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Quinoa Salad with Pickles and Kale

Hey guys, Kristen Vander Hoeven here from the SoSasha.com team bringing you another quick and easy bowl recipe that you can quickly make at home this week. Quinoa, quinoa, quinoa…everyone’s obsessed with quinoa. It’s basically the perfect blank canvas for an infinity amount of recipes. You can turn it into anything you like and trick your mind and belly into thinking your eating a big delicious bowl of bad carbs. I’ve adjusted this recipe to compliment my salmon but as time passes I will add and modify different recipes on how I prepare this golden grain.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

I added dill pickles this time to compliment the fish as well as bring that sour element to cut the flavour of the buttery salmon. I love added fermented food to almost anything I’m eating. It aids in digestion which helps to eliminate bloating. You can try different fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

QUINOA SALAD WITH PICKLES & KALE

PREP: 25 min

COOKING: 30 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube (if you have home made stock use that instead)
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 large dill pickle spears diced
  • 1 cup of kale loosely chopped
  • 1 green onion

DRESSING:

  • 6 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

Add all of your ingredients and dressing to your quinoa. You can serve warm, cold, whatever you wish. NOTE: For the perfect fluffy quinoa, start by rinsing your quinoa in a mesh strainer. This helps take off a weird coating that the grain has which can lead to it being a bit bitter and unfluffy. Once rinsed, placed quinoa into a sauce pan with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toasting your quinoa before cooking brings out a nutty delicious flavour. After it’s all toasty and fragrant, add your water or cooking stock. Bring to a oil then turn your heat down and simmer with lid on for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat but leave on the lid and let sit for another 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with a fork.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and PicklesPhotography by Jilly Botting

For more recipe inspiration and healthy meal ideas, follow me on Instagram using the handle @KristenVanderHoeven, xoxo

Delicious Genuine Health Recipes Your Gut Will Thank You For

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

We’ve been talking a lot about the benefits of fermented supplements amongst the team here at So Sasha and have become a bit obsessed on it’s health benefits. Earlier this week Sasha schooled us on the importance of gut health and how to diagnose a very common, undiagnosed condition called “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. In case you happened to miss the post you can check it out here. I may not suffer from a leaky gut but god knows I want to prevent one and it turns out that Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ products improve the intestinal (mucosa) lining , which we rely on for optimal immune function and allows for an efficient flow of nutrients to tissues and organs. It also has been proven to help in the aid of digestion which is also critical – did you know that 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive issues each year? To make matters worse, we often eat foods with partially removed anti-nutrients making us deprived of foods intended nutritional potential and sometimes suffer from unwanted side effects like bloating and gas. Only fermentation can make nutrients readily available for proper absorption by the body.

So after getting the low down on all of this, I have come to the realization that I must integrate fermented vegan proteins+ into my diet right away and so should you. Incorporating it regularly can be pretty easy, especially if you’re into smoothies and smoothie bowls, but I took a stab at creating a pretty delicious recipe for the ultimate guilt-free cinnamon buns. The latter is because I watched the movie “Daddy’s Home” this past weekend and the breakfast scene had some in it so they’ve been on my mind. Instead of going to the closet mall to drown myself in a Cinnabon I decided best to make my own so I’ve created some including Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ powder. These won’t taste like the ones you get at the mall…but they do taste amazing and you’ll not crash and feel like shit after eating. These have been taste tested by my guy who “prefers the real stuff” and he really only has amazing things to say about them.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Fermented Vegan Proteins+ Vanilla Cinnamon Buns Prep time: 20 min Cooking: 27 min

 Ingredients:

 ROLLS

  • 1 3/4 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop of fermented vegan proteins+ vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee, softened (I used coconut oil..the hard white stuff at room temp)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey, softened
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (Room temp is important!!!)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

FILLING

  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans (optional)

GLAZE

TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl bowl, whisk together the coconut oilraw honey, vanilla and eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond and coconut flourand sea salt.  I sifted all my ingredients through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all lumps but you can also do this with a fork, breaking up any chunks.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture and knead the dough until it is smooth. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tsp. coconut flour at a time until desired consistency is reached. Place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. While the dough is cooling, mix the coconut oil and raw honey for the filling together in small bowl and set aside.
  6. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper, sprinkling a little almond flour on each side of the dough before rolling. You want to form a large rectangle (see pictures below).
  7. Drizzle the filling evenly over the dough, using the back of the spoon to spread it all around. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top and then the pecans (optional).
  8. Roll the dough, starting at one of the shorter ends, until it forms a log. You want to work carefully and slowly in order to get the dough to roll correctly. Once the whole log is rolled, roll it gently until it is smooth on all sides. Wrap in clear wrap and place in freezer for 10-15 min.
  9. Slice the roll into 2 inch thick sections using a large chef knife. You should have about 9 rolls. Lay each piece (flat side down) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake 20-27 min or until the tops are lightly browned. Keep your eye on them – better they be underdone than overdone.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl while the rolls are cooling.
  12. Drizzle with the glaze and add toppings (optional) right before serving.

