Boozy Red Berry Fruit Salad

If you hadn’t noticed, I’m currently in a salad phase; and this phase finds itself perfectly timed, as summer is in full swing. This past week on the blog serendipitously turned into an unofficial salad week; I couldn’t help it. Warmer weather makes way for lighter meals, cocktails and later nights than I care to say; but at least there’s salad.

It’s no secret that salad is an amazing way to infuse nutrients into our beings; and, where salads were once after thoughts, today they are celebrated. And this salad is pretty boss if you ask me!

Raspberries the co-star in this refreshing summer salad, are packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants; and they are considered one of the most nutritious fruits once can consume. When summer hits, you can find me belly up to a bowl of these babies at all times; summer is THEIR time! I mean, I’m from Alberta, where during berry season, if you sneeze you are likely to miss it- it’s our cross to bear! And us ladies of menstruating age should all be fans of the crimson gem, as they are also an excellent source of iron- coincidence that they are red…you decide.

But not one to stand in the corner, strawberries also deserve to be heralded. In addition to be very high in antioxidant activity, strawberries boost the immune system and help with wound healing, prevent arterial damage, promote iron absorption and strengthen blood vessel walls. Not to mention they boast fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium.

But there are some housekeeping rules when it comes to the mighty berry. Unlike other fruits that ripen when harvested, berries rot; so they require a little bit of know how, in order to prolong their lives. First, wash the berries right before you are about to eat them; once washed, berries start to go bad, fast. And, second, pick through your berries when you buy them and remove all the rotten ones; they release a chemical that expedites the rotting process.

Now, I would remiss if I didn’t talk organics. Although I endeavor not to preach, because I know organic living can be quite pricey, berries should be organic- especially strawberries, as they find themselves on the dirty dozen list. But lucky for us all, these berry-licious gems are in season and can be sourced locally for a song; thank Mother Nature!

This red berry fruit salad is a treat, not just because it’s brimming with berries; but because it’s also boozy too! Berries have this innate ability to absorb the wonder that is wine; and with the sun shining, I couldn’t resist boosting this dish’s fun factor. But because I believe firmly in balance, I threw in some chia seeds- balance people, BALANCE!

When making the syrup, if you happen to be using gas, be sure not to touch the liquid to the flame- it will make fire. And the fire department hates being called out for cocktail mishaps. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

It’s summer; it’s a long weekend; why not get some antioxidants with your booze ?!

¼ cup cointreau
¼ cup white wine
10 basil leaves
½ tsp raw honey
10 oz strawberries, halved
7 oz raspberries
½ tbsp black chia seeds
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
¼ cup san Pellegrino

Bring the cointreau, white wine, honey and 10 basil leaves to boil; then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the basil leave and discard; and cool.

In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries, raspberries and chia seed. Once the syrup is cool, mix with the berries and garnish with the remaining basil.

To serve, top with San Pellegrino.

How To Cook Salmon Perfectly

I eat a great deal of salmon, I would even go as far as saying that currently salmon is my number one  “animal” protein. I eat salmon, of course, because it tastes good; but what’s in a name? When it comes to salmon, quite a lot actually; because if you’re thinking “farmed” and I’m talking “wild” then you may inclined to think that we are talking about the same thing, but we are not. Wild and farmed salmon are two very different foods, and I beg you not to confuse the two.

Salmon is regarded as one of the best foods that we can eat, partly because it’s chocked full of omega 3 fatty acids- the healthy fats that I go on and on about. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the health of our hearts, brains, memory, thoughts, circulation and blood sugar regulation; and we know that salmon is one of the best sources on the planet. So why should we be concerned with whether our salmon is wild or farmed? Well, just like with humans, salmon are what they eat as well; when salmon eat their natural diet in the wild, they become full and rich with beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. However, their farm raised brethren do not eat a diet native to salmon, instead they eat grain- GRAIN! Grain has very little do with what salmon eat in the wild, hence they produce far less omega 3 fatty acids in their bodies.

