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Recipe: delicious island trio

What’s the best part of summer? In my opinion, it’s taking advantage of the fresh fruits and veggies that are in season for these precious months. Bringing summer into your kitchen is certainly a way to delight and embrace the sunshine.

When I think of sunshine, I often end up thinking of the tropics, that’s why Women’s Post is going to inspire you with a simple and delicious trio of quick and easy Caribbean recipes.

Island Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced ripe mangoes
  • 1 cup diced watermelon (seedless)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup passionfruit juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the diced mango, watermelon, and red onion in a large bowl
  2. Add passion fruit juice, lime juice and thyme
  3. Sprinkle with salt, toss lightly and serve refrigerated

This island inspired salad is refreshing, crisp, and offers the right amount of zesty sweetness.

 

Island Jerk Wings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1tsp thyme leaves
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 1tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp jerk sauce (wet mix from supermarket eg: Grace Jerk seasoning)
  • ¼ cup green onion
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Preset oven to 425 degrees.

  1. In one large bowl, toss the chicken wings in the garlic, thyme, salt, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, and all spice.
  2. Add tsp of jerk sauce (more can be added depending on your spice preference)
  3. Sprinkle Worcestershire sauce
  4. Line a baking tray with foil and place chicken wings, lightly drizzle with olive oil (optional)
  5. Place on the top rack of your oven and bake for 45 minutes, rotate wings halfway through.
  6. Wings should be crispy and ready to serve.

This recipe is fun and easy to prepare. It adds a burst of flavour and summer heat to your palette.

 

Frozen Island Tea Pops

*Can be prepared the night before to enjoy the next day.

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups Iced Tea (black tea)
  • 2 cups canned pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large pitcher mix the iced tea with pineapple juice
  2. Add lime juice and stir well
  3. Pour mixture into popsicle moulds of your choice
  4. Freeze for 6 hours

Hopefully this collection of Caribbean inspired treats adds a little bit of sunshine to your home! Enjoy and feel free to let us know how your recipes turned out. Leave a comment below.

Recipe: Instagram-worthy grain bowl

It can be hard to muster the energy to prepare lunches everyday, especially when the summer heat hits. There is nothing less appealing than cooking on a hot day. But, if you want to continue to eat healthy and homemade lunches, then preparation is key.

That’s what’s so great about the grain bowl (sometimes called a Buddha Bowl). You can prepare them on the weekend and alternate flavours and ingredients throughout the week for unique meals each time.

The best part about these bowls is that it doesn’t require a recipe — just an understanding of the mechanics.

The base of the bowl is, obviously, usually a grain like rice or quinoa. Next, choose your protein source. One of my favourite gain bowls uses cooked chickpeas, but you can use grilled chicken,pork, tofu, or even something like goat cheese.

Then you add vegetables. The key is to pick ingredients that are colourful and compliment each other. Some suggestions include: beets, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, peppers, or zucchini. Cook some of the harder vegetables to make them easier to chew in combination with the rest of the bowl ingredients. It’s okay to have some cooked and some raw.

Afterwards, add something like hummus or tabbouleh so that the grains aren’t so dry. If you want something a bit more saucey, try a greek salad dressing or an olive oil based mixture with dry herbs.

Top with sprouts, olives, or pickled vegetables to taste. Add a little fresh coriander, basil, or mint.

The best part about this meal is that you can cook the grains and cut all of the vegetables on the weekend. Each night, just cook the vegetables you want cooked and that’s it — you have a healthy meal fit for kings!

Variations include breakfast bowls with sweet potato, a poached egg, and sausage.

What is your favourite combination? Let us know in the comments below!

The power of connecting with your vagina

One Word: Vagina.

Do I have your attention yet? Or better yet, how are you reacting to the word? Are you cringing, panicking, or is it arousing?

Discussing the vagina can cause various reactions. Rarely is it a topic of open discussion at the dinner table. In fact, thinking about this vital tool of female sexuality as a powerful source of healing, creativity, and happiness most often causes nervous giggles or averted gazes rather than furious clapping or high-fives. How is it that we regularly listen to men drone on about their penis sizes (and even use it in pick-up lines with expectations of rousing applause), yet any mention of female genitalia must be avoided at all costs? Society is abysmal.

In an effort to reinvent the wheel my fellow women, prepare yourself and get deeply excited about the secrets I am going to divulge in this article. If you want to giggle or roll your god damn eyes, get out of here! Otherwise buckle up and come for a ride.

