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I love me some black beans and I adore salsa. I have never tried making salsa before and so I thought that I would go with something relatively quick and simple for my first attempt. There is no cooking involved with this salsa, only chopping and mixing – you don’t even need the food processor! And it is completely vegan!

Recipe Adapted From VeganSheKnows

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked, drained and rinsed black beans
  • 1 cup of cooked frozen corn
  • 2 cloves of pressed garlic
  • Half of a freshly squeezed lime
  • 2 tbsps of dill
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (totally optional)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (I used the Unico can of diced tomatoes but you can use fresh ones)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • Pinch of black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of chilli powder

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized skillet, cook black beans with 1 tbsp of chilli powder on Medium heat for 5 minutes or until desired texture. Don’t overcook them or else your salsa will be crunchy! (gnarly!)Image
  2. Heat corn in a small saucepan with boiling water for roughly 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  3. Let corn and black beans cool down.
  4. Add all ingredients in a tupperware container. This will make it easy to toss and organically mix all of the ingredients together.Image
  5. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. Serve with gluten-free or whole wheat nacho chips.
  7. Enjoy!Image

This salsa was a huge hit with my friends. Plus you get some added protein from the black beans which is more than I can say from regular store bought salsa. I’m trying my best to be more organic and natural in my food decisions and making things from scratch as opposed to the store bought junk just makes me feel so much better. You’ll also get lots of fibre from the corn and black beans, talk about being kind to your digestive system!

Of course you have the option to omit the chilli powder and jalapeno peppers if you’re palette is not ready for too much spice. This was such an easy recipe to make and I sung along to the Jungle Book soundtrack while making it. In honour of that, I will leave you with Baloo:

Let me know how your versions of this salsa turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

Let’s be real. We all have cravings. Or at least, I do and usually what I want to eat is bad for me. I think it necessary to indulge every once in a while. You can be disciplined but give yourself the treat that you deserve. It is not a crime to have a cookie if you worked out 5 times during the week. It is not going to sabotage you. There is a fine line between being obsessively regimented and being smart about your healthy eating habits. If you have a healthy lifestyle, then you can probably afford a little treat as long as it is not full of completely unnatural ingredients like corn syrup.

I read this great quote from Laird Hamilton that really resonated with me: “It’s been so long since I have eaten a pancake, I don’t even think about it anymore.”

That really got to me. This week someone brought some donuts in to work and I found myself not even being tempted to eat one. Then I read this quote and it hit me – I haven’t eaten one in so long that I don’t even think about it, or even twice about eating one. If you can cut out those junk foods that are truly awful for you, it is easy to live without them. If I’m going to indulge in junk food, I try to eat the most natural ones that I can. Maybe some frozen yogurt, veggie chips, a grilled cheese sandwich, completely unsalted and unbuttered popcorn or some gluten free nacho chips. If chocolate gives you your fix, here are some guilt-free ways to enjoy it: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4439/4-GuiltFree-Ways-to-Eat-Chocolate.html.

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I try my very best to smart about my indulgences. I definitely like to have a glass of wine and I know that is one thing that I could be better about. But we all have to take baby steps. I am not preaching by any means, preaching is criticism’s best friend. I know that if you take care of your car, you fuel it with premium gas, so why then would you fuel your body with junk?

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On a side note for all of you vegans and vegetarians out there, check out Barnivoreit lists all spirits, wines and beers that are vegan and vegetarian friendly. You would be surprised to know how many aren’t out there.

I will leave you all on this wonderful Friday with a gorgeous quote from John Lennon about fear and love:

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

Peace and have a great weekend. xx.

-H.

As far as lean vegetarian protein is concerned, I love me some beans. I made a delicious (and easy!) white bean dip the other evening. I used gluten-free nacho chips to dip in it and also some of those Mary’s crackers that I previously raved about.

