Hiking and Appies

I love a trek to St. Mark’s Summit on a misty fall day.

Being surrounded by nature’s beauty makes my soul sing.

And, after a chilly excursion to the mountaintop, this dish helps to warm your soul and fill your belly:

Savoury Puff Pastry

The Pastry:

Ingredients
  • 2 ⅓ cups flour
  • 14 tablespoons butter, frozen
  • Pinch salt
  • 8-10 tablespoons chilled water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Place your butter in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight.
  2. In a jug mix together water and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix together flour and salt. Everything should be cold so feel free to put the bowl of flour in the fridge to chill.
  4. Grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mix. Stir the frozen butter into the flour with a knife in with a knife.
  5. Add the liquid, holding a little back just in case you don’t need it all. Using your hand bring your pastry together gently. You want to add just enough water to bring the pastry together. Too much water will not yield you a flakey dough.
  6. Bring the dough together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze to use at a later day.
The Recipe:
Form your puff pastry into little boats. In the centre, add sliced cherry tomatoes and a layer of bocconcini and top with a fresh basil leaf.
Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour. Serve. Warm your heart.
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Local Living and Blueberry Muffins

I’ve been eating only local foods lately for two reasons ~ first, fresh BC foods taste so incredibly good and second, our beautiful province is in a state of emergency again because of global warming (and human) induced forest fires. We have over 600 fires burning in total right now and I need, for my own happiness, positivity and mental health, to be part of the global warming solution.

I already have what some would consider an extremely green lifestyle ~ live in a small space, don’t have a car, don’t love being a consumer so keep my possessions to a minimum…but, with dark smoke hanging in our skies and beautiful BC being choked by smoke and fire, I need to do more.

So, I’ve been educating myself lately about the huge carbon footprint created by transporting our food across the world. Did you know that Canada ships farmed salmon to China for processing and then the fish are shipped back here for our consumption. Ugh, the madness has to stop. And what kind of chemicals and preservatives does our food have to be laced with to stay “fresh” during the many miles covered to get to our plate? As someone who grew up with a big backyard garden that fed the family, what is now happening with global food transport seems so unnatural and is clearly taking its toll on the planet.

To bring a more natural, eco friendly way of eating back into my life, I’m rediscovering the 100 Mile Diet. The last time I did this challenge a few years ago I felt amazing and eating close to home helps our beautiful planet that is currently in crisis. It might seem like we don’t have a lot of personal power in saving the earth but as David Suzuki says, if several million people made even small changes to their lives the result would be astronomical!

Last but not least, local food tastes so amazing. In fact it’s bursting with flavour. An imported papaya from the other side of the world just doesn’t compare to fresh, beautiful BC fruit!

And, to get you inspired to love local, here’s a yummy, healthy recipe that features BC berries:

Wholesome Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh and local
  • 1/3 cup oil if your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then whisk the wet ingredients together and add to dry, folding in blueberries last. Put in lined muffins cups and bake for 25 minutes. Then enjoy the goodness!

Chocolate Hemp Energy Bites

I like to hike.

And on a long hiking trail, keeping my energy at an optimum level is important. I bring lots of water, in the summer I pack a hydrating watermelon smoothie and snacks. Lots of yummy snacks.

Here’s one packed full of carbohydrates for quick and easy energy. It also has hemp hearts for a clean protein, good-for-you omega 3 fats and a bit of dark chocolate for anti-oxidants and the yumminess factor.

Chocolate Hemp Energy Bites

2 cups of rolled oats – organic
1 cup organic peanut butter
1/2 cup 80% dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup raw organic honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup ground flax
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic pumpkin seeds

Combine ingredients in bowl. Let sit in fridge for 25 minutes. Roll into balls. Coat in hemp hearts.

Enjoy.

Sugar free is the way to be

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a raw food eatery in Calgary with my ex-boyfriend, his daughter and his son-in-law, celebrating father’s day. Don’t ask how this happened. It’s a long story.

The cool thing about this luncheon, though, was that the daughter and son-in-law had been sugar-free for a few months and they were singing the praises of this lifestyle like the truly converted.

They had more energy and more even energy throughout the day, balanced moods, their skin looked better and had both, effortlessly, lost weight, they said. And their eyes lit up when they talked about their new eating plan and how much it had improved their lives.

