Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My go-to morning smoothie

I've been asked a lot by friends and family what I eat for breakfast. I've never been a morning person, so breakfast, especially on weekdays was always difficult, as it was hard to make time. But I know the importance of eating in the morning now and have become addicted to smoothies for two reasons -- fast and delicious!
Raeanne's go-to smoothie
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2-3 tsp flax oil
  • 1 tbsp (heaping) seed mix (see 'recipe' below)
  • 1 scoop of protein powder, I use Genuine Health Vegan Protein+ Vanilla
  • 3 1-inch chunks of banana -- fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup of berries -- fresh or frozen, I use a combination of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries or whatever I have on hand
  • 1 handful (or 2!) of spinach leaves

Put all ingredients into a large magic bullet cup or a blender and pulverize it! Drink it! And say YUM!

  • I would make sure you put in something frozen (berries or banana) as it will chill the smoothie and I find it tastes a lot better. Otherwise I would likely throw in some ice.
  • All amounts are approximate. I never measure -- no time for that!

Seed mix
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts

Pour all the seeds into a large glass jar (3-cup), put the cover on and SHAKE! Store in the refrigerator.

This is packed with well over 20g of protein, good carbohydrates, fiber, and lots of good fats (Omega3s a plenty!). It easily keeps me full for 3 to 4 hours. Obviously there are tonnes of variations, and I change it up with what I've got on hand, but when I'm half asleep in the kitchen, this is most often what gets made!

If you try it let me know! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A weekend in the kitchen

I love to spend time in the kitchen because I absolutely love to bake and make things from scratch. This weekend I took some time from my day to try a few new things. All the recipes can be found in my Delicious bookmarks.

Here's a sample of my weekend in the kitchen (I know some of the photos are bad... my kitchen has terrible lighting...):

First thing I made were Oatmeal Spelt Peach Cookies: I  bought a basket of amazing, succulent Ontario peaches last week and they were ripening faster than I could eat them. Spelt is not a gluten-free grain, but it is wheat-free. I'll eat them in moderation as I react more to wheat, but still somewhat to other gluten grains.

Keeping with the peach theme and my absolute love for jam, I made Peach and Plum Jam Muffins. The recipe called for blackberry jam, but I had plum jam. I love peaches and plums, so I went with it. And it turned out great. I remember when I was a kid, my brother and I watched the Urban Peasant a lot, I'm not sure why, but the two things I remember from it was his love for sherry (he seemed to put a splash of sherry in everything!) and that he always preached that you should "use what you have". So I did.

Next up were Strawberry Mint Popsicles. Again, I screwed up the recipe, I misread. It was supposed to be strawberry basil (there was another recipe for Mint Lemonade on the same page). Again, I went with it... with good results!

And it didn't stop there. Just prior to dinner on Saturday, I whipped up my own homemade BBQ sauce. I'm not a big fan of store bought BBQ sauces. I usually read the label and then put it back on the shelf with disgust -- I can't stand the amount of sugar in it! I found a better option once when I visited Whole Foods, but given that I live 5 hours away from the nearest Whole Foods, it's not an easy thing to pick up when you run out. So I went with this one, which has no sugar at all! Bonus.

For dinner, I made this amazing kale salad. Our most recent produce delivery included a huge head of kale, so what to do but whip up a great salad. I served it with some fresh local made-in-store sausages I picked up the day before at The Piggy Market in Westboro. Nom nom nom. So good! The key to this salad is to let it sit for a while after you mix it up. The kale leaves will soften from the olive oil in the dressing making it much more palatable.

Sunday morning I tackled my most complicated recipe of the weekend -- blueberry scones (gluten-free)! I love scones and blueberry ones are a bonus. This recipe included a few ingredients I've never used before but are easily found at most natural foods stores, such as Rainbow Natural Foods, which is where I found my loot.

Ok, I know enough, right? But one more. Blueberry grain-free pancakes for Sunday breakfast, made with almond flour. The recipe didn't call for blueberries, but I had some left over from the scones, so had to do it! Yum yum. Served with some chopped strawberries and pure maple syrup. 

So now you know what I did for a good part of the weekend. What did you do??

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Delicious" Recipes

Ok, ok, so I might be late to the party, but I'm sharing anyway, in case your tardiness is worse than mine.

