Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Green Living Show: Contest and Discount!!


Well hello and good morning to you!

I wanted to share some news with you about the 2014 Green Living Show.

This is an awesome event running from April 25-27 in Toronto where you can sample and buy a myriad of fabulous ecofriendly and healthy products.  There is information, activities and events for the whole family!

Anyone who decides to follow me on Twitter, or becomes a blog follower by April 24th, will have the chance to win one of two pairs of free tickets to the show.  Or, if you purchase tickets through this link, you will get $2.00 of each ticket. Just plug in the code: BLOGGLS at point of purchase.

I encourage you to attend this fabulous event!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Post-Vacation Reality Check


It's Little A's actual birthday today...I can't believe she is 5 already!  But we had a pretty awesome long weekend.

Normally I work Saturdays, which kind of sucks, but is a necessity for now.  This weekend, I didn't work at all, and it was glorious!  If you have kids, you know that holidays and long weekends are not always a vacation, but this 4-day weekend was actually pretty great.

Friday we took the girls to Artistic Way to paint mugs, and we had an amazing time.  Our pieces should be ready next week, and we are very excited to see the fruits of our labour.

Saturday was Little A's birthday and, honestly, it was the best ever!  I have no regrets or guilt about letting the party planners at this place do all the work because they did an amazing job and the kids had a fabulous time!  I highly recommend Amazon Indoor Playground in Etobicoke, if you live in the GTA and are looking for a venue.  I am thrilled that we already booked Big A's party there in a few weeks.  It was the most stress-free birthday we have ever hosted and no more expensive than anything else we have tried.  Loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday morning we spent time with my family at my brother's house and in the afternoon, we took the girls to Downey's Farm for their Easter Egg Scramble.  It was gorgeous weather and lots of fun.

Yesterday, we spent some time at my brothers again in the early morning and then had a park playdate with friends.  Then Adam took the girls swimming at the JCC and we played with neighbours in the later afternoon.  It was a really fun weekend.

Unfortunately, it makes it that much harder to get back to real life.  I love my job, but I definitely don't love the usual stresses of getting the girls out the door to school in the morning and running them to their weekly activities, etc.  But it was worth it, I think it was a little break we all needed.

At least it's only a 4-day week!  Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Biocore's Microgreens: Product Review


Well happy Easter Monday!  Its a beautiful day and the last one of our 4 day weekend.  We've been having a great time, how about you? 

Or are you feeling a bit sluggish after too much ham, chocolate and other Easter indulgences this weekend...or Passover indulgences?  Maybe its time to ramp up your nutrition?

Well, do you eat your greens?  Or do you drink them?  I eat them.  All the time.  So much, that people make fun of me.

But I realize not everyone loves green veggies as much as I do.  I guess that's why greens supplements are so popular.  Personally, I am not a smoothie or juice person, so I am not a big user of these, so when I was recently sent a sample of Biocore's Microgreens, I shared them with my friend J, who just started chemo for ovarian cancer.  She has been struggling with her appetite, and, in particular, with having an appetite  for veggies.  She is a long time user of various greens supplements, so I knew she'd be open to trying them.

Hello!  She gave this product a rave review.  Within a few days of using it, she felt a noticeable improvement in her energy levels.  She also said it was by far the best tasting one she has ever tried, and it is much less gritty or thick than the others on the market.  She absolutely loved the taste and said all she needed to do was mix it with about 3 parts water and 1 part orange juice.  She felt any more juice made it too sweet, so some people might even prefer to just mix it with water.

Her comments were also that it was easier to understand exactly what is in the product compared with other brands, and she liked the ingredient list feeling it was even a higher quality product than others.

Here is a list of the core ingredients, by the way:

