Tag Archives: Beverage

Green Lentil Pumpkin Seed Dip


Came across this dip on The Full Helping


by Gena. She kind of downplayed it in her blog post, but I thought it sounded scrumptious. I decided to give it a try. Of course I didn’t have any cooked or canned lentils ready to go or some soaked pumpkin seeds, so it took me a day to get ready. I’ve just been reading Joyous Detox by Joy McCarthy and The Blender Girl by Tess Masters and they both strongly recommend soaking legumes, grains, nuts and seeds before using, and even sprouting them if you have the time. These authors convinced me that soaking is the way to go as it:

  • improves digestion

  • unlocks nutrients

  • produces better flavour and texture

  • reduces cooking time

  • makes for smooooooth dips

So, I soaked my green French lentils and my seeds before blending up this dip today. Here’s my adapted recipe:

Green Lentil Pumpkin Seed Dip


1/3 cup soaked pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 cups soaked and cooked French lentils (Le Puy lentils)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup tightly packed parsley

1/2 to 3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup water


Put all the ingredients in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of water and turn blender on to low. Blend on low for a few minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and adding more water as needed, a tbsp. at a time, to keep the ingredients in the blender moving. Add up to 1/4 cup more water. Turn blender on to high and blend until quite smooth.


Serve with crackers or vegetable sticks. I spread the dip on some Pumpkin Seed Oat Rye Crackers that I happened to have in the cupboard … very tasty!



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Healing Foods to Start Your Day – Porridge and a Smoothie

I’m just coming out the other end of emergency surgery, a short stay in hospital, and some recovery time at home. Although I still have a few weeks before being able to resume my normal activity level, I’m recovering and healing nicely and look forward to being back at work soon. This experience has left me even more convinced of the importance of food and diet in good health and in the promotion of healing. I mean, look at what I was served in hospital:


This is “Tofu Adobo” and “California Vegetables” and white rice with Cranberry Cocktail to wash it all down.

Thank goodness they sent me home shortly after my surgery and thank goodness I had “Tom” around to bring me in some decent food while I was in hospital. I don’t really understand why hospitals cannot do a better job in their food selections and preparations. The two breakfast items I am featuring today would not be difficult to provide in a hospital. Yes, it would be a little more expensive to make, but the benefits to the patients would far outweigh those costs. In fact, spending a bit more thought, time, energy and money on decent food in hospitals would improve patients’ health and so lessen their time in hospital. And that, in turn, would bring down costs.

Anyway, when I got home from hospital, I wasn’t up to much for the first few days, but cooking up a pot of porridge or blending up a smoothie was easy enough. These two meals are so full of healthy goodness I could almost feel the healing happening in my body! Here’s what I  made:

Super Foods Smoothie


1 banana, coarsely chopped

1/2 orange, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 apple, peeled or not depending on the power of your blender, coarsely chopped

handful of spinach

1 large Romaine (or other) lettuce leaf, torn into pieces

2 or 3 small inside stalks kale, stalks removed, torn into pieces

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. hemp hearts

1/2 tsp chlorella powder

1/2 tsp vegetable based B-Complex powder

1 tbsp. Saskatoon berry syrup (or other kind of sweetener) – I add this to mask the flavour of the chlorella powder

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup or more almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Serves one.

Berry Delicious Porridge


2/3 cup water

1/3 cup organic large flake rolled oats

5 or 6 strawberries (I use frozen strawberries … organic strawberries that were picked in the summer then frozen)

1/4 cup (maybe a bit less) Saskatoon berries (or blueberries) (again, picked in the summer and then frozen)

1/2 apple, peeled, diced

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tbsp. hemp hearts

1 tbsp. maple syrup

a few walnuts, broken into pieces

almond milk

Bring the water to a boil, then add the oats, berries, apple, seeds and syrup. Let simmer gently until thick. Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle on the walnuts and add as much milk as you like. Mmmmmm!






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The Most Amazing Smoothie!

After years of having, basically, the same smoothie every morning, I’ve really broken out of my smoothie rut this year. With the help of sessions with Feed Life and Jiivala and information from the blog Nutrition Stripped, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of greens, assorted seeds, super foods and antioxidants. Spinach is my favourite leafy green to put in my smoothie because it doesn’t have a flavour when it’s all blended up. Some nutrition experts recommend changing up your greens as sticking to one kind can cause a build up of toxins (alkaloid buildup) in your body. So, I try to rotate my leaves – baby kale is pretty good, fresh Romaine lettuce is good, arugula is interesting. I’ve even thrown leftover salad into the blender! (Tastes pretty good as long as there are no green onions in the salad)! A new addition to my smoothies is turmeric which has anti-inflammatory effects. Cayenne, also new, stimulates circulation and boosts the immune system. I throw some ginger in for it’s anti-inflammatory contribution and because it is good for the digestion. Lemons in a smoothie give a vitamin C boost and they are antibacterial and immune boosting.

