Drink Your Veggies

Getting a healthy serving of vitamin rich vegetables each day isn’t always doable. Mainly because the preparation time alone can be longer than anticipated. You have to wash and clean your veggies and then chop them up, but also making sure that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste if you don’t end up using your veggies before they go bad.

Through my network at the office, I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie, and learn that we share a love for healthy food and a health aware lifestyle. She is the Marketing Director and Product Developer for Make My Day Foods. Several months ago, she introduced me to The Veggie Puck – a nutrient and antioxidant packed, mixed vegetable, single serving “puck” of organic vegetables and greens. Just pop one into your blender with your favourite fruit and liquid base, and tah-dah! A healthy way to start your day or enjoy it as a mid-day or post workout snack.

The Veggie Puck is available in two options – Supreme Green and Purple Power. Below are two smoothies I’ve made using both.

Note: recipes below we’re made using a “bullet” style blender and are for a single serving.

 

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“THE HULK” GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE

  • 1/2  a banana
  • 1/4 of a green apple
  • 3 to 4 ripe strawberries chopped up
  • 1 Supreme Green Veggie Puck
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of organic coconut water (depending on your consistency preference)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt
  • teaspoon of maple syrup (optional)

Put all ingredients into your blender and blend until it’s a smooth consistency.

 

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POWER-UP RED SMOOTHIE

  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 of a lemon, juiced
  • small, peeled piece of ginger
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of organic coconut water (depending on your consistency preference)
  • dash of Celtic Sea salt

Put all ingredients into your blender and blend until it’s a smooth consistency.

I try not to add any additional sweeteners or use sweetened yogurt or juice when I make smoothies. If I must up the sweetness factor though, I opt to use a splash of maple syrup.

You can also find food recipes on the Make My Day Foods blog, such as soups and a delicious pesto!

I have not received any commission, perks, or gifts for writing this post.  All views and opinions expressed are my own. 

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Mental Notes – Week 1

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While drifting off into la la land on Pinterest this past weekend, I went through my boards and became reacquainted with my “Mental Notes.” This is where I pin quotes that resonate with me or give me a positive boost.

I think it’s important to have something to go to that brings us back to calm and neutral ground when we’re having an off day. Whether it be a friend, tv show, song, book, anything. For me it can be all of those, but there’s something about a simple quote that can hit the right spot quickly, just when you need it.

I’ve decided to share with you, on a weekly basis, quotes that inspire me or have the ability to quiet my mind. These posts will be featured in a regular series of posts called “Mental Notes.” I know these things aren’t for everyone, but hey, at least I’m sharing something positive rather than being a Negative Nancy. It’s not always an easy feat to stay in a positive or optimistic state of mind 24/7 or practice what you preach, we are only human, but making an effort is all that really matters – wouldn’t you agree?

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Breakfast Waffles

After my boyfriend and I took a recent visit to a Maple Sugar Farm, I couldn’t wait to pour some of our newly purchased maple syrup over something yummy to savour the sweetness. I know I’m trying to eat “healthier” overall, but I can’t help but satisfy insatiable cravings that creep up on me. I decided that waffles would be perfect.

The original recipe was found in the user guide for the waffle maker we have. For this post, I’ll provide the recipe with health-wise substitutions. I added a dollop of freshly made whipped cream and garnished with fresh berries. Heating up the maple syrup before pouring it on makes a great difference!

 

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GLUTEN-FREE & NUT-FREE BREAKFAST WAFFLES

Waffle Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs at room temperature (or 1/2 cup of apple sauce or 2 flax eggs)
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend or buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1-3/4 cups of milk (or coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon organic palm sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

1. Beat together the eggs until fluffy (omit this step if substituting with apple sauce or flax eggs).
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add the oil, milk, and eggs to the flour mixture (add in the egg substitutes).
4. Add the xanthan gum and combine well and you’re ready to make your waffles!

Tip: be sure to grease your waffle grill well before cooking your waffles or you may run into a bit of a sticky situation.

 

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O’Hara Sugar Maples

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I recently took a road trip with my boyfriend to O’Hara Sugar Maples farm in Madoc, ON.  Mid March is when Maple Syrup producers get ready for the upcoming harvesting season, and the yearly Sugar Bush festivities commence.

