Healthy Banana Split

My dad always complains that I never make him any food. Since I eat a plant based vegan diet, I often am making tons of food for myself, and none for my family because they don’t always eat the same foods as me.

But lately I’ve been getting my family, especially my dad, to eat more of the foods I do. I love baking and cooking and making different foods for everyone! So since my dad had been complaining, I decided to whip him up something so he would no longer have anything to complain about.

IMG_0251What you’re looking at is a completely healthy, 100% vegan and gluten free banana split. I know right? Hard to believe such a gorgeous piece of food can be so nutritious. My dad sure didn’t think so when I presented this to him. “How can this be healthy?” he asked. Haha, well let me tell you.

IMG_0254All that is on this plate is simply banana, peanut butter, some fruit, nuts, and vegan chocolate. It’s seriously not as complicated as it looks. But oh boy was it delicious.

IMG_0272Here’s what you’ll need: 4 frozen bananas, 1 regular banana, all natural peanut butter, cacao powder, raspberries, strawberries, vegan chocolate chips, vegan brownies, almonds, cashews, muesli or granola.

Let’s begin with the ice cream.

Strawberry
1. In a blender or food processor, add 2 frozen bananas. *remember to cut up and freeze your ripe bananas 4-5 hours prior to blending them. You get a better taste, temperature and texture.*

2. Add in a few raspberries, more or less depending on how pink you want it

3. Add in a bit of almond milk. I didn’t really measure, just poured a bit, blended it, poured a little bit more.

4. Once everything is blended and you have a smoothie/nana ice cream texture, put it into a tupperware container and stick it in the freezer. You will do this with both flavours for at least 4-5 hours to make ICE CREAM!

Chocolate
4. In a blender, add 2 bananas, 1 tsp. of all natural peanut butter, and 1-2 tsp. of cacao powder.

5. Add a bit of almond milk, and blend everything together so you have a thick creamy smoothie texture.

6. Pour it into a container and freeze it with the other one.

IMG_0269*fast forwards 4-5 hours*

7. Remove your frozen ice cream from the freezer. It may not be frozen all the way. If not, freeze it for longer. Or if you’re impatient like me, you can remove them anyways (what I did) and just work with what you got!

8. Cut open one ripe banana through the center, put it on a plate and spread all natural peanut butter on both sides.

9. Scoop on some chocolate and strawberry ice cream.

10. Throw everything single healthy thing in your pantry on there. I’m talkin strawberries, almonds, cashews, vegan brownies, muesli or granola, and vegan chocolate chips!

11. Drizzle on some homemade vegan chocolate sauce.

VCSServes 1 person (or 2 if you’re cute like me and try to split it). Eat right away before your plate of deliciousnes melts.

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What I’ve Learned About Living Healthy

What do you think of when you hear the term “eating clean” or “eating healthy?” Do you think of salads, and kale shakes? Do you think of eating an apple for lunch, and saying no to dessert? Well if you believe any of those things, you have fallen under the category of people who put a stereotype on health. I’m going to tell you what I have learned from this lifestyle, and hopefully it can help you as well.

1. Joy. The first thing you need to know about living a healthy life style is: it makes you happy. No one should ever be unmotivated to eat clean or hate their eating habits. I hate to say it, but if you don’t look forward to your meals, than you are doing this all wrong. This kind of life style doesn’t have any end goals because essentially we eat better to prolong our lives and be happy. I don’t like the word ‘diets’ because they imply a temporary fix that usually has an end goal in mind. You shouldn’t think of it as a diet, but more of a lifestyle. If you are not happy with how you live today then you need to revise your lifestyle. But once you make the switch to a healthier and happier one, you will realize all that you have been missing was right there in front of you!

image2. Easy. Eating healthy is not hard at all. People complain all the time saying “eating clean is so hard”. No, it really isn’t. You just have to change your motivation and will power and it’s all up hill from there. Think positive and believe that you can make a change. Don’t slack and give up by eating junk food because it’s “easier”. Your body will appreciate it when you fuel it with healthy foods.

If it’s the actual food itself you are worried about being hard, don’t fret, that part is easy as well! Every grocery store has fresh fruits and vegetables for you, and even beans, legumes, lentils, grains, nuts seeds, etc! You just gotta look for them. You can also look for the whole foods or organic section, more and more stores are starting to incorporate them now.

3. Exciting. Eating healthy is so fun and exciting. I’ve heard people say salads and vegetables are boring. Well, hello! There are tons of healthy foods in the world besides salads and vegetables, just take a look around my blog! Expand your horizon; try new things. You’ll love it, I promise.

