Sunday, February 27, 2011

Greek Style Quinoa Salad

Have you had a good weekend?? I certainly have! Who knew I could enjoy so many wonderful meals while doing a cleanse. I think I have a new found respect for delicious salads!

For dinner tonight, I made a fantastic Greek Style Quinoa Salad. I absolutely love greek salad (and all greek food for that matter), so I thought I would experiment and make something wonderful, sans the feta of course!!

Greek Style Quinoa Salad
1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
1 c. baby spinach
1 diced scallion
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. zucchini, chopped
1/4 c. oil-cured black olives

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp agave nectar (or your favourite sweetener)
pinch of sea salt

Bring water to boil. Add quinoa and cook according to the package directions.

As soon as the quinoa has finished cooking, add the spinach and onions and mix well. Cover and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes.

By doing this, you allow the spinach & onions to soften without losing all of their precious nutrients.

Tranfer the quinoa mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining veggies and olives and mix well.

Now you need to whip up your dressing. Place all of the ingredients into a blender (or Magic Bullet works great for this) and blend everything up until smooth.

Add the dressing to the quinoa salad and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and then serve!

The subtle flavours of the dressing and raw veggies make this salad so refreshing!


Now I'm off to drink some decaffeinated green tea while I catch The Amazing Race.


ABCs of Me

I saw this earlier on another blogger's site and I thought how cool is this?!? I feel like I have so much in common with some of the bloggers in the way that we blog and the foods that we eat, but I really don't know much about them nor them know much about me.

Since I am a newbie to the world of blogging, I thought this was a great way to share a few fun factoids about myself with you!! So friends,  here goes:

Age - 33

Bed Size - Queen, but between my hubby and our one rotti who tries to sleep on the pillow at the head of the bed, I barely get the square footage of a single :-)

Chore you dislike - Dusting. Living in a rural area with 2 large dogs makes dusting a futile chore. It has to be done, but sometimes I could turn around the start right over because we are never dust-free. My hubby claims that he "does not know how to dust" <sigh> so this chore always seems to be mine.

Dogs - We have 2 rottweilers - Dora & Hank.

Essential start your day - Green Smoothies!! Right now, while cleansing I am starting my day with a warm glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of cayenne pepper.

Favourite colours - I love hot pink (always a little girl at heart), purple and burnt orange.

Gold or Silver - I love white gold.

Height - 5'7 1/2"

Instrument Play(ed) - I took piano lessons as a kid, but I hated practicing and I was scared to death of my piano teacher, so I didn't stick with it. Now when I look back, I really wish I could play the guitar.

Job Title - I am a Law Clerk. I moonlight as a dog trainer.

Kids - No human kids, just fur babies.

Live - Southwestern Ontario, Canada. In a small rural community of about 100 people.

Mom's Name - Louise

Nickname - As a kid, people used to call me Andy. My husband & I call each other babe - I hate being called "Bloomy's Wife" but that seems to be a nickname too!

Overnight Hospital Stay - When I was an infant, I had abdominal surgery. Thankfully, no other major medical issues requiring overnight stays since (I'm knocking on wood right now)

Pet Peeve - Pessimism (I am a glass half full kind of gal) and people who don't scoop their puppies' poop!

Quote From A Movie - Gosh...I have been pondering this one and I can't think of a single one! I love movies, but my memory is like a seive. I always wonder how people do it when they can spew off all sorts of movie quotes!

Righty or Lefty - Righty!!

Time I Wake Up - I plan to get up during the week at 6 a.m. Realistically, I would say I typically get out of bed by 6:30 a.m.

Underwear - TMI!!! That one is something I'll be keeping to myself for now :-)

Vegetable I Dislike - I really detest radishes, raw onions and turnip.

What Makes Me Run Late - Getting up 30 minutes late every morning ;-) and my husband --- he is notorious for being late for everything!!

X-Rays I Have Had - Right knee when I was a kid and chest as an adult.

