WIAW: Smoothie Edition

If you’ve been following my Twitter feed, or if you read my August Goals, you’ll know that I am participating in Charissa’s “Colourful Smoothie Challenge”.

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Charissa is giving away so many amazing products it’s impossible not to stay motivated to drink a smoothie each day in hope’s of earning points towards that final prize. She’s also been posting some pretty neat recipes so be sure to check them out. This week I’ve decided to dedicate my WIAW to Smoothies because they are so prominent in my diet. They are my go-to snack and have even been replacing ice cream as my dessert! In the morning I blend in my coffee for a caffeine boost! I’ve also been enjoying Green Juice, my favourite recipe being a combination of Spinach, Arugula, Apple, Cucumber, Parsley and Lime Juice. Here are a few of my other creations so far:IMG_6517 IMG_6384 IMG_6387

What I love about Smoothies is that done right, they can pack in a lot of vitamins, and minerals. They make for easy breakfasts as you can take them to go and slurp them through a straw. There’s no excuse for “not having time” since all you have to do is throw ingredients into a blender and pulse on high for less than a minute. Did I mention they make very little mess? I truly believe they are as filling and nutritious as a meal because you can blend in high sources of protein and healthy fats. Smoothies are so adaptable so you can customize them to suit your needs. If you find beverages aren’t for you, try thickening it up and eating it like soup. If you need that crunch to feel satisfied, why not top it with granola, kamut puffs, chia seeds or hemp hearts. Smoothies are a great ways to get in your vegetables if you have trouble getting in all of your servings. They are also an excellent way to use up produce that is almost past it’s prime because the riper the fruit, the better it is suited for a smoothie. If you choose to incorporate milk or yogurt in your smoothie, it will also provide you with some much needed calcium. In the summertime I find smoothies a great way to stay hydrated. While I prefer to drink them as a snack or dessert, I know many choose to have them as a post-workout shake or meal replacement.IMG_6400

It’s unlikely that you’ve never seen a smoothie being made, but in case you are lacking inspiration, here is a go to guide that I created based on tips I’ve gathered from Pinterest.  Just remember, soluble fiber fruits provide a smoother overall finish to your smoothie and vegetables that are poignant make it harder to mask their flavours. Adding in a banana will make your smoothie sweeter and creamier, without overpowering the other flavours. I also don’t think it is necessary to go crazy with “superfoods” like Goji Berries and Bee Pollen since your smoothie should already be dense in flavour and nutrition, plus these “superfoods” can add up in price turning your beverage into an expensive meal. Like Chelsea’s post explained, chia seeds are a nice treat but they aren’t needed to achieve optimal health.

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Molly’s Smoothie Guide (The Asterisks * are my favourite, Measurements are approximate) 

1. Pick a Base: 1 Cup

  • Green Tea *
  • Cow’s Milk *
  • Flax Milk *
  • Coconut Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Hemp Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Coconut Water
  • Water

2. Add Your Favourite Fruit: 2 Cups

  • Banana *
  • Strawberries *
  • Raspberries *
  • Blueberries *
  • Mango *
  • Nectarine / Peach *
  • Watermelon *
  • Cantaloupe *
  • Lemon Juice *
  • Lime Juice *
  • Orange Juice
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Cherries

3. Hide Some Vegetables: 1 Cup

  • Kale *
  • Spinach *
  • Arugula *
  • Beets *
  • Carrots *

4. Thicken It Up

  • Handful of Ice *
  • Frozen Cucumber *
  • Protein Powder *
  • Chickpeas *
  • Oats

5. Add Some Flavour: 1- 2 Tablespoons

  • Fat: Soy Butter *, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter,  ½ Avocado, Coconut Oil, Flax Oil
  • Spice: Cinnamon *, Vanilla Extract *, Maple Extract *, Parsley *, Basil *, Mint *, Cilantro, Lemongrass, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Spirulina, Chlorella Powder
  • Sweetener: Stevia *, Dates *, Figs, Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup,

6. Blend it together

7. Top and Serve: 1-2 Tablespoons

  • Superfoods: Chia Seeds *, Flax Seeds *, Hemp Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Cacao Beans

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You’ll definitely be seeing a lot more smoothie recipes on my blog since I am trying to switch up my blends so that I don’t get bored with the challenge. Shannon recommended adding in Sweet Potatoes but I am open to other suggestions as well! What do you love about Smoothies? Do you find them thirst quenching and filling? ♥ Molly

Fun Fact: Did you know that smoothie consumption has gone up more than 80% in the last 5 years? It’s the business to be in!

