29 04, 2013

April Foodie Pen Pals

By |April 29th, 2013|foodie pen pals|0 Comments|


I decided to participate in Foodie Pen pals again this month as I had so much fun with it in March.  I sent a package to my pen pal Sarah (a student in London) on the 15th and waited patiently for my package to arrive from Katie (a teacher in Toronto).  It arrived last week and I wasn’t disappointed with its contents.  Katie obviously put a lot of thought into the package and tried to find things that worked with my dietary restrictions.  
Here’s what she sent…

 It all came packed in this cereal box 🙂
And included a lovely, hand-written letter explaining what everything was
Mmmm, plantain chips.  I polished these off quite quickly!
 And she even popped popcorn and spiced it with two of my favourites, ginger and wasabi
 Yummy seaweed, a big favourite in this house!
 Some lovely mint chocolate David’s tea.  Not really my thing, but Krestan loves it!
 A toasted coconut nutrition bar
 2 sachets of flavoured nut butter.  I bet these will taste great on celery!
 I love my gourmet salts, so this will definitely be well-used!
 And last, but definitely not least is some banana ginger curry sauce.  I never buy bottled sauces, so this should be fun to try.  Katie suggested brushing it on chicken or even as a dip.  Can’t wait to try it!
What a wonderful box full of lovely surprises.  I highly recommend all foodies trying this pen pal programme  I’m having such a great time with it.
14 04, 2013

Working together to end human trafficking

By |April 14th, 2013|Boot Camp|1 Comment|

On Saturday (yesterday) morning I was privileged to be a part of a wonderful charity eventPictured above is the lovely Johanna, owner and founder of JQ Fitness.  Johanna, her husband Jeff and their team at I Luv This Bootcamp have been working around the clock to make yesterday‘s event a reality.  All proceeds from this charity bootcamp were donated to Free-them which is an organization working towards a goal to end human trafficking/slavery.
I decided that rather than paying to participate in the boot camp portion of the day, I would like to do a little more to help out.  I approached Johanna a couple of months ago and asked if I could provide some healthy baked goods for the participants to enjoy before and after their workout.  She accepted my offer, so over the next few weeks I made some treats and had the members of our kickboxing and stability ball classes (taught by Johanna) give me some feedback.  I’m happy to say that the comments were all positive and everyone seemed to enjoy being my lab rats 🙂  So for the past week, I’ve been baking and dehydrating my heart out to provide plenty of goodies to help fuel and replenish the participants of the event.  The day went off without a hitch (as far as I know) and was a great success.  Lots of money was raised for this wonderful cause and a whole lot of fun was had doing so.  I’m very happy to say that I got more compliments than I could ever have dreamed of and countless requests for recipes.  So, I promised I’d get working on a blog post about the event and that I would share the recipes for what I baked and dehydrated.  
So here goes…
This is the table covered in swag bags that greeted participants to the event…
And here’s a peek at what was inside those bags…
    Among the contents was One Coconut Water, Awake caffeinated chocolate, a $30 gift card towards boot camp classes and many other goodies.
This is the kitchen area where Perry and I unloaded all my containers of treats onto platters and plates to be enjoyed by the participants…
And here are the plates and platters of aforementioned treats… 
 Pepsi Co. provided cases and cases of drinks such as One Coconut Water, Aquafina bottled water, Gatorade and Gatorade Pre-game Fuel
And Starbucks provided hot beverages…
This is naturopath Dr. Jason Lee giving a wonderful talk about health and its relation to what we put into our bodies…
The fitness activities started with a ‘killer’ group challenge.  Johanna’s husband Jeff put together an obstacle course with burpees and pushups and all sorts of other forms or torture.  Here’s a quick video of one of the stations…
 Winners of the group challenge, the aptly named “Team Awesome” :)
Free-them gave a heart-breaking presentation about modern day slavery/human trafficking.  It shocked me to my core…
And here‘s Johanna leading the boot camp warmup…
 There were all kinds of stations with things like hip lifts and mountain climbers
And all sorts of other ‘fun’ exercises 🙂
And there was even a kiddie boot camp 🙂 ….