2014-02-10 006 2014-02-10 0014. Worth it. Once you set goals for yourself and know what you want in life, you can start to work towards them and accomplish so much. Being healthy and happy is way better than sitting on the couch eating potato chips. PLUS if you say no to a hamburger and replace that with rice, sweet potato, lentils and broccoli, it will be so much better for your body, and you’ll realize it’s worth the sacrifice. You may regret that greasy burger, but you will never regret vegetables and a workout.

meSome people believe they are living a healthy lifestyle, but they actually are not. I’ve seen people trying to lose weight and putting themselves on strict meal plans. They drink “nasty” kale sakes, workout every day of the week, eat an apple for lunch, and say no to anything sweet. This breaks my heart because this is NOT living healthy and they are putting themselves through such a hard time in the process. Below I have listed these common habits and how to correct them.

1. Restricting. You should never have to restrict yourself. If you are eating all the right healthy foods, you can eat in abundance. Eating tons of vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, nuts, grains, etc will NOT make you fat. So why not indulge? Never should someone restrict themselves to “one” fruit, or “one” vegetable.

2. Gross. Healthy foods are not supposed to be “gross”. If you are on a juice or smoothie cleanse, or even just eating vegetables at dinner, they should never be gross. It all depends on how you prepare your foods and what you put in them. Healthy protein shakes and smoothies shouldn’t taste bad because YOU are in charge of what goes in them. I make a delicious green smoothie with just bananas, kale, spinach, peanut butter, water and almond milk. It’s green, it’s healthy, and it’s to die for. I just can’t get enough of it. Don’t think that just because you’re making a protein shake that it has to contain every single vegetable there is in the world, because then you just end up with a brown colour and a nasty taste. Just think simplicity.

IMG_95093. Over exercising. One should never over exercise or push themselves to make it to the gym 5 days a week. Take it slow and take it easy. There are no rules saying you have to go to the gym a certain amount of days to workout. Exercise when you feel like it. The best amount of time to work out is 3-4 times a week for 30-40 minutes. This gives your body a short but great workout, and it’s enough to lose weight and or build muscle. And you don’t even have to go to the gym! I do all of my workouts at home. You can create workout schedules from the comfort of your own living room. It’s that easy. And you’ll feel great about it.

step ups4. Saying no to anything sweet. NO! Don’t ever do this. I’ve say this many times before, but if you eat clean and exercise, and live an overall healthy lifestyle, than it is 100% okay to treat yourself. You shouldn’t have to say no to a chocolate cookie when all of your friends are having one. You shouldn’t have to say no to a piece of cake at your mother’s birthday dinner. A treat will not make you fat and it will not make you lose all of the progress that you have made. Smile. Eat. Be happy. Treat yourself.

On another note, I know it’s hard to believe, but there ARE indeed healthy desserts; I’d know because I make em all the time! Flourless, refined sugar free, vegan, paleo, etc. I’m not saying you have to strictly eat healthy desserts, because unhealthy desserts are 100% okay, and 100% delicious. But I am just letting you know that there are options and variety, and you can eat desserts that are guilt free.

IMG_8532Now that you have read my opinions on living a healthy lifestyle, I hope you are able to think about it and allow it to help you become an overall healthy and happier person. I know you think it can be hard, and I know that you may want to give up, but if you ever feel like that, just read this over again. I promise you it will help. Remember, this will all be worth it. There are never any downsides to living a healthy lifestyle. 🙂

 

Cranberry Walnut Salad

This salad is a synonym for summer. I made plenty of salads over the winter, but never really photographed them because a) they weren’t that attractive, and b) the lighting was bad because it got dark so early. But fear the darkness no more! Now that spring is here, the sun stays out so late which I absolutely love. It just reminds me that soon it will be summer and I will be lying in my backyard tanning until 7pm.

2014-04-08 006 2014-04-08 001Anyways, this salad is amazingly delicious. I combined all of my favourite salad toppings onto one plate and created the ultimate salad. As soon as I took this picture I thought of nice weather and eating dinner outside; it’s just so green and colourful!

What you’ll need: Romaine lettuce, chickpeas, cucumber, tomato, broccoli, mushroom, zucchini, walnuts, dried cranberries.