So if you want to get the most out of your salmon, I think we can all agree that wild is better.

Now, I cook a great deal of fish, but I remember when I didn’t know how to cook salmon. Of course, being trained in the culinary arts, I’ve learned how to cook salmon, however, salmon can be good or it can be great. In my efforts to understand how to make food delicious, I, oftentimes, undertake my own food masterclasses; this past week I decided to learn how to cook salmon perfectly.

Unlike some other types of fish, salmon is very forgiving, due in large part to it’s high fat content; whitefish, which, in most cases, is NOT fatty, and, therefore,  struggles to remain palatable without some expertise. But today I want to talk about how to cook salmon; and as with any cooking technique, please use your senses- touch and sight are supremely important senses to the cooking experience.

So let’s get to it…

  • I use coconut oil as my main cooking oil, it’s high smoke point and itself boasts numerous healthy fats of it’s own; which when paired with salmon, make for a healthy fat smorgasbord. When I embarked on my how to cook salmon masterclass, I tried many oils, coconut oil was hands down the best.
  • The type of pan you use will drastically change your technique and results; if you are using a non stick pan, creating a quality sear on the skin becomes very difficult; so I suggest using a stick resistant pan, that allows for searing but won’t cause too much sticking. Calphalon makes a great stick resistant pan!
  • Speaking of sticking, whenever you are creating a sear, the key is to leave the food alone until it lets you know that it’s ready; meaning, when the salmon is ready to be flipped it will release itself, and flip with ease.
  • It is essential to ensure that your pan isn’t too hot, or else the outside will burn while the inside will still be raw; for optimal results, stick to medium heat, and make sure the coconut oil and pan are hot prior to adding the salmon. When the pan isn’t hot, creating a sear is difficult. And you ALWAYS want to start your salmon with the flesh side down.
  • The thickness and desired doneness of your salmon will depend on how long you cook the salmon after it’s released and been flipped. Touch the salmon, if it feels soft and pliable, it’s still uncooked in the center; if the salmon feels rigid and firm to the touch, it’s done.
  • And my last “how to cook salmon” tip is this, rest; like steak or chicken, salmon benefits from resting when it’s removed from the heat. This allows for carry over cooking, which is when the salmon cooks itself via residual heat AND it makes the salmon juicy and melt in your mouth.

Got it? Good!

This recipe is a simple one, because I believe when learning the fundamentals of anything from how to cook salmon to how to cook kale, it’s essential to keep it simple until the fundamentals are well established.

How To Cook Salmon Recipe

1 tsp coconut oil
3/4 lb wild caught salmon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat a stick resistant pan on medium heat and melt the coconut oil; season salmon and place in pan, skin side down. Cook until salmon releases and then flip; cook for an additional 3-5 minutes- depends on doneness desired.

Remove from heat, cover and rest for 3 minutes.

Was this helpful? Informative? Let me know!

Grass Fed Bison Meatballs

I’d like to take a moment to talk about a controversial subject- meat. Meat and its consumption is quite a hot point of contention these days; from sustainability to ethics, the subject of meat consumption gets a great deal of people hot under the collar.

Now, I’m a chef and I LOVE food; I’m not a vegan, I don’t eat exclusively raw and while I love plant based cooking and eating, I’ll be honest with you, I love meat- I like to consider myself a qualitarian, I eat only quality food; and there are moments when the only cure my for insatiable hunger are delicious meatballs. I’ll never apologize for my love of meat.

Do I eat meat every day? Certainly not. Not only does this create a demand that farmers cannot keep up with; but it’s not good for the human body to eat meat at every meal.

However, what I take the most issue with is the treatment of the animals, animals held in small cages, are unhappy; animals who are held in tight quarters with dead or dying brethren are not only unhappy but far more susceptible to disease and this is why big agriculture farmers (we’re talking the Lilydale’s of the world) use pharmaceuticals to keep their animals “healthy”- I use the term loosely. This is NOT the meat that I choose to eat. The more money we funnel into these practices, the more it will continue to happen. Why do I care? I mean, meat is meat, right? Wrong!

