Monday, June 29, 2015

Beating the heat with smoothies and juices

We have had really nice temperatures lately and so we have been drinking a few more smoothies than usual. And lately its been on my mind about how active we have been. The girls are getting way more active in their sports and my yoga schedule had been pretty intense. And so I've been thinking about adding a little protein powder back into our smoothies. Years ago I use to us the Vega tropical tango smoothie mix because it doesn't have any stevia in it. I just can't stand the taste of stevia, not even a drop of it so that vega product was PERFECT because it didn't contain any - until they change the formula and added stevia in. Ugh why Vega why?!  And so after that we stopped using anything in our smoothies but I've started the search again. A friend gave me a sample of the Arbonne protein powder (which is vegan) it taste awesome but its really pricey for a smallish container, about $80 for 30 servings (on a side note its surprising to me but it list stevia as an ingredient but i can't taste it at all which is a shocker for me!). So I thought I'd look around and see what else is on the market. I can across this SunWarrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein and the natural flavour has no stevia! I bought a sample pack and decided to test it out with the girls.

We made this raspberry/mixed berry smoothie with  frozen berries, vanilla coconut milk yogurt, water and the sun warrior in it. The verdict? It was ok - it had a slight taste but it was definitely drinkable. Ollie loved it (not as much as the arbonne one but a very close second to her), Gabbie liked it and I liked it. It definitely sat really well with me - didn't cause any stomach upset or anything like that. I think I'll try the vanilla one even though it has stevia in it to see if its like the arbonne one and pretty much undetectable!

Pretty colour and love those glass straws!!!

Last tuesday for Ollies technical training session I was craving and kale lemonade so i made one up to bring with me while i watched her on the side lines :) That lemonade is so refreshing - I just love it! Sadly Ollie came over to grab a drink of water and spied me drinking it so I had to share the last bit with her (and by share I mean she drank the rest of it). Thats ok, she was working hard so she deserved it:)

And finally because we can live on smoothies and kale lemonade alone (at least I can't!) we had some  fresh strawberries that were getting a little too ripe so I made a quick fresh strawberry sauce to put over some Luna & Larry's vanilla coconut milk ice cream. Taste like summer!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Limped across the finish line but we made it - school is done!!!!

We did it! We made it to the end of the school year! Its been a fantastic year for both girls but we were more than ready to be done. Done with getting up early, packing lunches, and having all our time scheduled. And we are also done soccer (after 2 games tomorrow) so that will free up a lot of time too. Outdoor soccer season is always busy but this year was particularly busy because my youngest started playing  club soccer which is certainly more intense than community soccer. Im happy to drive them to all there activities and cheer at all their games but man I am so glad we are all have a break. Well for a week anyways - then Ollie start a street soccer camp #soccercrazy!

On to the food! This last week before school was done was particularly busy (it always is) and on Tuesday it was our 14 year anniversary. But Ollie had technical training that night so no date night for us. But its always a good night to try out a new recipe - bananascotch dip from Dreena! I finally got everything i needed to make this and Gabbie loved it, ollie doesn't really like bananas so she was so so on it. It was really good with some fresh strawberries and i think it would be good as a pudding on its own.

But for the main course I decided to go with an old favourite that I hadn't made in quite some time - the Pad Thai from The Vegan Table. I don't know why I hadn't made this in so long - it really is one of our favourite! We had this with dino kale mixed in and a side of steamed asparagus. Fabulous!

Friday the girls only had half a day of school. In the morning I walked them off then rushed home to clean, prep some food and do some laundry before i headed back to the school for the talent show. Gabbie had submitted a watercolour in the talent show. It was so exciting when they displayed on the big screen! She went on stage when they presented it and the whole school was cheering for her. She is such a shy kid and we really had to encourage her to enter it into the show - Im so glad she did and she is too. I think it gave her a really confidence boost when everyone started yelling and cheering for her. So proud of her and everything she has accomplished this year!

After the talent show we said goodbye to the teachers (and oh boy all the tears - we had such great teachers this year. Ollie's teacher was especially teary-eyed which got me going too.) Then we left and headed home to quickly grab our swim stuff and some goodies and headed to our friends house to have a end of school celebration lunch! We made the southwest chop salad (missing some red peppers and green onions but sometimes you just go with what you got) and some sprouted garlic buns. I've said it before and I'll say it again - that salad is so good and that dressing is out of this world! Make it - you won't be disappointed! I also brought some bananascotch dip that we had with fruit and my friend Karen made this awesome apple loaf with a streusel topping that was crazy crazy good! It was a nice way to end the school year.  

