Thursday, 30 July 2015

The importance of eating breakfast.

I grew up with a notion that one simply does not leave the house in without having eaten breakfast first.
I ate because my mom kept making my breakfasts and when she stopped, about the time I got married, my husband started making it. Kidding!!! Well, one part kidding. So ………… back to eating. 
I know many people who say that they do not feel hungry in the morning. One reason is probably fact that we eat late in the evening. Try going 12 hours without food, eating last meal 2-3 hours before bed time. I know that I am famished much sooner than I used to.

It is also very important what you start your day with. If it is a Danish, sugar laden cereal or granola bar those are not good food choices. Lacking in protein, fibre but high in sugar will make you feel not only hungry sooner but also sluggish and sleepy. 
Do you need that second or third cup of java before noon? The quick sugar high and then big crash causes the big slump in energy levels. Having fried, heavy breakfast will also contribute to feeling less energetic. Your digestive system has to work very hard for a long time to be able to process the food and absorb the nutrients.

The best way to start your day is to eat light in the morning, making the meals more substantial as the day progresses with dinner being the heaviest.
Great breakfast choices are green or berry smoothies with good fat and quality plant protein. We digest fruit and vegetables the fastest and eating or drinking them blended allows for quick absorption. We are able to provide our bodies with large amount of vitamins and minerals, fibre and enzymes without rapid rise of sugar level.

Other good choices are oatmeal (raw) with berries and gluten free pancakes.

Here is great recipe for Overnight Oatmeal with Chia:

1/2 cup of oats
1 tbl. spoon of chia seeds
2/3 cup of almond milk - or any milk of your choice or simply water
1/2 cup of goat milk yogurt, Greek yogurt or water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
salt to taste
berries of your choice - mine are blueberries and raspberries

Mix oats with chia and cinnamon. Add almond milk, maple syrup and yogurt. Mix well and refrigerate overnight. In the morning add berries and enjoy!
If you find that the oatmeal is too thick add a bit more almond milk.

Enjoy! Do not forget to let me know how you liked it.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Take a breath! The art of relaxation.

Planning, running errands all day long, trying to catch up on chores. Sounds familiar? That is a reality for many of us, which creates a mass of tired and (dare I say it?) cranky mom’s, wives and employees. Oh, yes. It also applies to men and bosses.

Take a few minutes every day to quiet the mind down. My favorite and most precious time is 10 minutes every morning when I have my coffee before anyone else is up. The house is still quiet and this is the time when I can collect my thoughts or just sit and relax.
When I go to bed at night I have something to look forward. Especially now that the weather is nice I like to sit in the garden and just listen to the birds. Enjoying the peace and solitude. Those few minutes are precious but not nearly enough to quiet my mind and relax the body.

The other day a friend asked me to join her for a yoga class.
When I was 15 years old I thought yoga was for old people that cannot do real sports. Ahh …  the arrogance of youth. Then I saw poses like this one, and decided that it is still not for me !! I am not flexible or strong and cannot do things like this.

As it turns out at the end of the class I was about to fall asleep on the mat. After over an hour of exercise I was relaxed like never before! Who knew?!!

I am taking my husband to the next class. He is very athletic but his flexibility needs to be worked on, just to make sure that as we age the joints remain mobile and strong.
I am so glad I went and am very grateful to my friend for the suggestion, even though she stood me up in the end.

Have you tried yoga before? 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Best summer treat: Popsicle!

Finally some hot weather in my area. What better way to cool down than with homemade fruit smoothie popsicle? My daughter keeps asking if we have any more of those delicious freezies. She is not the only one that enjoys them.
Healthy, tasty and easy to make. 

300 g watermelon
100g strawberries
small banana
juice of half a lemon
Mix. all the ingredients in a blender. Taste before freezing and adjust to your liking! 
Makes 6 popsicles.


Monday, 20 July 2015

Container gardening – herb galore

Just because you do not have a garden does not mean that you cannot grow your own herbs and vegetables. Quite contrary a lot of them do well in containers.

Not only will it provide you with the freshest possible product but the aroma of home grown herbs does not even compare with store bought ones.
If you have never tried it, start small and plant what you use most in your cooking. Some herbs are very hardy and many will winter outside if you give them a bit of protection from the cold.

My staples are thyme, oregano, basil, chives, and rosemary. I also grow lavender and sage and this year I got parsley and kale. Kale grows like crazy and I enjoy the young leaves in salads as they are more tender than the huge ones you get from the store. Those go in the blender.
If you have a bit more space plant peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. I have a friend who grew pumpkins on her balcony!

As much as I loved having a vegetable garden I sure am not missing the weeding.

Are you ready to try? It is not too late. Let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Tis the season for asparagus

Since we have access to most fruit and vegetables regardless of time of year, we tend to forget what is in season. Best way to stay on top is to visit your local farmers market. Nothing beats locally grown, freshly picked produce. The season for asparagus in Ontario is May and June and we have been taking advantage of it regularly.
This year I found a new recipe for roasted asparagus with pesto in “A Good Food Day” by Marco Canora M.D. Served with quinoa or grilled chicken makes a simple and delicious dinner.

