Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Smooth-ie!

It's no secret that I love smoothies! And, why wouldn't I? Smoothies are an easy, delicious way to get the nutrition that you need easily and quickly.
However, many prefer smoothies with milk or ice cream, and that's not an option for people like me with a dairy allergy!
I posted another recipe using almond milk, but I've since stumbled upon a recipe using another "milk" that won't cause my dairy allergy to present itself.
I found the original recipe via Pinterest, but I tweaked it a bit.
(Note that you can use any kind of coconut milk, I just prefer the following brand)

1/4 cup Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk
1 banana, frozen
1/8 cup pineapple juice 
1 Tbsp. corn syrup

Blend together, pour into cup(s).
Should make enough to fill a 12 oz. glass or mug.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chili!

Yum, chili! I love love love chili! My mother makes an absolutely fantastical chili, which is kind of her signature dish (other than her hamburger soup), so I decided that once Tom and I settled into a house of our own, I would invest in a crock pot and create my own signature chili.
Create signature chili - checked off of Bucket List! 
But, seriously, if you haven't bought a crock pot... do it! It's a life-saver for when I'm working and I want something yummy ready to go when I get home. So many delicious dishes, and easy easy easy!
 Anyways, back to my chili... it is my signature dish, but I've made it so that now I can enjoy it without breaking out in hives or having intestinal issues - go allergen free!

So, here's the recipe for Kate's Gluten and Dairy Free, Lean Turkey Chili

 1.5 lbs. lean, ground turkey
1/4 cup gluten-free, organic maple syrup (we found this in the "gluten free" section at Co-op)
(the following is all optional and changeable... remember, Westernized chili can contain a plethora of things!)
1 can (250 mL) of red kidney beans
1/2 cup mild salsa
1/3 cup gluten free ketchup
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion, carmelized
1 can (350 mL) of beans in tomato paste
1 can (250mL) whole corn kernels
1 can (250mL) chick peas
1 can (250mL) black beans
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
2 tbsp. lime juice

Cook turkey through, until no longer pink. Add to crock pot.
Carmelize onions in Becel Vegan Margarine (found at most grocery stores). Add to crock.
Add rest of ingredients to crock pot, stir thoroughly.
Place main crock "bowl" in frig, covered, overnight.
Take out in morning, and turn crock pot to "Low" setting. Let cook for 8 -10 hours.

I've found that Thomas enjoys more than one bowl of chili, so I turn my slow cooker to "Warm" for the duration of his first bowl. When he gets the second bowl, I remind him to turn the cooker OFF and, after he's done that bowl, the cooker is cool enough to lift out and place back into the frig for leftovers. Between the two of us, it usually lasts us up to three days... even with the both of us taking the chili for lunch.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Everybody loves tea. Except for the people that don't... and if you don't, you probably shouldn't read the rest of this post!
 ANYWAYS, it's no secret to those close to me that I just adore tea! I have a whole cabinet dedicated to tea, and I don't think that I would change it for the world.
That being said, do I always know what kinds of tea I have?

 No, not always, so I guess some sort of tea-oriented inventory is due... is it weird that I'm excited about this? Okay... onto the interesting stuff!

Tea has been touted for centuries for its benefits for the human body and mind. Many teas have beneficial antioxidants, it contains less caffeine, its naturally gluten and dairy free, and it has NO calories! Hurrah for tea.

Don't forget about those powerful little antioxidants; they have cancer-fighting properties that, while most studies remain inconclusive, has this tea lover (and many others) convinced that a boost of anti-carcinogens are entering my body with every sip I take! Add that with the extra antioxidants in natural honey, and you have a cancer-fighting concoction! Please, of course, remember that all results pertaining to tea and it's anti-carcinogenic properties are inconclusive

My favourite teas are varied! I love the bittersweet taste of black teas, but green teas flavoured with fruit are tied for first... and don't forget Rooibos' tasty-ness! I can't pick a favourite tea, but I can let you in on some to try.

If you haven't read my post on Thai Iced Tea, you can do so here:

If you haven't visited Teaopia (now "Teavana"), you should! You can order online, but going into the stores is great as well! That way, you can smell the teas before you buy them, have them made up for you... and buy cute little tea sets! They're not easy on the wallet, but boy... are they cute!

