that means that your workout routine will change too.
As the surroundings change, so do the opportunities for activity beyond the walls of the gym.

This is the time of the year when some of us get the bug to run and participate in 5km, 10 km and longer races and cyclists abound over the weekends on our roads in their attempt to get in their mileage.
Whatever you are doing, whether it is pulling out the kayak or dusting off your bike, enjoy it because summer is short in Canada.

One thing that you might want to do is get acquainted with your local fresh produce markets. If you are into "organic" or not, you still want to choose local produce over imported produce any day.

Summer is the time to bring out the salads!

When my husband was growing up, salad consisted of Lettuce (only one kind mind you), tomato and cucumber. That is it.

So here are some things that you can add to your salads to make them interesting this summer:
  • Pumpkin seeds (roast them with cumin if you wish)
  • Toasted almonds
  • Fresh shredded basil leaves
  • Nuts
  • Goats Cheese
  • Thinly sliced pear and walnuts
  • Roasted chick peas.
 Keep an eye on what is in season and experiment with different ways of preparing the vegetables and fruit available. Don't just slice up your apple, how about braising it on the BBQ and seeing what happens, tossing it in a warm arugula salad?