- 1 box of brown rice lasagna noodles
- 2 cups butternut squash (cubed)
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Use a large pot for the lasagna noodles. Fill with water, bring to boil + cook your noodles according to instructions on the box (as all brands are different). Strain + rinse with cold water
- In the meantime, boil another pot of water for the squash. Add squash once water has boiled + cook for 10 minutes or until squash is fully cooked. Pour over strainer and run under cold water
- Place ricotta + spinach in a food processor and blend until fully combine
- Clean food processor. Next, add in the butternut squash along with the garlic, sea salt + pepper. Blend until fully combined
- Use a medium sized baking dish (I used a 6x8 casserole dish). Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish. Top with lasagna noodles evenly to cover the sauce
- Next, top the noodles with all of the spinach ricotta mixture. Spread evenly to cover. Top with another layer of the noodles to cover entirely
- Top with all of the butternut squash mixture and spread evenly. Top with a final layer of the noodles
- Finally, add on the remaining amount of tomato sauce (1 cup), spread evenly on top of the noodles and sprinkle the shredded cheese throughout the top
- Cook for 30 minutes at 350. Let cool before storing in the fridge
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 cup gluten free oats
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
- 1/4 cup natural almond or peanut butter
- 2 tbsp hemp seed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a food processor, combine the following: bananas, eggs, vanilla, nut butter + hemp seed
- Next, add in the oats and blend until fully combined
- Finally, manually add in chocolate chips
- Insert cupcake liners into cupcake tin and add mixture to each so they are 2/3 filled
- Cook for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven and desired texture. Let cool for at least 15 minutes
I go through phases where I make these all the time and have them on the go! I am currently in one of those phases where I crave these babies. The best part is they are SO simple/quick to make + they are gluten free, nut free, vegan (i.e. school friendly)!
BEST BREAKFAST COOKIES EVER! (yields 12)
- 2 cups gluten free oats
- 1 cup dates
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp seed
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Place dates in a food processor and blend until a paste is formed
- Next, add in bananas + vanilla. Blend until fully combined
- Next, add in hemp seed, pumpkin seed, cinnamon + sea salt and blend again until fully combined
- Finally, manually stir in oats slowly and mix together until the paste is mixed with all the oats
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form mixture into balls and flatten. I sometimes add even more cinnamon + sea salt onto the top so feel free to do that too!
- Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and let cool for at least 10 minutes. For best results, store in the fridge!
With Easter just around the corner, I have chocolate on the brain. Everywhere you turn there are easter chocolates (I have quite the sweet tooth which does not help)! Instead of having Russell Stover Marshmallow + Caramel Bunnies (mmm these are my all time favourite candy which is trouble as they rebrand them every season- pumpkin, santa, etc!) everyday, I decided to make something healthier that is sweet but full of energy + nutritional benefits! No sugar crashes or energy spikes.
Raw Chocolate Pie
- 1.5 cups cashews
- 1 cup dates
- 1 tsp pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- 2 large avocados or 2 cups frozen avocado (PC brand)
- 1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder
- 1/4 cup cacoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut, almond or cashew milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- optonal: 1/4 cup natural nut butter
- In a food processor, mix together the crust ingredients for at least 3 minutes. Once fully blended, place in a bowl to the side
- Next, mix together all of the filling ingredients in the food processor. Adjust taste if too bitter (example: add more coconut sugar, vanilla, nut butter, or even protein powder). It is okay to play around with it based on your own preferences! Place mixture into a bowl and in the fridge
- While the filling mixture is settling in the fridge, line your pie dish with the crust mixture. You can also get your hands slightly damp to make this process easier.
- Add filling into the pie evenly. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or the freezer for 20 minutes. Take out a few minutes before serving.
Two nights ago I found myself searching the shelves of Marshall’s with my husband for Ashwaganda Powder as we had almost ran out of ours. My husband has became obsessed with it and puts it (along with many other superfoods) in his morning smoothie. He is a guy who loves his chicken wings as much as he loves his superfood smoothies so friends, let this be a lesson that anyone can add it to their daily lives! Now some of you are probably wondering what the heck ashwaganda is and thinking I might as well be speaking a different language so I’ll give you the Cole’s notes version and say it’s not meant for everyone so here we go...