Yummy Food I Make - There is so much to choose from!! Lately, I have been making a killer balsamic gnocchi and vegetable stew. For potlucks, I like to make my friend, Judy's, Skor Trifle, which is a total crowd pleaser (one day I'll share this one with you)!

Zoo (Favourite) Animal - Ever since I attended a conference that featured Ken Ramirez as a speaker, I am amazed by dolphins. I also love koalas because I think they are cutest little guys ever!!

So there you have it!! A few little tidbits of info to give you a peak into who I am.

What a fun exercise - I would love to hear about the ABCs of you!!

Now I am off to relax. Today is going to be filled with hanging with the pups and watching some flicks...I hope you have a good day!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day #1 of Cleanse & Tasty Veggie Wrap

Hello all! Welcome to the first day of my cleanse. I must say so far, so good. I was up bright & early this morning (thanks to my hubby who is away and thought he'd call and say "good morning") and ready to get my 'cleanse' on. So, I got busy making my green juice.

What an amazing, healthy breakfast to feed to your body. 

In the juice, I put baby spinach, kale, celery, pear, green apple, broccoli stems and ginger. Once everything was juiced I added a shot of wheatgrass juice. It was good....but not great. I liked the juice immediately after I finished the juicing, but I had another glass with my lunch and I literally had to choke it down. It did not taste good at all. My juicer is not the best one out there, so I found that it took alot of time, had a lot of waste (I strained out a few extra ounces of juice from the pulp) and my kitchen still looks like a green veggie bomb exploded!

I have a problem when I'm in the kitchen...I am messy and this project was really messy!!

At the end of the day, I did drink about 30 oz of juice, but tomorrow I think I am going to go back to my tried and trusted green smoothies ~ for those of you who are foreign to the green smoothie movement, stay tuned; I will be posting some of my favourite recipes in the days to come. 

Even though I got an early start today, I didn't get out the door to get groceries and run some errands until 11 a.m. By the time I got home and got everything put away, I was starving. I wanted something easy and satisfying...and I wanted it fast!!  

So I pulled out something new I just bought that I was super-excited to try. Food for Life brown rice tortillas.

With wraps, there are no recipes or rules - personally, I use the following steps:

1.  Get "saucy" ;-)
Choose your favourite dressing, condiment or sauce. My all-time favourite is hummus. But, today I thought I'd step outside the box and try something different. I used 1/3 of a large avocado and mashed it in a small bowl. I added a squirt of lemon juice and some Extra Spicy Mrs. Dash.

 2. Pick your favourite filling.
I packed mine full of veggies. Any veggies will do - I used red pepper, carrots, cucumber, crimini mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts and sweet pea sprouts.

Olives also taste amazing in veggie wraps when you are using hummus!

3. Build your wrap.
I first heated my tortilla in the microwave for 5 - 10 seconds. Then you slather on your sauce.

Next, add your veggies.

I am a lover of salt, so I added a sprinkling of spicy Herbamare (sea salt) at this point. I think with the avocado it would have been bland without, but you can spice your wrap up with whatever you love.

4. Wrap and enjoy. good.

Now if you are a blogger and you are planning to do a post about your lunch, this is where you would insert a picture of  the final product - a gorgeous wrap with ends tucked in and veggies all snuggly inside. Well, that would have been a nice idea and I would have loved to share that with you, but I was so darn hungry that I dug in before I ever thought of getting a final shot. Oops ~ better luck next time ~ I promise next time I will practice a little self control ;-)

Well, it's now the middle of the afternoon and I've got to find some elbow grease and tackle the green beast that is my kitchen. By then it will be time for dinner and I am not sure what exciting recipe I am going to try, but I promise if it is something good, I will get a good shot of it to share with you :-) 

What are favourite sandwich/wrap fillings?
What are your favourite green smoothie combos?

I hope you're having a fun-filled Saturday!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Night Snacktime!

Happy Friday!!!