The first thing you need to understand is that women deserve to have a relationship with their vaginas. I don’t mean the type of partnership that comes from a 20-year marriage where you sleep on opposite sides of the bed. Instead, each and every woman should strive for a thriving and vibrant connection with her vagina because it holds the secrets of our “yoni”, a Sanskrit word meaning source of origin. Ask yourself, how do you feel about your vagina? When you feel aroused by someone or something (or you don’t), do you listen to that intuition? If we pay attention to the signs our bodies are trying to give us, we can learn a lot from our vaginas. Pay attention, listen, feel, and, you will be surprised.

Holistic sex and relationship coach, Kim Anami, has several free videos and immersive courses that explain the importance of how to vitally connect with your vagina. With meditative work and focus, it is possible to harness your creative sexual energy and use it to heal your body and promote creativity and new ideas. Whether through masturbation or sex, allow yourself to come to a point of almost orgasming and, instead of achieving climax, breathe slowly and focus the energy inward. This practice is known as manifesting the microcosmic orbit, and can be a healing practice for the body. When channeling the energy inward, simply visualize a ball of energy moving up the spine to the crown of your head and back down through the front of your body back to your pelvic area. The energy will help promote healing in areas of your body or chakras that need energy or attention, and you will feel an increase in creativity and inspiration from the practice.

Want more? A daily yoga-like practice that will help further create a connection with your vagina and inner-creative power is a 5000-year-old traditional Tibetan practice known as the five Tibetan rights. These five exercises should be done daily while meditating on the power of your pelvic core. Begin by spinning in a ‘dervish whirl’ until you are slightly dizzy and then lie down on the floor. The second exercise includes lying down on the ground and bringing your legs up together to a 90 degree angle as many times as comfortable. The third rite is to kneel with your toes curled up, and place your hands on your outer thighs as you stretch your chest towards the sky, stretching your back. The fourth repetition involves lying on your back and raising your body to a table-top position. Lastly, complete the cycle by doing downward and upward facing dog repeatedly. These practices promote clarity and open up the chakras to receive the sexual energy from the microcosmic orbit.

If you are having trouble focusing or manifesting creative energy, invoking the powers of the vagina will help regain the inner power to create and inspire. Instead of struggling for several hours to focus on a project, simply enact the five Tibetan rights or practice the microcosmic orbit, and you will be surprised how much energy comes out of the experience. Sexuality is empowering and enlightening, if used in a healthy way, and manifesting a personal relationship with the vagina is an inspiring path towards self-love.

Love your vagina, love the power of creation it has, and most of all, don’t be afraid to shout the word from the rooftops. It is about time we open the floor to a conversation about the power of female sexuality and all of its potential.

How to wake up in the morning if you are a night owl

Do you absolutely dread mornings and wish they didn’t exist?

DO NOT be alarmed! You are not alone! Mornings are the absolute worst, especially if you are a dedicated night owl. Unfortunately though, if you want to function in the real world, then you must learn to tolerate, and one day even enjoy mornings.

The best way to do this rather than wake up and throw pillows at your alarm clock, and show up to work looking like you’ve been at the rodeo is to develop a morning routine. Sound like a snooze? It is indeed the complete opposite, and will help you to wake up instead of rush out of the house in a mad frenzy every morning.

The absolute first thing you must do when you wake up is drink a tall glass of cold water with lemon if possible. It will immediately revive your dehydrated, tired body and give you that first kick to waking up. Once this task is complete, stretch from head to toe. And when I say that, I don’t mean simply raise your arms above your head. I’m talking a full-on cat stretch that engages every part of your spine.

Now you are ready to put your feet to the ground. Do it quickly before you lose motivation and fall asleep again. Once your feet are out of the bed, the day has started. Celebrate! Rejoice! You have achieved the first hurdle of your day. Next up, yoga.

Try doing 10 minutes of yoga, beginning with morning sun salutations. It gets the blood moving in your body and will help work out any kinks that developed through the REM cycle. If you prefer to self-lead, do so and if you need support, there are many 10 minute yoga videos to try out. Finding your preferred method of getting your body moving in the morning is essential, and if yoga doesn’t do it for you, try push-ups, Pilates, or jogging on the spot! Whatever works, simply remember to get your body moving.

