Lush Life Sweet Potato, Kale & Coconut Salad

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Last night was one of those hot, sticky nights that feels like it might last forever. So of course I was craving a lazy, luxurious meal to match. I served this salad a little warm, with simple poached salmon and a side of sliced pear. Sweet, savoury & perfectly satisfying.

Lush Life Sweet Potato, Kale & Coconut Salad

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Ingredients:

1 bunch of organic kale, coarsely chopped with stems removed.
1 medium sweet potato, roasted* and cubed.
¼ cup unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted if desired.
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
(Other yummy additions would be shredded carrots, raisins or brazil nuts)

Dressing:

3 tbsp coconut milk or coconut coffee cream
2 tbsp flax oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp agave
1 tsp miso paste (if you omit, add more tamari)
a few dashes of tamari/soy sauce
fresh lime juice

Directions:

1. Place chopped kale in an extra large mixing bowl.
2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients except for the lime juice into a measuring cup and pour half over raw kale. Massage gently with your fingers and thumbs until kale wilts and softens.
3. Toss in sweet potato cubes, coconut, nuts and the remainder of your dressing. Stir well to combine.
4. Just before serving, squeeze fresh lime juice over salad and lightly toss.

*I wrap my sweet potatoes in foil and roast on the oven rack at 400 for 50 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow them to sit in the warm oven for another 10-20 minutes. This softens them and really develops the sweetness. If you’re short on time, just poke a few holes in the skin and microwave for around 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.

Makes 2-4 servings .

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6 x 6 Update: The Week I Walked My Keds to Shreds

So last week I made a plan to incorporate a moderate amount of physical activity into my daily life (approximately an hour, give or take) 6 days a week for the next 6 weeks. I have no rules beyond that and I am completely open to whatever form that activity takes. I’m excited to see how these “workouts” progress and change as the 6 weeks go on but here’s my rundown of Week 1

Monday: Walking, 45 mins (4.2km).

Last Monday was a holiday here in Canada and I wasn’t about to spend my day off getting sweaty in the gym but this ended up being the perfect activity to start off my plan! I ended up going to check out the UK film Stud Life at the Inside Out LGBQT Film Festival at the Bell Lightbox Theatre (the swankiest spot to catch a flick in the city when and if you get the chance) and I was so glad I did. Even when it was a little over the top it was charming & one of the characters spent the whole film wearing a green carnation. CUTE!

T’Nia Miller in Stud Life.

As I left my house I made the decision to walk rather than take the streetcar. Just a simple switch but one that allowed me get moving and enjoy the unseasonably warm evening hours we had this weekend. It also set the precedent that the next 6 weeks aren’t about strict athletic (or aesthetic) goals, but about enjoying the physical and emotional benefits of a little activity everyday!

Tuesday: Quickie Run & Mini Workout, 30 mins.

I had to pop over to gym to sign up for the membership I got for free with work (perks!). I didn’t have much time and I knew that I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable using the equipment the first time around, so I just threw on my running shoes and jogged (which for me is usually intervals of sprinting and quick walking) there and back. I did a few bodyweight excersizes on the mats when I was there too but not a whole lot. The juiceheads scared me off.

Wednesday: Stretching, Cardio & Strength, 1 hr.

This was my most conventional workout of the week. I hopped over to the gym at lunchtime and got my sweat on with a warm-up, some short intense intervals (20 mins) and then weighted squats, lunges, planks & pushups.

Thursday: Walking, 50 mins (3k +)

I thought maybe this would be my off day but after 2 afternoon walks during my coffee and lunchbreaks and meeting my friend to help him shop for clothes after work I realized I’d covered some serious pavement.

Friday: Skipping warm up & bodyweight strength training, 40 minutes.

A few minutes of skipping to warm up followed by 30 min bodyweight strength training before work using this video by Zuzka. (Note: I am not a fan of the bodyrock videos for reasons I won’t get into but I do enjoy the ones ex-bodyrocker Zuzka produces on her own now. Sure she’s a total babe and the videos are ridiculously hypersexual, but I don’t have a problem with that. I find her motivating, fun and easy to follow plus these videos are great on days you can’t make it to the gym).

