Ghostly Pumpkin Spiced Halloween Smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie with Ghost WhipSo many wild and wonderful things happening in our family right now! My baby sister just had an epic wedding back in Toronto last weekend where I danced most of the night away not caring if anyone was watching. Her new extended family – which is now also our new extended family – is a blast to be around and do they ever make GOOD food!!! Nothing like having a father-in-law who is a chef AND works at gluten-free bakery. Score baby sister – especially your gluten-free wedding cake – I had two pieces it was so good! And gurl – did you ever make me cry with your speech?!?! I’m glad it all came together for you and you were happy with your day.

We had lots of fun there within the chaos of traveling with two kids on a completely different time zone schedule. Let me tell ya though, within moments our hatred for that city and it’s traffic came back in full strength! The feeling when we landed in Vancouver, gathered our luggage and drove back to our house all within 30mins…priceless.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie & Ghost WhipMy big sister is expecting her 2nd child after 4 years of trying to get pregnant! YAY! She is looking stunning and I can’t wait to have another little munchkin in the family to smother with hugs, kisses and my big auntie love! Can’t wait for her and pray for a healthy baby…I’m guessing boy…but healthy either way please. :)

My oldest brother introduced me to his girl – and man – I could not be happier for him! I don’t want to say much about this one – I just hope my family didn’t (and doesn’t) scare her away! Dad, I’m mostly talking to you…She’s a keeper! :)

To see how well my nephew is doing with being home schooled is exciting. I’m so proud of my brother and my sister-in-law for being brave enough to make that decision.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie with Ghost WhipAnd me? Well, isn’t there always something new and exciting when I show up here to the blog (aside from clean & delicious recipes…)? I am back to work after my maternity leave and have started a whole new job with a whole new company. I challenged every day in this new role. It is both exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. I come home from work everyday and I love my babies even more and appreciate our moments of laughter to the fullest. Like I’ve said before, I am not a stay at home mom and could never see myself in that role full-time. It’s just not me. I am grateful to live in a country where a year maternity leave is the norm and to have found a company to go back to where there is long-term growth. It’s a very exciting time indeed!

Ghostly Pumpkin Spiced Halloween Smoothie
 
Slightly adapted from my earlier version of Pumpkin Spiced Vegan Protein Smoothie
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 serving Vega One Vanilla Chai
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • GHOST TOPPING (OPTIONAL)
  • 175ml small can of full fat coconut milk, chilled in fridge over night
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in a high powdered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into tall glass and top with optional topping.
  3. FOR THE GHOST TOPPING (OPTIONAL)
  4. Separate coconut water and solidified milk into two separate bowls. This should be fairly easy after the can being in the fridge over night.
  5. With a hand mixer, whip the solidified full fat coconut milk with the vanilla until a whip cream consistency.
  6. Dollop the whip on top of the pumpkin spiced smoothie to look like a ghost.
  7. Place two mini chocolate chips on it for eyes. Happy Halloween!

 

Pucker-UP! Last Days of Summer Peach Cherry Lemonade (and 3 tips to prepare for September!)

Peach Cherry LemonadeI can’t believe the end of summer is upon us. Can you? It feels as though it flew by. As if one hot day ran into another and suddenly…it’s the end of August! September is literally around the corner! Is that what happens when you have kids? The summers just disappear, days melting into one another like ice cream melting in your mouth as the sun beats down on you; you can’t remember what park you went to on what day, who you saw or if you even fed the kids or just snacked on veggies and dip??? I think I fed the kids today. Although it’s possible one meal consisted of samples from Costco…

Peach Cherry LemonadeSo today I have here a simple recipe for your final long weekend of the summer. You heard me. The FINAL long weekend of summer. Before ALL the crazy chaos of September begins and next you know it’s the end of December and I’m bringing you comfort food instead of juice. If you don’t have a juicer (and I suspect many of you won’t) don’t panic! You can make this refreshing juice by peeling the fruit and blending it in the blender. Then simply strain it through a fine strainer or a nut-milk bag to get some of the pulp out. Pour over ice – and you’re set!

Peach Cherry LemonadeTo relieve some of your panic (or my own personal panic), I thought I would share with you three tips to help you prepare and keep your family eating clean during the mad rush. Here we go:

1. Meal Plan Dinners

I know you’ve probably heard this one a million times but put together a simple meal plan for dinners. There are some fabulous resources out there to get you inspired such as Clean Eating Magazine, Healthful Pursuit (Leanne Vogel) or of course Pinterest. Don’t stress yourself out too much about it, start with one week and when you are comfortable add a second week (rotate so the family does not get bored with the food on the table). Many of these resources have shopping list to go with their plans to make it a lot easier. And remember to ask you family (the little ones included, not just your spouse) if they have an favourites they would like to see on the menu! They may be more helpful than expected!

2. Prep the food

Did you know a recent study shows that the average American spends only 33 minutes on food prep each day and 1hr and 11min watching TV? So guess what my lovely readers (where ever you may be…) we can make our lives easier with food preparation. Once you know your meal plan, have your shopping list and have purchased the food, make two nights where you do a little extra food prep for the week. For example, when I get home from grocery shopping I take the veggies I know will be used for pre-dinner munching or salads and clean, cut and pack them back up in the fridge so they are really easy to grab when I’m in a rush. The second day I prep for the week (usually falls on a Sunday) I prepare either baked goods, soups/stews, granola or sauces (pesto or BBQ sauce anyone…?) and tightly store them in containers in the fridge. Again saving time. Tell me, if you’re a woman, can’t you watch your TV shows AND meal prep at the same time? Also saving time. Just sayin’.

3. Keep It Simple Stupid

When in doubt KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (K.I.S.S.). Sometimes we over complicate food. Well, a lot of the time. Heck, there is an entire industry out there trying to make your life easier with prepackaged meals. The problem with that food is it is over complicated with chemicals & preservatives  with often not a lot of nutritional value. You spend more time trying to decode the ingredient list when you could be spending that time with your family (or driving to the next soccer practice!). There is nothing wrong with steamed veg (use the raw ones you already cut earlier in the week), quinoa or brown rice & an avocado drizzled with olive oil & sprinkled with sea salt. Or using eggs for dinner instead of stressing about the meat you forgot to take out of the freezer the night before. Sometimes, if we keep it simple, we don’t have to worry as much about getting our families fed. And don’t feel guilty if your weekly plan does not work out. Just try to plan better for next week and adjust where you need to.

May the force be with you for the coming month!

Peach Cherry Lemonade
 
Ingredients
  • 6 whole lemons, peeled
  • 4 very ripe peaches (preferentially freestone), pitted
  • 10 cherries, pitted
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups ice
  • natural sweetener of choice (I used no calorie Stevie)
Instructions
  1. In your juicer, place all the fruit. If no juicer, blend peeled and cut fruit in blender on high and then strain through a nut milk bag.
  2. In jug, mix juice mixture with water, natural sweetener and ice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with some fruit and serve immediately.