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Apple, Cucumber & Lemon Juice from Clean Slate Cookbook & Giveaway



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‘Reset your health, detox your body, and feel your best’. That’s what the newest cookbook from Martha Stewart’s Kitchen is all about : Clean Slate is inspiring and so stunning in every way! 

The healthy eating plan and recipes revolve around a plant-based diet, which is not a vegan diet – but rather a diet that puts plant foods first! There’s numerous vegetarian, pescetarian, flexitarian type recipes that are based on real, whole food healthy eating. It’s really a cookbook and guide for clean eating with something for everyone.

I can’t wait to try lots of recipes from this gorgeous book. For now, I am sharing a great simple detox juice, because that’s what I was really needing first! A big vitamin boost that’s quick and simple to make because lately, my life’s just too busy with the baby and exciting projects. I made this juice for me and my 7 year old – what do you know? Kids love this too!! ;)

And Clean Eating goes very well with clean dishware too! Just saying. I love this new Martha Stewart Collection of White Dishware that are available exclusively at Macy’s. I just got a set and I love it – did you see my shot of setting it up for our Family Day on Instagram

Doesn’t Martha Stewart just get everything right. I’ve always loved Martha – ever since I was 12 and watched her shows in complete secrecy and I made a vow to be just like her. #topsecret She opened up my first interests in creativity with crafting, design, making things look pretty and now the delicious world of cooking and baking! hashtag thanks martha!! ;)



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Apple, Cucumber & Lemon Juice

from Clean Slate : a cookbook and guide from Martha Stewart

Ingredients :

1 tart apple (the recipe calls for 2, but I’m all about cutting the sugar lately)
1 English cucumber
1/2 lemon
optional : pinch of cayenne pepper (I skipped this because I was sharing it with a kiddo)

Directions :

Core the apple, peel the cucumber (if not organic), cut a wedge of lemon and remove peel. In a juicer, juice all ingredients, pour into glasses and serve.

This is such a lovely and simple juice. It’s got detoxing properties and it’s very hydrating and alkalizing. This one will definitely be my regular fresh juice because it’s just so delicious yet packs nutrients.



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I can’t wait to try so many other juicing, smoothie and meal recipes for Clean Slate. And did I mention it’s beautiful too? (Sorry, I’m a sucker for gorgeous cookbooks and great crisp photography in them – this one has it all!) 

And did I mention you could get your own copy of Clean Slate too?
Just follow along and enter below! 



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CLEAN SLATE + VITAMINS GIVEAWAY

Receive a copy of the Clean Slate Cookbook along with 2 bottles of Martha Stewart Essentials Vitamins : Multivitamins and Hair, Skin and Nails

For Canadian and US Residents only. 
Contest ends March 7th, 2015

For Pinterest Pins for Bonus entries : Pin first two photos.


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Healthy Sugar-free Hot Chocolate topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream



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Ahhh… hot chocolate is the quintessential must on a cold winter’s day. For me, that first sip is when time stops still and no matter where I am, (except for driving)… ;) I close my eyes and savour the richness and sweetness of my favourite winter treat. 

It makes sense. I LOVE chocolate and I love sweet treats! (occasionally)
Here’s the crazy part – I don’t eat sugar, even the healthy kind, like honey and organic raw cane sugar is an occasional treat.

So, how do I keep enjoying seductive mugs of hot chocolate, sans sugar, in a pure and natural way?

The secret is in the ingredients! Stevia + Monk Fruit Extract are two beautiful things!

 The key is to be in the know about what’s good for you and for your body! And this is tricky because every single product out there is there for their own gain. You need a little help in knowing what to watch out for. But if you stick with me, I promise to do my best to help you navigate through the bad apples. (sidenote, apples aren’t actually bad, but if you eat 4 of them in one go, they can be!) ;)



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Healthy Sugar-free Hot Chocolate 
topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Ingredients :

2 1/2 cups So Delicious Coconut Milk (or another plant milk)
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1-3 drops of liquid stevia

Top with :
So Delicious No-Sugar Added Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream (sweetened with Monk Fruit Extract)
sprinkle of cinnamon

 

Directions :

In a small saucepan, whisk together arrowroot and cacao powder with cold milk. Bring to a simmer on medium heat while continuously whisking for about 3 – 5 minutes until the mixture thickens up slightly, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in Stevia liquid extract to your taste. (I think just even 1 drop is enough if you’re having the ice cream on top).

Pour into your favourite mug and top with So Delicious No-Sugar Added Ice Cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy knowing you’re not consuming any sugar naturally!! Crazy!

 



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Stevia is really changing my life. It is a natural extract from the leaves of a Stevia plant. And it literally has zero sugar carbohydrates. It does not spike your blood sugar one bit. 