Today we were suppose to be in a soccer tournament but todays games were canceled due to extreme heat. Sounds good to me! So instead of getting up early and heading to soccer we slept in and headed to the spray park. No better way to beat than heat than at the spray park!

Can't wait for so much more fun and relaxing this summer. So far the weather looks fabulous so we will be out enjoying every minute of it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Veggie season!

The warm weather is here and so are the veggies! So nice to be getting so much more local organic produce right now. And as per usually at this time of the year I am struggling to get dinner on the table in a hurry with all the soccer practices and games going on. I am so ready for the school year to be done. I'm looking so forward to having no schedule for a few months. 

Anyways back to the food.....I saw this recipe on Facebook awhile ago for balsamic roasted mushrooms and green beans with parmesan. It all sounds good except the parm of course but I didn't have any green beans on hand so I subbed asparagus (which only made the recipe better in my opinion). I can't find it on my Facebook wall at the moment but off hand it was 1 tsbp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and pinch of salt and pepper. mix together and toss with the mushrooms and asparagus then roast in the oven @ 350 for about 20 min or so till mushrooms are done. Oh man so so good! Mushrooms and asparagus are in my top five favs list for veggies! We'll be making this time and again this summer!

A few days later on Facebook I saw this southwest chopped salad recipe. Now I've seen and made my share of loser recipes from Facebook but it looked really good so I posted it to my wall. A few friends posted that they had made it and that it was really good so I decided to head to the store to get a few ingredients that I was missing to make it. And I'm so glad I did - this recipe is such a winner! Especially the dressing - its an avocado based dressing with cilantro in it and its outstanding!

Premixed - don't you just love all the colours!

And all mixed up - not quite as pretty but it tasted excellent!

I've made this twice in two weeks. the second time I used a mix of spinach and romaine and yum yum yum! It makes a huge amount so i have leftovers for lunch tomorrow and the dressing its awesome as a dip. The dressing recipe makes a lot of dressing so make sure you have some chopped veggies on hand! Now I'm just waiting for my greens to come up in my garden so I can make beautiful salads all summer long!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

First Soccer Tournament of the Season!

So tired after a long week and weekend of soccer but I haven't posted for awhile and I wanted to get back on the blogging wagon and there is no time like the present!

My youngest plays soccer - both indoor and outdoor as well as street soccer so its pretty much year round for her. My oldest starting curling the last winter and loved it and thank god its just winter because its quite the challenge juggling all the practices and games and tournaments. So right now its just soccer and that keeps me hopping plenty!

Dinners have been pretty simple affairs and I am finding have meal type salads ready in the fridge to be a life saver! I'm looking forward to school being done - we are ready for a break from all the scheduled everything!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Good Eats Out

Last weekend we went to the autoshow with the girls and there was this balloon guy there. He asked the girls what if they wanted a balloon (of course they said YES!) and took request. Ollie asked for a dog which he made her (it was pretty cute he made balloon poop for the dog too!) and Gabbie asked for a minion but he couldn't make one of those so he made her a surprise instead. It took him awhile but......

it was worth the wait! How cute!!! The straps were a little tight on her so she ended up just carrying elmo around but he did a great job and the kids were super happy with them of course. After walking around for a few hours we decided to leave and grab some dinner on the way home. We try hard not to eat out too often (we try to keep it at one or twice a month tops) so it was a really treat to stop at one of our favourite thai restaurants. We got pad thai, stir fired veggies, a green bean and tofu red curry and steamed jasmine rice (oh and veggie spring rolls not pictured). It was all so good but the kids found the curry a little too spicy (Ollie especially - Gabbie ate a good portion of it) so the next day I had the leftovers with quinoa. Delicious!

Today I had to run to buy some more essential oils after running out last night (we got a new toy that I will photograph and show off tomorrow!) so I headed to Planet Organic to pick some up. When i left I saw the new Glow Juicery had opened up right next to the planet. So I popped in to see what they had. 

Of course I couldn't leave empty handed so I ended up getting a juice and a salad. It was close to lunch time after all :)

Look at the beautiful dark emerald green colour! 