Saturday: EPIC WALKING, all day (5km+)

I spent the whole morning casually strolling through the Beaches in the East end of the city, stopping along the way to enjoy some local colour (caffeine) and soak in the sunshine. Then I took public transportation all the way West to The Junction and somewhat unintentionally ended up walking back home from that neighborhood. This part of the walk alone was 4km. My legs were jelly by the end of this day.

Sunday: OFF! Grocery shopped, cooked, watched GIRLS. Aka. the essential components of life.

And that’s that!

How’d you fare?
Get in any new or unconventional workouts this week? I’d love to hear how you got movin this week!

Rustic Roasted Garlic & Lentil Hummus

Every time I pass my favourite hummus at the store I stop, stare longingly at it, glance at the price tag and then move on telling myself “I can just make my own hummus.” But I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually followed through with that statement. Until tonight of course 😉

The reason I don’t make hummus at home isn’t usually because I’m lazy or lack the drive…it’s because I’m downright forgetful and never remember soak my darn chickpeas! Well today I decided I wouldn’t let that minor detail curtail my cooking mojo… So I busted out the old hand mixer and went to town on some much less high maintenance legumes: those lowly, lovely lentils.

Rustic Roasted Garlic & Lentil Hummus

Ingredients

1.5 cups cooked lentils (3/4 cups dry)
2 cups roasted or steamed cauliflower
3-4 cloves roasted garlic
2 tbsp blanched sunflower seeds (drop in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain and rinse – helps them to blend)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp miso paste
1 tsp vegetable boullion – I use this kind
Unsweetened almond milk (approx 1.5 cups)
pepper to taste

Directions: 

Blend all ingredients together using a hand mixer or food processor, adding milk as needed until it reaches your desired texture.

This hummus has a subtle, savoury flavour that can be adapted to suit your tastes. Less milk will make it a little thicker you could use it as a vegetarian alternative to pate or tuna salad in a sandwich. More milk will produce a creamier result similar to traditional hummus and great or dipping everything you can get your hands on in it…then possibly eating half the batch in one sitting…ahem. 

Enjoy!

SUMMER STARTING: IN PHOTOS

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Positive Affirmations Courtesy of Rodarte

As this week comes to a close I thought I’d share a small moment that stuck with me yesterday and left me feeling happy/inspired/generally more motivated in life. And it just happened to be brought to me by the ladies of RODARTE.

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For anyone unfamiliar with the Rodarte brand it is a fashion label started that was started in 2005 by two wickedly ambitious, innovative sisters with zero training in design. Well this week the ladies happened to be in Toronto & I was lucky enough to attend an interview they gave with Canadian fashion journalist Jeannie Becker. The event was very intimate, just a few die hard fans and fashionistas happy to be there, basking in the quiet wisdom of the soft spoken duo. And we were not disappointed.

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The Mulleavy sisters spoke on a number of topics – their time as struggling artists in the lower east side, their collaborative creative process & the ways they stay grounded.
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While all of this was fascinating to me (in a nerdy fangirl kind of way) I was particularly struck by one comment Kate made early on in the interview. She said:

The only thing we really have to offer is our unique voice.

I have struggled a lot over the past few years, during my own clichéd yet completely personal “quarter-life crisis,” to rediscover my unique voice as a professional, adult woman. Throughout my life as a student (and in graduate school in particular) my accomplishments and mentors did all that work for me. They reminded me on a daily basis that my point of view was valuable and that my voice was a voice worth listening to.

However, since entering the “real world” during a time of such great economic strain and instability I have found myself inundated with messages saying just the opposite. I have heard how entitled my generation is, how resistant we are to an honest day’s work. I have heard about the uselessness of the degrees I dedicated years of my life to. I have felt the sting of being rejected professionally but also, and perhaps worse, being ignored.

Receiving so much positive affirmation from my parents and professors as a young person bolstered the pillars of my self-confidence, but never taught me how to mend the cracks that come inevitably with time and age.

So in my current search to teach myself how to affirm myself, I find words like Kate’s incredibly uplifting. Firstly because she acknowledges that we are all essentially the same and sure, maybe even a little bit useless. And yet…
In spite of it all we do have something to offer in this world. Something special and rare. Something worth tapping into and pursuing with reckless abandon.
Our own unique offering.
Our voice, which is valuable, when and if we let others hear it.

