healthy fun dip {rhubarb + coconut sugar}

rhubarb + coconut sugar Fun Dip

Remember those Fun Dip candies they used to have (or still have for all I know). If came with a candy stick that you licked and then dipped into candy powder? It was definitely one of my favourite candies but I now cringe at the fact that it was basically sugar on top of sugar. With artificial colours and flavours to round it all out!

This post isn’t a recipe, more of a fun idea that I’m sure most of you have done at some point in your life. But I had completely forgotten about it until the rhubarb made an appearance at the market a few weeks ago. So just in case you have all forgotten about it too or have never tried it before, I thought I’d post it here. If you’ve never tried it, I demand you go buy rhubarb before it goes out of season and do it. Continue reading

vibrant life cleanse program and cookbook launch and review

before i get into today’s post, i just want to announce the winner of my little life box giveaway! congrats to….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

sarina, i will email you soon with details!


now today i have another review for you and guys, believe me when i say, this is an ebook that you definitely want to have. i was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the book and upon first open i was hooked! 

vibrant life ebook

i’m sure most of you know Leanne Vogel of Healthful Pursuit. if you haven’t, climb out from under that rock you’ve been living under, and check her out. she’s seriously awesome. she is a holistic nutritionist with an approach i have long since admired. and since i myself am now a holistic nutritionist, i have even more respect for her. there’s a lot of pressure in this field to be the perfect health role model (and hence always eat perfectly and always be perfectly healthy! exhausting just thinking about it). leanne lives life according to what works for her, refusing to subscribe to a particular label, admits she's not perfect and indulges on occasion (like anyone should!). basically, she’s one of my professional crushes and mentors.

and now she’s released another ebook: Vibrant Life Cleanse Program and Cookbook. just in time for spring! i don’t know about you all but i sure could use a bit of a reset on my system after this long winter we just had!

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it’s st. paddy’s day weekend! make these three…

it’s friday so it’s time for installment number 2 of my new series! and it’s only 2 weeks after #1, i’m pretty impressed guys.

since it’s st. paddy’s day weekend (because restricting the drinking and celebrating to one day is clearly not enough), i thought i would share some appropriately themed and coloured eats. 

whatever you get up to this weekend, whether it’s drinking green beer or simply drinking green tea, enjoy this wonderful excuse to pretend we’re irish! 

for breakfast why not try…

gluten-free vegan irish bread pudding - the veggie nook

a slice of this non-traditional traditional gluten-free irish bread pudding (with a side of irish coffee (same post) if you’re really givin' ‘er)

then for lunch

shredded brussels sprout salad #vegan #glutenfree #raw #paleo

give this shredded brussel sprout salad recipe a go to get some much needed detoxifying nutrients into your system

then for dinner

baby kale and shitake mushroom stir fry #vegan #glutenfree

this baby kale and shitake stir fry will fill your stomach up with carb-y goodness to help with drinking stamina, and it’s conveniently green, orange and white in colour!

and a bonus #4 for dessert (it’s a sorta-holiday guys!)

raw thin mint green tea "ice cream" cake #paleo #vegan #glutenfree

my raw thin mint green tea “ice cream” cake. because it’s thin mint green tea ice cream cake, no other reason is needed.


do you guys have any big plans for the weekend? i don’t have any st. paddy’s specific plans yet but do have a birthday party and a little reunion with old university friends on the books!

what’s your favourite green food? this question is basically impossible for me but i’m going to go with avocado because it’s so versatile (savoury or sweet) and it’s fully of fatty goodness.

raw thin mint green tea ice cream cake

thin mint green tea ice cream cake #raw #paleo #vegan

ice cream cake was always my birthday cake of choice when i was younger. specifically dairy queen ice cream cakes with the vanilla and chocolate layers and in between those there was this fudge cookie layer that was heaven. and even though i hated most icings (at most birthdays i would eat around the sickly sweet, rock hard icings, unlike every other kid who loved it), the icing on those cakes was delicious. i got one for all of my birthdays and it was basically my favourite thing about having a birthday party.

so with st. patrick’s day coming up, i felt it was finally time to revamp this old favourite into a new healthy treat.

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raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake squares

raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake

so here we are! the final post that will bring it all together. i thought about spitting it up a little more but that just seemed mean ;). if you missed the first two components, check them out here and here.

before i get into that though i just have a couple things to say. recently davida wrote a post about the things a year of blogging has taught her and it got me thinking about the last two years. i started this blog because i needed an outlet. and what was the biggest thing i gained?