And Monk Fruit extract is just my newest find! It’s another amazing natural sweetener that has no calories yet it’s naturally sweet. 
See, there are natural healthy ways you can have sweet things in life! 

And it’s natural and even Diabetes friendly!

Of course Sugar-free means so many things right now. And companies are quickly filling up the shelves of your grocery store with Sugar-free products. But, be careful. In most cases it’s artificial sweeteners that are used – even in foods marketed for children. I am so shocked to find kid’s granola bars, lollipops, candy and of course hot chocolate sweetened with Aspertame, Maltitol or Sucralose. Watch out for these and so many more, it’s a trap.

That’s why I was so excited to find the No-Sugar Added Ice Cream from So Delicious! Although I think that label is so misleading and I wish it could say Naturally Sugar-free or something like that to differentiate it from other ice cream that is artificially sweetened with Sorbitol etc.

Now, I am more aware of my sugar intake and I watch my sugar grams so I don’t have too much. 
Eating sugar-free treats that are naturally sweetened with Stevia or Monk Fruit is amazing but it’s not also an every day event.
These are natural but still processed ingredients. But just like Coconut Oil that is also processed to get the oil out of the coconut! Some processing needs to happen to get these extracts out of the fruit. For those occasional treats, I do allow some processed foods. But ‘processed foods’ also aren’t created equal. (I definitely don’t have boxes of ready-made frozen meals and Tofurkey in my fridge!)

So it shouldn’t be overdone also, but knowing you can have something with zero calories in sugar means you can have a dessert with your hot chocolate and not go overboard! (on those sweet occasions). These treats are also great for a Diabetic diet that is actually natural. 

I had these delicious Bounty Balls with my Healthy Sugar-free Hot Chocolate and Ice Cream and I still stayed within a healthy dose of natural sugars.
(Without the Stevia and Monk fruit this would be unthinkable, and I would have to give up one of the 3 treats!)

I hope you’ll enjoy this treat soon!
Have you tried Stevia and/ or products with Monk Fruit extract before? Please share your thoughts about these sweeteners in the comments.

xo ella


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14 Decadent Guilt-free Desserts : gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free



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14 Decadent Guilt-free Desserts : A Valentine’s Day Roundup
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free/ vegan and sugar-free

Desserts can be very delicious and even seductive… and this amazing and tasty roundup of healthy desserts for Valentine’s Day proves the point.

Remember that ill feeling you’d get from those desserts you know you shouldn’t have eaten… like that bloated stomach that makes you look pregnant, or cramps, or a splitting headache or a mood swing roller coaster and maybe bad skin? All these symptoms (and more) are connected directly with the food you eat. Ditching wheat, sugar, dairy is your ticket to feeling better and looking great AND still enjoying amazing desserts! Yes, I’ve been there and I am not going back because I don’t have to. There’s nothing missing from my desserts – the best things are right there – amazing ingredients and delicious taste! Win!!

Check out all these delicious healthier desserts as a Valentine’s Day Roundup and indulge in something delish and good-for-you for a change!

First 4 pictured above, top to bottom, left to right.

1. Dark Chocolate Truffle Squares from Gourmande in the Kitchen

2. Dark Chocolate Rose Petal Chocolate Bar from Pure Ella

3. No-bake Dark Chocolate Mousse Tarts from Pure Ella

4. Dark Chocolate Silk Pie with Almond Crust from Vegan Richa

5. Fudgy Mocha Mint Brownies from Nosh and Nourish

6. Raw Chocolate Pudding from Oh She Glows

7. Cherry Chocolate Chia Pudding from Pure Ella

8. Sweetheart Citrus Salad with Cinnamon Maple Syrup from The Clean Dish

9. Healthy Chocolate Raspberry Pudding from Texanerin

10. Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse from The Clean Dish 

11. Raw Hazelnut Chocolate Hearts from Pure Ella

12. Orange Pecan Truffles from Vanilla Verte

13. Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bites from Wholly Vegan

14. Carob Cashew Bites from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes 

 

I hope you will enjoy some of these delicious dessert recipes that are made with great healthy ingredients. I cannot see dessert any other way now. I hope you are also realizing that you can have a sweet treat without the guilt! Yay!!

Wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day!

Do tell, what is the best gift you’d like to receive for Valentine’s Day?