Barley Grass Juice Powder: Barley grass is the most nutrient dense out of all the cereal grasses. Barley grass juice contains significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients. Contains carotene, vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, iron.
Parsley Powder:
Contains high levels of beta carotene, vitamin B12, folate, chlorophyll,
calcium, more vitamin C than citrus fruits. Has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant.
Sweet Potato Powder:
Very rich in carotenes (helps in the production of vitamin A). Also an excellent source of vitamins C, B2, B6, E and biotin (B7). Is also a good source of manganese, folate (folic acid), copper and iron, pantothenic acid and is rich in dietary fiber.
Kale Powder:
Significant amounts of vitamins B6 and C, carotenes, and manganese. It is also a very good source of vitamins B1, B2, and E, fiber, iron, copper, and calcium.
Broccoli Powder:
Very nutrient-dense. It's an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, and fiber. Also contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B6 and E, carotenoid lutein, glucosinolates, and phytochemicals.
Cranberry (6% Quinic Acid):Outstanding source of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber. They also
provide a good source of manganese and copper. Cranberries are a rich source of anthocyanidins, which are antioxidant pigments that give fruits and vegetables their blue, purple, and red pigments.
Milk Thistle (80% Silymarin):
Silymarin, an active ingredient in the milk thistle, is a powerful antioxidant. Milk Thistle extracts have been used for thousands of years to help improve liver function and detoxification.
Green Tea (50% Polyphenol, Decaff):
Green Tea is rich in a group of chemicals, called Catechin Polyphenols (Commonly known as Tannins which contribute to bitter taste and astringency) like Catechin, Epicatechin, Epicatechin Gallate (ECG), Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), Pro-Anthocyanidins etc. They are also known as Flavonoids and are very powerful anti oxidants.
Polygonum Cuspidatum Extract (20% Resveratrol):
Polygonum Cuspidatum is an antipyretic and analgesic and has antimicrobial, antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.
Cinnamon Extract:
Is very rich in antioxidants, cinnamon also contains polyphenols. Polyphenols seem to imitate insulin in your body and may help regulate blood sugar levels.
Carrot Juice Powder:
High in beta carotene and fiber content and is a good source of antioxidant agents as well. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium.
Apple Powder:
Good source of flavonoids and polyphenols both are powerful antioxidants. Apples contain a large amount of minerals and vitamins that can strengthen the blood.
Peach Powder:
Peaches are extremely rich in vitamin A and potassium and are very nutrient dense thus boasting a high nutritional value.
Chlorella:
Chlorella is a potent source of B-12, a vitamin commonly found in proteins. It also contains B-1, B-2, folic acid, and vitamins C and K and is also a significant source of antioxidants.
Spinach Powder:Like other dark greens, spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant . Possesses several important phytochemicals, including lutein and lipoic acid, which helps antioxidant vitamins C and E regenerate.
Leek Powder:
Combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients also very dense in vitamins and minerals.
Lycopene 10%:
Lycopene is a carotenoid, a potent antioxidant, found in high concentrations in vegetables such as tomato. Lycopene is a pigment created by plants.
Lutein 5%:
Found in Carrots, squash and other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables as well as marigold blossoms. Also a very rich antioxidant. Has been proven to help with macular degeneration.
Quercetin:
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory. Quercetin can be found in onions, apples, green and black tea and in leafy green vegetables and beans. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries are also high in flavonoids).
Rutin:
Rutin is classified as a bioflavonoid. Rich rutin sources include fruits and fruit rinds (most especially grapefruit, lemon, orange and lime) and in buckwheat seeds. It is also found in black tea and apple peelings.
Digestive Enzymes:
The main health benefit of general digestive enzyme is in the support of a healthy digestive process. Aiding in intestinal function and elimination.
Kelp Powder:
Kelp is high in iodine, potassium, calcium, and other minerals as well as vitamins, especially the B vitamins. Has been used for centuries to maintain healthy Thyroid function.
Oat Beta Glucan:Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber. Soluble dietary fiber is believed to have a valuable effect in the decrease of high cholesterol levels. Foods high in beta glucan’s are known to improve regularity.
Aloe Vera Extract:
Used as a medicinal plant for centuries all around the world. Used internally it is said that aloe vera can ease digestive irregularities, combat high blood pressure levels as well as being used as an analgesic and an antimicrobial.
Acerola Powder (Cherry):Nutrient dense and is a powerful supplier of vitamin C. Is also a potent antioxidant.
Mango Powder:
Excellent source of carotenes, vitamin C, and copper. Good source of vitamin B and E, potassium, and magnesium
Dunaliella Sulina (Betatene):
Unique algae containing rich concentrations of carotenoids (mainly Beta-Carotene), antioxidants and essential vitamins.
Lemon Juice Powder:
A powerful antibacterial, also contains some vitamin A and a large amount of natural vitamin C. The vitamin C found in lemons is also considered a bioflavanoid. Lemon also contains niacin and thiamin in small amounts.
Hawaiian Spirulina:
Spirulina is highly nutritious, it is among the most nutritious, concentrated
whole food sources found in nature.
Grape Seed Extract:
Contains protein, lipids, carbohydrates and polyphenols (which come mainly in the form of flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids). Flavonoids describe a class of plant chemicals known for their activity as highly potent antioxidants.
Wild Blueberry:
blueberries are high in vitamin C, a strong antioxidant offering support for the immune system. Blueberries also contain fibre, folate, iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, B vitamins, vitamin E and silicon. Blueberries also top any antioxidant potency list available.
Wild Bilberry:A super potent antioxidant high in flavonoids. Billberry has been used to treat ocular ailments and has been said to better vision.
Prune:
Extremley rich in antioxidants, prunes also contain potassium, iron, vitamin A and C, chromium and Lutein. Very rich in fibre.
Raspberry Seed:
One of the most powerful known antioxidants. Ellagatannins which are converted into ellagic acid in the body. Many fruits contain ellagatannins. However, raspberry ellagatannins are one of very few fruits that have been clinically shown to be transformed into beneficial levels of ellagic acid in the body.
Strawberry:Contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, In addition to vitamin C, strawberries also provide an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

You can purchase the product on their website, and it should soon be showing up in stores across Canada.  If you like greens supplements, I highly recommend you check this one out!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014


Happy Easter to those celebrating this weekend.