Beans are high in antioxidants, fibre, vitamin B, magnesium and zinc. Other than being good for your digestive system (Bart Simpson did call them the musical fruit after all), the soluble fibre in white beans is a blood sugar stabilizer. Not to mention that they can be pretty delicious and are a great source of protein that both vegans and vegetarians alike can enjoy. Now without further ado, here is the recipe adapted from the Vegan Project:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of white beans (I used the Unico brand)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsps dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • lemon juice from 1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemon

Instructions:

  1. Blend everything in a food processor. Or a blender if you are like me and sans a food processor

2. Blend until it is a smooth texture. I would liken it to a hummus consistency.

3. Scoop in to a bowl and enjoy with nacho chips or crackers!

 

Happy eating!

Peace. xx.

-H.

 

 

 

I’ve been searching for new snacks lately, ones that aren’t laden with carbs but will also satisfy my hunger. I’ve been trying raisins, almonds and grapes lately. I am also one of those people who gets hangry (hungry/angry) so it is imperative that I snack so I don’t go postal. I love nuts and trail mix but unfortunately they are quite expensive and I’m not rolling in the dough, if you catch my drift. So I’m strolling through the grocery store the other day and it hits me: Sunflower seeds! First of all, sunflowers are beautiful (just like me, haha…) PLUS Spitz is an official sponsor of the MLB. Baseball is a sport that stars my sports crush, Angels’ pitcher C.J. Wilson

Sunflower seeds were first used by First Nations people 5,000 years ago as a food and oil source but also used the flowers and roots as a dye. Sunflower seeds (in addition to giving me a 4th degree of separation from Mr. Wilson) have some amazing health benefits:

  • They have a high source of folate, which helps your body produce an anti-stress chemical.
  • They contain significant amounts of Vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.
  • 90 % of the recommended intake of Vitamin E is contained in a quarter cup of sunflower seeds. Vitamin E helps improve your cardiovascular health.
  • One ounce will provide 12 grams of protein – giving you healthy hair and skin
  • Folate also helps boost your fertility (if you are so inclined to improve upon that)

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Sunflower seeds are high in fat, though it is mostly the food fat that is found in all good superfoods. They are prone to rancidity so it is best to store them in the refrigerator.

Of course, one pitfall of sunflower seeds is breaking the shell when you purchase the unshelled variety. Now don’t go spitting them all over your workplace (though that would make for a hilarious story). I just break them myself. You could always put them in a ziploc bag, grab a rolling pin and roll over them to break the hulls.

And with that, CJ and I will leave you contemplating the health benefits of sunflower seeds.

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Peace. xx.

-H.

My apologies for not blogging as of late – I was suffering from writer’s block. That has been cured by my weekend cooking ventures as I had some girlfriends over last Saturday night for some wine and appetizers. One of my good friends is a vegan and another is allergic to gluten. This can make for some risky recipe undertakings but this time, I came out on top. I will share the other two recipes I made with you this coming week.

I made a vegan spinach and artichoke dip with the help of my lovely sister and it turned out fantastic. It was a great alternative to the heavy/cheesy traditional one that I am used to eating. It was really light and we ate it with Mary’s crackers (seriously, so delicious even though they smell a little peculiar) and gluten free/vegan nacho chips (and regular whole wheat crackers for those of us without special dietary needs).

I adapted my recipe from two different ones from Gluten-Free Goddess and She Knows Miso Vegan respective sites.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 5 oz spinach chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 cup of artichoke hearts drained and finely chopped (you could use the frozen kind too)
  • 3/4 cup of vegan sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of vegannaise
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance vegan butter
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet pan on medium heat. Add in onions and cook until they are translucent. Stir in garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Add artichokes and half of the spinach, let it sit.
  4. Using an electric hand mixer, combine the sour cream and vegannaise until it is smooth.
  5. Add the sour cream and vegannaise with the remainder of the spinach to the pan. Keep stirring until the spinach wilts.
  6. Pour into a pyrex dish (or whatever dish you have handy).

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For topping:

  1. In a small frying pan, heat the butter substitute and almonds until the vegan butter is melted.
  2. Pour on top of dip that is already in the dish.

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Put in the oven!

  1. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it is bubbly around the edges.Image

And here’s the girls enjoying the dip!