Animals are reared so that we can be nourished, this is an amazing sacrifice; and cows, chicken, pigs, hens and everything in between should be treated with the utmost respect during their lives. They should be allowed to roam free, reproduce and live without cruelty until the moment they make the ultimate sacrifice; in ancient times, the animals that gave their lives were celebrated, it is not the case today.

But, there are farmers out there who continue the tradition of respect, and those are the ones that I choose to support. Working at an organic deli, I have the unique opportunity to work with food that is not only organic and local, but kind- we know the names of the farmer’s who supply our food; and being able to look the person who reared your food in the eye, breeds a level of accountability- to the consumer and to the animals. I am a proud meat eater, because the meat that I eat is something I can be proud of; local, organic, grass fed, sustainable and most importantly, HAPPY.

Rant. Over.

These meatballs are made from local, grass fed bison, and most know meats like elk and bison to be gamey; but this is not the case with grass fed meats. I have absolutely no proof of this, other than what my palate tells me, but I trust my taste buds! Now, bison, elk, venison and the like are generally very lean types of meat, so they require a decent amount of fat in order to be palatable; in this recipe I achieve a moist product by cooking the kale and onions in coconut oil, so they infuse moisture from the inside.

There are millions of meatball recipes, some with flour and breadcrumbs, others with eggs; but these balls are just bison, oregano, kale and onion, with salt, cumin, pesto and chili flakes thrown in for good measure, so this recipe is gluten free. With the omission of pesto it’s also nut free too. I simmered my meatballs in crushed tomatoes to finish the cooking and this also achieves a deliciously rich sauce.

This recipe proves that eating meat, and meatballs, is not a bad thing; just be sure it’s sustainable and as kind as can be- and don’t eat meatballs from IKEA.

2 oz. kale leaves, chopped
½ sweet onion, diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
505 g ground grass fed bison meat
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 oz macadamia nut pesto
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp red chili flakes

500 ml crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
¼ tsp coconut sugar

In a pan on medium high heat, melt the coconut oil; add the kale and onions and cook for 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Keep the pan.

In a bowl, combine the oregano, pesto, salt and chili flakes in a bowl and fold in the ground bison. Fold until all the ingredients are evenly distributed; add the cooled kale and onions, and stir to combine.

Form ball, the size of your choice, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; refrigerate the mixture for one hour.

In the same pan, melt one tablespoon of coconut oil; brown the balls on all sides in batches- DO NOT OVERCROWD THE PAN. Set the ball aside and add the crushed tomatoes, oregano and coconut sugar; bring to a simmer, add the meatballs back to the pan and cook for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are completely cooked through.

Serve over quinoa pasta.

Glowing Skin Smoothie- Green Avocado Protein Smoothie

Autumn is here; and although I haven’t gone back to class, I like to use the dawn of a new season as a time to reset my body and my goals. I don’t know about you but I consider the start of a new year to be in September and not January- twenty years of schooling is to blame.

In an effort to reset my body, it was brought to my attention that I have a fermentation problem; meaning I eat too many grains, and not enough protein, which has caused all these grains in my tummy to ferment, which is not to be confused with fermented foods (kefir, miso etc.), which are amazing. So all this fermentation is causing my body to hang on to extra weight; yes, even I have a nagging ten pounds that just doesn’t want to go anywhere, and all my grain consumption is to blame- and here I thought it was all the summer sippin’! So I’ve been prescribed more protein and less grains, one grain a day to be exact; so at least I don’t have to bid farewell to my beloved quinoa!

Enter the pitted fruit that is the avocado.

Avocados are an amazing food, aside from being a powerhouse when it comes to heart healthy fats, avocado is a protein dynamo as well. One medium sized avocado has a whopping 7 grams of protein, and although that might not seem like much, consider this, one egg has 6 grams of protein. And if you have steered clear of avocado because of their fat content, don’t let the anti-fat possee get to you; the saturated fat found in avocado is the good kind, meaning it’s not from French fries or hormone addled meat, nope, it’s from a natural, whole food- and our bodies eat it up!