As a child I had the chance to visit a maple syrup farm during a school trip, but all I remember from it were tin buckets hanging on trees, a horse drawn carriage ride, and that to get maple syrup all you had to do was boil sap until it thickened into sweet, sticky goo. Pretty simple.

However, on our visit to O’Hara’s, as soon as we pulled onto the road leading up to the production (sugar) house, I saw how elaborate and sophisticated this process has become since my last visit to a maple syrup farm.

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Trees are tapped with “lines” (tubes) that lead to much bigger lines, and these funnel the sap from the trees through down to the production line via the “extractor”, a vacuum like machine – O’Hara’s Sugar Maples have about 44 Kilometres of lines running throughout their trees!

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It then flows through to an osmosis machine where as much water as possible is reduced. Once this process takes place, the sap is sent to the boiler to be boiled down into delicious, lip smacking, maple syrup. Prior to being bottled, the syrup passes through a finishing system to ensure it’s crystal clear.

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MAPLE SYRUP FACTS

  • 40 litre of sap = 1 litre of maple syrup
  • Sap looks just like water. If you were to put a glass of water next to a glass of sap, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
  • If your maple syrup has mold on it, you don’t need to toss it. Just remove the mold and re-boil it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Contains trace amounts of minerals and vitamins including vitamins B2, B5, B6, riboflavin, amino acids, manganese, folic acid, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron.
  • Great to use as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking.
  • If you get a bottle of maple syrup with crystals at the bottom, it’s considered a good thing – it’s sugar crystals!

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Heather and her colleague were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. They explained the process in perfect detail and the story of their maple syrup making history. Aside from maple syrup, O’Hara’s makes maple candy and maple butter (which has won numerous awards). I’ve never tried maple butter and will definitely have to make another trip to get my hands on some.

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After seeing the entire process, we were able to enjoy a fresh, warm sample of a medium syrup which definitely enticed us to purchase a 1L bottle. Immediately, all I could think of was “what can I pour this stuff over and devour?!” I thought of a few cakes I could make, but that would take some time. Eventually I decided that a nice fresh stack of waffles would be perfect. Check back soon for a follow-up post with the recipe!

I have not received any commission for writing this post, nor do I have any material connection to the brands and products mentioned.  All views and opinions expressed are my own. 

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Cold Pressed Juice

As I try to stick to my health and fitness goals, I’m always interested in learning about new health practices, whether it be food or fitness related.

I’m fortunate enough to work in an environment where just about everyone strives to be healthy in some way, shape, or form. It’s a great little network we have in which we share fitness tips and yummy healthier choice recipes (and a great network for sharing fashion finds too!).

A few coworkers (and friends of mine) have tried juicing as a way to loose weight and rejuvenate their bodies from the inside out. I’ve heard about this in the past, but it’s become the huge “it thing” lately and so I decided to check it out online. I found that there were quite a few juice bars that recently popped up around Toronto, and that one, Greenhouse Juice Co., had opened last January just down the street from our office.  I decided to venture in and see what all the juicing fuss was all about.

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It’s quite a cute little shop they have! Very simple but still warm and inviting. They have a sample bar where you can try a shot size amount of juice before you buy and a fridge that looks like it’s storing a rainbow (of juices).

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Pro’s:

Con:

Below are the juices (and milks) I’ve tried. My favourite ones are indicated with an ‘*’.

 

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Product images sourced via www.greenhousejuiceco.com
Top row left to right: Almond Milk, Deeps Roots, East of Eden*, Gold Rush*
Bottom row left to right: Pink Milk, The Giver*, Wake Up*

 

As a bonus, when you return 10 empty bottles you receive a free 250ml juice and a pass to the Roots Yoga Studio.

While I believe that cold pressed juices could be quite beneficial to one’s health by giving our bodies a break from products filled with chemicals and dyes, it’s not something I personally would use as a meal replacement.  It’s more so a nice way to wake-up my insides and give them a good stretch in the morning.

I usually treat to myself to a bottle of cold pressed juice once in a while to start my day, rather than having a cup of coffee. If I could afford it, however, I’d have one each morning!

I have not received any commission for writing this post, nor do I have any material connection to the brands and products mentioned.  All views and opinions expressed are my own. 

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