1. Wash romaine lettuce and break it into smaller pieces

2. Put it into a large mixing bowl and get ready to prepare your toppings.

3. Open a can of chickpeas, rinse them, and let them sit in the sink

4. Wash your vegetable and cut up 1 cucumber, 1 tomato, and some raw broccoli.

5. Also cut up some red peppers, mushroom and zucchini, and cook them in a frying pan on the stove.

6. Finally add your chickpeas along with walnuts and dried cranberries.

7. Mix it all together and top with your favourite dressing! I like Italian and Raspberry Vinaigrette

2014-04-08 006 2014-04-08 002 I ate my salad with the fried vegetables and some brown rice. It makes for the perfect vegan meal, or even as a side dish. If you don’t finish it you can store it in a container in the fridge and have it for leftovers the next day! (The best)

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Vegan French Toast

Okay, so my E-book Journey to a Good Life has been out for quite a while now. It includes a 10 page description of my personal workout from home, 25 healthy recipes, foods to buy, meal plans, vegan and vegetarian meal ideas, and behind the scene photos. I haven’t released any of the recipes that are in my E-book onto my blog because well, that would defeat the purpose of having it. One of the recipes in my E-book is vegan french toast. It’s healthy, gluten free, and ever so delicious. I think that it’s time for me to share this one.

IMG_9746Ladies and gentlemen… here is the recipe for my vegan french toast, exclusive right from my E-book.

What you’ll need: Almond milk, 2 ripe bananas, cinnamon, whole grain brain or bread of choice, fruit, pure maple syrup, and a blender.
Prep time: 10 minutes.

1. Preheat the stove or skillet to 350 degrees.

2. Break up and put 2 ripe bananas into a blender or magic bullet.

3. Add in 1/2 cups of vanilla almond milk.

4. Add 2 tsp. of vanilla extract

5. Add 1 tsp. of cinnamon

6. Blend everything together so there’s no chunks, and pour it into a bowl. You may or may not need more almond milk, depending on how much base you want to use. If you want more base, add more almond milk.

7. Grease the pan with coconut oil.

8. Dip whole grain bread (or bread of your choice) into the mix, and put it on the skillet or pan.

9. Cook until it’s brown and no longer soggy, and flip.

10. This should be enough to make 6 pieces of french toast.

Top with fresh fruit such as strawberries, banana, kiwi, pineapple and blueberries, and add pure maple syrup for best results.

Hope you guys enjoy it! For more recipes in my E-book, click here.

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Brownie Batter Blizzard

I’m sure everyone has heard of a Brownie Batter Blizzard. It was my favourite blizzard back when Dairy Queen had it. And since it was my favourite, I was heart broken when they took it off the menu. But last night I was thinking of what kind of smoothie I wanted to make, while also thinking of the fresh batch of brownies I had just made, and all of a sudden an idea was formed.

bbThis right here is a Vegan Brownie Batter Blizzard. And it is so simple to make, it only takes 3 ingredients. Well, 4 if you include the brownie. I literally took SO many photos of this because well, look at it; it’s gorgeous. Oozing with thick creamy chocolate, and topped with decadent vegan brownie chunks. It’s just marvelous. I don’t know how I didn’t think of this sooner.

IMG_9886What you’ll need: frozen bananas, peanut butter, cacao powder, brownies.

1. I guess the first thing you need to do is bake or buy vegan brownies. I used a secret recipe that will be coming soon in the near future.

2. Next you need to make your blizzard; easy peasy. Cut up and freeze four bananas 4-5 hours prior to making your blizzard.

3. When your bananas are frozen and you are ready to make the blizzard, add 4 bananas into a food processor, as well as 1 tbsp. of all natural peanut butter, and 1 tsp. of cacao powder.

4. Blend for a few minutes until it’s really thick, and then add 1/2 cups of almond milk. You may need more or less depending on how thick you want it.

5. Blend again until you get a thick creamy texture and add in chunks of your vegan brownies of choice throughout the mix.

6. Pour into a glass and top with your beautiful vegan brownies and chocolate sauce. (I melted vegan chocolate chips with a bit of almond milk and just stirred it together to make a sauce)

IMG_9899I just can’t over how delicious this looks – and even how delicious it tasted! It was so cold and sweet, but not too sweet that you’d feel sick after as you would when you have dairy. It was a perfect combination of bananas and brownies. And it’s not even unhealthy! You’re talkin a fruit(banana), a great antioxidant(cacao), protein(peanut butter) and calcium (almond milk). I just don’t know how a dessert can get any better than this.

This could serve 1-2 people depending on how much you want. Eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Enjoy!

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Square Bar Review

Over the years I have tried many different granola bars and energy bars that are labelled as healthy and nutritious. I now know that those bars are quite the contrary. Companies label and sell their bars as nutritious, but really they are packed with tons of additives and GMO’s that make them so bad for you. The reason they sell is because they are advertised as nutritious, and they are packed with refined sugars that make them so sweet and addictive.

Since switching to a whole foods plant based diet, I haven’t came across any great nutrition bars. That is until I heard of Square Bar.

