Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back to Basics: Chewing.

Are you ever consiously aware while you're chewing? Probably not. These days, we tend to eat on the go, while distracted, working, thinking of absolutely anything else, but we don't focus on the art of chewing. You might laugh when I say art, but I think you'll understand after you give consious chewing a try. It's really hard.

We discussed chewing in depth in one of my classes a couple months ago. On the way home from school, I was hungry so I decided I'd practice chewing. I chewed a segment of a mandarin orange 77 times. I thought my brain was going to explode. It felt like the hardest thing I'd ever done. I'm sure my digestive system was thankful. Aside from the obvious of chewing food so that it can easily be swallowed, here are a few other reasons why you should spend time chewing:

- The body uses less energy to digest the well-chewed food, since the teeth and saliva have done some work. Food that hasn't been chewed sufficiently, requires more work from the body and takes away from other jobs it could be doing to keep you healthy!

- The molecules of the nutrients in the food are quickly released and assimilated while chewing.

- The longer the food stays in the mouth while chewing, the better the tongue can recognize all of the wonderful flavours. The tongue then sends a message to the brain and the brain sends a message to the digestive system. This allows the digestive system to release the appropriate digestive juice needed for that particular food!

The next time you're eating - count how many times you chew each bite on average. Slowly try to increase the amount by focusing on what you're doing. Do your digestive system a favour!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet & Sour Chicken.

I said I was going to get better at making meals in advance. Mission accomplished. Now, let's just see if this can contine. Dan bought me some beautiful glass locking food storage containers that I've been eyeing up for awhile, so I was excited to use them. I despise using the microwave, so I'm excited to be able to reheat my food in these little gems using the oven at work.

I started by making the Sweet & Sour Chicken. It smelled amazing and proved to be a successful dish! Who wouldn't love these tender chicken morsels with pineapple, garlic, and ginger?!

Sweet & Sour Chicken from Clean Eating Magazine


1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp raw honey
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp organic crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts (about 4 breasts), chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 organic medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 organic medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 organic small yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 3/4 cups)
12 sprigs fresh organic cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, optional


In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes. Place chicken in a large shallow dish. Pour soy sauce mixture over chicken, tossing gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade and sauté for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add bell peppers and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add pineapple and cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately over rice for a complete meal, if desired.

I didn't use brown rice, and instead used quinoa spaghetti from Gogo Quinoa. If you or someone you know, is Gluten intolerant, this pasta tastes like the real deal! It is delicious and I'm so excited that I get to eat this wonderful, clean food for lunch today!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to Normal.

I'm over halfway through my Christmas break from school, and I know the later half is going to fly by. Time off just has a way of doing that. I haven't accomplished any school work that I had planned on, in order to make my New Year just a bit easier, but I suppose I do still have some time!

Tonight's New Year preparations will include making homemade marinara, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and Gardener's Shepherd Pie all from Clean Eating Magazine. Around the holidays, I am a total slacker when it comes to cooking. This results in me eating not so great foods and feeling a little squishy. So, here's to getting back on the healthy cooking train and removing the squish. I'm planning on making the few dishes previously mentioned so we have some quick "go to" meals for nights I'm at school and other busy times! Making meals on Sunday's and freezing them really needs to be fit into my schedule come the New Year.

I love the holidays, but I also love when life goes "back to normal" if there is such a thing. Getting back into a routine of cooking healthy, wholesome foods and exercising is so refreshing and puts a bounce in my step.

What are your goals for the New Year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my blog loves! Thank you for hanging out with me and reading my posts! Wishing you and your family all the best this holiday season and a New Year filled with love, peace, and many blessings!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve & Pumpkin Spice Pancakes!

During a Trader Joe's trip sometime in November, I bought a few cans of organic pumpkin puree in anticipation of the holiday season. My baking time was limited, so I still had three cans up until a week ago when I made these pumpkin pancakes for me and Dan.

I have to share them with you because they were delicious! They were the perfect balance of pumpkin and spice. I think I'm going to have to make them again this week, since I still have two cans left. Plus it's just really gratifying to make anything that I "pin" on Pinterest!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally from good 'ol Martha Stewart


1 1/4 cups organic, whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. agave nectar (or 2 Tbsp. brown sugar)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt
4/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 large organic egg
2 Tbsp. organic butter


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, agave, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir with a fork to combine. Mix together the milk, pumpkin puree, egg, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat a greased skillet or griddle over medium heat. When hot, add a 1/3 cup scoop of batter to the pan. Let cool until bubbles begin to form on the top surface. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook the second side until golden brown. Serve with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, and/or whipped cream. (Or, be boring and just serve with agave nectar like me.)