So, here’s what I’ve been blending up recently:


Nestled in my basil patch!

(I’ve been dying to post this picture! Look at all the fancy labels I made!)

What we’ve got here is …

a big handful of spinach

3 leaves of Romaine lettuce, chopped up a bit

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 small English cucumbers, chopped

2 kinds of fruit (In this picture, it’s mango and apple, but try blueberries, peach, strawberries, whatever you like. Hold off on the banana though unless you’re going to drink it all right away. Banana in a smoothie, left to sit for a bit takes on a flavour I’m not partial too.)

1 tbsp. chia seeds (or ground flax seeds or hemp hearts)

1 slice of lemon, peel and all

thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped up

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp cayenne


Put all the ingredients in a blender. (I use an immersion blender with a tall narrow container as pictured in the photo). Pour water in until the ingredients are covered. Blend until smooth. In a high powered blender you can get really smooth. With my immersion blender, it gets pretty smooth, but there is still a bit of texture. This makes two servings. One for you and one for a friend. Or one for you now and another for you later!

Here’s what my amazing smoothie looks like after blending:


Beautiful green smoothie sitting in my herb garden!

The taste is eye opening and energizing and delicious. I really like the hit of ginger and cayenne. I’ve tried this smoothie out on a few people and it’s been well received by most. My six year old niece hates it, doesn’t even like the smell! “Tom” is not into it either. But two family members and two friends have given it one, if not two, thumbs up.

Here’s the same smoothie, but with blueberries. I think it has a deep purple colour, but “Tom” says it looks like sludge!


Blueberry smoothie in a blueberry bush!

And here’s the same smoothie made with strawberries and beet leaves. I call it Ruby Beauty!


Snuggled in amongst the leaves and petals of a red geranium!

Try it. Let me know what you think.

A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.

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Almond Milk

It occurred to me recently that making almond milk, something I’ve been making from scratch for several months, might be something that is worthy of a blog post. It’s another one of those recipes or procedures that I take for granted, that I assume everyone knows how to do. Then I realized how ridiculous that assumption was – I was taught how to make almond milk by someone, so maybe there are folks out there who would appreciate being taught by me. What do you think?

I used to buy my almond milk from the grocery store – organic, plain, unsweetened – until Colin Medhurst at Feed Life told me about carrageenan. Carrageenan is a natural ingredient derived from seaweed and is used by food manufacturers to make food products thicker and/or to prevent separation. The only problem is the consumption of carrageenan can cause inflammation in the digestive system. And guess where you can find carrageenan on the ingredient list? Almond milk! Okay, not all almond milk has carrageenan, but some does including the brand I was buying! I also learned from that Feed Life Nutrient Dense Eating workshop that it’s important to make sure the almonds I buy are sourced from Europe. Why? Because almonds from the USA, even organic ones, are irradiated before export to Canada! Can you believe it?!

So, armed with this new information about commercially prepared almond milk and almonds, I decided to begin making my own almond milk. It’s actually really easy. You don’t need a high powered blender (which is good because I don’t have one), it doesn’t take very long, the ingredient list is minimal, and the homemade almond milk tastes so much better – fresh, tasty, almondy.

So here’s how it’s done:

1.  Soak 1 cup of raw, organic almonds in water overnight.

2.  Drain the almonds, then put in fresh water.

3.  Peel the almonds. This is kind of fun! Just hold an almond by the fat end and pinch and the naked almond slips right out of it’s skin! The almonds must be wet and freshly soaked in order for the peeling to be quick and easy. If you drain the water and don’t peel the almonds right away, the skin is not so easy to slip off.


4.  Put the peeled almonds in a blender and add 4 cups of water.


5.  Put the lid on and blend for 5 minutes.


6.  That’s it! Keep the almond milk in the fridge and use within one week.

7.  If you want, you can add vanilla (1/4 tsp vanilla powder) and dates (2 pitted Medjool dates) before you blend to give you a sweeter almond milk. This is great if you only use the milk for smoothies or for pouring on your breakfast cereal or in baking. If you use your milk for making savoury sauces, then leave the dates and vanilla out.


How do you use your almond milk? I use mine in smoothies and on porridge as featured here or like this:


This is a delicious and nutritious seven grain porridge from Galloways (which has, sadly, gone out of business in the Lower Mainland), topped with blueberries picked seconds before from the blueberry bush in our back yard. Yum!


A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.



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Try This Smoothie

Last week I went to a Nutrient Dense Eating workshop put on by Feedlife. I’m always looking for opportunities to learn more about a plants based diet and for opportunities to convince friends and family to explore plants based eating. One of the dishes prepared by Eden Elizabeth and Colin Medhurst at Feedlife was a Mega Nutrient Smoothie. This one had some things that I’ve put in smoothies before (cucumber, kale, apple) and some things I haven’t tried in smoothies before (ginger, lemon peel, celery). Putting lemon peel in as well as the flesh and juice of the lemon was emphasized because many of the important nutrients in fruits and vegetables lie just under the skin/peel. Also, I found out that combining cucumber and celery  makes a complete protein.