Well we have made it through another week - woo hoo!!  I think that calls for an amazing and delicious snack. I've had an eggplant sitting in my fridge for over a week and all day I have been pondering about what I should do with it ~ so I thought I would try making some Baba Ganoush. I love this dip, but I've never made it....I'm a Baba Ganoush virgin ;-)

Best Baba Ganoush
Adapted from recipe by Winky on

1 medium eggplant
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c tahini
3 tbsp raw sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Spicy Herbamare (sea salt)
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Wash eggplant and stab with a fork. Place on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until softened.

When done roasting, dunk the eggplant in a large bowl filled with cold water. Once it is cool enough to handle, peel and cut into chunks. Put chunks into blender.

Add lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, garlic and sea salt to blender.

Blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into bowl and add olive oil. Mix.

Refrigerate dip for 2 to 3 hours. (for me the waiting time is excruciating....I want to eat it NOW!!)

Serve with your favourite crackers or vegetables. It would also be very tasty in a wrap! I just discovered Mary's Organic Crackers, so that's what I'm having - can you believe that they are wheat free and gluten free....& most importantly full of seedy deliciousness?!?!

Why would you fill up on fatty chips & dip when you can snack on such a divine, healthy snack?

Have I told you how much I love Friday nights :-)

You might remember that tomorrow is a big day for's Day #1 of my 21 day cleanse. I have started stocking up for the coming week....check out some of my purchases so far. I've also purchased some organic fruits and veggies for my first green juice tomorrow morning. I can't tell you how excited I am ~ I am so looking forward to inspiring you & sharing my cleansing journey with you.

Make sure you check back to see how things are going - I'm going to be posting lots of awesome recipes and photos and I am hoping that after doing a bit of research, I can give you some helpful information on some of the things I am trying out over the next few weeks.

Until then....I bid you goodnight!!

Do you reward yourself with a little treat at the end of the work week??
What kind of dips are your fave???


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Happy Hump Day!!

So, I am having a little problem. I am starting to get myself psyched up and ready to start the 21 day cleanse this weekend, but instead of weaning off caffeine, sweets and processed foods, that seems to be all I am craving. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me to eat as much of the "bad" stuff as I can before I start the cleanse, but my logical sensible voice is saying that I am really going to regret it when I have my first sugar and caffeine withdrawal!!

Derek is not helping matters. Today he bought me a Cadbury Cream Egg. I love cream eggs. I spied them in the store a few weeks ago and they have been on my mind since, but I have held strong and kept them out of my cart....until today. Derek has good intentions, but really he is becoming my "enabler".

In order to be able to eat my cream egg, I have made a deal with myself. I have to have a healthy dinner first and no other snacking. So, the question is...what am I going to eat that will be satisfying yet very healthy?? I've got it!!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad w/ Cranberries & Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 c sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp rosemary (I used dried, but I think fresh would be even better)
1/4 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c dried cranberries

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
pinch of pepper
additional pinch of rosemary (if you love it as much as I do)

Mix cubed sweet potatoes, coconut oil, sea salt, garlic and rosemary.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes (make sure you flip halfway through). I like my sweet taters dark and crispy, so I left them the entire 30 minutes.

Those look so amazing; why they look good enough to eat .... hehe

Meanwhile, toast your pumpkin seeds. Place them in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly for approximately 3 minutes until the seeds are golden brown. Do not let them burn!

Also, you can whip up your dressing while the potatoes are cooking. Add all ingredients and whisk together.

Once the potatoes are cooked, place them in a large bowl and let cool for approximately 10 minutes. Add pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Toss with dressing and serve.

This salad is really delish!!  I enjoyed it warm, but I think it would also be really good when chilled.

It is pretty and festive and would be a nice side to serve your guests. I think you could really spruce it up and make it look fantastic if you had fresh rosemary for garnish.

Hope you have a wonderful evening ~ I am off to watch Survivor (I am team Rob all the way!!)