For me, it’s a tough request as it would have to come from my 8 month old baby girl, but please please sleep through the night! ;) Once that happens getting swept off to a surprise trip to Bahamas (again) with the mr. would be amazing. (Oh but since I’m breastfeeding I’d have to take the little one with me because she just never transitioned well to a bottle (yet), so if she goes, the older one will get jealous and will also want to go, so that makes us plus 2 kids (no sleeping in or staying up!) unless we take grandma, maybe? Well, so much for a romantic fantasy getaway. Haha! Real life with these munchkins hugging us in the morning is so much better anyway. Real love doesn’t need a fancy trip anyway… right? (maybe next year) ;)

 

 

 

 

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The best Sugar-free, Gluten-free and Vegan Pancakes



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Hello my lovelies!

I can’t believe it’s already February! The month of LOVE and romance… haha! What a way to add some excitement to these dreary winter days – a fun celebration?! (see other notes at the bottom)

Do tell, what is the best part of Valentine’s Day? I say breakfast! ;)

A simple, sweet (like sweet from the heart but not too sugary sweet) delicious and healthy breakfast that is satisfying and also gluten-free and vegan. With a nice cup of chai tea. Of course that’s served in bed after sleeping in from a full night of uninterrupted sleep… then i’d get attacked with lots of hugs and kisses from my 3 loves and I’m a happy girl! (ha! that full night of sleep may have to wait till next V-Day  (remember, I have a baby!) and ‘uninterrupted’ 18 years! But the hugs and kisses I think I can safely expect this year… that’s the best part anyway. Oh yes, that and these pancakes, even if I make them myself…. ;)

The Best Sugar-free, Gluten-free and Vegan Pancakes

Serves 4 Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 10 minutes
Ingredients : 

2 teaspoons chia seeds or ground flax (mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water)
1 banana
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 – 1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted + extra for cooking

Directions :

In a small bowl, mix chia seeds with water and set aside for about 5 minutes. Add the banana and press down with a fork to break it down and combine with the chia ‘egg’.
Combine all the dry ingredients in another bowl. Add the chia and banana mixture, milk and coconut oil and mix to incorporate well. 
Heat a cast iron skillet and melt a tablespoon of coconut oil. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbles form on top. Flip over and cook other side for another minute or two.  Serve with fresh strawberries and a little drizzle of maple syrup.

Note : to help these bind you need either the banana or chia seeds but I like both because the banana adds a natural sweetness and the chia seeds add a great nutritional boost.
But if you can’t find chia or ground flax, you can just use the banana. 

I hope you’ll enjoy these delicious gluten-free and vegan pancakes soon. Like perhaps on Valentine’s Day!


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Valentine’s Day is really NO big deal for us. It never was something crazy although pre-baby days, me and my boyfriend, then husband, would go out for dinner and get eachother something nice (yes, usually it was the common type gifts : jewellery, perfume, perhaps some lingerie!…) but we were also young, fell into the whole trap, and things like Etsy and ‘living in simplicity’ weren’t around back then. But we kept it down-to-earth, I always kept saying I don’t want anything (he would always get me something) and it was really really sweet… because girls love surprises and romanced and loved… 

I thought that once we had our first baby that things would never be the same and V-day would be just another day! But now it’s honestly better. Kids really teach you more about love than anything or anyone in the world. My heart melts everyday and I feel so blessed for having so much love in my life right now… and it’s the kids that really make it way more exciting and special.

As proof, my daughter today wrote the words ‘I Love You’ on my arm (she told me not to look and oh to my surprise) my heart just burst when I saw this! Sure, I could have been mad. She put pen to my skin. But it’s so much more than that – it’s allowing emotions to flow around in any shape or form and being free to express love however you want. (I just glanced at it right now – makes me SMILE so big!!  I want my kids to know it’s important and fun to do that, to show love freely. She of course, got attacked with kisses right back. I love little love-fests like this, little moments that feel like life could not be any better. Like Valentine’s Day really is every day!

Then there are moments when I’m near to falling apart… up at 3 am with little Amelia, she gets fussy, starts screaming, I feel completely helpless – it’s rough. But then, my husband gets up and takes her from me and works his daddy magic, hums a song and carries her around… there’s so much love in moments like this. I don’t need diamonds to show me he loves me, I have him caressing a fussy baby to show me he loves us. And that’s bigger than any gift I’ve ever gotten. It’s the gift of being a great husband and father. It’s the gift of a man stepping up and being there for you. That’s Valentine’s Day every day…

Love is so important. Everyday. Show it in any shape or form. And then when it’s Valentine’s Day – it’s even more visible with hand-drawn hearts and cards. As for us, we still say we don’t want anything, then get a little something… maybe ;)

Do tell, what would be the perfect Valentine’s Day for you? 

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Pure Start Challenge : forming healthy habits one week at a time : eat mostly plants



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Hey guys, I hope you’re all well and 2015 has been treating you good so far…

How about those resolutions or those healthy habits?

Are you drinking more water?
Are you cutting down on sugar?