Ashwaganda is an “adaptogen”. An “adaptogen” is a “phytonutrient” (beneficial substances from a plant). The word ‘adapt’ is in adaptogen because it quite literally means that, they help your body adapt, find balance and restoration (i.e. adapts to what your body needs)! All adaptogens have different benefits as well (and there are many types of them too)! They interact with each of us differently.
So what is ashwaganda? It is a plant and the extractions we consume usually comes in powder (sometimes liquid or tablet) form.
Here is what it is great for:
- regulating our hormones in our body
- stress relief, it is very calming to nervous + adrenal system!
- thyroid stimulation!
- strengthening immune system
- increase energy (my favvvv) ⚡️⚡️⚡️
My husband Jesse says he notices the main difference is his energy levels and brain function (feels clearer)!
My favourite brand is organic traditions which I usually get from winners/Home Sense/ Marshall’s or Bulk Barn. Comment below if you have any questions!
My husband and I decided to delay our honeymoon for a few months. We got married in October and went on a "mini moon" to Charleston, SC for a weekend but decided to hold off on our big trip until it was actually cold in Canada. We went to Tamarindo, Costa Rica for 8 days this February for our big honeymoon (a time when it was freezing at home) as well as for my 30th birthday!
Why Costa Rica: the weather, people, food and natural landscapes are all incredible!
Where: Tamarindo, Costa Rica (right on the Pacific coast about 1 hour from the Liberia airport)
- We stayed at the Wyndham Esplendor and it was incredibly beautiful. We opted to stay at a place that was not all-inclusive because we had heard the food in Tamarindo was amazing (which it is + we are so glad we did!) The hotel included breakfast every day which was good
views from the hotel pool
- The hotel was at the top of the hill and every single room overlooks the Pacific Ocean! The rooms are modern, simple and clean with gorgeous balcony views!
- One of the MAJOR benefits of the hotel is that there is a shuttle running every 30 minutes to drive down the hill into town (5 minute drive, 20 minute walk) as well as to a beach club and wellness centre, so we got the views plus the beach, the best of both worlds!
views from the beach club
What we did:
- Ate, swam, relaxed + repeat!
- The beach club + wellness centre were amazing! I did yoga and got a massage/body scrub and my husband worked out at the facilities daily
- A catamaran sunset cruise on my birthday! It started at 1pm and ended at 6pm, which included lunch, an open bar (I have never had better pina coladas in my life!), as well as an hour stop with paddle boarding, snorkelling, and swimming. We saw a school of dolphins and it was the best way to celebrate my 30th.
Our favourite restaurants:
- Green Papaya, loved their shrimp tacos + brownie! They have swings in the restaurant which is very cool too!
- Little Lucha, a modern and delicious restaurant. We went on Taco Tuesday where they were $2/each
- Italian: La Pachanga, amazing thin crust pizza and pasta!
- BBQ: Longboards, we went back here 3 times in 8 days! Best nachos ever! My husband became obsessed + even bought one of their t-shirts to wear back home. We made friends with the owner who is from North Carolina and he even gave me the recipe for their in-house hot sauce that I loved. If you go back tell him the Canadians with the hot sauce recipe sent you!
- Burgers: Surf Shack, enough said!
Mediterranean: The Falafel Bar had the best (you guessed it) falafel plates!
- Breakfast: La Bodega, it is organic and delicious! I loved their homemade jams and my husband enjoyed it all!
- Dessert: Waffle Monkey for their waffles and ice cream
- Other: La Oveja Negra I was able to get Bulletproof coffee there! We liked their nachos a lot too!
What else to know:
- Currency: we brought American and sometimes they would give us the local currency (colón) in change when we paid with USD
- Average cost per meal: for 2 people was usually approx. $30 USD
- December-April is high season and it is around 30-45 degrees celsius every day with barely any clouds in the sky. Wear lots of sunscreen, we went through 4 bottles!
