Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Green Beauty

...I got it! Ever since the new year, I've been wanting to own this book. A dear family friend of ours bought me this book for my birthday, which I was SO excited about! One of my resolutions for this year was to make more of my own body and beauty potions and to buy more natural products. And so far, I've done pretty good...altho' I have bought one lip color that wasn't natural, that's it. My interest was peaked in this book when Shannonmarie got the author, Julie Gabriel, to give an interview (check it out here). She also did a really great review on the book, which you must read, if you're thinking about getting the book. Julie Gabriel also has a lovely blog, which I like to check up on, from time to time.
I'm really excited about making some of my own face washes, lotions, masks, conditioners, (even recipes for the "natural" baby) and all that fun, girly stuff. She uses a lot of essential oils, which I can't wait to experiment with. Julie has a great way of writing, that really keeps your attention and makes you more aware of what is going on in the "beauty" industry...alerting us to all those nasty chemicals that are put into products we use every day, sometimes even the ones that are made to sound "natural". I haven't finished the book yet, but already I'm just super stoked about doing a lot of these things myself with her recipes. I also loved the fact that she recommended quite a few products to buy, when you can't make something yourself. Hope you get your hands on a copy of this book (check your library)...because it's definitely worth reading.
...Life here is amazingly busy now. Our family has started our second session of recording our third music CD. We'll hopefully be done on Friday night...and then pack up the sound equipment on Saturday. Then, we're singing at a church on Sunday and on Monday, my family will take me down to the states to help mix our CD for about a week and a half. After that, I'll come home for maybe 1-2 days, pack my stuff up, and my sister Anne-Marie and I are heading to the airport to visit my sister Lizzy for the next 3 weeks. I haven't seen her since Christmas so I'm, naturally, very EXCITED! So, I'll do my best to keep posting, but please forgive me if I don't have time, lol.
Oh, and here's a recipe to "green" up your breakfast...this is the one I had this morning.
Green Beauty Cilantro Shake
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 grapefruit (without pith)
1/2 Navel orange (with pith)
1/2 c. pineapple
1 TB. honey (to taste)
Add some water to blend those greens into submission. I meant to add blue-green algae flakes this morning, but I forgot...so if you have those, plop those in too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Desserts

I promised I'd post more delectable desserts...so here they are. But first of all, I just wanted to say what a fantastic birthday I had...it was so amazing...lots of family and good friends here. I was completely and utterly spoiled, but it was all good! lol. I got a lot of really special presents and in one of my next posts I'll tell you about an amazing book that goes right along with one of my new year resolutions (so keep tuned!)

I love, love, love ice-creams, so above is one of the recipes I dreamed up. It's called Caramel Ice-Cream with Chocolate Fudge Chunks. (It was so sweet, on my b-day, one of my health-loving sister-in-love's made me a healthy, sugar-free, berry ice-cream...which is particularly amazing! Like I said, I was spoiled)
Next, is one of those little, quick snacks that I might mix up if I'm feeling like I need a sweet now (I'm working on my patience). Crunchy Maca Chocolate...it makes one large truffle to indulge in!

Back to the ice-cream (told you I was hooked on this stuff!)...this one, is called "The Floaty Ice-Cream", simple, cheap and perfectly tasty! I topped a thinner version of a Chocolate Banana Shake with this...

And last, but not least...are my chocolate recipes. Chocolate Caramel Bites, Turtles, Caramel Almond Smacks, Dark Truffle Fudge, dipping chocolate...You can find them all here...I made them for a Valentine's Day a year or two ago.

And the easy, cheap recipe I talked about last post, about being so amazing...is the simple Avocado Chocolate Pudding. Pretty much it's just one avocado, some cocoa (carob or raw cacao), honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup as a sweetener, a few dates too, and a wee bit of the pink salt. It's SO good and you'd never ever guess it has a green avocado in it! Simple and cheap, but so divine for the chocoholics.

On another note, my running has been going good too...altho' I feel like I don't have quite as much energy as a week or two ago. Last Saturday my two brothers and I ran to another brother's house...which, there in back is about 8 miles...but it happened to be quite hilly. It was a hard run, because I've never done really any hill training, and it was my first outdoor run since last Autumn. I walked when I needed to, but I did it and it felt good. Well, until I finally stopped. I hurt my heel again, so I've been letting it heal, by being a bit more careful and trying not to wear any shoes. I did a 5 mile run yesterday and a 3 mile run today. And guess what? I bought a snappy running outfit, even those professional running socks...I asked if God would help me get some of it on sale (sometimes that sort of thing is pricey) and when I got to the store, that's exactly what I got! He's so good to me!

Menu so far for today:

First thing: 1 c. Synergy grape Kombucha with lemon and stevia

Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit and a bowl of Kashi Probiotic Cereal with raw almond milk (usually I don't eat cereal in the morning, but today I wanted it)

Lunch: 1 glass green smoothie (parsley, grape juice, 1/2 banana, organic pumpkin seeds, and ice), and an organic herb salad with 1/2 avocado, olive tapenade, 2 cloves garlic, organic pumpkin seeds, and dressing (organic olive oil, Braggs, APV, and maple syrup)

Eat something good for me!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Desserts Revisited

One of my readers and blogging friends, Abigail of Shine on Child, wondered if I knew any easy, or inexpensive desserts...I think that's a great question, because some people (like me!) are always craving the sweets and want something we can have right away!