I hope so… keep going – you are forming healthy habits that will make you healthier, give you more energy and make your skin and body look better too. Naturally, my tips promote weight loss, if that’s your goal, and they also improve skin and hair. Although my approach is for optimal health – it’s interesting how your body thanks you by looking good! ;)

This week I want to jump into a challenge of just eating healthy! 
I feel like there are so many versions of what healthy is, that it tends to be confusing. So, since you all know my story of how I healed with food – I should sum up a few key points of worked for me (and in general works for healing). My healthy ‘diet’ is all about increasing the ‘good’ foods and eating less of the bad. I enjoy what I eat and couldn’t have it any other way – although for some, it may feel like sacrifice to stop eating foods they enjoy – I think that’s because they don’t know how good healthy foods can be! I research a lot about nutrition and learn new things every day. I look at modern science* as well as ancient regimens of what works to heal the body. 

*Modern science and research is also confusing. Just because the FDA puts a stamp on something, like GMO and Aspertame, I am not going to eat it. But I do keep myself informed as best I can about the latest research out there. But I also check on things like who is funding the research and could it be skewed a certain way. (The dairy industry is just one that comes to mind at the moment.)


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5 simple tips to eating healthy and healing with food!

1. Learn to listen to your body… it’s always trying to tell you something. And no, sugar cravings are not your way of feeding the body what it wants. Sugar is addictive – it’s the addiction that’s getting what it wants. I think we already established that earlier! ;)

Low energy, anxiety, headaches, skin problems, stomach cramps, constipation, weak hair and nails, cravings for sugar and carbs… all these things, even dry skin – and so much more, mean something. They mean that your body is begging for help. Neglecting and sticking a bandaid solution on the problem (like Tylenol for that headache) only masks the problem temporarily. Ask why? Why do you get headaches or have acne or upset stomach?

Solving these mysteries can be really challenging because of so many reasons… I think most of us are so busy and stressed that we don’t even know how to read our body. But tuning in for a few minutes throughout the day to how you feel is the first step.

I think it’s best to notice how you feel after a meal. Are you tired? Do you crave more food/ sweets? Do you get a runny nose, a scratchy throat? All these are symptoms of a bigger problem. Pay attention to these symptoms. Your body’s trying to tell you something.

2. Don’t accept things as the norm : low energy or high energy/ easily anxious types – don’t you think that that’s just how you are? I used to have lots of energy and easily got anxious about business and life, I thought laying down on the couch or blanket was a waste of time and didn’t see the point of ‘relaxing’ – because I had better things to do! I thought my insomnia was caused by a lot of excitement in my life! I also experienced a lot of headaches and moodiness – a real roller coaster ride with my mood swings. Now I know a lot of this was not a normal way of behaving – but I didn’t even see it until it was too late. Now I see that stress, sugar addiction, skipping meals and poor sleep patterns were a big picture of why I eventually got sick. I didn’t read the signs…Awareness is key! ;)

3. I am not on a diet and I don’t believe in dieting. Rather, healthy eating should be a lifestyle. But I think healthy eating needs a little work and constant inspiration. It’s not that it’s hard to do – and for some of us it’s second nature. But, I think a lot of people slip and they beat themselves up about it. It’s important to realize that this is normal. In order to develop healthy eating habits, it will feel a bit like work, and that’s ok.
 
4. Look for inspiration everywhere! Find people you look up to (um, hello!) your BFF, your sister, playgroup moms,… fellow bloggers, IG accounts that keep you excited about making some great positive changes. When you do have a slip, it’s ok. Don’t beat yourself about it and just try better the next meal.
 
5. Eat food, not too much, Mostly plants. ~ Michael Pollan was onto something with this message. Plant-based foods will always be the healthiest foods you put into your body. It’s not about becoming vegan or vegetarian but just including more vegetables and plant-based foods into your diet. Cutting out of the processed junk and sugar and eating naturally vitamin-rich foods. Make veggies your friend – get excited about new healthy recipes.
 
Did you see those cute Watermelon Radishes on my Instagram the other day? That was fun for me to play with new foods – that’s what you should do also. Just have fun experimenting in the kitchen and enjoying real food again!
 
 
Tackling your eating habits and making some changes with your relationship with food will improve your whole lifestyle without ever dieting. Being proactive in taking your health into your own hands will have a huge effect on your wellbeing and overall health and help you look and feel beautiful from the inside out. 
 
These tips have really helped me change my relationship with food and actually heal from my health problems. I hope it will help you too.
 
Please share your own tips how you live health.
For this weeks challenge, try to listen to your body and boost that veggie power by eating more plant-based meals. #eatmostlyplants

 



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