And just because they’re adorable, here are Johanna and Jeff’s sweet babies…

One of the boot camp participants provided chocolate gold medals for the kids 🙂
I can honestly say that I’m already excited about next year‘s event.  Perry said he wants us to participate in the team challenge!  I think we’d better start training next week 🙂
And now for the recipes as promised.  I have already blogged about the seed cookies here (but changed them slightly) and the oatmeal spice cookies here and unfortunately I don’t have my own pics. of the other goodies (yet) except for the chocolate zucchini bread as I didn’t even think of that.  However, I’ll share all the recipes below and hopefully will get around to baking these items again so that I can show the step-by-step processes.  Not all of these recipes were invented by me, so I’ll also share links to the originals.
Here goes
Here is where I found the original recipe for the zucchini bread.  This is the recipe, including my changes.
  Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 medium zucchini, shredded 
2 large organic, pastured eggs, whisked 
¾ cup almond butter 
⅓ cup organic raw honey 
¼ cup cocoa powder (you could use raw cacao) 
2 tablespoons coconut flour 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon 
½ teaspoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
Grate zucchini on the large holes of a cheese grater.  Lay paper towels on your kitchen counter, put zucchini on top and cover with more paper towels.  Press down to remove moisture and then put the zucchini into a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well-combined.
Line 2 small (3″ x 5″) loaf pans with parchment paper and bake for 35-40 minutes until the tops spring back when gently pressed.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes in the pans, then remove to a cooling rack until cooled through.

 My chocolate zucchini bread
And here is where I found the recipe for the Maple Flax Cookies.  Here’s the recipe with my changes…
Maple Flax Cookies 

1/2 cup (60 g) whole rolled oats
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, solid at room temperature
3 Tbsp (45 ml) pure maple syrup (look for B grade)
1 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp (30 ml) finely ground flax seeds (don’t buy already ground seeds…do this yourself in a spice or coffee grinder immediately before using)
3 Tbsp (45 ml) whole flax seeds
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) Celtic sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, blend the oats until they resemble a coarse meal. 
Add the coconut oil, maple syrupand ground flax seeds.  Blend until combined well and smooth.  Set aside for at least 2 minutes.
Put all of this into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well.
Using a teaspoon-sized cookie scooper (or 2 teaspoons), drop the mixture onto cookie sheet about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.  Do not flatten the cookies as they will spread on their own.
Bake 10-13 minutes, until slighlty puffed and lightly browned.  Allow to cool completely before removing from sheet (they will firm up as they cool).  Makes 8-10 cookies.  May be frozen.

The little coconut balls are actually a raw recipe from Sarmathe owner of Pure Food and Wine which is a restaurant we plan to visit one day.  
This recipe was e-mailed to me, so I don‘t have a link for it.  Hopefully mentioning the author here is giving enough credit!

Chocolate Coconut Balls

3 cups unsweetened, dried coconut
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder 
1 cup maple syrup (look for B grade)
1/2 cup coconut butter (this stuff)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

Mix all ingredients together.  Using a teaspoon-sized cookie scooper, place mounds on the mesh trays of a dehydrator.  The original said to dehydrate for 12-24 hours at 115F.  I did it at 125F for about 4-6 hours and that was plenty.  I’m sure you could do these on cookie sheets in the oven at its lowest setting with the door slightly ajar.  Because the lowest oven temp. is probably higher than 125F, it would most likely only take 3 hours or so.

Seed Cookies
1 1/2 cups whole rolled oats
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well-combined.  Onto 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets, dollop mixture using a tablespoon-sized cookie scooper.  There’s no need to leave space between cookies as they do not spread.  Bake for 16 minutes, rotating trays halfway through baking time.  Remove to wire cooling trays and enjoy.
Oatmeal Spice Cookies
1/4 cup gently melted virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar
1/3 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 large organic, pastured egg
2 cups whole rolled oats     
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons dried cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried ginger
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until well-combined.  Dollop by teaspoonfuls onto  parchment-lined cookie sheets.    Bake for 15 minutes and then allow to cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes.  Remove to cooling trays to firm up.  
3 04, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals Guest Post

By |April 3rd, 2013|foodie pen pals|0 Comments|

Foodie Pen Pals Guest Post
This one is short and very sweet.  I asked Joanna (who received a package from me) to write a little bit about what I sent.  She mentioned that she forgot to take a picture as she was too excited to sample what was in the box of goodies.
Here’s what Joanna wrote…
Both Deborah and I were first time “Foodie Penpals” last month. I can’t express my utmost delight when a parcel appeared at my door wrapped in kraft paper and filled with thoughtful, delicious treats. Since my only stipulations were “No papaya, please,” Deborah had full reign of preparing a fun and tasty package. She included chipotle flavoured seaweed, chocolate quinoa biscuits, cheese crostinis, a bar of Cocoacara orange and chili dark chocolate, lamb curry mix, and Deborah’s own homemade sharp cheddar cheese shortbread biscuits. Although everything in the package was incredible, the cheddar shortbread biscuits were the top contender. I had to keep a watchful eye my fiance didn’t sneak too many away from me! It was a real treat not only to receive such a generous package, but it was exciting to become acquainted with a new person who shares an interest in food and cooking. Food truly brings people together. Many thanks Deborah!
1 04, 2013

By |April 1st, 2013|Uncategorized|8 Comments|

Foodie Pen Pals!