IMG_9964Square Bar is a company run by husband and wife Sarah and Andrew Gordon. Sarah battled asthma for most of her life, and it was only after she cut out inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy and processed sugars that she began feeling better.

They created these bars that are vegan, free of refined sugar, and GMO free! I was so thrilled to hear about a company that promoted such a whole, organic product. I couldn’t wait to try it – so when Sarah sent me over these bars, I tried them right away.

2014-04-05 005 2014-04-05 008All three flavours were light and sweet! They are all made with cocoa so if you like that, you’ll love all the flavours. My favourite was Cocoa Coconut which had both hints of cocoa and coconut, two amazing flavours.

The thing I like most about these bars is that they are all natural. They contain all plant based ingredients so they are safe for vegan’s, and they don’t use any artificial flavours or additives. Now a days people believe it is impossible to create something so good without any of those things, but Andrew and Sarah did it!

2014-04-09 001 2014-04-09 018“Squarebar launched March 2012 at Natural Products Expo West and is now nationally distributed… growth built on the notion that #IngredientsMatterMost. Don’t get us wrong, we love balanced nutrition facts as much as the next food label reader… we just believe in knowing where those facts come from, because they’re not all created equal. Best to start with nutrient-dense, sustainable, and let’s not forget yummy, whole food ingredients for happier snacking!”

Thanks so much Andrew and Sarah, these bars were awesome! For more information visit their site: http://www.squarebar.com/

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Spinach Pancakes

You could say one of my favourite things to do is experiment in the kitchen – especially with pancakes. I have so many different pancake recipes now, I have a hard time choosing which one I want to make in the morning. But oops, I did it again. I created yet another pancake recipe. And like the sweet potato pancakes, these ones contain a vegetable as well; a leafy green.

IMG_9672Spinach is awesome. Spinach is one of the best super foods for your body. It contains almost every single vitamin and nutrient you need, and gives you so much energy for your day. So when I thought about making pancakes, I thought, what better way to make healthy pancakes than with none other than the world’s best super food – SPINACH!

IMG_9634Spinach pancakes everybody. Take it all in. I know what most people are thinking – mostly because my brother was one of those people. “Ew, spinach in pancakes? That’s disgusting” or “Pancakes …. why are they green!?”

Well fear not my friends, I assure you that you can’t even taste the spinach. I use spinach all the time in my smoothies, and it doesn’t have a distinct or gross flavour. It just adds colour – and a ton of vitamins and nutrients. So don’t let these pancakes scare you – they’re awesome.

IMG_96511. Start off by preheating your stove top of skillet to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a magic bullet or blender, add 1 ripe banana and 1 handful of spinach.

3. Add 1/2 cups of water and blend it together for 30 seconds

4. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 and 1/2 cups of oats

5. Pour the green smoothie contents from the blender into the bowl and stir it in

6. Add 1/4 coconut sugar and 2 tsp. of peanut butter

7. Add 2 tsp. of pure maple syrup and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

8. Add 1/2 cups of almond milk. If your mix is too thick, simply add more liquids to get it to a thinner consistency.

9. Grease your pan with coconut oil

10. Cook until they look ready.

The batch should make about 10 regular sized pancakes. I topped mine with banana, strawberries, vegan chocolate chips, and pure maple syrup.

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Kale and Quinoa Salad

I think I’ve said this before but.. salad’s are my favourite. When you tell people you had salad for dinner, they either think you’re depriving yourself, or you’re boring. Well I am here to tell you that my salads are never dull, small, or boring!

2014-04-06 007 2014-04-06 006This Kale and Quinoa salad is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and tons of flavour. Not to mention I get super full after I eat it, so there goes the myth that salads never satisfy you.

For this salad you need quinoa, kale, mushrooms, red pepper, carrots, cucumber, dried cranberries, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

2014-04-06 003 2014-04-06 0021. First start off by washing your kale and putting it into a bowl.

2. Cut up your veggies into small pieces.

3. Pour 2 cups of water into a pot, and boil on high. Add in 1 cup of quinoa. Once it starts to boil, turn it down to medium, and cook until your quinoa is soft and fluffy looking. You may or may not need to add more water depending on how it absorbs it and cooks.

2014-04-06 003 2014-04-06 0034. Pour your quinoa into your salad and mix it together.

5. Add in all of your veggies, along with dried cranberries, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

6. Top with your favourite kind of dressing. I used mixed berry vinaigrette.

I ate my salad with a side of broccoli, asparagus, and sweet potato fries. Enjoy! 🙂

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Plant Based Diet Challenge

Over the weekend I asked my parents to watch the documentary “Forks over Knives” with me. It’s a movie that explains the importance of a plant based diet, and how it not only helps your body, but also cures and reverses many sicknesses and diseases. In a world where heart disease and obesity are the number one killers, it is up to us to find natural, homeopathic remedies to heal our bodies.