July Favourites

It is hard to believe that it is July already, as it feels like June had just begun. This is by far my favourite month, as it contains 31 days, is usually the month for our family vacation, fosters reunions with friends that moved away for school, brings warmer weather, allows for beach trips, is the “in season” for fresh berries, encloses Canada Day and Independence Day and of course is the month my own birthday falls within! Here are some of the things I already love about July.

July Favourites1. Ivivva Double-Dutch Tank 2. Mini Latte Bowls 3. Nectarines 4.Sunglow Stripes Dress 5. Inspirational Quotes 6. “Word Art” Disposable Cameras 7. Clear Wayfarer Sunglasses 8. The Fault in Our Stars Novel 9. Rampup Wedges 10. iPhone Editing App. “A Beautiful Mess”

Since July is often very busy, I typically have less time for myself. While I love get-togethers, I don’t want to lose sight of my own goals.Along with a few academic and fitness aspirations (not mentioned), I have set five blog and five personal goals that are S.M.A.R.T.. This is what I am motivated to achieve for the month of July:

Blog Goals

  • Participate in Marvelous Monday and What I ate Wednesday at least once! I have been hesitant to join these movements as I am still unsure which direction my blog is going to travel in. I haven’t quite figured out my target audience, so I don’t know whether or not my readers will enjoy these types of posts. Regardless, both “link-ups” are great for earning new followers and I know they will enhance my blogging experience. I’d like to become part of the blogging community so that in future I can attend conferences such as the Blend Retreat, HLS and BlogHer.
  • Create at least 2 DIY posts. Right now my blog is more focused on recipes than my everyday living. I thoroughly enjoy crafts and I haven’t been sharing those that I do on a regular basis! I hope to feature more photos and less words, since lately my posts have been lengthy.
  • Comment on posts more often. I read my “blogroll” daily, however I don’t always take the time to let the blogger know I relate to his or her post. I know how much I appreciate comments, and I definitely want to recognize the effort bloggers put into their websites.
  • Try a new recipe each week and create a new recipe each week. I’d love to venture out from my cooking style by trying recipes that I can find off of pinterest, other blogs, cookbooks and the television.
  • Complete my first review. I’ve actually been sent some products to review, after a company heard that I am blogging. I’d like to feature my first giveaway this month! My only hesitation is that I still don’t have a ton of followers, but I guess that just increases everyone’s chance of winning!

Personal Goals

  • Try one new food each week. I love going to the grocery store and picking out products. This month I am going to challenge myself to cook foods of different ethnicities. I’d love to try new fruits and vegetables, especially those deemed “superfoods”. I’m currently working on exposing myself to more coconut since I am just beginning to like its flavour!
  • Develop a new hobby. My sister Emma is very talented at crocheting. So far I only know how to sew and knit. I’d love to learn how to crochet as well! I will also continue to improve my photography skills and baking techniques.
  • Finalize my summer plans! I have recently booked my flight for a trip at the end of August, but I want to work on some details for a family trip this July.
  • Read. I love reading but these days I seem to be too busy to spend time absorbing a good novel. The last novel I read was “Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult and it was so good that I finished it in two days. I hope to reincorporate reading into my bedtime routine so that I am spending less time exposed to bright lights, and more time winding down before falling asleep. It’s just one more thing that I can do for self-care and myself.
  • Be more easy going. Traffic, slow walkers and other things that throw me off of schedule, can really get on my nerves. I hope to become more patient and be less of a perfectionist. I want my summer to be enjoyable and relaxing, so I am going to try to go with the flow. This will include my appearance, as I want to spend less time straightening my hair and more time embracing its natural wave and frizz. While I am always optimistic, I do let others influence my mood, and I want to focus on finding the good in every situation so that I don’t take anything in my life for granted. There is always something to be thankful for!

What do you hope to complete this month? Do you take time off for holidays in July, or is it no different than April and June? What are your July Favourites? Have any inspirational quotes or tips that make you even more productive? ♥ Molly

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein

Tropical Treats

As a nutrition student, I read cookbooks like an individual majoring in English would devour a Shakespeare play. While most of the time I search for inspiration through Pinterest and Blogs, I probably flip through a recipe book at least every other day. Call me addicted, but the terminology is fascinating.

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When I am creating a recipe of my own though, I often seek guidance from my Nutrition textbook.

One of my favourite bloggers and good friend is great at informing her readers about great sources of various nutrients. This year, Chelsea completed her undergraduate in Food and Nutrition and received a dietetic internship for the upcoming year. Whenever I am in need of a new place to eat, I always ask her since is great at discovering new restaurants and shares similar nut allergies as me! Often she will do a breakdown of a certain vitamin or mineral and this week it just happened to be Iron. Something I should be more conscious about consuming within my diet.