You may have noticed the link on the left-hand side of the page for ‘Foodie Penpals’.  I found out about this wonderful exchange programme a few months ago and recommended it to my sister Ashleigh.  She signed up for February and had such a blast, that I decided to do it for March.  The reason I didn’t do it right away is because we don’t eat wheat or most grains, rarely eat sugar of any kind and really don’t eat a lot of processed foods.  I figured that would be a bit too difficult for the person who was buying food for me, so thought maybe it wasn’t a good idea.  But when I mentioned this to Ashleigh, she said there’s no reason why I couldn’t just explain about my restrictions and see what happens.  So, I went for it and I’m so happy I did.  What a great time I had buying items for my penpal’s package!  She’s a teacher in Toronto and said she loves everything except papaya, so that made for a fun shopping spree with almost no restrictions.
I received my box of goodies last week and was thrilled with the thought my penpal (you don‘t receive from the same person you‘re sending to) Vesna put into my treats.  

Here’s what I got…


A lovely little hand-written card
 Delicious seaweed (I LOVE seaweed)

 Dried apricots, with no added sugar
 A fruit and seed mix which is supposed to be a snack, but I’ve got some cookies planned with this in them
 Raspberry licorice, which I found a bit sweet but Perry gobbled up in 2 seconds flat 🙂
And the very best part, homemade blondies made with chickpeas.  They are delicious!
Thank you again to Vesna for such a great Foodiepenpal first experience!  If you’d like to participate in Foodiepenpals, just click on the link at the top left-hand side of the page.  Do it, it’s so much fun!!! 🙂
18 03, 2013

Chickpea Crackers with Chives

By |March 18th, 2013|Crackers, gluten-free, grain-free|2 Comments|

I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and knew I had to try it.  We’ve pretty much cut grains out of our diet, so I’ve really been missing crackers.  I have a fantastic recipe for crackers made from seeds that I use often, but sometimes I just crave a cracker that actually tastes like a cracker.  This one really fit the bill.  The only thing I’d do differently next time is to roll them very slightly thinner.  Other than that, they’re my perfect cracker because they’re crunchy and tasty but not overwhelming, so theyre the perfect base for dips and spreads.
Here’s what I did…
 I sifted 1 cup of besan (chickpea flour) into a large bowl
I added 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
Then I added 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
I stirred in 2 tsps. of extra-virgin olive oil and a few tbsps. water and then started to mix it with my hands until it all came together.  Then I kneaded it for a couple of minutes, rolled it into a ball and covered with plastic wrap.  I let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
I removed it from the fridge and broke the dough into 4 pieces.  I put one piece on the counter top which I’d sprinkled with more besan.  Then I sprinkled a little more on top and rolled it out to 1/4″ thickness (next time I’ll do it a bit thinner).
Then I cut them into little shapes and placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  I repeated with all of the pieces of dough.  Then I baked them in a 350F oven for 20 minutes.
Then I removed them from the oven and let them cool.  I considered adding more chives, but was worried it would make them too moist.  I don’t think that’s a problem, so I may do that next time too.  Tiny pieces of sundried tomato might be a nice addition too.
30 01, 2013

Coconut Macadamia Energy Balls

By |January 30th, 2013|dessert|0 Comments|

I found this recipe and knew right away that I wanted to make it.  First of all, it has no added sweeteners, and it has only a handful of ingredients.  Also, it’s filled with so much coconut goodness and I’m all about the coconut 🙂
The only downside I can find is that the recipe doesn’t make a whole lot of servings.  Next time I make it, I’ll double it for sure.  I opted to make my own coconut butter as I did in this post because it’s just so darn easy (and less expensive) with a Vitamix.  I also used a whole vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract.
Here’s what I did…
 I poured a couple of cups of unsweetened shredded coconut into the Vitamix and blended it for 45 seconds on #5 and then about 15-30 seconds on high
 I also used my Vitamix to grind 3 oz. of macadamia nuts.  Mine were roasted and salted.  Had they been raw, I would have added a little Celtic sea salt.
 I poured both of them into a bowl
Then I split a vanilla bean in half
 And scooped the insides into the bowl with the other ingredients
 I mixed it all together to make a coconut/macadamia soup of sorts.  Then I placed it into the fridge, stirring every 2 minutes
 Until it looked like this
Then I rolled them into balls (working quickly as they get quite slippery) and rolled them in shredded, unsweetened coconut
Then I placed them into the freezer for 10 minutes.  They do have to be kept refrigerated or frozen as coconut oil melts at room temperature.
21 11, 2012