After watching the film, I asked my parents if they would be willing to try to go vegan for 3 days and only eat whole plant foods. My mother said she’d try, but wouldn’t switch completely. My father though, surprised me the most by saying he would be willing to try to go fully vegan for 3 days. He also smokes daily so he has been trying to cut back on that, so now he is trying to only have 1 cigarette at 7pm.

To help them with this challenge, I said I would prepare their meals for them, and teach them how to make certain things.

Day 1
I made us bowls of oatmeal with fruit, nuts, hemp hearts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate brownie nut butter from Sweet Spreads.

2014-04-05 001 2014-04-05 003For lunch I made us green smoothie bowls that included: frozen bananas, pineapple, spinach, peanut butter, and water. Topped with pineapple, muesli, banana, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and a strawberry.

2014-04-05 004 2014-04-05 001For dinner we made a group effort and together we made a cous cous strifry with tons of vegetables, along with baked potatoes.

2014-04-05 002 2014-04-05 0142014-04-05 002 2014-04-05 011Day 2

I was busy in the kitchen making two kinds of pancakes for breakfast: sweet potato and spinach.

IMG_9678For lunch I whipped up a delicious smoothie in the blender: frozen banana, strawberries, dates, cacao powder, peanut butter and water.

2014-04-06 003 2014-04-06 017For Sunday night dinner, I prepared a delicious meal: kale and quinoa salad, sweet potato fries, broccoli and spinach. My brother was cooking lamb for himself and my grandpa, but my mother, father and I all stuck to our delicious plate of whole foods.

2014-04-06 007 2014-04-06 006Day 3

For breakfast I made vegan french toast (the recipe is in my E-book) and my parents loved it!

2014-04-07 005 2014-04-07 002For lunch I made green juices and smoothies. The smoothies included frozen banana, spinach, peanut butter and water. The juice was kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, Macintosh apple, strawberries, frozen banana, and water.

2014-04-07 003 2014-04-07 002Since I made so much food for Sunday night’s dinner, Monday nights dinner was just left overs!

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That pretty much sums up the three day plant based diet challenge. It was a pretty fun experience for both my parents and I. I was busy in the kitchen making lots of foods, and they were gaining a new experience by trying all of these things. My dad even said that after today, he’s not going to go completely vegan, but he’d like to stick with mainly plant based foods, but still be able to have his regular food, but with smaller portions.

On Sunday night when we were eating dinner, my brother and grandpa only had meat on their plate – no greens! It was terrible.. I cringed a little bit. We tried to get them to eat some but they refused. My dad now says that rather than having his plate 80% meat and 20% veggies, he wants to have it the other way around.

I’m glad I was able to share this with them and introduce them, even if just a little bit, to a whole and healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t watched the documentary Forks over Knives, I highly recommend it.

Ps. All new foods you see in this post will be on my blog with a recipe within the week!

Here are some extra photos from the past 3 days.

 

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All this for only $19! Except for the bananas – I got them separately. Included in that is kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato, oranges, apple, kiwi, and strawberries.

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Green Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

I have created yet another green smoothie recipe. I first tried this out as a drinkable smoothie, and then within a few days, changed the recipe just slightly to make a thick, creamy smoothie bowl.

2014-03-27 001 2014-03-27 023You can use the recipe to make either a smoothie or a smoothie bowl, it all depends on how much liquids you put in it. This smoothie is slightly different from my other green smoothie because I altered the ingredients slightly. They both taste delicious though.

IMG_9509That’s the thing I love about green smoothies. They don’t have to be the exact same every time. You can switch up the ingredients by adding more or less, or even adding in a new ingredient, and it will still taste awesome. For this green smoothie, the new ingredient was pineapple.

1. In your blender, add 3 frozen bananas

2. Add 1 cup of spinach, and 3/4 cups of water (you can add more or less depending on how liquidy you like it)

3. Add 1/2 cups of pineapple

4. Add 1 tsp. of all natural peanut butter

5. Blend it all together for 30 seconds, or until it’s all blended up

This recipe makes a drinkable smoothie. If you want to make a thick smoothie bowl, simple add less water, perhaps 1/3 cups, but you can experiment and see how much you need while you’re making it.

IMG_9515Pour it into a bowl and add muesli, pineapple, banana, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and strawberries!

Or pour it into a glass to sip on.

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