Cinnamon buns not your jam? Not to worry, I got you covered with a smoothie bowl recipe which are all the rage right now. And for good reason, they are almost to beautiful to eat in some cases. Sometimes our bodies crave something more than a shake. There are actual studies that prove the act of eating solid foods can leave you feeling more full and satisfied. So a smoothie bowl is absolutely the perfect replacement when you have the time. You can basically make it as beautiful or ugly as you want…Its going to taste the exact same….but for the creative purpose of this post I put my best foot forward 🙂

I love adding fermented vegan proteins+ because it gives that extra boost of flavour and sweetness leaving my body feeling satisfied without any bloating or discomfort. For anyone who hates the taste of protein powders, Ive been feeding this to my bf for a week and he hasn’t even noticed…lol…its that good.

Raspberry Swirl ’N’ice Cream Bowl Prep time: 5 mins

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

  • 1 scoop of fermented vegan  proteins+ powder
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Cashew butter
  • 1 cup Frozen Raspberries
  • 2 Dates
  • 1 Frozen Bananas

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth consistency. Top with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge and serve.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegans Proteins+

Our friends at Genuine Health are giving you an opportunity to win 1 in 8 fermented vegan proteins+ prize packs valued at $200 each. Click here for contest information and to register online. Contest is open to Canadian residents over the age of 18 until 11:59pm on April 30th, 2016. Check out Genuine Health’s “The Daily Digest” to discover more details on the benefits of fermented vegan proteins+ supplements. #LoveYourGut #LoveHowYouFeel #NoBloat 

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+Photography by Jillian Botting 

Get more recipe inspiration from our talented and beautiful culinary expert by following Kristen Vander Hoeven on Instagram.

Tech Talk: Food Accountability with Apple Watch & Lark App

Food Accountability with Lark

Ok, so here’s the ugly truth people. Exercise alone won’t give you the body you want. Sure you’ll feel better. Have more energy. Sleep better and even move better. I know it’s not what you want to hear and you were probably hoping I would say, “I workout everyday so I can eat what I want!” Could you imagine if that were true?  I would eat chocolate cake for breakfast every single day. But unfortunately that’s not how it works kids. You simply can’t out train a bad diet.

Food Accountability with Lark

Food Accountability with Lark

Since the beginning of the year, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been religiously wearing an Apple Watch strapped to my wrist; to run, at the gym, out and about, to sleep (for those of you who follow me on snapchat) and even with evening wear to events.  This has all been in an effort to find out whether wearable technology can really enhance my life like brands claim it can. This results so far may surprise you. I will be sharing some of my findings over the coming weeks but after reading several tweets on my timeline about food accountability, I felt compelled to jump the gun and share this little secret. I confess…I have an issue with food. I love everything that’s bad for me. Carbs, sugar, anything with gluten and the occasional cocktails – all of which cause me issues due to my health condition. It’s super easy to sneak in a cupcake (or 2) when nobody’s around. It’s almost as if it doesn’t count because only you knew it happened. Well, when I deviate from my prescribed and highly suggested foods, I feel the affects physically. Having to record everything that goes into my mouth holds me accountable. I recently discovered this genius tool while researching apps for my Apple Watch called Lark. I have used the app for six out of the last eight weeks and noticed a considerable difference in what I consumed when I was not recording my meals and snacks through it.

Eating healthy would be much easier if we had a personalized nutritionist telling us what we should eat, what we shouldn’t and suggest healthier choices to our favourite foods, wouldn’t it? Well, imagine if your best friend was a certified nutritionist and she checked in on you several times during the day to give you feedback on what you’ve eaten, your activity level and workouts. That’s Lark in a nutshell.

Food Accountability with Lark

Compatible for both Apple Watch and iPhone devices, Lark uses a mix of artificial intelligence and human experts to help people stay in line with their goals, get fit and lose weight. The app helps you track all the elements that goes into a healthy lifestyle and also has a texting interface that stimulates communicating one-on-one with a personal health coach. Personally, I often get sidetracked with my hectic schedules and in the past it wasn’t uncommon for me to accidentally skip a meal or not get enough water intake but frequent texts from Miss Lark forces me to be more mindful. It was ranked in Apple’s Top 10 apps in 2015 and it’s clear why. Here’s how it works:

The lesson is quite simple, recording your meals and activity makes you accountable and forces you to make better choices during the day when it comes creating healthy habits. Instead of falling victim to shitty takeout during a busy workday, I instead noshed on this amazing Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl created by our resident foodie expert Kristen Vander Hoeven with SOTO Sake; a premium, gluten free Japanese sake and my meal feel into the “green” category otherwise known as the “healthy” zone. Meals that are borderline fall in the “orange” or safe category, followed by the “red” category which probably needs no explanation. In case you missed this ridiculously healthy recipe on the bloggie, you can find it here. And not to worry, Kristen promises prepping a meal with raw fish at home isn’t as scary as you think.
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
Stay tuned for more on how my Apple Watch is helping me keep a well balanced lifestyle. In the meantime, you can learn more about Lark and download this amazing app for free here.

