August 31, 2012

august two thousand and twelve foodie penpal reveal day

The Lean Green Bean
I LOVE Foodie Penpals. It feels like I get to celebrate Christmas every month. If you're interested in learning more about this exchange, please see below for details.

This month, fellow Canadian gal and blog reader, Chloé, sent me some delicious treats from a health food store in Sudbury that she visited for the very first time.  

I was so excited to try everything! (some of the items here are partially eaten because I picked up the package on the way to the movie theater, opened it, and snacked on a few things while "The Taste Tester" and I were watching The Odd Life Of Timothy Green. That's right, instead of snacking on popcorn and chocolate, we had something even better:
 My package contained:
Precision All Natural Fruit, Nuts & Whey Banana Nut bar-This bar had a delicious, wholesome flavor. 100% all natural + 16 grams of protein. It definitely satisfied my craving for something tasty, yet healthy. My taste buds loved the banana nut flavor too. So Good!

Ruth's hemp power Peanut Butter Banana bar-Loaded with protein and EFA's, this bar was delicious! I haven't eaten anything with peanut butter for a long time so it kind of made me feel like a kid again, eating a peanut butter sandwich :) It was chewy too, not crunchy. YUM!

Blueberry LÄRABAR-Larabars are the first bar I ever tried after I started eating gluten free (way back in 2004).  Such a great snack! I've never tried this blueberry flavor before though.  It was pretty good but the banana one is still my favorite :)

 earthling ORGANICS Matcha bar-This raw, organic snack bar gave me the perfect matcha taste. It has a delicious coconut flavor and is sweetened with raw agave nectar. There's almonds, pumpkin seeds, figs, agave nectar, matcha (green tea), sea salt, chlorella, and lemon.  "The Taste Tester" loved this sweet snack most of all, and I approved.

vega Whole Food Vibrancy Bar-I have officially decided that Vega is one of my favorite health food brands. Everything I've tried from them has been incredibly fantastic. This bar is no different. Listen to the ingredients in the “Green Synergy” flavor: “sprouted buckwheat, dates, hemp seed, sprouted almonds, agave nectar, brown rice protein, pea protein, Vega EFA Oil Blend, Vega Green Food Blend, sorghum puffs,” and almost all organic.  Any chance these babies aren’t good for you?  Doubt it.

The entire package was great! Thanks again Chloé for all the delicious treats! xo

I sent a package full of goodies to a sweet little lady named Charlotte, a blog reader from B.C. She's a busy little bee with a super busy lifestyle, attending University and Circus School. 

She sent me this awesome message when she received her box in the mail:

I'm extremely pleased to have had such wonderful women to share my Foodie Penpal experience with this month. Thanks Chloé & Charlotte!! 

xo Maria
If you live in Canada or the U.S. and you'd like to participate  in Foodie Penpals, please visit Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean to sign up.

It's becoming so popular these days that The Gazette even wrote an article about it. Check it out!

August 30, 2012

Cran-Goji Berry Bliss Bars

"My little taste tester" is my muse when it comes to making healthy goodies that we an eat on a regular basis, with whole ingredients and no additives.

Homemade, healthy snacks are the way to go. 

This is a recipe for a no-bake, raw bar.  Easy to make and simply delicious.

Cran-Goji Berry Bliss Bars 

1 1/2 cups Nuts or Seeds (walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts)
1/2 cup Raisins  
1/2 cup dried Cranberries   
1/4 cup Goji Berries, soaked for 20-30 minutes  
1/2 cup Dates, pitted and packed  
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/4 cup-1/2 cup Coconut Flour or Almond Flour (I used both)  
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
1 TBSP Nut Butter (I used Almond Butter)  
2 TBSP Hemp Protein Powder (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until chunky cookie dough texture is achieved.  
Press into a parchment paper-lined pan or cookie sheet.  
Chill in the fridge until firm, about 30 minutes or longer (or freeze for 15-20 minutes).
Cut into bars and drizzle with chocolate topping and coconut.

Chocolate Topping 

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
2 TBSP Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup, or Honey  
3 tsp Coconut Oil, melted  
1/4 cup Water  

Stir all ingredients together and drizzle over bars. 

Store in the fridge or freezer for a few weeks.

August 29, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday #6

I'm back for What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the beautiful one and only Miss Jenn over at Peas and Crayons, after taking a few weeks off.
If you've been following me, you'll know it's no secret that I eat mainly organic, raw, vegan foods. My whole journey with raw foods began a little over 3 months ago, mostly as an energetic quest. Eating raw foods makes me feel like I have more energy, that's the feeling I love most of all. I try not to preach about my diet, I just let people see my energy and how strong I am.