I think we are all happy to have a 4 day weekend happening here, especially since the weather has improved.  There have been so many incidents of misbehaviour around here lately, that the girls have lost almost all of their privileges, and I've lost my sanity.  Although really I lost that years ago.

Little A still seems to be in some sort of phase that is, well, miserable.  I think it was exhaustion a few days this week because the girls got to bed much later than usual due to the Passover sedars.  But yesterday morning she was so irrational that I can't even explain it. Adam and I suspect it might have been nerves about having to do this presentation in French at school, but it's hard to say.  She is very social, but definitely doesn't like being put in the spotlight.  She was too shy to sing the 4 questions at the sedar, for example, even though it was just family.

I am very excited because today we are taking the girls to a ceramics place where you can paint mugs, plates, etc.  They have been wanting to do this for a while and I enjoy it too.  I took pottery lessons for a few years in my early 20s and absolutely loved it.

Saturday is Little A's 5th birthday.  Man, I hope she is in a good mood!  Sunday we have a family get-together, and Monday some playdates.  Not everyone has Monday off as a holiday, but the daycare and school are closed, so Adam and I booked it off as well.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy some (stevia-sweetened) chocolate!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sesame Ginger Shirataki Noodle Salad for Passover


Finally, after several days of indulgent Passover treats, here is a savoury recipe for you.

This one basically adapts one I make all the time to be for Passover.  Having to avoid wheat and other grains isn't even the hardest part of Passover for me, it's actually having to also avoid legumes.  This means I can't even use soy sauce!  Thankfully, most health food stores now offer alternatives to soy sauce like coconut aminos.  I subbed coconut vinegar in for the rice vinegar I would usually use, but Adam wasn't overly impressed with that.  I agree, it's definitely better with soy sauce and rice vinegar, but for 8 days of the year, this will do.  It's still very tasty.

For all you not celebrating Passover, this is still a yummy recipe that is great for people eating gluten-free, low-carb, etc.

This is a big recipe, because it was served at our family sedar, so feel free to half it if you don't want to make as much.

Sesame Ginger Shirataki Noodle Salad for Passover

Salad

2-1lb shirataki noodles (the soy-free kind), cut with scissors
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 340g bags broccoli or rainbow slaw
1 bunch green onions, sliced

Dressing

1/2 cup tahini/sesame butter
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup coconut vinegar
2 tbls grated fresh ginger
1 tbls toasted sesame oil
Salt and crushed red chili flakes, to taste

Whisk together ingredients for dressing and set aside.

Place noodles and garlic in hot fry pan for 3-4 minutes.  Toss into a large bowl with slaw and onions.  Pour in dressing and mix well.  If there is any excess moisture from noodles in the salad, sprinkle in 2 tsp of konjac flour and mix well.  Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Death-by-Chocolate Passover Chocolate Torte (aka Nigella Lawson's olive oil chocolate cake)




Most folks who know food, know that the best Passover desserts, are those that never had flour in the recipe to begin with.  So when I found Nigella  Lawson's Olive Oil Chocolate Cake, I knew I had to make it for this year's sedar.

It was definitely the show-stopper.  My picky father-in-law had multiple servings and there were nothing but accolades from everyone else (including the kids).

Unfortunately, its not super healthy.  I thought about using something other than white sugar, and might do that next time I'm making it for us, but since I was making it for a crowd not always keen on healthy substitutions, I left the recipe as is.

Actually, I kind of gilded-the-lily on this one and used almond milk instead of water to make it even richer, and instead of just dusting the top with icing sugar, as Lawson does in her recipe, I poured a chocolate fondant over the top.

I also did the lazy woman's version and skipped all the sifting, electric beating, etc.  It still turned out amazing!

While there might be a heck of a lot of sugar in this, it is gluten-free and dairy free for those with allergies or sensitivities.

Death-by-Chocolate Passover Chocolate Torte (aka Nigella Lawson's olive oil chocolate cake)

Cake
  • cup regular olive oil
  • tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup boiling water or unsweetened chocolate or vanilla almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs

This recipe has been submitted to this week's Gluten-Free (Good) Friday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free)



I saw this recipe on The Detoxinista blog and instantly thought it looked perfect for a Passover dessert.

I didn't think baking soda was okay at Passover, but when I did a bit of research, a lot of sources claim it is.  I guess you can decide for yourself.  I kept it in because I am not that experienced baking with almond flour, so I didn't want to mess these up.

The original recipe uses maple syrup, but I don't like baking with maple syrup unless I want the flavour to be the focus (otherwise it's a waste of liquid gold!), so I opted for agave, and it worked perfectly.  These are super yummy even if you aren't celebrating Passover.  Adam described them as tasting like a cross between a macaroon and a cookie.  The kids love them too!

Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free) (Adapted from this one)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of blmond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 whole egg, or flax egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, vanilla, syrup and egg, and mix well. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and mix well until a uniform batter is achieved, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon, drop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until golden around the edges, turning the pan half-way through baking time.  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies.  Keep in air tight container for 3-4 days or freeze.