You may have noticed that half of the recent guestpostswere about skincare, and this is because I’m obsessed with glowing skin. I will freely admit that I tirelessly pursue glowing skin everyday and avocados are a skincare junkie’s best friend, and find themselves well placed in glowing skin smoothie creations- of all kinds! Lutein, abundant in avocados, is a carotenoid that aids in the maintenance of healthy skin; when applied topically in mask form, avocado moisturizes the skin and when consumed it nourishes the skin from the inside out. And they’re protein rich!

Now this glowing skin smoothie is jam packed with protein, from the hemp seeds, to the raw protein powder to the avocado, this quencher is not short on the stuff! You are welcome to take liberties with your creation; if you don’t have protein powder, take it out; if you don’t like the tartness of lemon, feel free to remove it- I’ve said it once, if I’ve said it ten times, you are the author of your own smoothie, so go wild!

½ cup kefir
½ ripe avocado
1 cup spinach leaves
1 green apple, cored and cubed
½ cup hemp milk
¼ cup hemp seeds
1 lemon, peeled and seeded
1 scoop raw vegan protein
1 cup ice water

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Or turn into smoothie cubes!

How To Make Butter

Scroll for Video Demo and Recipe

I have a confession- I love butter; although I am a coconut oil girl, butter holds a very dear place in my heart, and kitchen. Recently I began making my own butter with great success; so when I received an email question from Amber, I was more than excited to show you, and her, how to make butter.

Amber wrote:

I am specifically looking for grass-fed butter and have been for a while….I’m wondering is there such a thing available here in Edmonton or (canada at all)? I had emailed a local farmer who has GF cattle and was inquiring if they had any butter, and they told me because dairy cows are different they require grain to produce milk….thought this was odd. Maybe it is true to gain a bigger yield of milk? or is it a dairy restriction? As I know you can buy GF butter in the US.”

In light of Amber’s question and my own difficulty finding grass fed butter, I thought this is the PERFECT time to show you how to make butter.

Before I tell you how to make butter, I will tell you how not to make butter; butter cannot be made with nut or soy milks of any kind- I tried. The idea of making butter is to separate the fat from the liquid and although non dairy milks have fats in them, they just don’t behave in the same manner. Save yourself the hassle and use cream.

Nut and seed milks won’t make butter, and not all dairy milks and creams are created equal in the “How To Make Butter” process. Skim milk is useless in so many ways, including making butter; homo milk will yield such small amounts of butter, it’s not even worth the effort; half and half cream will work to a degree; but in order to yield the most butter aka fat, the cream has to have a high fat content to begin with. Organic whipping cream or 33%MF is what you want to use for making butter.

What you will need is:

  • A Blender
  • 500ml heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives*

Combine all the ingredients in the blender and pulse/stop the mixture until the liquid has separated from the fat. The cream will whip and the break apart, this is how to make butter.

*If you are preparing a sweet butter, use fresh fruit of your choice.

Raw Zucchini and Coconut Cream Salad

When most think of raw salads, nowhere in that thought process does winter factor into the equation; and, although, I am generally inclined to believe that in cooler climates, the winter is tailored to warming food, but I also believe that in order to stay healthy and well, ensuring a high intake of raw foods is essential for kickin’ immunity!

I’m always cooking up new recipes for the Vitality Kitchen menu, and I believe that during this season we can still enjoy raw foods, like salad, that are able warm our bodies up. And, zucchini, which is related to melons, cucumbers and other squash are a light and cleansing food; they contain a high volume of water, are low in calories and are brimming with vitamin C. And in the winter months where we are dry and coup’d up inside, foods that are cleansing and help ward off illness are a welcome addition to any meal.

Zucchini- What Is It Good For?!
The phytonutrients in zucchini promote bowel regularity and aid in water balance; which makes this magical gourd a natural diuretic and laxative.