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are all stress free and ready for a fun day tomorrow filled with family, love, and food!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Favourite Things: Christmas Blog Swap.

I have to give a huge shout out to Leigh and Lindsey for putting together such a fabulous blog swap for Canadians! Sometimes we can feel a little left out up here in the great, white North, but we had a blog swap of our very own!

My swap gift came from Bonnie, who was SO sweet. My package arrived at work and made my day. Unfortunately, some (uhh, most) parts of it are missing from the photo. What can I say, she sent me some homemade granola that was out of this world. It's all in my belly. It was made from cranberries, sun butter, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds! Packed with nutrition, just the way I like it! She also sent me an adorable frame ornament. I'm going to put in a photo of me and Dan from this Christmas! She also sent me a running magazine, and some yummy Cranberry scented bath lovelies from The Body Shop. It was absolutely wonderful and I can't thank her enough! Here is my lame photo with half of the gift missing.

I will use this magazine to motivate me to get back into a good running routine post Christmas madness!! I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Sticky Buns!

I've been seriously missing around the blog world. I miss writing posts, but even more than that, I miss reading yours. I can only imagine all of the Christmas fun I've been missing. I have fun stuff of my own in store - a secret santa swap, pumpkin pancakes, and cinnamon sticky buns!

Tonight, cinnamon sticky buns! I was watching Barefoot Contessa today with Dan, specifically her Christmas special "Barefoot in London." I enjoyed. I have actually never watched her show before, but she has taught Dan a few things previous to today - which are apparently top secret. I was going to tell you, and then he looked over to see what I had written and said "you can't publish my secret. How am I going to be the best if everyone knows?" He was serious. haha

You may have watched the special, but if not, she made some sticky buns with puff pastry. They looked amazing and reminded me of some cinnamon buns we had at our employee appreciation last month. These needed to be made.

Dan is very sick right now, so I went to the store to get ingredients for grilled cheese and soup for dinner (delish!) and knew I just had to buy the few ingredients I needed for the sticky buns. We were both excited after dinner and were watching the clock to see how much time had passed in anticipation of the thawing puff pastry.

Well, friends, they are as good as they look! I made 6 with raisins (not a fan, but someone else in the house is) and 6 with dark chocolate chunks. I should have put the chocolate on the top after baking, but you live and you learn. I baked it into the sticky buns and most of it crisped up on the top, but there are a few chunks baked in between the rolls which make them even more delicious.

Holiday Sticky Buns
Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa


12 Tbsp unsalted organic butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

2 Tbsp. unsalted organic butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine 12 Tbsp. of butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 Tbsp. of the mixture in each section of a 12 muffin cup pan.

Lightly flour a wooden board surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Brush the whole sheet with 1 Tbsp. of the melted butter. Sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and a 1/4 cup of raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard to even edges. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, about 1 1/2 inch each. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second shed of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes (or less, keep an eye on them!), until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes only, then invert the buns onto a non-stick surface, and cool completely.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


One of my favourite delights around Christmas time is eggnog. I'm not a fan of all the sugar and weird modified milk ingredients is the conventional brands. As of yesterday, I cut out dairy from my diet too, to try and eliminate some respiratory issues I've been suffering from. This obviously was somewhat upsetting to me since I adore the nog.

I'm a google fanatic, so this prompted me to "google" (yes, it is a verb) vegan eggnog. I came across the Post Punk Kitchen recipe, that you can find here. I was intrigued that it had avocado in it, but assumed it was for thickening and I believe I was right!

Oh my word, blog friends. This vegan "eggnog" is amazing! If you're vegan, or you're just a eggnog loving health fanatic like me, I highly suggest you make it! It is the perfect consistency and just filled with love!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy December!

Where have I been while I haven't been blogging?

- Finishing up my Business & Leadership courses! (DONE! Super big yay!)
- Falling in love with my MacBook Pro!
- Working on my first case study for holistic nutrition!
- Listening to Christina Aguilera's Christmas music - my fav!
- Welcoming my boyfriend home!!!!!!

The beginning of December has proved to be very busy and exciting! I have lots of fun recipes I want to share with you to help me (and you!) get into the festive spirit.

Tomorrow I'll be making vegan "eggnog" along with some vegan "eggnog" cookies (totally made them last week and used baking soda instead of baking powder - whoops!) and will be sure to post about them!

I hope you're all having a fabul0us December so far! School break starts on the 15th and then you won't be able to get rid of me!
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