 Anyways, my favourite "Teavana" teas include:
Green Tea Blend "Love Spell"
Herbal Tea Blend "Vanilla Honeybush"
and "Azteca Fire" Herbal Tea

The Spa Ritual in Calgary also has a signature blend of teas that taste amazing as well!
Tom and I love "Rejuvenating Blend" from the Pure Ritual line of teas. You can't order The Spa Ritual's signature teas online, but you are more than welcome to head into their spa boutique and check out the teas!

Tea Basket
 Photo courtesy of The Spa Ritual, Calgary, Alberta

Thursday, October 4, 2012

We Applaud You, Lady Gaga

We're "GooGoo" for Gaga! We applaud Lady Gaga for promoting tolerance, love, self esteem, and believing in oneself, even amongst the harsh, undeserved criticism that she has been receiving lately. She has always been her own person, and has supported it fiercely, encouraging it no matter what you look like or who you are... love it!

I've posted much on the Buddha's quote about loving yourself, and how deserving YOU are of that love. Let's remember that quote:

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."
What does this quote mean to you? Do you love yourself the way that you should? Remember that there is a difference between loving yourself and having an overinflated ego!
 You just being a part of this world is what makes it so wonderful, and with each unique individual emerging, so does the potential and incredible beauty of our Earth.

So we want to say thank you, Gaga, for your commitment to being a sensational role model, especially for young girls, by reminding us that we should only need to worry about being happy. We need to start feeling good about ourselves and being healthy and happy and finding peace with what the universe has given us. and being grateful for the opportunities that abound from being alive. We should be excited about making changes so that we feel good, like eating better, working out, or staying positive because it will make us happy, healthy and feel more alive.... guaranteed.

Thanks, Gaga.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Let's Talk About... Hope

Hope. How can a simple word be just that... simple... but maintain such a commanding presence? 
Especially as teenagers, "hope" can become somewhat of an annoyance... like someone telling you to "calm down"... and, at a time when it feels like it's You Against the World, hearing "have hope" can make your blood boil!
Feeling unwanted is a fear that all people have, though some will never admit it. Every person wants to feel special, wants to be loved, wants to be wanted... and feeling like you are alone and not cared for is a terrible thing to go through. The commercials for 'Help Phones' don't seem to help, and admitting that you feel weak in a crazy, overwhelming world is not the most becoming option. 

 Buddha teaches us that we deserve our own love more than anything else in this world, and remember the story of the woman who was tasked with finding a household that had not been touched by death? She thought that she was alone in the world, alone in her grief, but she was not. She could not find one household that had not been touched by death.

We are surrounded by loving; our family, our friends, our significant others, our pets, the earth, and many more. The suffering (dukkha) that we experience when our desires to be loved, wanted and cared for are seemingly not met blinds us. Have you ever desired something or someone so much that it blinded you to the love, care, or possession that you already had? Working to eliminate this desire will eliminate suffering, and will allow us to cherish the amazing lives that we tend to take for granted, especially in our material-centered, Western World.

French Onion Soup Blog is pleased to feature guest writer Kadeen Mchugh with her own story of hope. Kadeen has become a very close friend of mine, and I am so proud of her for sharing her story, her support of French Onion Soup Blog and me, and her commitment to spreading tolerance, positivity, healing, and hope in this world that so desperately needs it! 

"Growing up was difficult. I was bullied all the time during elementary. At the time, I thought it was because I was hated, ugly or useless.
I didn't have many people to turn to; my mom was never home and my dad was always working. As I grew up, I came to the conclusion that everyone around me just didn't care; friends that did things that friends weren't supposed to do… telling others your secrets, talking about you behind your back, etc.. Then there was family that only came around when they wanted something and when I couldn't come through, I was being called selfish. When times got tough I thought that I didn't want to live in this world where no one cared about me.
The point of my story is that I am so happy that I didn't end things. Everything just seems tough at times but when you really look at it I have so many new friends that are the “cat’s ass” and make my life amazing, I have nieces and nephews that have the biggest smiles when they see me, and a boyfriend that makes me feel like he can’t live without me. He makes me feel like the most beautiful girl ever, even on those days where I want to cry because I feel like the ugliest girl ever.  These people saved my life just by being there for me and showed me that they cared about me.
So, next time a friend needs a hand, give them both because you may be that one person to save them and give them hope, love, and a new beginning." 
Courtesy Kadeen Mchugh