While zucchini is a natural diuretic and laxative, the fibre, vitamin C and beta carotene help regulate our blood sugar; and the enviable amounts of manganese help the body metabolize protein and carbohydrates, digest fat, produce sex hormones and lower blood pressure.

Simply The Best
From their skin to their seeds, zucchini are entirely edible- waste not, want not! And as a cooling, sedative food, zucchini is useful in treating tired adrenals (kidneys) and frayed nerves- perfect for the upcoming holiday season!

Key nutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy eyes, are concentrated in their skins; however, if you are going to eat the skin, PLEASE go with an organic zucchini; I care about you and your health, so trust me on this one…

Creamy, Raw, DELICIOUS
This salad came to be as I was testing recipes for my Raw Rookie Cleansing program– the program is a juice and raw salad cleanse; and I like to keep things fresh and new for my clients…and also for me, because I LOVE creating in the kitchen! And blending coconut flakes with water, curry paste, fish sauce and tamari creates a velvety cream that kicks raw zucchini up more than a few notches and excites me like no other!

Spicy, creamy and oh so tasty; who said raw salads we’re a summer thing?!

Raw Zucchini and Coconut Cream Salad

1 lrg zucchini, washed
3/4 cup unsweetened, unbleached, organic coconut flakes
2/3 cup water, room temperature
1 heaping tbsp curry paste
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp tamari sauce
1/2 tsp hot chili sauce
1 tbsp black chia seed

With a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini, creating long threads; set aside.

In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients except the chia seeds and blend until smooth. Toss with zucchini and sprinkle with chia seeds to serve.

**Unlike cucumber salads, this salad can be dressed ahead of time and still maintain its integrity.

Stress Relief Tips For Moms

Although I am not a mother, yet, I plan on it one day; but I don’t have to be a mother to understand that it’s one of the hardest jobs. As with any difficult job, stress levels tend to rise. Today’s guest post highlights stress relief tips for moms.

Remember mom’s of the world, you are doing a great job!

Stress is often associated with difficult working conditions or long hours on the job. For moms, stress can play a big role in how well they are able to parent. The fact is that moms are on the job 24/7, and it can be the toughest job in the world. There are no vacations and there is no pay- yes baby kisses are rewarding, but they don’t pay the bills. It also comes with a lot of different stressors; from dealing with cranky children to not having any personal time for yourself, one day can seem like two weeks. If you are a mom who is feeling the stress, consider the following 5 home remedies to offer you some relief!

If you have young children, take a few moments for yourself when they take their nap. If your children are at an age where naps are no longer taken, consider giving everyone an hour off for quiet time. Their time could be spent reading or simply lying down to rest. Your time can be spent relaxing by yourself.

  • Make Healthy Changes to your Diet

Snacking on greasy foods, like chips, is not going to provide your body with the nutrition it needs to work at its best. By including foods that are known to contain nutrients that will have a calming effect on you, such as celery, lettuce, and cherries, your body will be able to handle the stress better.

While everyone knows that a long bubble bath is relaxing, take your bath to the next level. Adding a mixture of Epsom salts and baking soda to your bath water will help to relax your muscles. The stress you were feeling will disappear within moments.

Make it a habit to drink a cup of peppermint tea before you go to bed each night. Peppermint is well-known as a relaxation aid in many cultures. A small cup of tea before bed is going to allow you to forget about the stress and fall asleep much quicker. More sleep will allow you to be better prepared for the next day’s activities.

Finally, learn the warning signs and understand how your stress is affecting you.

When you feel the stress is simply getting to be too much, call in for help. Just having a friend come over for a cup of coffee or hiring a sitter for a half-hour can rejuvenate your spirits and recharge your energy.

Author Bio
Casey Haslem is a professional writer that enjoys hiking, the outdoors, and spending time with her family. She is also a big supporter of deep tissue massage, for more information visit: Factoria Massage.