Note: I drizzled just 1 1/2 tbsp of the dressing over the entire salad. I was afraid it would be too overpowering and take away from the taste of the salad ingredients. Next time I might add a splash of honey to the dressing to mellow out the taste of the vinegar.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Gonna Have to Face It...I'm Addicted to Cashew Butter

I don't know what it is about me & cashew butter, but I am addicted to the stuff. I find myself standing in the pantry dipping animal crackers into the jar and if I can't find any dippables, then I will even resort to my finger --- gross & I probably shouldn't admit it in writing, but sadly it is true <sigh>  I told you, I have issues :-)

One of my all-time favourite snacks used to be banana slathered in Skippy peanut butter and chocolate. What a classic and fail-proof combination!

My cashew butter obsession has now spilled over into this snack, although I have tried to convert it into something a little bit healthier (I saw this on a blog quite a long time ago and I can't remember where exactly, so I can't take full credit for this cute little treat).

Banana with Cashew Butter & Carob Chips
1 large banana, sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp of natural cashew butter
10 - 12 carob chips (or milk chocolate chips taste phenomenal as well)

Spread the cashew butter onto each banana half & then sprinkle with carob or chocolate chips....and enjoy!

Sooooooooo Good!!!

This is often a snack that I will make when we are cleaning the house - I cut into bite size chunks and we grab a bite everytime we pass through the kitchen. It just brings us a little joy during not so joyous chores such as dusting :-(

A banana smothered in Chocolate Cashew Butter Dip would also be divine!!

Wishing you some happy snacking and a very goodnight!


The 21 Day Crazy Sexy Diet Cleanse

Happy Tuesday everyone - yayyy for short weeks (anyone who had a holiday yesterday knows what I'm talkin' about)!

Before I get all deep and thoughtful, I want to give a shout out to Angela at Oh She Glows --- I just finished downing a bowl of her Sweet Potato Oatmeal <Breakfast> Casserole it was sooooo good!! There are days when I just love having breakfast for dinner. I followed her recipe exactly, so I'm not going to reiterate it here. All I am going to say is if you love sweet potato casserole, duh ~ who doesn't?? and you love oatmeal, this casserole is for you.

....and now on to deeper more pressing issues:

Do you have any idea what it’s like to feel blissfully whole and comfortable in your skin? Do you know what it’s like to be centered and grounded yet filled with an abundant supply of zippy energy?

These are two questions that are asked by author Kris Carr on her website

My answer: No!! I don't know what it would be like to feel blissfully whole & comfortable in my skin and No! I don't know what it's like to be centered and grounded nor have I ever felt full of "zippy energy (except when I was maybe like 5 years old)!!"

Do I want these things: Hell Yes!!

This weekend my sweet mom drove me around to 3 different Chapters bookstores so I could buy Kris Carr's book, Crazy Sexy Diet. I am just finishing Chapter 2 and already I am feeling really excited about the possibilities should I be able to follow the principles set out in this book.

My plan right now is to finish reading the book this week and then embark on the 21 day cleanse. I've never tried stuck to this type of plan, but I'm feeling ready and motivated and this time I am going to do it fully, completely and with an open heart and mind.

Body image has always been a sensitive issue for me. I have to work really hard and be very careful about what I eat in order to maintain a figure that I am happy with. I just have to look at a Boston Cream Donut and I swear that an inch is added to my bum.

I had a lot of success with Weight Watchers a few years back, but in order to shed the pounds, I primarily ate grilled cheese sandwiches using Weight Watchers bread, butter flavoured Pam instead of butter and light cheese slices. Healthy?? I think not. 

A few years have now passed since shedding the pounds and here I am a few pounds heavier finding all my pants to be just a little bit snugger. My dilemma now is that I am much more aware about what I am putting in my mouth and the long-term impact of the food choices that I make, so a Weight Watchers grilled cheese just isn't going to cut it. 