Greens+ Extra Energy: The Key to Optimal Health and Energy

Greens+ Extra Energy

I don’t know one person who doesn’t wish they had more energy. I mean, how many cups of coffee do you need to make it through the day? Sure, the caffeine from coffee can give you an immediate boost of energy but that artificial energy can distance people from their natural energy rhythms. Excess caffeine also goads the adrenal glands into releasing stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that can put the brain and body into a panic like state. I am proud to say, I am no longer a daily coffee drinker and have turned to healthier alternatives like Matcha Green Tea and Genuine Health’s Green+ Extra Energy to help me get through my busy days.

Rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, probiotics and standardized herbal extracts, the change in my energy level during the day has been absolutely mind blowing since integrating Greens+ Extra Energy formula into my daily routine. So why is Greens+ so effective and can it actually replace coffee in your diet? The answer is absolutely. The kick you will experience from both the Kola Nut (which contains naturally occurring caffeine) and Taurine will give you 100% energy,  0% crash plus the benefits of 23 hand selected ingredients proven to bridge nutrient gaps in your diet.

Greens+ Extra Energy

Greens+ Extra Energy

Greens+ Extra Energy

Although working out is important, I truly believe that an alkaline diet is the foundation for optimal health. For me, sticking to alkaline forming foods such as; leafy green veggies, fresh fruit, quinoa, green tea, hemp, goat’s milk, chia seeds, flax, EVOO, anything coconut and almonds, has dramatically improved my health condition. Even if you already have a good diet, eating foods that will alkalize your body will not only increase your energy but also boost your immune system, balance pH levels, support mood/cognitive function, improve digestive health and much more.

There are 3 easy ways to take Greens+ 1) Shake with water 2) Mix into smoothies 3)Add to recipes. I actually LOVE the taste of Greens+ Extra Energy just on it’s own with water but I also toss a scoop into a smoothie an hour before a workout. This Peachy Green Smoothie is smooth, creamy and will keep your tummy satisfied until your next meal.

Greens+ Extra Energy

1 frozen Banana
1 cup frozen peaches
1 scoop Greens+ Extra Energy Orange
1 tbsp almond butter
1 date
1 1/2 cup of water, or liquid of choice
Directions: Throw everything into a Vitamix or blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Greens+ Extra Energy

This year I have decided to grow my squad and bring Kristen Vander Hoeven to the team. An old friend, fitness fanatic, fellow foodie obsessed with health and who is currently completing her culinary degree at Toronto’s George Brown College. I recently spent the day in the kitchen with KVH and she showed me some new ways to enjoy Greens+ Extra Energy with my Paleo diet. Here’s Kristen’s take on two easy and energy enhancing recipes:

Paleo Greens+ Muffins

If you’re like me, you love eating a LOT of crap that’s not good for you, so it’s become a great passion of mine to figure out alternative methods to satisfy my cravings. For those of you who eat Paleo, know know it’s exactly that. These little babies are not only delicious, good for you and Paleo friendly (I know…you’re welcome).  Even though baking paleo may seem intimidating – it’s actually not.  Trust me…I suck at baking and I attempt it all the time.  Once you learn a few tricks (like a room temperature egg will actually change your results) it’s not that bad and super rewarding.   I mean…the fact that I could eat 10 of these and still feel good is pretty damn awesome.

Here’s the ingredients you’re going to need….
Greens+ Extra Energy
1 tablespoon Greens + cappuccino green supplement
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of Cinnamon
4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
Preheat your oven to 325°
1.  In a large bowl combine your Greens + Energy powder, coconut flour, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.  Its a good idea to put your dry ingredients through a sifter to eliminate any clumps in your mixture.
2.  Once you’ve combined your dry ingredients, add your coconut oil and egg whites.  Combine with mixer, then add 3 whole eggs, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste.  If you do not have vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract will work just fine.
3.  Grease your mini muffin tray with coconut oil, ghee or a grass fed butter.  Fill each tin to the top.  Bake for 8 minutes, or until muffins are firm to touch. Check every 1-2 minutes. You can try poking with a skewer, if it comes out clean you are good to go.
Greens+ Extra Energy
Greens+ Natural Orange Energy Balls
I could literally eat these balls all day – everyday. They taste exactly like raw cookie dough which takes me back to when I was a kid and would beg to lick the batter bowl. Now that I am an adult, and care about my health, and the size of my thighs…I try to avoid doing things that make me sick 🙁 These balls are perfect. I recommend eating them frozen, it makes each bite last longer. Ideal for pre/post workout or during lazy day Netflix marathons. The only problem you will have is not having enough…probably a good idea to double this recipe.
Greens+ Extra Energy