Spiced Roasted Carrots With Honey

Whoever dreamed that roasted carrots with honey were good idea, is a genius; but quite often carrots don’t get the credit they deserve. Maybe it’s because they are so common that they’re presence is taken for granted; and when post people turn their thoughts to carrots, rabbits come to mind. However the humble vegetable that is the carrot, with as little as one carrot a day, may possibly cut the rate of lung cancer in half. This isn’t to say that you should pick up a pack of Belmont Mild cigarettes and light up worry free due to minimal carrot consumption; but the cancer fighting properties of this venerable vegetable should not be ignored.

Carrots are incredibly high in carotenoids, which are antioxidants found in plants and associated with a range of health benefits. Carotenoids also provide the rich pigment of colored fruit and vegetables; and women over 45 consume 50 percent more beta-carotene, 40 percent more alpha-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin and 10 percent more beta-cryptoxanthin, than younger women do; but as a whole, we women simply aren’t consuming enough. Now before you starting thinking about glycemic indexes and the like let me explain some crucial points.

Although carrots rank high on the glycemic index, it really doesn’t matter; what matters is their glycemic load. The index tests are done on a 50gram portion of carbohydrates, whereas the load tests are done on real life portions. What this means for carrots is that you’d have to eat an extensive amount to see a significant rise in blood sugar; but seeing as I’m a chef and not your doctor, if you have diabetes, consult with him or her about whether carrots are for you.

Fall has officially arrived in Edmonton, with a slight chill filling the air; but the sun is still shining brightly doing her best to ease the transition. I bought these rainbow colored carrots at the market last week as a complete impulse purchase, seeing as I grow my own carrots. I didn’t need to buy them, but I was charmed by their intense coloring; besides the outdoor market season is drawing to close, so why not?! And although lore would suggest that carrots are food for the rabbits, I beg to differ; especially when you roast them!

As the season changes and the coolness descends on Edmonton I find myself gravitating toward heartier cooking techniques and their accompanying hearty foods; and slow roasting and root vegetables go hand in hand. Roasting carrots brings out their aforementioned natural sweetness; and when you slather them in coconut oil, cumin, and raw honey, tasty things happen.

Not much else to say, except it’s in your best interest to make these spiced roasted carrots with honey.

10 large carrots, washed
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 4000F.
Combine the coconut oil, honey, cumin and salt and melt, either in a small pot on stovetop or in the microwave- your choice. Arrange the carrots on a baking sheet in one layer, and pour the honey mixture over top. Roll the carrots in the honey mixture until all are well coated. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

Homemade Beauty Products – CocoMint Facewash

It is said that women expose themselves to over 200 toxic chemicals before they even leave the home; from hair care to skincare, the toxic cocktails include chemicals such as pthalates, sulphates, triclosan, BPA and the list continues. For more information about your beauty products, visit David Suzuki’s website where he details exactly what to avoid- click here.

The reason that we should all endeavor to steer clear of these toxins is because of what they do to our bodies. You see, conventional beauty products that are laden with chemicals disrupt our hormones; and because we, as females, are hormonally dependent (we go through hormonal cycles every 28 days for gosh sakes); and when we disrupt the natural flow of things we can do serious damage. From out of whack hormones to cancer (companies will deny it, but it’s undeniable) our beauty products do some ugly things to our insides.

Homemade beauty products are great, because they are very easy to make and allow us to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals. Generally you will find me cooking up tasty foods in my kitchen, but recently I began cooking up homemade beauty products; that are not only effective but smell delicious too- so good, in fact, you could literally eat them!

Today’s recipe is for my CocoMint face wash and it features organic peppermint soap and coconut oil.

The peppermint soap comes from one of my favorite brands, Dr. Bronners. His soaps are 100% organic, fair trade and vegan, you can even ingest them safely; in fact, one of my coworkers at the deli uses it as her toothpaste! And the reason that I chose peppermint is because of the menthol; the menthol in peppermint helps to naturally balance the PH levels of the skin which can reduce acne flare ups- and it smells delightful. And I used coconut oil because a) I LOVE IT and b) it’s antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial, so it helps to further reduce breakouts. Now, you may be thinking that coconut oil will cause breakouts, but because it’s non comodegenic it won’t clog pores. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, is there anything coconut oil cannot do?!