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Just some reflections for you to do with what you like. Would love to hear your thoughts on fashion, motivation or the infamous quarter life crisis…Or better yet…any fun plans for the weekend?

Something old, something new!

Hey lovelies!

Even though I only just started my 6 x 6 plan I am already full of updates on how it’s been going for me and what I’ve learned so far.

1) Trying something new.

Diversity is a big part of my plan so I thought now would be a great time to talk about a new style of yoga I had the opportunity to try out earlier this month. It was called mysore yoga and it was a new-to-me practice that is actually the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga. Instruction is given on a person by person basis by an instructor who works with your level of strength and flexibility. You move through the poses in a set series that you learn in short pieces and memorize as you go, building on as you get stronger and more comfortable.

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The studio I practiced in was run like the pop-up shops that seem to be taking over our city, only open for a single month but tempting us with the potential for permanence down the line. The instructor David was everything you could ask for in a yoga teacher. Adorable, approachable and incredibly picky. Every breath I took and movement I made was under his watchful eye and while he wasn’t shy about corrections, never once did I feel uncomfortable or judged. I felt safe and confident, unlike those busy, intense flow yoga classes where my movements go unnoticed and I know that if I was injured no one would come out of upward dog long enough to notice. While the pop-up was short lived, it is well worth the trek north to check out Ashtanga Yoga Centre in Toronto. If you live in another city, try switching up your standard practice and giving mysore a try!

Do you stick to one kind of yoga or do you like to switch it up? I’m interested to hear which styles people prefer and why!

2) When you fuel am active lifestyle but dont have a lot of time, simplicity is key.
Sometimes I get in the habit of only posting or talking about my food when I have had the time to carefully prepare it but since so many of my meals lately are eaten on-the-go I figured it was about time I posted about those too. For example, this simple egg wrap doesn’t dirty a single pan and comes together in about 5 minutes. Lately I have been enjoying it for breakfast, lunch or dinner almost every day of the week.

The 5 minute Healthy Hipster Breakfast Wrap

Ingredients

1 brown rice tortilla
1 wedge laughing cow cheese or a spread of veganaise
1 spread of Dijon mustard
1/4 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup egg whites OR 1 whole egg & 2 whites
Sprinkle of spinach
(optional leftover roasted veggies)

Directions

Pour eggs into a microwave safe container and cook at 80% power for 3-4 mins.

While eggs are cooking prep the rest of your ingredients and remove tortilla from the freezer (heat for about 20 seconds or so to thaw)

Layer cheese or veganaise, dijon and avocado first. Top with cooked egg and spinach plus cooked veggies if using.

Wrap and place on a heated grill pan or skillet for about 2-3 minutes per side. Slice in half and serve.

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Flaky, satisfying perfection!

What’s your go-to five minute meal?

6 x 6 SUMMER SHAKE-UP CHALLENGE!

Good morning, lovelies!

While it might look like and feel like summer outside, in my mind we’re not in the thick of it until July 1st when the temperature skyrockets and the city air turn that familiar hazy yellow. So, in anticipation of the summer months I’ve decided to embark on a new SUMMER SHAKE-UP CHALLENGE. Notice how I said SHAKE up and not SHAPE up? That’s because while I’ve borrowed the 6 week countdown idea from all those beach-body/eat-nothing-but-steamed-cauliflower-til-september workout plans, that will be as far as the similarities go.

MY COMMITMENT:

To move my CONSCIOUSLY move my bod in new and challenging ways 6 DAYS A WEEK for 6 WEEKS leading up to the summer season!

  • Time: No set time. I will aim for 60 minutes/day, but am already resigned to the fact that an hour will not always fit my schedule. If 20 minutes is all I have, it is enough and it is excellent.
  • TypeDiversity is CENTRAL to this plan. Since my body is always happiest when I am doing a mix of strength, cardio & stretching I will work on balancing these areas throughout the 6 days. I will continue with the activities I currently enjoy but try to add in some new ones for fun and variety. As it stands my plan will include a happy blend of the following:

bodyweight strength training (at home and/or at the gym)
– yoga
– HIIT style cardio in the form of sprinting and skipping (at home/outside)
– kickboxing
– freeweights (at the gym)
– sports
– walking/hiking.