Mocha Frappuccino Green Smoothie

By |November 21st, 2012|Smoothie|0 Comments|

Okay, so yes it’s green.  In fact it’s VERY green 🙂  I’m sure it’s not what most people would expect a mocha frappuccino to look like, but it’s MUCH better for you than one of those admittedly delicious, but sugar-laden concoctions and it honestly does taste yummy.
I have green smoothies 3-4 mornings per week, always after boot camp classes and sometimes just because I can’t think of what else to have for breakfast.  They’re a quick and easy way to get a good protein punch and fit in some veggies at the same time.  I’m not really one for fruity smoothies, in fact I rarely add fruit at all anymore.  So this is pretty much the way I usually make my morning smoothie, but I decided to add some coffee substitute today to change it from chocolate to mocha.
I like to use quite a few frozen ingredients as it keeps the drink nice and cold and gives it more of a frappuccino texture.
Here’s what I did…
 Added about 3 cups frozen organic spinach to the Vitamix container
Added 1 scoop of protein powder
  This is my favourite protein powder (chocolate)
 This is prepared Irish moss (the always lovely Meghan will show you how to make it here.
 I added one heaping tablespoon of the Irish moss
 and about 1/2 cup flax mylk
 I cube of frozen coconut milk (I freeze coconut milk in ice cube trays for just this purpose)
 and a few ice cubes to make it frosty
 raw cacao nibs (oh so delicious and oh so good for you)
 I added 2 tablespoons of the cacao nibs
 and a couple of teaspoons (all I had left) of this coffee sub. (made from roasted barley, rye, chicory and beet)
Blitzed it all up in my trusty Vitamix and gobbled it up.  Of course no green smoothie (or other delicious beverage) should ever be enjoyed through anything but a beautiful Strawsome glass straw!
11 05, 2012

Homemade Mayonnaise

By |May 11th, 2012|Mayonnaise|2 Comments|

I made some homemade mayo a few weeks ago and although I loved it, Perry and Krestan both thought it was too ‘coconutty’.  I used a mixture of melted coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil.  The coconut flavour really did rather take over and it was detectable in everything I added it to.  So today I decided to try using half extra-virgin olive oil and half avocado oil.  I think this is definitely a better combination as the flavour isn’t anywhere near as strong.  I also do not worry about the eggs being raw, although I know some people are squeamish about this.  The eggs we use are pastured and are very fresh, so I don’t concern myself about it.  I’m so thankful that I have a Vitamix.  It makes life so much easier when it comes to things like making homemade mayo 🙂
Here’s what I did…
I put 3 pastured eggs into the Vitamix.
Then I added 1 1/4 teaspoons mustard powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt and 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
I turned the Vitamix on and quickly turned the speed up to #10 and then on to high.  Next, I slowly streamed in 4/5 cup of avocado oil and 4/5 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
And in about 1 minute, I had this lovely, creamy homemade mayonnaise.  YUM!
2 03, 2012

By |March 2nd, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Quinoa Flatbread with Flax and Chia

I found this flatbread recipe on Pinterest the other day and thought it would be a nice option for us since we’ve completely cut out wheat and most grains.

It turned out pretty well, although I think I’d do a little tweaking next time.  Even though it’s a flatbread, I think I’d like it a little bit lighter, so I plan to use some baking soda next time.  It really is a great recipe though and came together in next to no time.  We ate it for dinner with mussels in a spicy garlic sauce.
Here’s what I did…

 Put 2 cups of quinoa flour in a large bowl.
 Added 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, 2 tablespoons psyllium husk and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
 Then I added 2 tablespoons of flax seeds and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
 Next I stirred in 1 1/2 cups water and let the batter sit for about 5 mins. while the oven heated to 400F.
 Then I dolloped the dough in circles onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and used wet hands to form it into small patties (about 4″ across).  My dough made 10 in total.
 I sprinkled sesame seeds on top and gently pressed them down so they’d stick.
Baked them for 20 minutes, rotating pans after 10.  Then cooled them on wire racks.

16 02, 2012

Protein Bars for my Valentine

By |February 16th, 2012|cookies|0 Comments|


I decided to make some protein bars for Perry to take to work for breakfast on Tuesday.  I figured since it was going to be Valentine’s Day, I’d make a few of them heart-shaped.  The shape wasn’t quite as perfect as I’d hoped, but I was very happy with the flavour and texture.

I found this recipe and thought it sounded like a winner.
It had just about everything I was looking for, so I only had to change a couple of things.

Here’s what I did…
 I put 2 cups of almonds and 1/4 cup ground flax seed into my food processor.  Didn’t worry too much about the flax being completely ground up.
I added 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut to the food processor
plus 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, 1/2 cup hemp hearts and 1/4 cup chia seeds.
 Then I processed it, but left it a bit chunky.
Next, I added 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (sweetened with stevia)
and 1/3 cup raw cacao powder and processed the whole lot.
Then, in a medium saucepan, I gently melted 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil then added the contents of the food processor as well as 1/2 cup almond butter.
I mixed it all together and scooped it into silicone heart-shaped molds.  Then I topped them with melted 70% cocoa chocolate.
I popped them into the freezer for an hour and voila!