Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No Oat Chocolate Granola

no oat granola

OK, I just have to share this one with everyone.  Once again, not my recipe, but it’s so good that I have to share it here. From

It’s definitely gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, and paleo friendly.  I believe even vegan. 

While I was making this, the entire house started to smell of chocolate.  It was out of this world. I made it in the evening, so I had no trouble falling asleep to the seductive aroma of warm chocolate.


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup raw unpasteurized honey
  • 3 Tbsp. Camino Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Butter
  • pinch of pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. 100% organic Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 225F. 
  2. Take walnuts and almonds and pulse in the food processor until it gets a coarse consistency.  You don’t want to end up with a fine nut flour consistency. Leave in the food processor for now.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the honey with Earth Balance Butter.  When melted together, add raw fair trade cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and Vanilla extract.  Whisk together until it becomes the consistency of chocolate sauce.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture to the nuts in the food processor and pulse so that everything is well incorporated.
  5. Now add coconut and pulse again for a few seconds.
  6. Spread the entire mixture evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Place in oven for 3 1/2 hours. 
  8. Allow to cool and then break apart into smaller pieces.  I used a large chefs knife to roughly chop it up.

This recipe will make a large container full.  Don’t leave on your countertop unless you want to be tempted to snack on the granola every time you walk past it.  It’s hard not to, so tasty Smile

no oat granola1

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spicy Turkey Stoup

Paleo-friendly, in other words, Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, high protein goodness.

I’m calling this one a “stoup” because it’s a combination of a soup and stew.  The recipe makes enough for 2 people to enjoy, and even some leftovers for the next day.  Bonus!

spicy turkey stoup1


  • 1 lb turkey breast, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8-10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. red Thai curry paste
  • 1 tsp. Bragg soy sauce
  • 1 can (400mL) reduced fat coconut milk


  1. Marinate the turnkey in 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, salt, pepper, chilli and garlic for about 1 hour, in the fridge.
  2. Heat a wok to medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the rest of the coconut oil and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add the chicken and marinade to the onions.  Continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the turkey is browned, add the mushrooms, red peppers, soy sauce and red curry paste and continue to cook until the peppers are al dente.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir.  Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the turkey is completely tender. 
  5. Enjoy over rice or pasta (if not following a Paleo lifestyle). 

Spicy turkey stoup

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paleo-friendly Pumpkin cocoa muffins

The recipe is courtesy of  I did make some changes (in red) to customise it because that’s how I roll.  I also added an ingredient.  Makes 12 small muffins.

cocoa pumpkin muffins 
  • 1½ cups almond meal/flour
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (or cook and puree pumpkin yourself)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder I used 2 tsp GF baking powder instead of 1 tsp. each of baking powder/soda
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon I used 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice  I used 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt Pink Himalayan Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (optional) I did
  • 2 tsp almond butter   MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. raw, unsweetened, fair-trade cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs sliced almonds I omitted this
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Coat muffin tins with coconut oil (or use paper muffin cups and add 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil to batter).
  3. Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer and pour evenly into tins.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.
  5. Sprinkle almonds on top immediately after taking them out of the oven. (I didn’t do this)

These muffins are actually pretty good, and even easier to make. They weren’t at all sweet, and you can really taste the pumpkin and the pumpkin spices.   The coconut adds a nice flavour too.  I will definitely be making these again very soon, but I found so many other paleo friendly cookies and muffins that I want to try out too.  I think next time I am going to make the muffins a little larger, so maybe only 6 muffins. 

cocoa pumpkin muffins 2

Nutritional analysis….per serving….

153 calories

12 grams of carbs

11 grams of fat

5 grams of protein

Week 1 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge

So week 1 is almost over (Day 6 today), and so far so good.  I’ve been sticking fairly close to the plan, and only had one hiccup when someone placed a nice piece of 75% Lindt Chocolate in front of my nose.  But I was good, only had a small piece and my chocolate craving was gone. 

The whole idea behind me doing this challenge was to limit all wheat, and I have done that this week, so having a small piece of chocolate really is not going to make a huge difference. 

For people that are wondering what a typical day on a Paleo diet may look like, here’s an example of what I had Thursday.

  • Breakfast – a green smoothie with spinach, frozen fruit, a Tbsp. of almond butter and Coconut milk. 
  • Snack – handful of nuts and apple
  • LunchRoasted vegetable soup and some leftover grilled salmon
  • Snack – celery with almond butter
  • Dinner – Chicken stir-fry served over 2 cups of fresh baby spinach.

It was rather tasty and very manageable.  I love the idea of serving a stir-fry over spinach because it definitely forces me to eat more greens.  In the past I would have had some rice to go with the stir-fry, but I was so full after dinner, rice wasn’t necessary. 

So tomorrow I’m going to plan out next week’s menus and see what other creative ideas I can come up with to limit wheat.  I’m so used to taking sandwiches to work for lunch, which is my biggest challenge as far as meals are concerned.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  Would love to try out something new.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paleo Challenge

So after being so successful with Tommy Europe’s 4 Weeks to a New You Fitness Challenge, I decided I wanted to continue making progress with my overall health and fitness.  Why not? I have nothing to lose, other than a few more pounds and a bunch of fat, especially in my mid section. 