I found something new. Well as I alluded to above, it's not new, it's been around for awhile and I had heard of it but never had a need for it. Until now. Taadaa...

I find a lot of my recipes online. In fact, as I blogged about earlier this week, I don't leave for the grocery store until I've picked out meals/recipes for the week. And it got me thinking... I have to rely a lot on my memory to find recipes to recall seeing recipes on Twitter or on Blogs I subscribe to. I had been adding "stars" to my Google Reader account, but after a while, there are a lot of stars, which are not well organized. I also had a lot of recipes simply bookmarked in my browser, but again no organization, no search capabilities.

And then an AHA moment. Bookmarking with tagging. It all makes sense now. And I am happy. I've entered a bunch of recipes I had marked in one way or another (Google Reader stars, browser bookmarks, and Pinterest) and I'll be adding to it. So feel free to check out what I've found. Perhaps before you head to the grocery store this weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Everyone needs a 'me' day

I'm a big proponent of finding time to treat yourself. I last did this as part of my 30th birthday back in January. Since the summer months are winding down, I decided that I needed a little more me time and decided to take the final two Fridays in August off from work.

Last Friday, I treated myself really well. At noon, I met up with a friend at Play Food & Wine in the ByWard Market for a succulent lunch. They specialize in small plates and at lunch you can get any two plates for $20! Great deal and great food. Afterwards, I made my way over to this amazing 'new to me' spa called Daya Spa and I got pampered!

I treated myself to three services: the organic customized facial (using all Eminence products), followed by the cucumber mint sugar scrub manicure and pedicure. Heavenly! The facial was amazing and my fingers and toes look pretty good too! I left feeling rejuvenated and happy -- just what I wanted!

What a fantastic way to start the weekend! Now, what should I do this Friday? Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting the most out of my food and my grocery bill

I'm an organized person, I think I've alluded to this before. I get a wonderful high from my house being in order and things having a place to call home. With school, I'm an über-nut, I won't even go into how I organize myself for school, because you'll roll your eyes and think I'm crazy.

I've recently redone my spare bedroom/home office to work better for me. I got so into doing it that I forgot to take some key photos before and after, but I'll post about it soon. My main bathroom is also undergoing a organization renovation, it still needs to be decorated and then photos will follow. My next task will be my kitchen, my tiny townhouse kitchen... drives me insane. My I've got a project up my sleeve to tackle that one.

The kitchen brings me to my subject for today. For about a year now, I've completely changed the way I approach food, which has brought some great results. One way I have done this is to treat food as essential fuel for my body, not as a comfort or something brought upon by boredom. Once you see food in this different light, you'll be amazed at what you will stop putting in your mouth... I roll my eyes with disgust at things I ate without question just over a year ago -- and it has MUCH more to do with the ingredient list than it does with the nutritional value chart.

You hear regularly people complain about the high prices for good food, REAL food. My solution is quite simple. I put my organization skills to use and I plan. I will NOT go to the grocery store without having a plan in hand. So before my weekly trip, I find out what I've got on hand, perhaps go through the amazing box of goodies that was recently delivered and come up with a meal plan - meals for at least 5-6 days (which leaves some flexibility) and that uses everything I buy so little goes to waste. I go to the store with a plan and I know what's in my refrigerator -- awesome for my health and my budget.

It has worked awesome. No more "what are we going to have for dinner?" questions when getting home from work, the answer is on a piece of paper on the refrigerator. The real question becomes, which of these awesome meals am I going to eat today.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Home, sweet home

I've been absent. But with good reason. Vacation! I was back home on PEI for about 9 days last week. Lots of fun, family, and food. I'm terrible at taking photos while on vacation but I took a few with my IPhone using the Instagram app. You see, I'm not very talented at taking photos, but this app makes even the worst photos look cool. Hence why it's perfect for me!

Here's a sampling of my beautiful island.

The beautiful approach on Air Canada's smallest plane, the Beech 1900
The summer patchwork
Victoria Row in Charlottetown
Birthplace of Confederation, Province House
Charlottetown has a Starbucks!
Anne, Anne, everywhere
Summerside (my hometown) boardwalk views
Summerside is funny
Spent lots of time here... cottage by the ocean. Nothing better.
There are tonnes of blueberry patches near the cottage. Dad picked about 2 litres in about 40 minutes. I could ate eaten 2 litres in 5 minutes if I wanted to.