There's Always Time If You Make Time For... Our Earth

What a beautiful world that we live in! Even amongst the hard times, we must be grateful for our time upon this Earth, and cherish the Earth as it cherishes us... even though we consistently destroy it. Take something as seemingly simple as the Aurora Borealis; the beautiful, natural Earth- produced lights that we delight in being able to view. Caused by electromagnetic "explosions" that are brought into the atmosphere by the Earth's magnetic core, these lights are sought-after, gorgeous, and reveled by many in their beauty.

Do we take the Earth for granted? Most certainly we do. We continually dump upon the Earth, like it is the "Brian" of our social group - Dane Cook reference- when we should be treating it like our cherished younger brother, or an animal that knows nothing but unconditional love for us. We must protect it, nurture it, heal it, love it, and most of all, be proud of it. 

I love the quote below from The Dalai Lama because he is 100% correct. We cannot go back in time and fix the destruction caused by previous generations, nor can our anger about this change what has happened. We must take advantage of the technology and information that we have today to prevent further destruction.

Go hug a real tree! Tell a creek that you love it! 
Blow kisses to birds (though I would advise against actually kissing a bird)! 
Appreciate our Earth.

"Our ancestors viewed the earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we know is the case only if we care for it. It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past that resulted from ignorance. Today, however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations."
 - His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ready for Reiki?

As the field of energy work and Reiki becomes increasingly popular, curiosity surrounding these techniques grows and, in our uninformed Western World, we don't always know the basics about such modalities or the masters behind the work.

We were lucky enough to have Registered Massage Therapist and Reiki Master Stacey Frizzell answer a few of our questions about Reiki and energy work. Stacey is the owner and operator of her successful, home based business Life Balance

Visit Stacey's website here:

 Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and about your company, Life Balance
I have run a home based business for the last 3.5 years. My focus is preventative health care in the form of energy healing, massage, and reflexology.  

Q: What made you decide to begin studying massage and Reiki?
I was a very sensitive intuitive Being for as far back as I can remember. I did not know how to use it and felt very lost. It was by ‘chance’ about 11 years ago I went for a Reiki Treatment , I had no idea what to expect, but kept an open mind. When I drove home that day after my treatment, I felt better and more peaceful than I had in years! It was a life changing event for me and opened the doors to Eastern Healing and Philosophy. A few years into studying Reiki and other forms of healing, massage came as the natural next step to incorporate physical healing modalities as well.

Q: Why do you love it, and why do you stay in the Health & Wellness field?
It is my Passion!! I do not know where I would be if I did not learn of the subtle but powerful tools of self healing. It increased my physical health, mental health, and opened me to my own beautiful spiritual path. I plan to stay in this line of work to help empower others in taking charge of their health and following their own intuition.

Q: What exactly is Reiki and why is it beneficial?
Reiki is a form of energy healing, founded in Japan in 1922. Its is a gentle laying of hands along a persons body feeling their energy flow ‘chi’. Reiki helps promote energy flow and releases blocks in the body caused by stress. The goal for this energy healing is to release stress and stuck energy in the body before it manifests into physical illness. If the physical illness or pains are already present Reiki can be profound in managing and possibly eliminating aliments.

Q: You also hold meditation classes and are vocal about the benefits; what got you interested in meditation?
Again my passion for this comes from my own experience and profound personal gains I have received through meditation. Scientists show that 12 minutes a day of meditation can change your brain chemistry, improving your mood and increasing your energy! My biggest joy of meditation is I have learned how to have peace and quiet in my mind when I sit with this intention.

Q: As a registered massage therapist, your job is very hands on and must be tiring! How do you unwind, relax and rebalance your muscles and mind?
I have learned balance is key. Being self employed allows me to spread out my schedule to keep myself from burn out.  Also I do my best to practice what I promote! I do this by meditating daily, yoga, and going for regular massage and Reiki treatments!

Q: What does a day in the life of a Reiki Master look like?
Ha-ha my life is pretty normal. I do take note of people I meet more by their energy field than what they say. It has helped me become more compassionate and sensitive when it comes to understanding others.