After working up a (little) sweat, it is time for the shower. There is nothing better than feeling warm water on your skin and a meditation to go along with cleaning off the soap suds will surely set your day on track. When you are in the shower, close your eyes and visualize the warm water washing away all of your stress and anxieties. Imagine all of these fears washing down the drain and open your eyes renewed and refreshed physically and mentally. Listening to music in the shower is also a pleasant add-on.

Another essential, though it will come as no surprise since everyone is told to do this from age three onwards, is breakfast! Even if breakfast isn’t “your thing”, try to have at least something small and healthy to eat in the morning. If you are like me, and aren’t much of a morning muncher, try a smoothie instead. Make sure it is full of delicious and healthy ingredients including flax seed, berries (full of antioxidants), and protein powder for an extra kick. At this point, remember to take your daily vitamins too to keep your body vital and strong.

If you make this routine a regular thing and incorporate rehydration, exercise, a shower, meditation, and healthy eating into your morning, you will find that waking up becomes a pleasant experience rather than a complete and total drag. It is inevitable that people must wake up in the morning whether for work or school — so why not make it a happy part of the day?

What are parts of your morning routine? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Delicious vegan, easy-to-make chickpea burgers

Chickpea burgers are one of my favourite vegan burger options because they are nutritious, yet still feels and tastes like a delicious treat. Mashed chickpeas are extremely easy to work with and form into balls, and with oats and peanut butter, it creates the heavy texture needed to make a truly filling burger. Additionally, the siracha and BBQ sauce give the burgers an extra kick, straying away from the typical bland store-bought veggie burger. It is quick and easy to make homemade vegan burgers, and there will surely be enough for lunch the next day as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • I cup of walnuts
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Directions: 

  1. Add chickpeas, zucchini, red, onion, cilantro, peanut butter, walnuts, siracha, red wine vinegar, BBQ sauce and spices into a food processor. Blend until ingredients are combined and still a little chunky. Pour the contents into a large bowl, then stir in one cup of rolled oats.
  2. To fry the burgers, heat a pan with two tbsp of olive oil, then cook the patties for 3-5 minutes on each side on medium heat. Alternatively, try it on the barbecue!
  3. Place your burgers on a whole wheat bun top with fresh tomato, avocado, sprouts, red onion, and whatever sauces you desire!

Enjoy these delicious burgers, and prepare to feel full and content afterwards. This vegan treat also pairs well with a Caesar salad using tahini instead of anchovies and it will leave you completely satisfied. Another successful plant-based meal for the win!

Green Living Show even greener this year

Where do you go if you want Tibetean vegan momos, pants made out of tree fibres, and lectures about how cannabis can help you heal?

The Green Living Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is one of the largest environmental events of the year, featuring organic and delicious food, exercise, and how to build sustainably among many other things.  It is a festival that takes all things green and turns it into a massive trade show in support of an environmentally friendly world. The festival provides an opportunity to network, share, and learn about how many industries are involved in the ‘green’ trend that is growing in popularity every year.

So, how was the Green Living Show compared to last year?

It was definitely better for one main reason; the food! This year, the food pavilion had a centralized theme of ‘around the world’ fare. It had a range of options and also specified foods that were vegan and vegetarian, which was a fresh change of pace. The previous year, I struggled to find vegan options and this was frustrating at a green festival. The beer options were impressive as well, with a wide variety of craft brews, wines and ciders available.

The emphasis on medical cannabis was a new development, probably due to impending legislative changes around marijuana in Canada. The Green Living Show hosted the Weedmaps speaker series about Cannabis. The topics discussed by the panel included understanding which strains can help certain ailments, how to understand current marijuana laws, and how to cook medicinals. The Green Living Show is the perfect venue to educate and discuss the future of cannabis in Canada and its medial relevance, which is a very hot ‘green’ topic at the moment.

Another educational panel attended by Women’s Post was the urban farming speaker series that brought out Aquaponics start-up Ripple Farms, Holly Ray Farms, Orchard People, and Toronto Urban Growers, moderated by David McConnachie of Alternatives Journal. The panel explained various ways that urban farming can be implemented in the city. There were several vendors selling products related to indoor or urban farming, including sprouting containers and even indoor mini-hydroponic systems.

There were some return favourites as well, including the classic Canadian green car awards (Cheverlot Bolt won) and the beautiful set-up celebrating tree stewardship in Ontario.

The Green Living Show is an annual favourite of Women’s Post. The sheer size and popularity of the event really shows how much the green lifestyle is growing. It would still be nice to see more specifically vegan food options and vendors, but kudos to the ones that were there (including Live Wild Love Free). It will be exciting to see what happens next year.