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Happy cooking! You can find the ingredients at your local health food pantry store. Let me know how your dips turn out!

Peace. xx.

-H.

Making Peace With Your Body: A Highly Recommended Article

I’ve only got time for a quick post today. I thought that I would share an article that I stumbled upon and really struck a chord with me.

Body issues seems topical to me, we all feel the pressure to conform and look a certain way to fit in to our society. I think that it’s amazing when individuals can do away with these negative expectations. I for one, am not a person who can bury these insecurities. As a ballet dancer, I was made aware of the flaws and limitations of my body from a very young age.

Yet there comes a time when you don’t need to settle or accept your shortcomings but embrace how beautiful your body is in its natural state. I will never have long legs, high arches or an hour glass figure. Instead of focusing on all the have not’s, I really need to start caring (because growing to/falling in love your body is a long and arduous process) and showing affection or even courting my body. I need to be kind to my body and not just in the way that I take care of it but in the thoughts I send to it.

I think that we all need to be a little mindful and aware of how we think of our bodies. I know that I will have negative days, I have a tumultuous relationship with my body; but if I try to be kind, those days will become fewer and far between. I am going to try to think at least one nice thought per day and I hope that you will all do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace. xx.

-H.

This week I am starting my training plan for my half-marathon. I have a certain time goal in mind and I have 7 months to train and work my way up to 21k. I’m running a 10k race at the end of next month, so I’ve got to get going and work on my 10k time as well.

One thing that has always been hard for me when it comes to actually making myself go for a run is a) motivation and b) the feeling that I’m not improving my form or time remotely. This has earnestly discouraged me in the past. So I have decided to compile a list of ways to improve my running.

  1. Focus on breath. A huge part of why I want to stop myself while running is because my breath starts to become shallow.  If you focus on breathing through your nose slowly as opposed to quick and shallow, it will actually help circulate oxygen to your extremities, slow down your heart rate, and keep you cool as a cucumber. Breath is the link between your mind/body connection – they rely on one another and when one waivers, there is an adverse reaction for the other.
  2. Get a good playlist! (Though I’ve already blogged about this)
  3. Do more yoga! Yoga will help you to master the technique required to breathe through your nose. Not only that, but it will stretch out your Achilles and improve your flexibility.
  4. Get good running gear. Now I am not suggesting that you drop hundreds of dollars at Lululemon. But seriously, there is nothing worse than running in shorts or leggings that are too big for you and keep falling down. Talk about attractive! Also, for all the ladies out there: never underestimate the importance of a good sports bra. Your girls will thank you in the long run. My last tip: go to a quality running/sports store and get fitted for your shoes. It will help your shins in the end and no shin splints = a happy runner.
  5. Come up with a good pre-run snack! A good idea of how much to eat and what you should eat can be seen at this link from FitSugar: http://www.fitsugar.com/What-Eat-Before-Run-24108225I hate it when my stomach starts cramping during a run and that usually happens because I’ve eaten the wrong thing. This is something that I am unabashedly guilty of.
  6. Work on those Abs! Since I started working on my abs in barre class, I have noticed a serious difference in my running stance. It is so much easier for me to keep my body erect as opposed to slumping over when I get tired. Plus, holding in your abs while you run is a great work out in and of itself! I recommend some planks to really target the lower region of your abdominals that is so difficult to build muscle in.
  7. Run Alone. I find it so much easier to run alone than with someone else. That way, I’m not competing with anyone. If I want to incorporate sprints and hills, I can do it on my own time and when I’m feeling ready. Also, isn’t it nice to just get some time by yourself as you most likely have to deal with other people all day long. Take some quality me time!
  8. Have fun! Even though I’m training right now, that doesn’t mean that my goal shouldn’t be to enjoy myself. If I don’t enjoy running, then I should not be doing it. I love how it makes me feel and that’s why I keep pushing myself to get out there.

I will leave you all with a quote about breath from a yogic stance as it really is so important. Breath is life, “”When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.” – Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Happy running! Peace. xx.

-H.

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