First up the salad - it was a vegan kale ceased salad with coconut bacon on it. Really good and i would certainly have it again (and again and again!) In fact I plan on dropping Glow Juicery an email to tell them they show bottle their raw vegan ceaser dressing and sell it - I certainly buy it! As you can see even thought the container looked small it was quite a plate full of salad.

Next up is their Ener-g glow juice. It has spinach + cucumber + pear + celery + chlorophyll. It was good but a little to celery tasting for me. But it wasn't a problem to fix - when I got home I added the juice from one lemon to it and some ice since I like my juice really cold. It was really good but overall I prefer my vitamix whole food juices. I think after all the years I've been drinking them I just prefer the texture. But one of my best friends really prefers the texture of juice from her juicer over the vitamin so its really a personally preference thing. I also find I feel much more satisfied after a whole foods juice but my friend is a strong believer in fresh juice with all the fiber extracted so to each their own! I do enjoy a nice kale lemonade in the spring/summer and its kinda my treat it the hot weather because i really do try to keep the juice to a minimum. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beautiful Spring Day and Using Up Leftovers

What a beautiful day it was outside today. Almost plus 20 and lots of sunshine. Spring is here and we are so excited! The girls spend time outside year round but of course the nicer it is outside the the more the are out there. And of course after a long winter its even harder to get them to come inside - they are just soaking up the sunshine and warm temperatures. Lots of walks, bike rides, playgrounds and picnics are in our future!

But there was no picnic for supper tonight. I had to clean out the fridge tonight and use up a few things before my big grocery shop at the farmers market on saturday morning. I had all the fixings for tacos so roasted chickpea tacos it was with homemade cashew sour cream and and lots of guacamole.  But i also had some cooked quinoa to use up and so the taco quinoa bowl was born. The kids and dh had regular tacos (with wraps) but I took the cooked quinoa, sprinkled it with some taco seasoning and warmed it up in a small pot with some black beans. Once it was nice and warm I put it in a bowl and added some pico de gallo, green onion, black olives, a generous scoop of guacamole and a good drizzle of cashew sour cream. This was really really good and quite honestly I really preferred this to a regular taco (wrap style). I'm very fussy about breads/wraps and usually I'll ditch the warp in favour of something else and i think I've found my something else. A new favourite for sure. Below is a picture of my bowl in all its glory!

Just a quick word on quinoa. We eat quite a bit of quinoa here - we all prefer it to rice. And lots of people says to me that they want to eat more quinoa but they don't know how to make it taste good. So here is my tip for cooking quinoa or any grain really. Flavour your cooking water - if the water taste good your quinoa/grain will too. I like to flavour my water with organic garlic powder, pink Himalayan salt and some fresh ground pepper. Its flavourful but still neutral so you can use leftover in a variety of ways. I can eat it as a side with supper then use leftovers to make a quinoa salad or a bowl or toss it in a green salad. Everyone who says they don't like quinoa likes it after they have tried it this way so give it a go and experiment with other flavours too. And don't forget to cook up a big batch to have leftovers. Having leftover grains and beans ready to go in the fridge makes for really easy lunches/dinners when your in a time crunch.I try really hard to eat healthy whole food meals but its tough when I don't have some good grab and go option. I;d love to hear any other ideas anyone has for making nutrient dense sole food meals really quick. Outdoor soccer is starting soon and time will be at a premium again in a few weeks. Can't wait for summer till we have a break from all the scheduled activities.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Festivities - Days 2 & 3

My goodness the last few days have been busy - I feel like a need a vacation from my vacation! Tomorrow is back to school after  spring break and Easter and I'm really sad about it. For some reason spring break didn't feel like much of a break. The countdown is on now for summer break!

Saturday we celebrated Easter with my family. I was lucky and didn't have to bring anything for supper but I did bring Dreena's creamy spinach artichoke dip with some crackers for a little pre dinner snack.

On Sunday we celebrated Easter with my husbands family. I brought a chickpea salad and a pasta salad. My nephew brought awesome cabbage rolls that he made vegan and there was a great cabbage asian cabbage salad and my MIL made a vegan stuffing. It was delicious and we went back for leftover tonight.

Off to bed to get ready for back to school tomorrow. So sad the kids are going back to school already :(