What was your favourite part of the Green Living Show? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

 

Share with friends: vegan spinach dip with homemade beet chips

Winter blues got you down? What better way to cheer yourself up then have a few friends over for a delicious vegan snack? Everyone loves a good shareable!

One of my all-time favourite dips happens to be full of iron and antioxidants; the classic spinach dip. Vegan-izing this smooth vegetable dip is easy, and it will make it even healthier. If you go even further to pair it with beet chips — suddenly it is a vegetable party! No need to worry about over-indulgence!

Spinach Dip:

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed
2–3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup roasted and unsalted cashews
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup nondairy mayonnaise (try Vegenaise)
1 (12-oz.) container organic silken or soft tofu
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. finely ground black pepper
2 tsp. dried minced onion
1 can whole water chestnuts, diced

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Add the spinach and garlic and sauté until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Tilt the pan and drain off the additional liquid.
  • In a high-powered blender or food processor, place the cashews, almond milk, and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the non-dairy mayonnaise, silken tofu, sea salt, pepper, and onion. Pulse about 7 to 10 times. Add the cooked spinach and blend until slightly green but not fully incorporated.
  • Fold in the water chestnuts. Transfer the entire mixture to a heat-proof baking dish. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, or until warmed through.
  • Serve in a bowl

Beet Chips:

Simply cut the beets into thin slices, drizzle lightly in olive or coconut oil and sea salt, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until crispy. Enjoy with the spinach dip!

 

4 things to swap for a healthier kitchen

Even though it can be a bit of an annoyance, making your food from scratch is always healthier than purchasing pre-made processed meals. But, what ingredients are you putting into your household goodies? Your first tip — the days of using lard and bleached white flour to bake homemade cakes are behind us. Let Women’s Post stock your kitchen with ingredients full of nutrients and vitamins that will make your dishes taste delicious and healthy!

The first thing you should do is rid the kitchen of white flour. It has very little nutritional value, is full of high fructose corn syrup, and is easy to replace with a healthier alternative. Whole wheat flour is a reliable option, but even go a step further and opt for a blended flour with flax seeds and other nutritional elements. Brown rice flour, coconut flour, and amaranth flour are all high-protein flours and also happen to be gluten-free. The best part is when you swap out your flour for a healthier selection, it will make your baked goods taste even better and more full-bodied.

Coconut oil

Another item to get out of the kitchen is canola oil. It is a genetically-modified product and is hydrogenated, filling it with false chemicals that are refined, bleached and degummed. Instead, go for a more natural option for your cooking and baking needs. Swap it for coconut oil. This superfood can be used in place of any oil, butter, or vegetable shortening. It is pure magic. Other healthy oils include avocado oil, grape seed oil, pistachio oil, and hemp oil.

Chia Seeds

The addition of seeds or nuts to a meal will automatically add extra nutritional value. My suggestion: always have ground flax seed on hand and add a spoonful into almost everything you make. It is virtually tasteless and adds a much-needed dose of fiber to meals and treats. It is especially delicious in smoothies. Chia seeds are beneficial to add into salads, baked goods, and smoothies as well. They are full of fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, calcium and vitamin A, B, E, and D, as well as other antioxidants.

Maple syrup

One of the most addictive, delicious, yet unhealthy ingredients found in the cupboard is refined sugar. This ingredient causes a host of issues including diabetes, bad teeth, heart disease, and issues with the liver. I can’t stress this enough! Get rid of sugar! Once the kitchen is purged of the toxin, the other options will make you feel better and are healthier for your body by a long shot. Alternatives to sugar are honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, and brown rice syrup. Molasses is rich in nutrients including calcium, zinc and is strong source of iron. Brown rice syrup is one of the only sweeteners that doesn’t have fructose, but all of the alternatives are going to be a better option that regular sugar.

Replacing key ingredients in the kitchen is one of the simplest ways to bake healthy, homemade foods. It will make your meals taste better and will increase nutrients with very little effort needed. Being a responsible consumer and purchasing healthy ingredients instead of processed foods will lead to a healthier and happier life. So get to the kitchen, and begin your healthy eating kitchen swap. The change will definitely not be regretted.

Recipe: What’s the deal with breakfast bowls?

Healthy habits may develop slowly, and it starts by planning out your meals.