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raw apple sauce

raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake

hope you all enjoyed the raw caramel recipe! and i hope it’s whetted your appetite for the big finish. for those of you who follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen it. but let’s just keep it on the down low for the rest of them shall we? ;). in case you missed the first component, check it out here.

raw apple sauce

we continue with my blog’s 2 year anniversary today with the second component of our big dessert: raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake squares. mmmm, i cannot wait till friday to show you how it all comes together!

today we will continue with a raw apple sauce or butter which is completely delicious eaten by itself as a snack or dessert. it’s spiced with cinnamon, sweetened with dates and thickened with flax seeds. it’s fiber-rich and because it’s raw, all the vitamins in the apples are retained. the same recipe is used for apple sauce and butter except for a little extra sweetness from maple syrup for the apple butter. mmmmm.

Raw Apple Sauce
Uncooked applesauce retains all the enzymes and vitamins in the apples, making this a nutritious snack or dessert. Add the optional maple syrup for apple butter!
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
10min 2cups
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
10min 2cups
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Raw Apple Sauce
Uncooked applesauce retains all the enzymes and vitamins in the apples, making this a nutritious snack or dessert. Add the optional maple syrup for apple butter!
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
10min 2cups
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
10min 2cups
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Rating: 5
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Ingredients
Servings: cups
Units:
Instructions
  1. If your dates are dry, soak them in some water for about an hour to soften.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Recipe Notes

* you can keep the apple peels on (I did) unless your apples aren't organic, then you should peel them as they are part of the dirty dozen!

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raw vegan caramel

raw almond butter caramel apple cheesecake

last week through me for a little bit of a whirlwind. and in all the unexpected goings-on, i completely forgot to celebrate my little blog’s second anniversary! i can’t believe i have been writing for 2 years and i can’t believe the support i have received during that time. none of this would be possible without all of my wonderful readers, some who have been here since the beginning. thank you all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read, comment, try my recipes and most importantly connect with me over something i am truly passionate about. here’s to another 2 years, hopefully during which there will be some big changes going on!

this week will be devoted to building up to an apex recipe, one that is worthy of a celebration like a second anniversary. raw almond butter and caramel apple cheesecake squares. a mouthful- yes. but delicious? hells yes.

i decided to split up the components because each could stand on it’s own without the others. today we will start with a raw vegan caramel sauce.

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raw peppermint oreos

it doesn’t get much better that being given an excuse to consume more desserts and sweets than normal and this is one of the best parts of the holiday season. baking galore, taste-testing those handmade gifts, potlucks and more-often-than-usual “treating myself” at cafes and restaurants.

in order to make sure i don’t go completely off the back end and abandon the healthy lifestyle i love so much, i try to make sure at least some of these goodies are handmade by me! even better? when a lovely, thoughtful and brilliant blogger brings 25 bloggers together to share 25 cookie recipes that completely fit the bill. 

i am honoured to be participating for the second year in kristy’s vegan cookie swap party. this year i offer up raw peppermint oreos!

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and don't forget to check out last year's contribution: these delicious nutmeg logs

head on over to keepin’ it kind now to get the recipe and check out all the other delicious cookies!

raw (and healthy!) cranberry bliss bars

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i don’t know about you guys, but november 1 officially starts the beginning of the holiday season for me. this means i can start listening to christmas music (michael buble i’m looking at you), watching christmas movies (oh hey there love actually and home alone), decorating the house and whipping up christmas-themed treats and meals. gingerbread spiced smoothies, chocolate-peppermint desserts, savoury stuffing-style pilaffs, egg nog-esque beverages and lets not forget the amazing mulled wines and hot apple ciders!

not only that but i start basically giving my money away on anything christmas themed- from clothes that would be great for a holiday party, to decorations and trinkets i don’t need, ANY christmas themed treat/beverage in the cafes…honestly, i am a retailers dream.

and it is one of those retailers that inspired today’s treat! i’m sure most of you know who i’m referencing- they launch the red cups on november 2, and suddenly christmas is in the air. peppermint mochas, gingerbread lattes, nanaimo bars, snowman cookies an of course, the cranberry bliss bar. NONE of which is healthy (or vegan mind you).

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so of course i set about to recreate one of these treats in my own home! because i refuse to miss out on all this holiday cheer! not to mention, while each one of these items sounds pretty delicious, i happen to know they are each cloyingly sweet, likely to set your teeth on edge and blood sugar soaring. i might have a sweet tooth, but i prefer my sweets on the not-so-sweet side.

these are raw, so no-baking required (yay!) and are packed with good for you ingredients like nuts and coconut to make sure you get a healthy dose of fats and fibre with your treat. i used fruit-juice sweetened cranberries too, to lessen your exposure to refined sugars. finally, i topped it all off with a cashew-based, cream cheese-esque icing. talk about decadent!

i actually made these for the first time last year but missed the boat on posting them for the christmas season. but a friend who tried them said they tasted better than the original version. i’ll take that as a win! and i apologize for making you wait almost a year for the recipe…but hopefully you’ll make them, take one bite and all will be forgiven ;)