I’m not a fan of dieting, been there and done that in my college years.  It was great to lose the weight, until it all came back (and then some) after the diet was over.  So I have been keeping track of what I eat, and thanks to Tommy Europe’s nutrition plan included in his program, I was able to see my eating trends for a little while now.  I love his meal plans, so easy to follow and very delicious.  I had to tweak a few things since I am trying to avoid gluten as much as possible.  Then a thought occurred to me.  Why not cut out wheat and gluten completely for 30 days and see what happens? 

This was going to be a tough one, because I do love my pasta and rice and bread. When I started looking up ideas for meals, I came across the Paleo Diet.  What the heck is that?

According to, The Paleo diet mimics the types of foods every person on the planet ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution (a mere 10,000 years or 500 generations ago). These foods (meats, seafood, organ meats, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruits, plus some nuts and seeds) are full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fiber, beneficial fatty acids, and low-glycemic carbohydrates that promote good health. The Paleo diet doesn’t contain refined sugars and grains, dairy, trans fats, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods that often cause weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other health problems.

Ok, that doesn’t sound so bad to me!  It actually makes a lot of sense.  As for what this plan allows me to eat, really, it’s not that far off from what I’m already doing.  I already eat lots of lean protein such as salmon, prawns, chicken, turkey and wild game.  I love eggs too.  I always try to eat as much fruits and veggies as possible (more fruits than veggies though).  What about the foods I can’t eat?  Refined sugars won’t be a problem because I refuse to eat white sugar any ways.  This plan however does not allow the consumption of dairy products, and I do love my cheese and yogurt. 

So here’s the deal.  During the summer I decided to stop drinking cow’s milk and switched over to goat milk.  And I am so happy I did.  Within about 2 weeks, I noticed a huge change already.  I was no longer bloated.  So I will continue to consume goat dairy, including goat yogurt and goat’s cheese.  I especially like a tall glass of milk after a workout or even before.


So my new challenge has begun.  30 days would not be an impossible task to see if going wheat free would really make a difference in my body composition.  I guess we will find out. 

Wish me luck.  I will be posting on my progress. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

My fitness journey–6 years in the making…but not over yet!

1-August Eve 498
I am a person that likes to be challenged.  Ever since my breast reduction surgery 6 years ago, I am finding ways to keep active, get fit and have fun.  Fitness and nutrition have not always been easy for me.  I would get frustrated and discouraged when I wouldn’t see results fast enough (I still do at times).  I was plagued with digestive issues and food intolerances (still am), which made the nutrition aspect fairly tricky. 
I would sit in front of the TV and watch episode after episode of Fitness programs.  I loved watching Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper kick the butts of obese contestants on The Biggest Loser.  But my all time favourite fitness show was and still is The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp.  If you aren’t familiar with this show, in Canada, it airs on Slice. 

Here is a synopsis of the show:
The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp returns for a fifth entertaining and inspirational season with new men and women looking to lose weight in record time in order to fit into a sexy new outfit. Motivated by a special event, participants strive to transform themselves physically and mentally in just four weeks by undergoing an intense fitness and nutrition regimen.
While thousands of people are obese, a far larger number simply want to slim down and tighten up to fit into that slinky party dress, a pair of skinny jeans, or even last year’s bathing suit. But the toughest part of achieving your ideal body form – and the ultimate challenge – is getting rid of those nagging last 10 pounds.
This irreverent and fast-paced series is driven by a dynamic and unforgiving personality: Tommy Europe. Tommy is Canada’s most sought-after personal trainer whose modus operandi is a military-style “in-your-face” approach. A thrilling combination of scary and sexy, he is the drill instructor who’s everyone’s best friend and worst enemy. Also acting as the nutrition coach in the new season, Tommy ransacks the fridge and cupboards, trashes the sugar and fat, and completely overhauls the participants’ nutrition and lifestyle with shock and awe.
This season brings a wide range of participants, including aspiring actors, marketing whizzes, and a former football star, all working hard to achieve their ultimate weight-loss goal
Enough was enough and I decided to get my own butt in gear. I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t helping myself by sitting on the couch.  So  I joined a gym and went twice a day to shock my system. I started feeding off of Tommy’s energy and motivation.   I joined fitness classes and started having fun, but also started seeing results.  The weight loss was slow, but it was there.  But I still felt like I was missing something.  The routine seemed to be the same and I was once again getting bored. 
Then came Kickboxing.  I LOVE this sport.  I found this to be a great stress reliever because I could hit and kick things and not get into trouble for doing so.  And so the journey continued.  My membership at my regular gym came to an end and I went full force into my new love. 
I also started branching out into other avenues for fitness.  I began cross training by hiking, mountain biking, swimming and kayaking.  Almost 1 1/2 years ago a new Bootcamp facility opened up and so I thought I’d give that a go as well.  I started making even more progress and the trainer helped me to tweak my nutrition so that I would see optimal results.  After a year of Boot camp, I saw tremendous results.  I lost a total of 15 lbs. and 4 inches off my waist. 
The_10_Pound_Shr_4d7fe5d833b9fThen one day, as I was grocery shopping at my local Save On Foods, I walked through the book section.  And there it was, starting right at me (and calling my name, I swear), Tommy Europe’s new book:  The 10 Pound Shred, From Flab to Fit in 4 Weeks.  I took it as a sign and bought it.  I liked how the program was very functional and the meal plans were awesome as well. Tommy guarantees that we will see results if we follow his recipe for fitness and give it our all.  And he was right.  He didn’t make it easy though. I had to work my butt off. I lost about 8lbs, but another 4inches in total off of my waist and hips.  And that was all it took for me to fall in love with this guy. If people on his show can have those results in just 4 short weeks, then I knew it wasn’t impossible for me too. (If only he could be my personal trainer on a regular basis – and more money since he doesn’t come cheap). 