Here’s the ingredients you’re going to need…

2 1/12 Coconut oil (the hard stuff, not the liquid)
2 tbsp Cashew butter
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1/2 tsp Vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will work as well)
1/3 Scoop of Greens + orange powder
1/2 cup Rolled oats
1/3 cup Almond flour
1tbsp Hemp hearts

*To coat your balls (I realize how bad that sounds) use a 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut shavings

Greens+ Extra EnergyPhotography by Jilly Botting

1. In a medium size bowl combine your wet ingredients with a mixer until smooth (cashew butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste).
2. Once mixture is creamy add the rest of your dry ingredients.
3. After all your ingredients are combined, clean the sides of your bowl with a spatula and bring your mixture together. Place your bowl in the refrigerator for 5-10 min or until your ingredients are firm. If you are in a rush and cannot wait for mixture to harden, no worries. Proceed with rolling out your balls and keep a bowl of cold water on hand to keep your hands semi clean in between balls.
4. Place your raw balls into shallow dish of unsweetened coconut shavings to give them a light coating.
5. Keep the balls in the freezer.

Greens+ Extra Energy

We could go on and on about the benefits of Greens+ and really there are countless ways you can incorporate it into your day. What had started with just one formula variant (Original), Greens+ has now expanded into an entire category, and probably most arguably Genuine Health’s most lucrative products. With formulas created specifically for detoxing, healthy skin, kids, to build strong bones, for those with food sensitivities/allergies and much more; there’s a Greens+ for every need. For the meantime, we are hooked on the Extra Energy formula which is available in Natural Orange and Cappuccino flavours and also comes in convenient tablets. For more information on any of the above mentioned products within the Genuine Health family or to find additional recipe inspiration head to GenuineHealth.com.

Quick and Clean Post Workout Fuel

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It’s shocking how many people overlook the importance of nutrition when it comes to overall wellness and weight loss. Truth be told, what we put in our mouths is more crucial than the time we put in the gym. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “what should I eat post workout that won’t cancel out the calories I just burned?”. Actually, this may be the best news you will hear this month but you you can’t cancel out calories you just burned off during a workout. When you work out, your body burns fat to be used as energy. If you eat right after your workout, those calories won’t be used to replace the burned body fat. Truth be told, your body only stores food as body fat when it doesn’t have anything else to do with the extra calories you eat. Post workout, your body needs to start restoring and repairing itself from your training, so in other words, it needs the calories.

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Your body uses the protein you intake to repair and build the muscles that were broken down during your tough workouts. Eating immediately post workout has a few other benefits. The calories you ingest will be used by your body automatically instead of being stored as fat. Eating after a workout can also increase your body’s insulin sensitivity or its ability to use carbohydrates, which is super important for weight loss.

What I eat after I workout depends on how vigorous the exercise was and at what time of the day. Sometimes, if it’s very early in the morning I may not have a huge appetite, where a protein packed shake and a cold pressed juice will do the trick or if it’s later into the day or evening, my body craves something a bit heavier. Here’s some easy options you may want to incorporate into your post workout routine.

The Go-To Salad: Belmonte Raw’s Moroccan Kale Salad

HBNewYouThe above shot at Belmonte Raw for Hudson’s Bay by David A. Pike. Wearing Lole Women

When my time is limited post workout, I have several options close to Equinox located in “The Path” (or what I refer to as Toronto’s underground city). It’s kind of the best. Retail shops, liquor stores, restaurants, everything you could ever need and want without ever having to go outside into the freezing cold. My friends at Belmonte Raw recently opened a location there that services the Financial District and within 5 minutes I can scoop up one of my fave salads to go without skipping a beat. But when I have a little more time, I like to prepare something at home where I can also have the option of adding some sort of protein to the salad; tuna, salmon, chicken or steak; like this colourful Rainbow Chopped Salad (shown here without protein).

Rainbow Chopped Salad

Ingredients: 

1 large head romaine lettuce, cored and chopped

1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 handful of parsley, stemmed and finely chopped

1 apple, chopped into cubes

1 asian pear, chopped into cubes

1/4 cup wakame soaked for 15 minutes, rinsed and drained

1 sheet nori, cut into thin strips

1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets

1 cup of pomegranate seeds

1 avocado, peeled and sliced into cubes

1/2 cup of dried apricots diced finely

1.2 cup of sunflower seeds (optional)

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper and your choice of protein (fish, chicken or steak) to taste

*Yields 4-6 servings 

Directions: Don’t feel you have to use this exact recipe. Feel free to remove or add ingredients as you see fit. You can think of this as the ultimate bowl of nutrient dense goodness. Add the simple vinaigrette or your choice of dressing, toss everything together and let marinate for at least 15 minutes before eating. SSFitTip: Make before your workout so you can devour right after your sweat sesh.