So, I am going to try to stick to eating healthy, whole, organic when possible foods to see if I can get myself and my body back on track. I really want to know, does this change in eating really give you the healthy glow I've been reading about from all my favourite bloggers? ~  because if it does I wanna get me some of that!!

There are no more "diets" for this chickie-poo - only healthy eating and conscious habits like less TV and more exercise!! I'm going to create a new page on my blog that is going to chronicle my 21 day journey - so check back often and chime in with your thoughts and encouragement...& appropriate recipes if you have some!

I'm looking forward to taking this journey with you!!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Veggie Plate with Hummus and Chocolate Cashew Dip

What a great long weekend it has been with my mom! We have been to the movies, visited with family, gone out for dinner and brunch, driven all over Southwestern Ontario searching for a book that I have been wanting to buy and eating.....lots and lots of eating CARBS!!!

We have had banana cake, sweet potato cornbread, ravioli, gnocchi, spaghetti, toast and the list goes on and on. Today, I decided we needed to amp up our veggie and fruit intake and add some healthy dips to go along side for a healthy lunch.

I had some organic carrots, pears, kiwis and apples that I need to use up, as well as some leftover green onions from Saturday night's dinner. I also added some vegetable crackers that I needed to use up.

Doesn't that look refreshing?? I have been craving something green for days!

It won't take you long to figure out that I am a total sucker for dips. In fact, I can eat an entire bowl of dip in one sitting, so it's best if I have some healthy choices that I can whip up quickly and easily rather than digging into store bought dips that are full of fat and empty calories.

Adapted from Oh She Glows

1 19 oz can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp spicy Herbamare (sea salt)
3 cloves of garlic
juice from 2 fresh organic lemons (approx 5 tbsp)
3 - 4 tbsp of water
1 tsp Frank's red hot
1/2 c tahini
1 tbsp olive oil

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Unfortunately my food processor bit the dust today, so I had to blend this in batches in my very old blender :-( 

Right before serving, drizzle with an additional tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

This hummus is fantastic~it tastes great with fresh veggies, on crackers, in veggie wraps or on whole grain toast.

I also wanted to have something sweet, so that I could dip my fruit. I have been having a love affair with cashew butter lately and I only had a wee bit left in my jar....what better combo than to mix my favourite nut butter with a chunk of chocolate? The only question more pressing is why has it taken me so long to try this combination??

Chocolate Cashew Butter Dip
2 - 3 tbsp of all natural cashew butter
1 square of dark chocolate

Place in microwaveable dish and heat in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir after each 30 seconds.

Absolutely decadent!

I really loved this dip with the apples. I think it would also be divine with animal crackers.

This was such a great lunch - it was satisfying and healthy and provided us with lots of fruits and vegetables that our bodies were so badly craving.

My mom really loved the hummus (I did too), but I really loved my chocolate cashew butter dip. Thank goodness I only had enough to make a small little bowl because I finished every last bit!

Wishing you a wonderful Monday evening and lovely end to your long holiday weekend (if you were lucky like me to have one).


PS - If you're craving something a little sweeter and more decadent, check out my girl, Kris's, contest at i heart wellness. Enter to win 6 of her bakery's decadent Chocolate Chip "Chips Enjoy" Cookie Sandwiches - they are vegan and gluten free!! Click the link above to enter. I'd wish you all good luck, but you're going to have to beat me to get these tasty treats!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Balsamic Gnocchi with Garlic Butter & Roasted Butternut Squash

Have you ever eaten gnocchi before?

If your answer is no, you better go out to the grocery store right now and pick some up - it's the bombdigity!

I hadn't had gnocchi until recently. I've seen it and always thought the cute little potato dumplings looked appealing, but never got around to trying them. That was until the day I saw a recipe on How Sweet It Is for Balsamic Gnocchi.  This recipe is easy, delicious and Derek said that he would eat this meal every single day ~ this says alot considering no meat was involved.