So with this post I wanted to "re-visit" a lot of my dessert recipes or recipes that I've tried and absolutely love...

The creamy sweetness above is a Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake that I made when my sister Anne-Marie and I were challenging ourselves to 25 days of all-raw.

And because there's a bit of cheesecake cream left over when you make the above cake...this is a lovely fruit delight I made from it. You can do this with any raw pudding, cheesecake batter, or "whipped cream", like the stuff that Carmella of the Sunny Raw Kitchen makes. Check out her persimmon cake recipe there too, while you're there.

Another amazing dessert is Ani Phyo's Berry Cobbler...but I'm not indulging you with the recipe...you'll have to read her book yourself. Also, she just wrote a new one called "Ani's Raw Food Desserts", which you can now pre-order (this is on my wish list).

A great quick, simple (and cheap!) dessert is a sweet smoothie, whether it's the classic chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or a divine sensation from the tropics. Here's a simple strawberry one I really love...this also tastes amazing, when you replace the strawberries with blueberries.

...And here's one of my favorite smoothies...CHOCOLATE! This is a great evening dessert or snack. If you check out the above link, there's also a halva recipes there too, which is really amazing because it tastes like the non-raw version. My Dad loves this!

Fruit sorbets are SO easy to make (like the one below, made from intense Concord grapes). Just grab a fruit (EXPERIMENT and have fun! Try berry, banana, orange, apple, cantaloupe, pomegranate, lemon, whatever). Then get your sweetener (Agave, honey, maple syrup, or perhaps dates) and then whizz it into submission with a liquid base (water, nut milk, or a juice).

Since we just had St. Patrick's day I thought I'd also post what I did last year...another one of my ice-cream experiments that I had done for the occasion. I was trying to make a cheaper ice-cream that didn't require cashews or macadamia nuts, so there it is!

For those of you who crave cereal bars this one is for you...is it really one of the best that I've tasted! I created this out of a serious need for sweets with a definite crunch! This one I did use organic peanut butter for (you can either buy the raw or just use raw almond butter instead). These ones are really cheap too.

Sometime soon, in one of my next posts, I will do some more dessert recipes of mine, and tell of one of the simplest, cheapest, quick, and most delectable of desserts that I absolutely heart!

...And guess what? It's my birthday tomorrow...I was telling my sister today that it felt "so long" since I've had a birthday. Of course, that's true, because it's been a whole year. lol. So tomorrow will be extra special with lots of friends and family over, a heart-healthy cake and ice-cream, and lots of fun and games (and I know my Mom will make me a fruity breakfast in bed...she always makes me smoothies!)

So I hope you try one or two of those desserts next time you're craving something sinfully sweet. Have fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Smoothie Salads

First of all, Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Hope you're all celebrating today with green smoothies and salads!

A bit ago, I discovered the fun concept of green smoothie salads...I thought it would be fun to try having the green smoothie itself be the dressing of a fruit/veggie salad, so I gave it a go!

I made a simple orange/spinach/banana green smoothie, blended with a few organic pumpkin seeds and then poured it over a fruit/veggie salad for my lunch. I had it over green and red grapes, halved sugar snap peas, pumpkin seeds, and a half a head of Romaine lettuce. Really, it was so good! I had two helpings, lol. Next time I make it, I'd like to add cut up celery and cucumber.

I think it's such a fun idea and I'm looking forward to trying it with all fruit. You know, making a blueberry banana smoothie and pouring it over berries, cherries, sliced banana, grapes, oranges, and apple slices. I think that would a fantastic salad.

This is especially good for those who like blended drinks, but often feel like they need to "just chomp" on something too!

I was gone this weekend singing with the family so it's good to be home again. And I've even gotten more regular with my posting, haven't you noticed, lol? It feels good to be blogging again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kitchen Beauty

LEMONS~ Often after I squeeze a lemon I will rub the leftover half over my elbows to exfoliate. You can also just rub it on your skin to tone and refresh your skin. I've even heard that lemon juice is great for any blackheads you might have on your face.

OLIVE OIL~ I use this for a moisturizing face mask. It takes off all my makeup effortlessly and leaves my face feeling very soft. I use in on my arms and legs for a lotion. When I'm a meal in the kitchen, I always take that last drip off the lid and use it as a lip balm.

HONEY~ I betcha didn't know this, but it's a great lip balm (altho' I often end up licking it off, I love honey! lol) But my favorite way to use it is to put it on my face for about 20 minutes and it makes your skin feel like silk. Honey is very good for nipping bacteria in the bud, so it's great for breakout prone skin.

COCONUT OIL~ I know I'm young now, but I once heard that once you turn 18 you should start using eye cream. So once I reached that infamous number I started putting coconut oil around my eyes each night. I make my own eye cream by mixing the oil with some liquid vitamin E and some cold-pressed olive oil. This is an excellent potion and I simply love it. I'll often use the same stuff on my face when it needs some moisture or on scars I have. I'm always battling dry skin.