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I don’t think I’ve met a smoothie I didn’t like. I mean, what’s not to love right? Quick to make, you can pack in tons of nutrients, usually on the sweeter tasting side, making it enjoyable to drink. It’s almost impossible to get the recommended amount of folic acid from greens, so blending and juicing dark leafy green veggies like kale and spinach makes things a bit easier. Even those who don’t like the taste of green based smoothies, will love this Stevia-Sweetened Green Tropical Smoothie.

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Ingredients:

1/2 frozen banana

1 medium tangerine, peeled

1.5-2 cups of coconut water, preferably from young coconuts but bottled is fine

2 cups of kale, chopped

1.2 cup of frozen pineapple

8-10 drops of Sweet Leaf tangerine stevia

*Makes 1-2 large drinks

Directions: Mix all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, until smooth.

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If it wasn’t considered to be ridiculous, I could easily eat breakfast food for every single meal. There’s always been a special place in my heart for pancakes, crepes and french toast, but for the most part when you eat them at restaurants they aren’t the healthiest. I have come determined to find or create healthy versions of my favourite meals this year and these Red Quinoa Pancakes are pretty delish.

Ingredients:

2 organic, free ranged eggs

2 cups of coconut or almond milk

1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

1.5 cups of flour (I prefer to use unbleached wheat or spelt flour as a healthier alternative)

1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of sea salt

2 cups of red quinoa, cooked

*Makes 20-24 pancakes

Directions: Place milk in a small bowl and pour in the lemon juice. Stir once and let sit for 5 minutes. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix together. Place eggs in a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk. Add the coconut oil, dry ingredients and milk to the eggs and mix until combined. Add the quinoa to the batter and mix until combined (make sure to not over mix). Head griddle to medium-medium/high and grease with coconut oil. Pour batter onto the hot griddle (roughly 1/4 cup per pancake) and allow to cook for a minute or so, or until the top of the pancake has bubbled and the sides are cooked. Flip pancake over and finish cooking on the other side for another 30 seconds. Add desired fruit or other toppings and your fave syrup.

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When I workout later into the day, specifically in the evening, I finish feeling absolutely famished. If I don’t find something healthy and filling right away, it can lead to danger. I like to eat my dinner early so I need something that’s healthy and that will keep me satisfied until the next morning.Whether your a vegan or not, you must try this Green, Clean Lasagna with Kale Marinara Sauce.

Ingredients: 

olive oil cooking spray (for the baking dish)

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 yellow onion finely chopped

4 cups of sliced cremini mushrooms

2 cups of shredded lacinato kale leaves

2 cups part skim-ricotta cheese

3 cups of homemade kale marinara (recipe below)

6 no boil lasagna sheet noodles

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray and set aside. In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and shredded kale, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. Put the ricotta cheese in a large bowl, and, using a spatula, gently fold in the cooled mushroom-kale mixture until completely incorporated. Assemble the lasagna

Using the prepared baking dish, assemble the lasagna in six layers as follows: 1 cup Homemade Kale Marinara, spread evenly; 3 lasagna noodle sheets (arranged in a single layer); 3⁄4 cup of the kale-mushroom-and ricotta mixture, spread evenly. Repeat the layering a second time, then top with the remaining kale-mushroom-and ricotta mixture, and finish with the grated Pecorino or Romano on top. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the preheated oven, on the middle rack, for about 25 minutes.

After 20 minutes have passed, remove the foil from the baking dish and move the baking dish to the top rack. To finish, bake, uncovered, for another 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how you love your lasagna finished. Remove the lasagna from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Ingredients for Kale Marinara Sauce:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped finely

5 garlic cloves, finely minced

Two 28-ounce cans of unsalted organic crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup of fresh oregano

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

1 cup of finely julienned lacinato kale

Directions:

In a large stockpot, warm the extra-virgin olive oil over low heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes on low heat. Add the crushed tomatoes and fresh oregano leaves and give the sauce a good stir. Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the sauce has reduced and thickened, finish with the sea salt, balsamic vinegar, and julienned kale. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes and serve or use in recipes as needed.

HBNewYouELXR Juice Photography by Danielle Reynolds

Cold pressed juices post workout can help your training through assisting you to stay hydrated and also offers essential nutrients to support muscle development, strength, and provides nutrients which can help reduce oxidation and inflammation due to strenuous exercise. Juicing is also ideal to alkalize your body after a heavy workout. The most significant thing to remember after a workout is that you have to get the vital nutrients back into your body in the easiest and fastest way possible. Then afterwards, have a meal which has fiber. I always turn to ELXR Juice Lab to nourish me with their cold pressed juices.

Post workout, my go-to’s are usually the Pina Vida). This refreshing blend assists with muscle recovery, it’s also an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing while providing an energy boost. Other faves is the brand’s Second Base; packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, Beta Rush because of it’s energizing properties that give me the extra push to get through the rest of my day and Support Group for it’s ability to stabilize blood sugar levels.