- Their supermarkets have a great deal of things you would see in Canada. I would buy local Kombucha from them too!
- Many people rent golf carts for the week and go to and from town!
- It is very laid back and casual in Tamarindo! Ladies, think flip flops + sun dresses! Guys, t-shirts and shorts.
- Tamarindo has a very boho, hippy like feel to it! It is like Bali meets Thailand meets Mykonos.
If you have never been to Costa Rica, I would highly recommend it! It is in my top 3 places I have ever been (along with the Greek and Thai islands, what can I say I am a water baby!). PURA VIDA BABY!
GF + Vegan Pancakes (yields 20 pancakes)
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut or almond milk (from carton)
- 2 bananas
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (you can opt for whey protein too if you do not want it to be vegan)
- 1 cup oats
- 1/3 cup natural almond, peanut or cashew butter
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (vanilla bean or pure vanilla liquid)
- Mix together milk, bananas, protein powder, vanilla, nut butter + cinnamon in a blender until fully combined
- Next add in the oats + blend until well combined
- Finally, add in chia seeds + blend. Pour mixture into a bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. (FYI the chia seeds are an egg replacement, so letting the chia seeds settle allows them to expand and essentially replicate what an egg does!)
- Grease a frying pan with coconut oil and set temperature to medium. I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to place the batter onto the pan (+ to portion). Cook for at least 3 minutes, flip + cook other side for 2 minutes. The time may vary but I usually flip when the outsides of the pancakes start to harden and batter begins to bubble on top of pancake. Repeat with all the batter.
- Top with raspberry chia jam, berries, maple syrup, unsweetened shredded coconut, nuts, seeds, whatever you like!
I remember when spaghetti squash came into my life and I was SO CONFUSED. So it's a vegetable that turns into spaghetti? Is it new? How have I never heard of this before and why isn't everyone eating it!? Do I just cook it and it comes out like that?
If you had these questions too, you are not alone! Below I will help clear things up!
There are multiple techniques but this is the one I like the most!
- Preheat oven to 350
- Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook whole for 40 minutes. Flip halfway to ensure it cooks all the way through
- Once complete, let cool for at least 10 minutes and then cut in half (lengthwise). Let cool again for at least 5 minutes
- There will likely be seeds in the middle (resemble pumpkin seeds) that you will need to scoop out (this is the tedious part). Use a fork or your hand to remove
- Once the seeds are removed, use a fork to scrape the sides of the spaghetti squash (this is way easier than it sounds and it happens pretty naturally! See picture as an example)
- Place in a bowl and discard the skin. You can top however you like- with pesto, tomato sauce, pad thai sauce, it is so versatile!
Now for my...Dairy Free Pesto
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 4 garlic cloves
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
Mix together all the above ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until fully combined. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (the lemon helps it stay fresh)!
Who would have thought!? You can have your brownie and eat it too. These babies have 6g of protein per brownie!
Sweet Potato Protein Brownies (yields 16)
- 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Genuine Health's Fermented Vegan)
- 3/4 cup natural nut butter (suggestions: almond, hazelnut or peanut)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla
- 1 tsp. flaked sea salt (regular is fine too)
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- for greasing: 1/4 cup coconut or avocado oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease a 9x9 pan with coconut or avocado oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in sweet potatoes and cook until the sweet potatoes rise near the surface of the water
- In the meantime, mix together eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon + vanilla in a blender (or food processor) until fully combined
- Next, add in nut butter and mix until combined. Lastly, add in the protein powder and mix again until fully combined
- Once the sweet potatoes are finished, pour over a strainer. Let cool for a few minutes in your sink
- Finally, add the sweet potatoes into the blender and mix until fully blended
- Pour mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Spread the sea salt evenly over the brownies.
- Cook for 40 minutes and let cool for at least 15 minutes
Back at it again on the slow cooker! Here is another delicious and easy recipe to keep you warm and nourished this winter.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 cups butternut squash (peeled + cubed)
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup sweet potato (peeled + cubed)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a can or carton)
- 1 shallot (chopped in half)
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a slow cooker
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours
- Once complete, place entire contents into a blender and mix until fully combined