Pumpkin Spiced Vegan Protein Smoothie

Ever since we got back from our holidays we have tried to get on track with our eating (as I am sure many of you are). I still have not mastered the art of eating exactly the way we eat at home while we are travelling. Anyone have some tips for me? This time around, we were staying at my brother & sister-in-law’s place so we had full access to the kitchen. We were able to pick up groceries a couple times and make my delicious kale salad (recipe to come) – which was a huge hit with the extended family and I think we ended up making 6 times…so good guys, really…recipe will be coming this month.

Still, when we returned home, we all felt a little lagged down. We did consume more wheat in the week then we have in a long, long time. Not only that, but we ate things that had processed sugar (like pie and ice cream). Sometimes, you just want to have pie with your entire family – OK !?! My body, however, told me otherwise. Feeling sluggish, struggling with brain fog (although, that might have been the jet leg) and a return of my eczema, I knew it was from the few things I had cut out of my diet due to sensitivities – came back to haunt me from a week of wanting to eat with my family while home for the holidays. My husband on the other hand was complaining of similar symptoms but the main one that was effecting him was exhaustion. Uh…oh…first sign of a possible flare up…not good. So it was back to making smoothies, green juices, puree soups – all things that are packed full of nutrition but easy for the body to digest.

This recipe comes from the Thrive Forward series. I chose to use the Vega One Vanilla nutritional shake but you can certainly use another plant-based protein source like hemp hearts, pea protein, or flax seeds. This shake turned out nice and creamy – almost like a milk shake. I thought about it later and I could have use the Vega One Chai powder with the same result (eliminating the additional spices I used to make this one and adding pure vanilla to balance the flavours). I am happy to report, that after two weeks of drinking more shakes, home-made green juices, soups and even avocado pudding (recipe to come), energy is returning for us and symptoms are disappearing. Funny how that works ;)

Pumpkin Spiced Vegan Protein Smoothie
Inspired by the Thrive Forward series.
  • ½ cup of fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled & chopped (can use purée if that's what you have on hand)
  • 1 whole apple, peeled & cored
  • 1 cup almond milk (you can use any no-dairy milk)
  • ⅓ cup protein powder (I used Vega One Vanilla)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour in glass and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy amazing energy!


Goals with Kale Chips

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a bit of a break where you could spend time with your friends, family, ate lots of good food and cozied on up in front of the fire with a magazine.

You might be surprised to know that I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t. I believe that the hype around resolutions sets you up for failure – so I’ve never made them. I heard on CBC Radio 2 the other day that only 8% of people who make resolutions keep them for the year – so that tells you something right there.  What I do believe in is making goals. In my final year of University I had a wonderful private voice teacher who taught me one of the most valuable lessons in my life. Write out your goals. And not just “one day I want to be…” kind of thing. She made everyone in the studio sit down and figure out our goals for the year, for 3 years and for 5 years. Specific goals. It was one of the scariest project I had ever had to do. Partly because (and I said this to her when I was struggling with the task) I was afraid that if I didn’t accomplish what I had written on paper that I would be considered a failure. But I know now that is not true. Since then I have continued to write out my goals and revisit them throughout the year to stay on track.

Brought a smile to my face & a reminder about perspective.

I thought I would share with you some of my goals for this year (also sharing with you makes me even more accountable…errr…I mean motivated to accomplish them). Some people like to write them out as I do but you could also make yourself a vision board. Check out what Angela has done for this coming year as an example of a vision board.

1. Train for and run my first half marathon.

2.  Grow my own herb garden on my balcony.

  • Not only would this shed some dollars off the grocery bill, it would make sure that we have more organic produce in the house. Which brings me to goal number three…

3.  Switch to more organic produce.

  • Although many of you may be aware of the recent study that shook up the organic advocates this year saying that organic does not have more nutrients then conventionally grown produce – the truth of the matter is that eating organic means that you don’t eat something that has been genetically modified AND you are not putting harmful chemicals into your body (chemicals that could cause Cancer). I am going to start with the dirty dozen that I eat and juice a lot with – leafy greens, apples etc..but I will find the BEST deal in town so that it still fits in our budget! I’m determined.

4. Make home-made nut milk.

  • If my brother can do this then so can I. Right now we spend about $3 a carton on organic nut milk and I believe that we can cut this from the grocery budget by making our own. Plus I think it would be really fun!

5. Eat even more plant-based foods and create amazing recipes for my family (and my awesome readers ;) )

  • A lot of this inspiration comes from wanting to push my abilities with food even further and from Thrive Forward! If you haven’t signed up for this free online resource and you want to start pushing your limits in the kitchen, sign up!

6. Volunteer more.

  • I want to find an organization here that I can volunteer my time and abilities! There is always someone who has less than you and sometimes all they need is a helping hand.

7. Grow my own sprouts at home.

  • HA! I saw that face! Half of you think I am crazy and turning way too hippie for you, but never fear! This is a great way to get fresh enzymes and minerals into your diet and can be tremendously good for your digestive system.

8. Learn more about holistic nutrition.

  • I have learned so much already about how food can heal the body, but I would like to take some courses at The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. They offer part-time and online options.

9. Create more natural beauty care product recipes.

  • Last year I switched to making my own deodorant (recipe to come!) and I would like to make more natural beauty care recipes and share them with all of you!

10. Go to Hawaii for my 10 year anniversary.

  • That’s right! October 2013 marks my 10 year anniversary of being cancer-free and I REALLY want to go to Hawaii to celebrate! It is going to happen – I am determined!

Well, that is what I am going to share with you. I have my long-term goals as well, but I will not bore you with those details. Hopefully sharing this will inspire you to write your own goals for this coming year! Now for today’s recipe!

When I was trying to find ways to eat more kale and get more leafy greens into my diet, I came up with this recipe. Although eating the kale raw is better for you then heating it, this is a great place to start if you are trying to get this amazing vegetable into your diet. And let’s be honest…

I need to get more kale into my meals!

I had to work with kale A LOT before I found recipes that I liked. The key with kale is that you need to massage the oil into it. Once I learned this trick, I was in kale heaven. I have now created enough recipes that I can have it in my diet almost everyday! Don’t worry, I will share them all with you!

Kale Chips with Feta Cheese
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, taken off the stem & torn into pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from 1 SLICE of lemon
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1 oz of feta cheese
  1. You have two options. Preheat oven at 200 degrees to cook slowly for several hours until crisp. Or, preheat oven at 425 degrees to cook more quickly. The first option there is less chance of burning with more chance to keep nutrients in the chips. Option two is sometimes what you have to do when you are in a rush but you run the risk of burning so PAY ATTENTION ;)
  2. Take cleaned and torn kale and massage olive oil until kale is soft and supple.
  3. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread kale evenly.
  4. Take the slice of lemon and sprinkle juice over the kale.
  5. Put some pepper in it.
  6. Place in oven. If going low and slow, cook for approx 2 hrs turning chips once. Place feta on near the end of cooking time so it melts and gets crispy. If going with high and fast option, cook for 15mins, turning once. Place feta over chips and cook another 5-10 mins watching very carefully until chips and feta are crisp.
  7. Enjoy as a snack or as a side for dinner!

What are your goals for the coming year?