As they talked, I remembered feeling that way too when I gave up sugar. The only thing is that it’s hard and, invariably, I slink down the slippery slope that leads to sugar mountain.

But, what the heck, I’m feeling ready to take on the sugar demon one more time.

I’ll chronicle my experience (and recipes) here and start the journey with one of my sugar-free life savers. This pudding is rich, creamy and bursting with a deep, dark chocolate flavour. Here it is:

The Chocolate Avocado Raspberry Pudding

  • four bananas
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • splash unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 2 T raw cacao

Blend, garnish with fresh raspberries & unsweetened coconut and serve.

Farm Fresh Greens

One of the basic philosophies of the raw food movement is that since humans evolved from primates, our most natural and health giving diet consists mainly of fruit. I love that philosophy…in theory.

Fruit is sweet and luscious and so delicious that I wholeheartedly embraced this way of eating  for the past few months. I embraced it until I noticed that I began severely lacking in energy and I kept getting sick (three times this winter compared to my usual one), and my skin wasn’t looking better, as all the raw food lessons, books and articles said it would. In fact it was looking a little worse. And I was craving protein. Even as I was studying my “Peak Performance” lesson which stated that protein was over-rated, I was severely craving protein. Something had to give. And so it did.

One day the image of a succulent, savoury piece of salmon wouldn’t leave my mind. No matter what I did or how I tried to lead my thoughts down another path, a path filled with raw carrots and bananas and mangoes, I couldn’t stop thinking about salmon. So, after much deliberation, I did what I had to do. I had to admit that the 80 -100% raw vegan life is not for me. Then I went out a bought the biggest wild salmon steak I could find. I jogged home with it, ripped my coat off, raced to the kitchen and covered my fish in lemon and capers and a thin layer of mayo. Then I proceeded to slow cook it at 180 degrees. The aroma was heavenly.

I really loved eating all of the recipes filled with sweet tropical fruit, honey and maple syrup but clearly I was consuming a bit more sugar, even if it was natural sugar, than my body could handle. So, as much as I like the ‘gorilla food’ theory there is also a theory that you should be eating food that is natural to your environment. So, if you’re living in the Yukon it would not be natural for you to be chowing down on kiwis and pineapple and if you’re living in Vancouver, eating wild salmon and greens and fruit that is indigenous to your environment would be the healthiest fare. Makes sense to me.

So, after a visit to the local farmer’s market, where I found the freshest greens and spouts I’ve tasted in a while, I have a farm fresh salad to share with you.  Enjoy.

Farm Fresh Greens

  • 1 cup fresh organic spinach or greens of your choice
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1/4 cup various sprouts
  • sprinkle of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
  • Dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mixed herbs and fresh apple (all ingredients to taste, blended together)

Nothing beats the taste of home.

Nice Cream

I’m loving the raw food recipes I’ve been sampling as I continue with my nutrition course.

You can’t be perfect though, and sometimes I just want to leave the uber-healthy green smoothies behind and indulge in a messy, gooey, rich and delicious dessert. But a dessert that won’t make me feel unhealthy and bloated and give me a sugar rush. Well, The raw food recipes I’ve been experimenting with have got that covered too.

Let me introduce you to Nice Cream.

Nice Cream

  • 3 frozen bananas cubed
  • Splash of maple syrup
  • One T coconut cream
  • Two T raw cacao for chocolate (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. for other flavours)

Blend all ingredients together and indulge in this rich, delicious ice cream-like dessert that is actually good for you!

Snowfall & Soaked Oats

Our unusually snowy Vancouver winter continues, giving me beautiful photo ops like this..

and also making me crave some good, wholesome, stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts to start the day before putting on my winter boots and trudging through the snow.

Luckily I’ve been Pinteresting and found out about soaked oats. Soaked oats are amazing! Tasty, healthy and wholesome. Top with fruit and nuts and you’ve got a hearty breakfast that will power you through the toughest Canadian winter morning.

Banana Pecan Soaked Oats

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 T full fat yogurt
  • 2 T shredded coconut flakes

Top with Sliced banana, pecans and drizzle with pure Canadian maple syrup.

soaked oats with banana