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make them listening to some michael buble christmas music please and then enjoy snuggled beneath a blanket watching love actually. it’s just the right thing to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17731HiOiXg

Raw (and Healthy) Cranberry Bliss Bars
Raw, Paleo and Vegan version of the popular coffee shop treat.
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
15min 0 min 16bars
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
15min 0 min 16bars
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Raw (and Healthy) Cranberry Bliss Bars
Raw, Paleo and Vegan version of the popular coffee shop treat.
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
15min 0 min 16bars
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
15min 0 min 16bars
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Ingredients
Base
Icing
Servings: bars
Units:
Instructions
  1. Add the nuts to your food processor and process until you get a fine meal. Add the rest of the dry base ingredients and pulse a couple times to mix. Then add in the date and cranberries and process until a sticky dough forms. Press into a plastic wrap-lined square pan and put in the fridge while you make the icing.
  2. Add your soaked cashew nuts and the rest of the icing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Smooth over top of the bars. Sprinkle on chopped cranberries to decorate and then put back in the fridge to let the icing firm up. Store in the fridge or freezer until just before serving or the icing with get melty and soft again. These freeze well, so you can make them ahead of time!
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birthday cake batter smoothie

Some of you already know this, but it was my birthday last week. Not only that, but it was the BIG 25! It seems crazy that I have hit that milestone, a whole quarter of a century.

   cake batter smoothie 3

I thought I would be freaking out- I mean didn’t I think I would be more settled by now? Have a better job? Have some kind of savings?? Is it possible that I am still in school, still not sure where I’m heading and still in a not-so-amazing-paying job?

But then I realized just how lucky I am. While I may not have a fancy job, a fancy condo or a fancy savings account, I have something better. I am sure of WHO I AM and I am HAPPY with that. I may have my shortcomings and areas that I need to work on, but I accept those and you know what, I LOVE those things because they are what makes me, me! I have come to see the beauty in the unknown, in not knowing where I’m heading. Not having a concrete plan laid out in front of me means the future is full of possibilities. Not having a solid job or house means I can go and live or travel anywhere!

Not only that, but even though I’m still in school, I am studying something I am passionate about. I know that I am in the right place at the right time. The way I see it, 25 will be the best year yet!

In the spirit of making the next year rewarding, fulfilling, and fun, I have compiled a list of 26 things I would like to do or accomplish by the time I’m 26. Some are big, some are small, some personal, some professional. All are things that have been on my mind.  Thank you to Davida at The Healthy Maven for the idea!

  1. knit my first scarf
  2. go to London, England to visit a friend
  3. check off 10 restaurants from the Toronto Vegetarian Guide
  4. take a French class
  5. develop my own personal style
  6. be able to do King Dancer pose
  7. drink more wine
  8. budget better
  9. hire someone to redesign my blog
  10. start seeing nutrition clients
  11. write handwritten notes to friends far away
  12. write my first ebook
  13. drink more water
  14. revamp my blog for my nutrition practice
  15. do my first video post
  16. stay in with friends more (dinner parties, etc.)
  17. run a cooking class (even if it’s just for friends!)
  18. resist impulse food purchases (and cut down pantry)
  19. go to more comedy shows
  20. take a stay-cation
  21. get a job related to my field
  22. explore more beautiful places in Toronto
  23. bring a vegan dish to family Christmas dinner and wow everyone with it
  24. drink through my tea collection, cut down on coffee
  25. explore more markets in Toronto
  26. Most importantly: ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS

cake batter smoothie 2

And don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you without a recipe.

When I woke up on the big day, all I wanted was cake. Which was a strange thing because I honestly can’t remember the last time I craved it. Seeing as I didn’t have the time nor desire to whip up a cake from scratch, I decided to make a smoothie that would taste just like cake batter. And guess what, it did :)

The sweetness of the medjool dates and bananas combined with the luxurious flavor of the vanilla made this smoothie feel like dessert. But what really took this right to cake batter was the baking soda. I know it sounds weird but it totally works!

This smoothie is quite sweet, so for a “normal” day, I would probably omit one or both of the dates, but this morning was special. Feel free to adjust according to your taste!

cake batter smoothie

Birthday Cake Batter Smoothie
A special smoothie for a birthday morning.
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
5min 1smoothie
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
5min 1smoothie
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Birthday Cake Batter Smoothie
A special smoothie for a birthday morning.
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
5min 1smoothie
Prep Time Cook Time Servings
5min 1smoothie
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Ingredients
Servings: smoothie
Units:
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except the baking powder to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the baking soda then pulse a couple times to incorporate. Top with your choice of sprinkles (I used goji berries!) and a candle.
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