Fast forward about 15 months to July 2012.  Tommy Europe has done it again.  He released yet another amazing program, this time completely online.  His new program is called 4 Weeks to a New You.  And I guarantee you will see results, as does Tommy.  You get 12 different videos that last a maximum of about 35 minutes.  Each video will make you work your butt off and you’ll be sweating those pounds right off. 
One of my favourite things about the program is that the workouts were always different and kept me on my toes. I never got bored and loved that Tommy was right there working out alongside me every time. He motivated me to get through the sets when things got tough, which made me want to work even harder. I cursed, moaned and groaned during some of the sets, but felt amazing at the end of each workout. Over the last month, I have gotten stronger, more energy and my sleep has improved. My nutrition has also improved immensely. I lost some inches and weight and am on my way to surpassing my goals  I loved that the program worked as I definitely got some results.
So Tommy decided to kick it up a notch and create a challenge.  He called it the 4WTANY Challenge.  Right up my alley!  For some reason, I work extra hard when someone dangles a carrot in front of me… I am held accountable and I get ‘er done.  And this challenge had the ultimate carrot…a personal training session with the man himself.. Tommy Europe!  Did I read that right?  OK..that was all I needed to get going.
Fast forward to August 27th – the end of the 4 Week Challenge.  The day has come to submit our results to Tommy.  So my entry was a video.  Click on the link below and it should open up a new window in your browser.  Hope you enjoy. 

And so my fitness journey continues.  I have not yet met my goals, but am definitely on the way to getting there and even passing them.  I am so excited to be able to train with Tommy Europe, even if it’s only for one session, but I’m hoping that he can give me some insight and more tools to help me progress even more.  I am so proud of my progress and accomplishments so far.  It was not easy, but well worth all of the effort I put in and everything I learned to date. 
One of the things I learned the most during my journey is that fitness does not have to be a chore.  The trick is to finding something that motivates you and that you really enjoy doing.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, simple is best, like getting on the mountain bike for an hour or so, or strapping on the rollerblades and blading with the dog.  This summer I discovered Stand-Up Paddle boarding as well, which is an amazing full-body core workout.  Heck…go for a run, or check out your community swimming pool.  As long as you’re getting out there and doing something different that you enjoy, you will see results. 
And Tommy…If you’re reading this…I’m so looking forward to Shredding it with you.  I’m ready for whatever you throw at me.  This girl needs to step it up a notch or two and get a swift kick in the butt. 

Have an awesome night… back soon.

Bye bye Summer 2012


Welcome back to a very long, overdue post.  It’s been forever since I’ve opened up my Live Writer to write a blog post! I’ve been enjoying my summer months out and about, away visiting family and haven’t found much time to make interesting creations in my own kitchen. 

Today is Labour Day and this day also marks the end of summer holidays for this teacher.  Tomorrow the routines begin once again, as will the craziness of spending my days with more or less 30 bouncing, creative and inquisitive students.  One of the many reasons I love my job – every day is different.  My job is to teach my students, but to be honest, they also teach me a great deal. 

As for my summer, I’ve included a snapshot of my adventures below.  I hope to be back posting more regularly this fall, but no guarantees as I have a ton of things going on.  I’ll be trying out a few new programs in my classroom this year, which will demand a lot of my attention making sure they run smoothly.  In addition to my regular classroom work, I’m also beginning my last year of my Masters, so lots of research and traveling over the next year. 

Check back often, you never know what you’ll find. 

Spent some time fishing and relaxing a little ways out of town

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Enjoyed a little bit of camping too










In the Spring I planted my very first garden since moving here 6 years ago.  Even got a pretty nice harvest. 

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Photo 1

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Explored and enjoyed my city!

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Went on some new adventures on my Island…Snorkelling with Harbour Seals.. so much fun and an

amazing adventure!





Competed in The Warrior Dash – a tough but awesome Obstacle Course Race.





The End!