A great many of my homemade beauty products contain coconut oil, because it’s simply one of the best things in the world!

If peppermint is not your thing, lavender is also beautiful, and because it’s anti inflammatory, it helps reduce redness and swelling; or you could use orange or lemon, which will help to disinfect the skin topically, while the coconut oil replenishes. With homemade beauty products, you are in the drivers seat- they can be whatever you want them to be.

This recipe is one of the simplest recipes I will ever share- so relish in it!

The basic recipe is:

1 part Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps (any scent)
1 part coconut oil, melted

Whisk together the melted coconut oil and the soap, until the mixture becomes frothy and opaque; and pour into a glass storage jar. It’s just that easy.

***Please store all your homemade beauty products in glass containers; plastic contains harmful BPA that will leach chemicals into your products and will therefore make this effort useless.

Increase Your Antioxidants with Healthy Berry Desserts

I LOVE berries; and as the summer draws to a close, I have been stockpiling berries in preparation for their months of absence. And although some of you are doing the same, some of you aren’t; so today I’m sharing a guest post dedicated entirely to the berry, that I hope inspires you to get freezing. Check out this video, all about freezing food effectively– read: not in giant chunks!


Increase Your Antioxidant Intake with Healthy Berry Desserts

Fruit is nature’s candy, and as such it has always been there for me as a healthy and fulfilling alternative to store bought sugar binges. The lovely berries used in these healthy desserts pack major vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that the body needs. Antioxidants add energy, vitality and a boost to the immune system (among other things that need more research such as cancer prevention and anti-aging). If you can’t add enough berries in your diet daily, consider taking a vitamin C supplement such as Camu Camu. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that your body needs for normal function. Load up on these healthy options when your sweet tooth starts acting up, and increase the antioxidants that your body needs.

Homemade Berry Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

This delicious low-fat desert has probiotics, antioxidants and is super easy to make without an ice-cream maker. The cacao powder delivers a lot of good antioxidants – just a gram of natural cacao powder contains about 34.6 mg of flavanol. Equally healthy are the blackberries; one ounce has 10% DV of vitamin C, 7% DV of Vitamin K and 6% DV of dietary fiber according to nutrition For 1 serving of frozen yogurt simply gather the following ingredients:

1 cup of organic Greek plain yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of sugar, or your sweetener of choice
A handful of rinsed berries
1 ice-cream cone

Combine yogurt, cocoa powder, and sweetener in a bowl until it is smooth and then scoop mixture into an ice cube tray. Cover and freeze for an hour and a half, then remove from freezer. You want parts of the cubes to be slightly melty so you can blend it easier. Remove the cubes from tray and blend in a blender until creamy, stir in berries and serve in cone.

Blueberry Crisp

This treat is a healthier take on traditional berry crisps. One cup of blueberries has 24% DV of vitamin C and is also a great source of vitamin K and manganese. Using Splenda brown sugar in the place of regular brown sugar will avoid loads of empty calories. This recipe also uses a butter substitute that cuts the calories and saturated fat by only using half of the butter originally called for, and replacing the rest with Greek yogurt. I love this recipe as a nice way to indulge, while staying on track with a healthy diet.
The ingredients include the following:

3 cups of fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons whole grain flour
1 tsp stevia
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
Zest of 1/2 small orange
1 dash of salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chilled organic butter cut into pea-sized bits
1/2 tablespoon plain organic Greek yogurt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and wash your blueberries leaving them slightly wet. Using your hands, add the stevia along with the orange zest to coat the berries. Pour the berry mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and clean the bowl to use for oat topping. Mix the flour, stevia, oats, salt and cinnamon. Mix in the Greek yogurt. Then use your hands to mix in the butter bits. Lightly sprinkle the mixture over the blueberries and bake for 25 minutes. The berries should bubble and topping should be golden and crispy.

Healthy Berry Grape Glushy…a little something for the adults!