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There’s no better time like now to cleanse and detox. Want to start your new year with a 1, 3, or 5 day juice cleanse? Use my promo code “So Sasha” when you order your cleanse package from ELXRJuiceLab.com to receive 15% off your order.

For more lifestyle tips and style inspiration, make sure to follow @HudsonsBay on Instagram and Twitter or use the hashtag #HBNewYou for more of our wellness collaboration.

My 30 day League Challenge Series: Healing Through Food

Healing Through Food and The League App

Our society has a tendency to underestimate the role and value food plays in our lives. The majority that do think they value it, they do so in the wrong way. Technically, food is just fuel for living. That’s it. Nothing else.  However, for so many of us it’s become so much more; for pleasure, for comfort, to socialize, as a reward, when we’re bored, as gifts, when we’re lonely…and the list just goes on and on. Over the years I’ve experimented with food. I went from eating a high carb diet while being an elite athlete, to becoming a vegetarian and then slowly transitioning to a strict vegan diet. Why vegan? For no other reason than I watched the documentary Food Inc and it scared the crap out of me. I was also living in Vancouver and it seemed as though everyone there was a “Granola Grinder” so it just seemed right at the time, LOL. But then I entered a fast pace career working for the largest Tobacco company in the country (ironic I know). With an unlimited expense account, tons of traveling, while wining and dining clients, my health started to go sideways. It is not surprising that my kidney issues resurrected during this time and fibromyalgia followed close behind.

Nathalie Niddim

If you’ve read part one of my 30 League Challenge (if not you can read it here) you have a good understanding at the health struggle I had for the last few years. I owe a large part of my recovery to food. Or shall I clarify, the right food. After several weeks of research, I was astounded to discover how much food influenced my conditions, especially fibromyalgia related pain. After taking copious amounts of prescription medication for an extended period of time, my gut lining and intestinal walls had become putrefied. These little holes in the lining allowed for food participles to sneak into my blood stream, causing my body to go into defence mode. The result was a nasty mix of chronic joint and muscle pain, food sensitivities, skin irritations, yeast infections, crippling migraines and insomnia. In recent months I have started to see some of these symptoms creep back up so I am determined to halt them in their tracks with the assistance of my League PRO and Holistic Nutritionist Nathalie Niddam.

ELXR Juice Lab

The process of connecting with Niddam through League was ridiculously easy. I was able to check her availability, set up our initial appointment through the app and within minutes she had emailed me what felt like a million documents, all necessary though, to fill out so she could get an idea of my medical history. This woman impressed me. She did a ton of reading and gathered up as much info as she could and was able to provide me with an insanely intense program for me to tackle to get back to where I need to be, while still getting the right about of calories to allow me to train and prepare for my next race. The custom program she created was broken up into three parts. 1) a custom 3 day juice cleanse with ELXR Juice Lab, 2) an anti-inflammatory/anti-candida diet and 3) a gut healing diet.

ELXR Juice LabELXR Juice Lab’s “Deep Breath” water is a midday lifesaver. It contains coconut water, fulvic acid and chorella. It boosts red blood cells and acts as a reboot – giving you life and energy to tackle the rest of the day. Photo from Instagram @sashaexeter

I was thrilled to find out that a juice cleanse was part of the program. After two years of testing out every juice company in Toronto, I have finally decided to partner long term with one and I have chosen ELXR. People have differing options on juice cleanses and they may not be for everyone but they have proven to be a lifesaver for me. When I am suffering from a pain flare-up, I can always count on a couple days of juicing to immediately bring down the pain level. It helps give my digestive organs a rest, improves my sleep, skin and so on. With more juices per day I have ever seen in any juice cleanse package before (8 juices and 2 boosters), I did not get hungry or have one craving. To be honest, I was quite full and had to force myself to drink the last two before bed. This is actually a good thing. I have cleansed with other brands before and literally felt that I wanted to chew my arm off from being so hungry. After day one,  I was bouncing off the wall with energy. With the perfect combination of cold pressed, non-HPP juices, seed mylks, and booster shots, I actually could gave gone another two days. ELXR’s mantra is, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine by thy food” and their carefully formulated concoctions are created to act as the following remedies:

ELXR Juice Lab Remedies

ELXR Juice Lab Remedies

I am currently in the second phase of Niddam’s plan, the anti-inflammatory/candida detox for a total of six weeks – which is no doubt the most difficult one. You don’t necessarily need to be a chronic pain sufferer, have arthritis or a candida issue to do this. This regimen is a phenomenal detox program for anyone trying to do a deep cleanse of their system. However, I will admit it can be a bit challenging for someone to do voluntarily. Believe me if I could, I would be scarfing down a big stack of pancakes and sipping on a flat white while I write this post. All the foods most people generally love have been eliminated, so I am bidding farewell to fruit (with the exception of berries), dairy, legumes, all sugar and processed foods, fermented products (salad dressing, condiments – basically anything that may contain vinegar), alcohol, most nuts and caffeine…welp! The list of foods I can’t eat is much longer than what I can eat. For right now I am noshing on lots of dark leafy veggies, berries, eggs, foods high in good fats like avocados, organic chicken, fish and homemade soups made with alkalizing bone broth. I have just begun to start experimenting with some clean diet recipes that Nathalie graciously sent over in a 35 page deck and I will be sharing some of my faves over the next several weeks. Below is an easy, go-to brekkie recipe of that I love to prepare. It’s so yummy and full of good fats and protein:

Poached Egg with Avocado and Sweet Roasted Potatoes

Sample Breakfast

What You’ll Need

1 Tsp of vinegar *this is just to help keep poached eggs from separating when you boil them. Trust me, it’s a life saver!

1/3 – 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1 small to medium sweet potato, cut into chunks

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) for drizzling

Pinch of paprika, garlic powder and red chilli flakes

Sea salt and pepper to taste. *Nathalie suggests pink or grey sea salts. Natural mineral salts are nourishing and help balance electrolytes

Cilantro

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Add in vinegar. Crack eggs one at a time into a bowl. I like to use the outer ring of a mason jar cover to help keep the eggs in place while boiling. Place the rings into the water and gently pour one cracked egg into each. To be honest, this trick will allow you to perfect poached eggs every single time. Let boil for 3-4 minutes until whites are set. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.

3. Toss sweet potato with olive oil, spices, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until soft and crispy.

4. Plate eggs, avocado slices and sweet potatoes. Garnish the avow with cilantro if you wish, spritz of lime and a sprinkle of sea salt.

I am going to chill with this anti-inflammatory diet for another 4.5 weeks before going into phase three; “the gut healing diet”. When this program is over, I plan to integrate a Ketogenic diet based on the advice and direction from my nutritionist. What was initially supposed to be a 30 day challenge has quickly turned into a 90 day one. For those who are interested, I will continue to post my progress, share info on the third step of the food program, recipes I feel you may enjoy and feature my favourite concoctions from ELXR.

For more information on League, to sign up for free and to begin to build your own league of experts click here. Details on ELXR Juice Labs original, organic formulas and to create your own custom juice cleanse, head to ELXRJuiceLab.com. Thanks to my friends at ELXR, by entering the discount code “So Sasha”, you will receive 15% off your orders.

Adams Natural Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

Adams Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

In my household peanut butter reigns supreme. Consumed on spelt toast, alongside fruits & veggies and now even in my smoothies, I rarely go a day without it. In my effort to maintain a clean and well balanced diet, I choose to use natural products where possible and my peanut butter is no exception. My PB of choice lately has been Adams peanut butter. What’s the upside to using a natural peanut butter like Adams? Besides it’s rich and creamy delicious taste, the peanuts are not coated with pesticides and is also free of trans fats, preservatives, hydrogenated fats, stabilizers and sugar. Believe it or not, with Adams peanut butter, what you see is what you get – so basically just peanuts with a dash of salt, which makes it an ideal ingredient to use when you’re cooking/baking or eating it straight from the jar (if you’re a real PB aficionado).

Adams Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

I am completely obsessed with making smoothies. Besides being an easy way to jam pack nutrients from a variety of fruits and veggies, they just generally taste great. With my super busy lifestyle, it’s also a seamless way for me to consume on the go and eliminates the risk of me missing meals. Perfect before my early morning workouts and runs. A smoothie recipe that has been on repeat at home is this healthy and filling Peanut Butter and Banana recipe with Adams creamy peanut butter.

Adams Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

What You’ll Need

  • 2 frozen bananas sliced into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup of Adams natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of oats (I like to use “Simply Delicious Museli” by Dorset Cereals)
  • 2 cups of milk of any kind (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 2 handfuls of ice cubes
  • 4 tbsp of raw cacao powder (Optional if you are a chocolate lover)
  • 1 tsp of spirulina powder (Optional. Great for blood sugar control)

Blend all the ingredients in a blender of Vitamix until there are no more chunks of frozen banana pieces (or until desired consistency). Garnish with a few fresh organic banana slices if desired. I always recommend that you use all organic produce and ingredients whenever possible. Also, make sure the bananas are frozen and in small chunks so that your blender can handle it. If you are looking for an extra smooth texture to your smoothie, you can thoroughly ground up the oats or muesli in your blender until powdery before putting in the rest of your ingredients for further blending.