I like to fill my plate with foods that nature has already prepared. This goes far and beyond sprouts, celery, and carrots, which some people tend to associate with eating raw foods. I test a lot of different recipes and I love everything I make (ok, maybe not EVERYTHING).
Green smoothies/juices are by far my breakfast of choice. You can't get a healthier or easier breakfast, in my opinion.
This morning's meal consists of a 32-ounce green smoothie combination of organic spinach, mixed baby greens, alfalfa sprouts, chia seeds, flax seeds, blueberries, banana, and water.
I crave greens and I can tell when I'm not getting enough; my body will start to crave foods that are not good for me. It's really beneficial to learn that upping my intake of leafy greens helps manage cravings.
My lunch meal was a Sunburger and Blended Thai Soup (carrots, orange bell pepper, coconut meat, almond milk, warm water, nama shoyu, agave nectar, jalapeno, cilantro, curry, and sea salt). 

In addition to fabulous raw vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, I've also learned to make incredible raw goodies that satisfy my cravings for chocolate, ice cream, and even the fattier foods.
For a delicious Mid-afternoon Snack I nibbled on a few of these Lemon Coconut Macaroons while I sipped on a warm cup of Schizandra Berry Tea.
My meals are made with whole, raw ingredients and I use low-glycemic sweeteners and only the good fats that our bodies need.
I don't always follow my body's signals though.

Like this Evening's Meal:

Raw Vegan Falafel with Lemon Garlic Aioli (carrots, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, fresh parsley, onion, garlic, cumin, curry, sesame seeds, and sea salt).
When I eat foods like nuts, seeds, coconuts, and avocados, I've started to notice that I feel heavy and disconnected, so I'm learning to be mindful of that, reminding myself that even just one serving of these foods lowers my energy and contributes to addictive eating patterns.

I'm still learning and I plan to continue learning to prepare more raw vegan recipes, to become more involved in the raw food lifestyle, and eliminate the foods that I know don't encourage health or add longevity to my life.

This may not work for you but I know it works for me. This is what I know for sure.

August 27, 2012

Marvelous In My Monday #2

Thanks to Katie...

I have a MARVELOUS recipe to share with you!

Vanilla Nectarine Cream Tart with Raw Crumble Topping 
adapted from Sweetly Raw's Easy Raw Peach Crumble.

Serve this marvelous dessert when you want to be fancy and impress.

Makes 12-15 small tarts or 1 pie


1 cup Macadamia Nuts
1 cup unsweetened, dried, fine shredded Coconut
1/3-1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup Agave Nectar (or 100% Pure Maple Syrup)
3 TBSP Lemon Zest
1/8 tsp Sea Salt

Line your tart shells with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
Process all ingredients until finely ground. The mixture should form into a ball when pressed. 
Press 2 TBSP crust mixture into each tart shell, then remove the tart from the shell and chill.
OR Use 1 pie plate instead (like I did). 


1 cup Cashews (soaked 4 or more hours)
*3 medium Nectarines, diced
2/3 cup Nectarines, diced
1/4 cup Agave Nectar (or Maple Syrup)
3 TBSP Coconut Butter
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 whole Vanilla Bean, seeds scraped
2 TBSP Lemon Zest (or 1 TBSP lemon zest + 1 TBSP lime zest)
sprinkle of cinnamon

Process all ingredients (*except the 3 diced Nectarines).
Transfer to a bowl and fold in the 3 diced Nectarines. 
Chill until ready to serve, at least 1 hour.


1 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Dates, pitted + packed
1/2 cup shredded Coconut
1/3 cup Oats
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
pinch of salt

Process all ingredients until crumbly, yet moist. 
If you'd like it to press together more, add 1-2 tsp water. 


Set the tartlet/pie shell in the center of a plate and top with vanilla nectarine cream. Evenly spread the raw crumble topping over the filling for a nice, fancy treat. Heavenly!

LEARN MORE about Marvelous In My Monday and have yourself a marvelous Monday!!

August 24, 2012

High Five For Friday 8.24.12

Happy Friday everyone! I had a terrific week and I thought I would celebrate by doing something fun. I saw this High Five For Friday link-up on a blog called From My Grey Desk and I figured it'd be a wonderful way to capture a few of the things I've been loving this week.

1. What I'm Reading: I found this book at the library on Wednesday afternoon and started reading it on the bus on my way home.  
So far, I love this book...the descriptions of each tent and the clock fill my mind with magical visuals. Imagine these two sentences: "Arrives without warning" and "Only open at night, closed at dawn". My imagination is going wild. Have any of you read this book?

2. What I'm Eating: Nectarine Vanilla Cream with Raw Crumble Topping. Fancy! The other day I whipped up this super easy raw vegan peach crumble for dessert. Leftovers made a tasty and delicious breakfast the next day. I even like this for lunch while sitting outside in the sunshine.
Nectarines, macadamia nuts, coconut, maple syrup, coconut butter, oj, vanilla, dates, walnuts, and cashews. Oh my!