As a big breakfast fan, I love the idea of breakfast bowls. They look so pretty on Instagram and on Pinterest — but when it comes to actually making it, I find myself lazy and cheap. How do you make something so beautiful so early in the morning? And what is a “breakfast bowl” anyway? Women’s Post seeks to answer some of those questions below:

Superfood it up

This is the one pictured most often in articles about breakfast bowls. It is also the option that requires a real investment — both financially and mentally. first of all, most bowls have a quinoa base. Cook the quinoa (rinse first), by placing 1/2 cup of the seeds in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk. Cook like you would rice, until the liquid is gone and the quinoa is fluffy. If you don’t want to do a quinoa base, try a chia seed and yogurt base. Top with superfoods like merjool dates, golden raisons, shredded coconut, goji berries, pepitas, sunflower seeds, flax, and more chia seeds. Add nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as berries or nuts to your liking.

Smoothie bowl

This one seems like a waste of a bowl to me. Essentially, you make a smoothie and then put it in a bowl and top it off with superfoods and fruit — chia seeds, coconut, and berries for example. You then proceed to eat the smoothie with a spoon. Personally, I make a smoothie for breakfast only when I’m on the run. I can put all these good things IN the blender (chia seeds, berries, granola, flax, ect.) and drink it on the bus. Why on earth would I want to make it into a bowl?

I think the answer is obvious: for the Instagram likes.  Am I right?

Savoury twist

Sometimes breakfasts can be a bit too sweet. Try making a quinoa base and topping it with nuts, hardboiled or poached eggs, some sausage, and avocado. Not feeling like the extra carbohydrates? Try exchanging the quinoa base for greens like kale or spinach for a breakfast salad-type of thing. Top with sprouts, sweet potatoes, or other light-vegetables that are easy on the stomach. Add some nuts for extra protein and a light homemade dressing with lemon juice, oil, and spices.

Want to satisfy a sweet craving?

Try making a chocolate chia pudding and topping it with fruit. This pudding can be quite filling, so half a cup is plenty.

In a bowl, whisk together one to two cups of milk (or almond milk) , 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup cocoa, a sweetening agent (I use agave or maple syrup), and some vanilla. Refrigerate overnight in the bowl or divide into jam jars for portability. You may have to experiment with the ratio of chia seeds and milk until you reach a consistency you like. Top with fresh strawberries, bananas, or blueberries. Or go crazy and choose all three!

While these “bowls” are picturesque, I’m not sure if they are worth the time (and money) it would take to make them. I’m more then happy with my regular smoothies and granola-yogurt combinations — which by the way, is the exact same thing as these “bowls”, but without the expensive superfoods.

But, what do you think?

Have you made a breakfast bowl before? Let us know what you put in it in the comments below!

Holiday Baking: homemade grape leaves

Stuffed grape leaves are a delicious snack and can often be found in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants. Homemade grape leave wraps, also known as Dolmades, provide a delicious vegan treat not only during the holidays, but year-round. They are surprisingly easy and affordable to make, and combine some of the best spices out there, including dill, mint and lemon with rice and pine nuts. Can you say yummy?

Begin by making the filling of the grape leaves with rice:

  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup of fresh dill
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Begin by roasting the pine nuts and onion in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. After a few minutes, add the rice, one cup vegetable broth and cook rice al dente. If you completely cook the rice, it will be mushy in the grape leaves so only half cook. Once the rice is complete, add dill, mint, lemon, salt and pepper and allow to cool.

Prepping the grape leaves: 

  • Grape Leaves
  • Salt

Take the grape leaves (either jarred or fresh) and put into a pot of boiling water with salt. Allow the leaves to soften until pliable, but do not over-soften or they will tear. Remove from water and pat dry.

Wrapping and cooking the grape leaves:

Once dry, spread the grape leaf out and put two scoops of filling in near the base of the leaf. Fold the two bottom sections of the leaf up and then the sides of the leaf before rolling tightly into a grape leaf roll. Repeat.

Once the grape leaves are wrapped, pack firmly into a pot in layers. Pour the remaining vegetable broth, lemon juice and ¼ cup of olive oil over the wraps. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, but do not boil or the leaves will fall apart. Lower heat once simmering and use a plate that can be heated to press down on the grape leaves and keep them in place. Let the leaves simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Drain excess water and enjoy once cool.

The grape leaves are relatively easy to make and will give you a healthy snack to munch on while waiting for that main holiday meal. They also keep well, so you can eat them throughout the week once your leftovers run out. Enjoy!