When assembling a meal, I don’t simply cater to my taste buds; I also try to incorporate nutrients that I know I need. My blood work consistently shows a lack of Iron and since I don’t eat red meat, I am conscious about choosing leafy greens, legumes, tofu and of course occasional heme sources such as mussels and shrimp. Chelsea mentioned that seeds and molasses are also great sources for iron, so I might just have to whip up a batch of cookies!

Similarly, I don’t often drink milk, so I choose calcium rich and vitamin D dense foods such as yogurt, fish and eggs (the yolk included). Recently I took up an interest in swimming and since then, I have found that I am getting muscle cramps during the night. This can be a sign of a potassium deficiency as potassium is responsible for balancing water and acid in blood and in body tissues. Potassium is a trace mineral, which means quantity wise, I don’t need as much as a macro mineral. This being said, someone over the age of 14 should be ingesting 4700mg of potassium each day (Canada’s Food Guide). Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium as are lima and white beans, potatoes (with skin), squash, dairy (yogurt and milk) and apricots (fresh or dried).

Today, when creating a healthy snack, I decided to incorporate both Potassium and Calcium. While this recipe isn’t exactly a source of iron, Vitamin C does enhance non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal. Last week my sister and I made yummy orange creamsicles, but to be honest, they weren’t exactly nutritious. In hopes of maintaing their flavour but cutting back on the fat and sugar, I created a delicious yogurt variation. I call them “Better than Tropicana” because they remind me of a childhood favourite; Tropicana “Strawberry Banana Orange Juice”.

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Makes 6, 3oz Servings

  • 1 cup of Orange Juice (Freshly squeezed or Organic).
  • 1 cup Strawberry Yogurt (Greek or Regular, 0% or 2%)
  • 1 banana (Fairly ripe)
  1. Blend all ingredients together and pour into popsicle moulds. Let freeze overnight.

Note: If you wanted this to taste more like an Orange creamsicle, substitute vanilla yogurt instead of strawberry, and omit the banana. You could even add in some fresh orange zest, but beware it sinks to the end of the popsicle. To compensate for the missing banana ingredient, add an extra half a cup of vanilla yogurt. To pack in even more protein, you could add in 1 scoop of protein powder, decrease the amount of yogurt and increase the ratio of juice so that it isn’t too thick.

I think that the reason I enjoy making popsicles is because they aren’t messy (hello blender and spatula) and are very easy (only three ingredients). I am hoping to create Pomegranate Blueberry, Strawberry Basil, and Mocha flavoured popsicles in the near future. Making popsicles is similar to making a smoothie, only in solid form. The hardest part is definitely waiting for them to freeze and seeing them disappear quickly. You’ll be surprised at how filling they can actually be! ♥ Molly

Fun Fact: I fell in love with popsicles during the 2003 summer power outage. Everyone brought popsicles and ice cream out to the park since there was no electricity to keep the freezer cold! 

In Fond Memory

Sometimes in life we are fortunate to meet people who motivate us to be the best version of ourselves. Yesterday I celebrated the life of someone who continues to embody the role of an inspirer.

Frank Dempsey. To some he was an NFL and CFL athlete, to others he was the best salesman, and to his family he was an amazing husband, father and grandfather. I feel blessed to have met Frank Dempsey, for he is one of the only people that has made me feel beautiful.

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If Frank had been present at his visitation, he would have called it a “Beauty Contest”. Frank made every female, from babies to grandmothers, feel like they were the prettiest person around. From “Miss Universe” to “Miss Canada”, I was a winner but only second to his “Perfect Ten Wife”.

Through memories Frank’s humour, smile, and story will continue to live on. For he will not be gone, until the last person who remembers him fondly is no longer present.

As family remarked, Frank was a BIG man who lived a LARGE life. He demanded everyone’s attention when he entered a room because he not only filled it in size, but also with his bold personality. If he had a goal, he would achieve it. He knew how to create the most out of a buffet table, find light in every opportunity, and make strangers feel like his best friend. His generosity touched so many lives as he made bighearted donations, and opened his home to all.

Words cannot even begin to describe how well Frank Dempsey lived his life. He was an interesting man who lived an adventurous life. He was the unofficial mayor of Downtown Oakville as he greeted all who passed him in his motor vehicle. Frank was an important man, so important that Wikipedia even created a page about him!

You will be tremendously missed Frankie D. Going forward I will always ask myself “What would Frank do?. ♥ Molly

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” – John Holmes