3. What I'm Listening To: This song is catchy. Enjoy!
4. Recipes I Found On Pinterest: my eyes nearly pop out of my head when I see recipes for things like Macaroons, Almond Butter Brownies, Zucchini Pasta, and Harvest Soup. 
5. Chinese Herbs: my brother came to visit me and brought along some of his favorite Chinese herbs. 
Chaga Mushroom, Rhodiola Root, Schizandra Berries, and Licorice Root. I've been brewing teas out of them, mixing chaga and licorice root, and drinking schizandra berry tea on its own.  I haven't tasted the rhodiola root yet but I will. Thank you Rob for these wonderful gifts! xo

Thanks for the link-up Lauren! Have a fantastic weekend!

What have you been loving this week?

August 16, 2012

Chocolate Funky Monkey Smoothie

"My little taste tester" loves this smoothie. Chocolate, bananas, almond butter, and spinach galore. Refreshing and revitalizing, it's a perfect way to kick start your day.


1 cup Almond Milk (coconut milk, or any other nut milk)  
2 TBSP Cacao Powder  
2 TBSP Raw Almond Butter (or other nutty butter)  
1 Banana (fresh or frozen)  
1 cup Spinach (or other fresh leafy greens)  
1/4 cup or more fresh Coconut Meat (unsweetened, shredded coconut works too)
dash cinnamon  
ice (if desired)

Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.

Sip or slurp...whatever you prefer :) Enjoy!

This is a great base recipe that can easily be altered to your liking. 
For instance, when I am running low on a particular ingredient or if I want to switch things up a bit, I'll use water instead of almond milk, fresh almonds instead of almond butter, strawberries or blueberries instead of bananas, or perhaps a few dates or a dash of pure maple syrup for a little added sweetness. Whatever your heart desires :)

What's in your favorite smoothie?
Do you prefer something fruity? Something chocolatey?

August 6, 2012

Marvelous in My Monday #1

Calling all who seek Happiness, Wellness, Fullness and JOY!…

This is my very first Marvelous in My Monday submission, my chance to share something marvelous with everyone. Yay!
Big hearts to Katie, The Healthy Diva @ healthy diva eats for this marvelous link up.  Thank you for helping us spread around some Marvelousness!!

Speaking of someone else who I think is simply marvelous, I haven't watched Oprah in several years and I don't even remember how I ended up on the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network website last night but I'm so happy I did.  I watched a few videos from a show called "Super Soul Sunday," and I must admit that I only have good things to say about what I saw. It's truly good food for the soul!

According to Oprah, “Super Soul Sunday” is my favorite show on OWN and the real reason I wanted a network.  I wanted to find a way to expand the platform so that SEEKERS around the world could all share at the same time. This show is for those of you who want affirmation and inspiration for walking the path to a better life.  Whether you’re in your 20′s and trying to figure things out, or if you think you’ve got it all figured out and just need assurance “Super Soul Sunday” will surely bring you insights that will bring you greater clarity, direction and ultimately purpose."

Who doesn’t want more of that? I surely do!

One of the videos I particularly enjoyed was "Living With Grace," where Oprah interviews Spritual Teacher, Best-Selling Author and Speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Filmed on the breathtakingly beautiful island of Maui, Dr. Wayne Dyer speaks to Oprah about his battle with leukemia and his distant healing with Brazilian healer John of God. He shares his experiences and the reasons he believes that he is now cancer-free. He also shares thoughts from his new book Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting + his new love at age 71.

If you're interested, please listen to the interview. There's something special inside of Dr. Wayne Dyer, something to help lift you up, no matter what you're going through.

Dr. Wayne Dyer's latest PBS special of the same name has been airing on TV since March 3. His book, Wishes Fulfilled, and the television program feature his Five Wishes Fulfilled Foundations: The 5 Steps To Living From Your "Highest Self" + Attracting Your Deepest Desires.

Here's some more information about Dr. Wayne Dyer.
  • His PBS specials have raised more than $150 million for public broadcasting.
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer is a self-made man who, despite a childhood spent in orphanages, put himself through college, earning a Ph.D. and becoming a best-selling author with more than 37 books.
  • What I find even more fascinating, is that Dr. Wayne Dyer first started selling his book from the trunk of his car in the 1970s.
I plan to watch the Interview with Wild Author Cheryl Strayed next. Cheryl discusses loss, grief and the events that led her to hike 1,100 miles up the Pacific Crest Trail. She's never even been back-packing before this. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is?!

I encourage you all to Live From the End, to Assume the Feeling of the Wish Fulfilled, the Value of Attention and the Importance of the Last 5 minutes of Each Day to Create New and astonishing thought patterns.

Defeat any/all unproductive and recurring habits. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE! xo

Have you watched Oprah on OWN? Do you have a favorite show/video/interview to share with me?