1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoon of olive oil plus bit more for drizzling
1 lemon – ½ cut into thin slices, ½ reserved for serving
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (3 inch) chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – I often skip this ingredient
2 tablespoons pine nuts
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1.      Pre heat oven to 450ͦF, line baking sheet with foil
2.      Break off wooden parts off asparagus stalk.
3.      On the baking sheet toss asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until lemons get slightly brown. About 20 min. –I like asparagus crunchy so I take it out after 15 min.
4.      Crumble cheese with a fork, pile on chopping board together with basil and pine nuts. Chop all the ingredients together until well combined but still chunky.
5.      Transfer asparagus to serving plate and toss with pesto. Squeeze the juice of the remaining half a lemon and top with drizzle olive oil.

What is your favorite recipe?

Friday, 10 July 2015

School is out

It has been out for about two weeks to be exact. Two weeks already?!
We have planned the summer activities and camps back in February and it seemed like such a long way away. And here we are enjoying the leisurely pace and great weather.

My youngest went to an overnight camp and I feel like it is me who is on vacation. For someone who spends all the time with the kids present (except for school/work that is), it feels almost unreal. Not only there are no lunches to be made, there is no need to worry about drop off and pick up times. It is wonderful not to have to rush home after work.

I was a bit concerned how my daughter would manage being away from us. On top of the separation, I worried that the kids are sleeping in tents. It may sound like fun but since I am not a camper it is a hair raising ideaJ

Preparing for such a trip was a bit challenging since I have no experience with camping but with a comprehensive list from the camp organizer and advice from other parents we have managed to buy all the equipment. Finding light, durable and practical items was something new for all of us and at the end it actually turned out to be quite fun.   I am almost ready to try it myself especially if I had a gear like this:

Terra Kids Camping Light $35.99 – no batteries, just use the crank
Kamp Right Kids cot $79.00
CamelBack  Eddy Kids water bottle $ 14 99 CAN
Kiddie backpack $45.00
Pigeon deet-free mosquito wipes $12.99
Kelty Big Dipper sleeping bag $79.95

What are your kids doing this summer? 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

7 Tips to Successfully Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

  • Plan your menu. Be prepared – look up recipes for the whole week. Choose dishes you will enjoy eating. Make a list of what you need (consulting your pantry as you may have a lot of ingredients already). Shop.
  • Plan your snacks and lunches for when you are not home – CRUCIAL.

  • Pay attention to your meal. Chew and take your time eating. The brain needs 20 minutes after meal is finished to get a signal that you are full so do not rush your meals.
  • Try to go 12 hours between your last meal and the first meal.
  • As long as you are not giving up you are improving. There are days that you just need your guilty pleasure.
  • Watch portion size, use smaller plate if you tend to heap food.

Saturday, 4 July 2015


Eating clean is not about depriving yourself, it is about making good food choices. And YES you can still eat dessert. This is a great example of tasty and healthy treat. Perfect for July 4th celebrations!

These brownies are vegan and gluten free. Feel free to substitute the ingredients to accommodate your preferences. They are very easy to make in the food processor.

Yield : 12 (I made 15)


·                1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) black beans, well rinsed and drained
·                2 large flax eggs or regular eggs for non vegan recipe
·                3 table spoons coconut oil, melted – I used half olive oil – half butter
·                3/4 cup cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
·                1/4 tsp sea salt
·                1 tsp pure vanilla extract
·                heaping 1/2 cup raw sugar, slightly ground or pulsed in a food processor or coffee grinder for refined texture – I used organic cane sugar
·                1 1/2 tsp baking powder
·                Topping: crush walnuts, pecans or semisweet chocolate chips


1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan or better yet use paper liners and you do not have to worry about removing the brownies in one piece later. Make sure you've rinsed and thoroughly drained your black beans at this point.
3.    Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes.
4.    Add remaining ingredients and puree - about 3 minutes - scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth.
5.    If the batter appears too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but nowhere close to runny.
6.    Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin pan and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
7.    Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips.
8.    Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Since I ended up with 15 brownies, they took 22 min to bake.
9.    Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don't be concerned if they seem too moist - that's the point.
10. Refrigerate in an airtight container to keep longer.

Big thank you to my friend Dale who shared this recipe with me. Love it.

Let me know how you liked it.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Growing up in a country that is more than 1000 years old, you do not consider “OLD” anything that has only 148 years. After all it is only slightly older than my grandmother’s china.

I have a great appreciation for my new home country that is Canada. From the security, personal freedom to financial abundance it is truly one of the best places to live in.
There will be lots of celebrating happening all over the country and the highlight of the day is always this:

Who does not enjoy fireworks extravaganza?