I am not going reiterate the recipe for Balsamic Gnocchi because I pretty much stuck right to Jessica's recipe. The only changes I made were that I added lots more veggies (sorry Jessica, that might ruin the recipe for you).  I used one pepper, 4 green onions, 1 small zucchini and a handful of crimini mushrooms and I used Earth Balance instead of butter for the basil garlic butter.

This recipe is to die for. It only takes 20 minutes to whip up and would be a great meal to wow your guests with.

As a side, I decided to roast a butternut squash (ok, I admit it....I cheated and I bought a pre-cut squash). Squash is one of my all-time favourite foods in the winter and there is no other way to make it other than slow roasting in the oven. I just wish they would peel like an orange - my wrists are so sore by the time I finish the peeling and chopping, I can hardly use my stirring hand to finish the meal! I could eat a whole roasted squash fact I probably have :-) At least squash is good for you; that's better than eating a whole cheesecake by yourself .. er, not that I would know or anything.

Roasted Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 tsp sea salt
sprinkle of pepper

Peel and cut the butternut squash into bite size pieces. Place in large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to evenly coat the squash. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for approximately 15 minutes.

 Flip the squash pieces and cook for an additional 15 minutes. I like my squash to come out crispy and starting to brown - the pieces are so sticky and sweet you will understand why I could eat the entire squash myself. If you are like me and you don't time all the components of your meal quite right, you can speed up the baking time by putting the broiler on for just a few minutes per side.


...and in as easy as 1, 2, 3 you have an amazing meal that will wow your family and  friends and even your meat lovin' husband.

Right about now you're wishing you were my friend aren't ya?? :-)

What's your favourite type of squash?
Do you have an awesome recipe of gnocchi you'd like to share?

I hope you all have a relaxing Sunday evening and to my Canadian friends, Happy Family Day tomorrow....and to my American buddies, Happy President's Day! I hope your day off is filled with family, friends and lots of good eats.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rustic Chocolate Chunk Banana Oat Cake with Cashew Butter Sauce

I first discovered the world of food blogging when I stumbled across Angela Liddon's blog, Oh She Glows. She is one of my favourite bloggers and I check out her posts on a daily basis. She has a lot of insight about life and chasing your dreams and she also has some really fabulous vegan recipes. You should check her out!

This morning I decided to make her Rustic Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze. This recipe is fantastic. I followed Angela's recipe making only a couple of substitutions: I didn't have any nuts, so I added slices of banana and dark chocolate chunks to the cake and I used cashew butter instead of peanut butter in the glaze. The cake was phenomenal! My mom is quickly learning that I have to take 100 pictures during every cooking venture, so rather than reiterate Ang's recipe, I am going to share my photos of making this scrumptious breakie:

I have an over-abundance of bananas taking up space in my freezer - what better way to use them up than a banana cake...especially one that includes some chocolate!

Making oats into an oat flour is so easy.

Blend the dry ingredients. 

Add wet ingredients to dry & mix well. 

Add the goodies - chunky bananas & dark chocolate chunks. 

Pour batter into a greased 8'x8' pie plate. 

There are no eggs in this recipe, so you or your kids can lick this bowl, I don't have kids, so I guess I'll have to do it myself ;-)

Be patient - my cake was perfect after 25 minutes of baking. 


Now for the cashew butter banana sauce...start whisking

Keep whisking - you want the sauce to be nice & smooth!

Doesn't that look delicious - & it's so easy!! 

The finished product - this cake was SCRUMPTIOUS!! 

Let's just say, my piece did not last very long.

I make a mess when I'm baking...where are my cleaner elves when I need them?? 

I hope those cleaner elves show up soon because my mom & I are off to watch The King's Speech this afternoon. I'm super excited about checking out this Oscar nominated flick ~ I'll let you know what I think.

I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday - if you live in Southwestern Ontario, watch out for that wind ~ I'd hate for any of my friends to get blown away today - it's crazy out there!!