If you are craving something sweet, or a fruity cocktail, this dessert slushy is for you. It is sweet, healthy and really easy to make without adding any sugar. You can add blackberries for more antioxidants. The coloring that makes these fruits purple contains tons flavonoids. Ingredients for 2 (12oz) servings:
2 cups purple grapes
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup grape juice
1/4 cup wine
1 cup ice cubes

Author Bio

Self Love For Valentines Day

Today is Valentine’s Day; and I, like many, take this day to reflect on love. As a single girl, this year I do not have an object to direct my affection; so instead I will reflect on loving thyself.

I’d like to tell you a story…

I used to be incredibly cruel to myself; when I was younger, I hated the reflection staring back at me. I blamed the chubby girl in the mirror for everything; I called her fat, stupid, ugly, worthless- anything an enemy could imagine saying to me, I had already said to myself.

I grew up thinking I didn’t deserve success, love, or the body I wanted; as a result, I sabotaged myself in many of my youthful endeavors. Convinced that love and happiness were joys reserved for others. I managed to hide these demons inside with a humorists approach to life; I’d laugh and crack jokes, hoping that while others laughed they wouldn’t be able to see my sadness. I managed to fool everyone; but it became increasingly hard for me to run from my own truth. I lived like this for years; and although I lost weight and began to date in my post secondary days, I still felt worthless. The reflection in the mirror had changed but what I saw remained the same.

2010 was the year that something dramatic changed. I decided that I really wanted to like Bianca. I wanted her to be happy; I wanted to be able to look into the mirror and love the reflection staring back at me, regardless of waist size or mood. This also happened to coincide with the realization that I wanted to use my skills to empower myself, and others- my skill was what I could do with food!

I’d lived for years with a love/hate relationship with food; although I loved it, I felt like it hated me. I blamed food for making me fat, and unlovable. When I decided to quit catering, and focus on what food meant to me and how I wanted to use my skills to improve my life, I immediately felt empowered. Over the last two years, I have helped others transform their lives and in the process completely changed my own.

I had an AHA moment recently, I was looking the mirror, naked, and for the first time in almost EVER I liked what I saw; I didn’t feel gross, hatred for the reflection or the desire to change anything- I genuinely liked the girl in the mirror. I get weepy thinking about it, because I had never felt that way before. I will never forget that moment.

For a very long time, I had never realized the importance of self love; but from the moment I decided to take charge of the love I had for myself, my career took off and my relationships improved, because I genuinely believe that I deserve love, success and happiness. This isn’t to say that I don’t have days where I feel like crap- I do; I’m not perfect and I will never profess to be. However, being imperfect and having flaws doesn’t, for one second, mean that I am undeserving of love.

Love- SELF LOVE, changed everything!

So this Valentine’s Day, the object of my affection is me. I ask every woman to take today, the day of love, to reaffirm the love she has for herself. Say it LOUD and be proud; shout it from the highest rooftop “I LOVE ME!”

I wish to you, my lovely readers and friends, a happy and love filled Valentine’s Day.

You are loved!

Colonial Economic Regions

To receive your copy of this unit, please send a request to [email protected]
Colonial Economic Regions:
U.S. History-Based Unit built on Google Earth

“Sir John explains that each of his sons has considered leaving England and moving to British America. He wants your advice as to whether his sons should move, and if so, where his sons should take up residence in the New World. After a long conversation about colonial economics, the father hands you a contract. You decide to accept his offer of work by signing the contract.”

Working as advisors to a British father in the early 1700s, students must help the three sons of their contractor determine the most appropriate colonial region to pursue their chosen career path. The “advisors” must consider economic, religious and legal variables as they construct multi-media presentations.
Resource packets include:

Learning Rubrics
Engaging Prompts
Multiple images and countless links

Students can complete this work as:

a whole class activity
small group work
individual work
a mixture of all of the above

One license enables a single teacher to use this product with all of his/her students.
Feb 3 2012

The March issue of Crain’s Detroit will feature our company as one of fastest growing businesses in Michigan!
Feb 1 2012

We had a very successful trip to the FETC 2012 National Conference last January.

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