*So Sasha Tips: When using Adams peanut butter products, ensure to flip it and store it upside down so it’s less messy and easier to use. for more information on Adams, the brand’s available variants and more recipe suggestions, head to adamspeanutbutter.ca

Guilt-Free Chocolate Chickpea Brownies

Chocolate Chickpea Brownies

Beans…turns out they are not just for burritos and salads like I once believed! I am always on the hunt for guilt free treats to satisfy my infamous sweet tooth and my friend Chef Adrian Forte thankfully introduced me to his Guilt-Free Chocolate Chickpea Brownie recipe, which I highly suggest you try making at home over the holidays.  Never in my wildest dreams would I think garbanzo beans would yield some of the most fudgy, rich and healthy brownies I’ve ever had – and highly addicting may I add. And if you’re wondering if these brownies taste like beans, they most certainly do not.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 large organic, free range eggs
  • 5 cups of Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of unsweetened chocolate – melted
  • 1 cup of shredded almonds (optional)

 

Chocolate Chickpea Brownies

Pre-heat your oven and set it to 350 degrees. Start by placing the almond flour and brown sugar into a large bowl and whisk together.  In your blender or Vitaminx, blend the chickpeas and coconut oil and puree until smooth. Combine the pureed chickpea to flour and brown sugar mixture, then add the eggs and whisk aggressively to mix. Once smooth, add in the melted raw chocolate and blend until the mixture is lump free. In a parchment lined baking pan or individual mini baking cups and bake for 15 mins. Remove brownies from the oven, drizzle 1/2 cup of melted unsweetened chocolate and top with shredded almonds.

Chocolate Chickpea BrowniesPhotos by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.com (@amillionminds)

Looking for other inspiring dishes to serve during the holidays? In case you missed it, check out this Tiger Shrimp Ceviche with Red Beet Hummus recipe also from Chef Adrian Forte.  For more information on Chef Forte’s personal chef services, culinary consulting and catering, head to AdrianForte.com.

Nutrient Packed “Beets By Dre” Smoothie

Beets By Dre Smoothie

With the holidays coming up soon I am doing what I can to take it easy on my caloric intake and give my digestive system a bit of a break before things get hectic. Sundays are always a great day for me to stick to juices, smoothies and raw food as my schedule resembles that of a sloth…and it’s my only day off from strenuous exercise. Lately I’ve been giving my healthy recipes kitchy names based on pop culture and fashion (you can check out my Kale Lagerfeld salad here) and couldn’t help but use a play on words from Dr. Dre’s “Beats by Dre” headphones for this beet and blueberry blended smoothie.

Beet root is one of my favourite veggies. Its delicious raw, steamed, picked, or juiced and contains a naturally occurring compound that converts to nitrate during digestion and then begins to circulate through your blood stream. During times when oxygen availability is low, for example during intense exercise or a race, nitrate can be converted into nitric oxide which enhances vascular function. Most people ditch the leafy green stems of fresh beets, but this is a huge mistake as they are full of nutrients as well. Beet greens are rich in vitamin A & C, both super powerful antioxidants and are a good source of potassium and magnesium (the latter are two key electrolytes for cardiovascular function).

Beets By Dre Smoothie

3 ideal times to consume my Beets By Dre smoothie are:

  1. During the day for a plant based boost
  2. A minimum of 90 mins prior to exercise/training.  Ideally 2-3 hours before due to the high protein content
  3. Thirty minutes after a work

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of coconut water (I like to use Jax Coco or Coco Libre)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium raw  beet root (or two small beets) , diced into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup of beet greens
  • 1 serving of Progressive VegEssential All-In-One Natural Berry Flavour (or your choice of protein/performance powder)
  • 2 tablespoons of dried or flaked unsweetened coconut (optional)

Add the liquid ingredients into the blender first, followed by protein powder and dry ingredients. Mix in your blender or Vitamin on high until blended smooth. I like to add 1-2 handfuls of ice cubes as well. *Makes 4 servings.

Designer Greens | The Kale Lagerfeld Salad

Kale Lagerfeld Salad

If you eat salads as much as I do, you understand that it’s easy to get bored having them several times a week. I rotate between spinach, kale, swiss chard, red cabbage, mescaline greens, and even regular Boston lettuce as a base and in terms of add on’s, trust me…I’ve tried everything. Or so I thought. I am determined to try creating and investigating new delicious recipes to help me stay on my path of clean eating this winter season and I will be sharing my fave ones with you. With a touch of champagne vinegar in the dressing, which I discovered on epicurious.com, crispy pears and pecans, this chic salad is so damn good, I had to give it a designer name; the Kale Lagerfeld Salad – a play on this dark leafy green and one of my favourite designers.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 bunches of kale, stems removed
  • 2 medium pears, cored and cut into slices (preferably asian pears)
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, rough chopped
  • 1/2 of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
  • 1 large clove of crushed garlic
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt and black cracked pepper

In a small mixing bowl, combine champagne vinegar, olive oil, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, honey or maple syrup and sea salt. Use some coconut oil to lightly coat a sauce pan. Cook the kale in batches over low medium heat until it turns bright green and gets a bit soft. Pile the kale onto the desired serving plate, top with sliced pears and pecans. Dress to your perfection, then sprinkle with sea salt and fresh paper to taste. Serve immediately.

Kale Lagerfeld Salad

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