ALOE VERA~ When I make a smoothie with aloe vera in it (and I'm not wearing makeup), I'll take the gel-removed leaf and rub it on my face. This tones and tightens my face and is very healing and moisturizing. Aloe vera is great for irritated or sensitive skin, even as a lotion.

CUCUMBER~ Yes, the famous cucumber. Just cut two slices and place them over your eyes for ten minutes to refresh and de-puff your eyes. This works well with two regular tea bags too, just makes sure to chill them. You can even whiz up cucumbers in the blender and use it for a toning mask.

SESAME OIL~ Of course I've never used it for this, but apparently it's a great stretch mark lotion.

I did a post of another "non-raw" mask that I really love too, it's really amazing! Check it out here.

While I was surfing the web for more kitchen beauty tips I found this link. Try out some of these great-looking recipes and let me know what you think of them

And since health is one of the best beautifiers ever, here's a smoothie recipe I did this morning after my run. It has cherries (anti-aging because they're chock full of antioxidants), red chard (greens, majorly important!), pumpkin seeds (full of zinc, which protects the skin and is an EFA source), flax seeds (EFA content, which is a must) and a banana (really good after exercise).


1 c. frozen cherries

Over 2 c. of red chard (or 6-7 big leaves)

1 TB. raw flax seed

1 TB. organic, raw pumpkin seeds

1 banana

3 ice cubes

...and water to blend. Whirl up and chug it down. The color doesn't end up being the nicest, but it tastes fantastic.

Have fun!

Monday, March 9, 2009


...And I'm back. We had a lovely girl time away together. It was so nice to just have a refreshing break from everyday life. I was able get caught up on some journaling, some reading, and sister time.
And guess what? Out hotel was pretty much beside a Whole Food store, which made me perfectly happy. We bought some organic fruit and some healthy groceries there, so that was fun. It's not often I we get to shop there, since Whole Foods, sadly, is not in Canada. I even splurged and got some natural ice-cream there. I wasn't going to write that here, lol...but hey! I'm going to be a real person on my blog, so there you go...I ate ice-cream!
I ran 26 miles in total last week, right before we left for the trip, which was the most I've ever run in one week, so that was exciting! I ran 4 miles this morning, after a breakfast of fruit and this afternoon I had a lovely salad for one. I adapted it from Carol Alt's "Raw 50" and was so happy with it. It had lots of juices from the ingredients so I didn't even need a dressing, which made it low calorie and it tasted simply delectable.
Charis' Salad for One
1 head of Romaine lettuce
4 TB. sauerkraut
1 TB. olive tapenade (or a few olives thrown in instead)
1/2. avocado
a splash of APV
Mix it up and eat! That's all. This is only about 162 calories, so it works as a great snack too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Quickie...

Just a quick note...my sister-in-law Lisa is taking Anne-Marie and I to the states for a few days. She's attending a midwifery course and Annie and I will watch her baby for her, while she's there.
We'll all have the evenings free, so it will be a special sister time for all of us. I'm really looking forward to some girl time.
So in a few minutes we're off...be back in a few days!
...P.S. A really great drink for travelling is the Master Cleanse Lemonade. That's what I'm bringing today. It's delicious and very cleansing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mind Over Body

Today I was determined to run 12 miles...so I marched to the treadmill, armed with a banana, a couple dates and dried apricots, and my 32 oz. water bottle. Honestly, it was the most horrid run ever, because the last 4 miles something sort of snapped in my foot which made every step really painful. It was like I pulled something hard and then I could feel a blister on my other foot...and then my hip felt all funny, like it wasn't really in the right spot...I knew I should probably stop, but I get so stubborn sometimes and I hated the idea of stopping at 8 miles when I had only 4 more to go to finish my goal. So I kept on going...but then it hurt so much, that I had to slow down and put a lot of my weight on the handbars. I know holding on handbars doesn't really count as true running, but I was so desperate to finish.
My i-pod tracks my runs (thanks to Nike+ shoes) and I had paused the workout for a minute...when I had run for a while, I realized that I hadn't un-paused it. So I stopped my room at 11.25 miles, because I guessed that I had probably run a quarter of a mile when it wasn't tracking. But because I'm so physcological and felt like I hadn't quite finished, so later, after I had rested my feet a bit, I "ran" around our hall for around 15 minutes to get .75 miles more done. This was just to make sure I had really done it, lol. I couldn't believe that it took me 15 minutes to run that little, but my foot hurt so much I had to go really slow. But I did it and that's all that mattered! (see, I said I was stubborn)
Anyway, my lesson learned? Well, I'm not quite sure, but maybe I should warm up before I run. I'm a complete lazy person when it comes to warming up prior to exercise and have never done it, nor had any ill effects for not doing it.
I simply love this quote...
"Now if you are going to win any battle you have do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
-George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian
All the same...it's a very wise idea to listen to your body, especially if it hurts, lol. Oh, and warm up!