Here’s the smoothie recipe I created this week, based on what I learned at Feedlife:



1/3 of an English cucumber, coarsely chopped (leave unpeeled if organic)

1/2 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped

small slice lemon, including peel, pith, flesh and juice, coarsely chopped

1 thumb ginger, coarsely chopped (unpeeled if organic)

leaves from 1 stalk of kale, coarsely chopped

1/2 apple, unpeeled, coarsely chopped

1 banana, chunked

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1/2 – 3/4 cup almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve. When consuming this smoothie, sip it slowly. Think about how long it would take you to eat all the ingredients and take that long to drink your smoothie.






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Another Smoothie

This morning, when I went to make my usual smoothie, I discovered we were out of two of the main ingredients (banana and spinach). So I improvised and here is what I came up with:


1 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1 orange, peeled and chopped

1/3 of an English cucumber, peeled and chopped

a handful of frozen pineapple chunks

1 large leaf of lettuce, ripped into pieces

1/2 cup carrot juice

1/2 cup almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. I use an immersion blender so I had to pause and remove the orange pulp from the blades before finishing the blending into a smooth smoothie.


Just thought I’d share!



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In a previous post on my original blog, here, I talked a bit about smoothies and how I have consumed a smoothie for my breakfast virtually every morning for ten years. After reading Somer’s blog, Vedged Out, and her post on the Green Smoothie Challenge, I thought I might do another smoothie post. I guess I just take my daily smoothie for granted. I don’t think too deeply about what goes in and how much. I just make sure I’ve got a huge handful of greens and go from there. A recipe for a smoothie seemed silly for me, but I realize, now, that not everyone knows and does smoothies like I do. So, to help you understand my breakfast, and, perhaps, try it out for yourself, here are some ideas.

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– I make my smoothies with an immersion blender – I have a tall, narrow container into which I stuff all my smoothie ingredients (1/2 full for a single serving, full for 2 servings), then I immerse the immersion blender and blend away until smooth.

– Things like oranges don’t blend completely into liquid using this blender, and leave pulp on the blades, but that’s okay. I just rinse off the pulp, strain the smoothie through a potato masher (yes, a potato masher!) and drink.

– Every smoothie I make has 1 tbsp of ground flax seed OR 1 tbsp ground hemp seed OR 1 tbsp chia seeds.

– if I’m using chia seeds, I start the breakfast smoothie process the night before, putting 1 tbsp chia seeds and 1/2 cup of water into the container and letting soak overnight – it’s important for chia seeds to soak before using.

– I often prep most of my smoothie the night before – seeds, water, greens, fruit – and add banana and vegan milk in the morning.

– I don’t like really cold smoothies so if I’m using frozen fruit, I try to start the night before so the fruit can thaw.

– a typical smoothie for me contains:

1 tbsp flax, hemp or chia seeds

a huge handful of greens like baby spinach, baby kale, even leftover green salad

1 banana

1 serving of another kind of fruit like frozen blueberries

1/2 cup water

vegan milk like soy or almond (unsweetened, unflavoured)


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Ginger Tea

Is this your daily morning routine?

Coffee making paraphernalia

Coffee making paraphernalia

Why not switch to this:

Ginger Tea Paraphernalia

Ginger Tea Paraphernalia

What is this ginger tea, you’re wondering? Well, fortunately I can enlighten you!

Many years ago, and for many years, I was a Leader with Girl Guides of Canada. I made many lifelong friends through that organization and one of them was B. She introduced me to the healthy, healing, immune boosting, soothing ginger tea. She used to bring some ginger brew to our Girl Guide camps and serve it up hot, sweetened with honey. I clearly remember sitting on a cold beach in February supervising the girls, wanting to head back inside the lodge, but staying out because these city girls were having so much fun exploring the wild beach. Along came B. with a mug of hot ginger tea for me. That drink warmed me inside-out, upside-down, back and forth and all over! When I got home from camp, I cooked up my own ginger brew and drank it every morning for several years. I often drank it in the early evening as well, especially when I had to stand around watching my children play an early evening baseball game in the spring – that stuff kept me warm for most of the game! I swear my regular use of this stuff eased my seasonal allergies, improved my digestive system and regulated my weight. I fell out of drinking ginger tea for a while, but I’m back at it again. Would you like to join me? If so, here is how to make it:

– grate up a big pile of fresh ginger – like 2 or 3 large, hand-sized pieces

– put the grated ginger in a big pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer for an hour, all day, whatever. It makes your whole house smell like ginger, by the way!

– let cool and pour into a jug and store in the fridge

– to make the tea, fill a mug about 2/3 to 3/4 full with hot water. Add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of agave nectar (or honey if you’re into it). Fill the mug up with ginger broth, stir and enjoy.

– you may need to tinker with the amounts of hot water and ginger broth depending on the potency of your ginger brew and on your own personal tastes.

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