FAQ:

This sounds too easy, why choose this approach as opposed to a more detailed workout schedule?

In my experience, consistency keeps me in the best physical and mental shape when it comes to my workouts. If I start getting too goal-oriented aroundexactly how much cardio I get in or how intense my workouts should be I always end up feeling disappointed and often bail on workouts out of frustration. BUT when I set flexible, attainable goalsjust a little something everydayI actually enjoy what I’m doing and the motivation to push myself naturally follows.

What do you mean by moving “CONSCIOUSLY”? I thought you said you were a “hipster” not a “hippie”!

Touche. But let me explain. We all move our bods a little bit every day but we don’t always think about these actions as contributing to our overall health or fitness. Walking around the office, making breakfast, running to the bus, etc. are all physical (Cardio LIFE as I often call it) but we overlook them because they seem mindless and incidental. On other hand, a “conscious effort” is a physical activity we participate in for no reason other than its benefit to our bodies and health. I believe that the feelings of satisfaction, self-worth and empowerment we derive from fitness are as much a result of the decision to act as they are from the action itself. So in the end it doesn’t matter whether your decision is to take the stairs to your apartment or to the top of the CN Tower, once you’ve made that decision and follow through, you’ve won. At life.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on all the movin and shakin I’ve been doing, the eats that will be fueling all this newfound activity chutzpah & of course keep writing about other important stuff too, just to keep it all in perspective.

SO WHADDYA SAY? ANYONE ELSE WANT TO JOIN THE 6 X 6 SUMMER SHAKE UP CHALLENGE?
I’d love to have some partners in crime! 

CLICK HERE to download a printable worksheet so you can follow along and fill in your own 6 x 6 challenge updates!

Weekend Staycation & Coconut Buckwheat Porridge

It is Victoria Day weekend here in Ontario which means that half of the Toronto’s population has vacated the city to drink microbrewed beers on the docks of their million dollar Muskoka cottages. And while that sounds lovely and all (in fact last summer I toured the Muskokas and had a pretty stellar time) I been really enjoying the pleasure of spending my weekend right here with some great friends in the city I love…

Patio season has officially begun and since I’m a bit of a lightweight these days 1 drink in the sunshine left me bleary eyed & giggly! Not a bad way to kick off the weekend…

My friends were much better at comporting themselves.

City Sunset.

After yesterday’s shenanigans I decided I was in need of a healthy start to today & ended up coming up with a delicious new spin on my standard oatmeal breakfast. In a constant effort to enjoy a greater diversity of foods I would mix things up today and use of of my favourite superfoods: Buckwheat! Usually I think of cooking whole grains in the morning to be a slow and laborious process, but I was feeling inspired after reading Angela’s post on grinding steel cut oats for quicker cooking and I figured I’d give it a whirl. The result?

Creamy Coconut Buckwheat Porridge

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  •  1/2 tbsp chia or flax seeds
  • 1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (OR a mix of almond milk + 1 tbsp canned coconut milk/coconut creamer)
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:  

  1. Pulse buckwheat and chia or flax seeds in a coffee grinder until coursely ground
  2. Combine milk and grains in a medium saucepan and heat until just boiling, then reduce to a simmer for about 5-7 minutes. I found that mine thickened very quickly so I thinned it out with an extra 1/2 cup of water.
  3. Remove from heat and serve.
Toppings: 
Toppings are key since the buckwheat has a very neutral flavour, even cooked in coconut milk. I topped mine with:
  • shredded coconut
  • sunflower seeds
  • extra coconut milk
  • cinnamon
  • drizzle of agave (could use honey, brown sugar, stevia etc.)

Get To Know a Healthy Hipster: Spencer

Name: Spencer
Occupation: Musician (The Fabulous Yawn), Barista (Cherry Bomb)
Location: The Junction, Toronto.

How would you describe your style of eating (veggie, flexitarian, omnivore, bacon-enthusiast)?

Certainly bacon-enthusiast, of those choices. And to quote Scott Pilgrim, “Bagels make you fat?” I eat a lot of pasta and risotto, and home made sweet potato fries. Those things are crack to me. Also I love making smoothies and juices at home.

What are some of the must haves in your fridge/pantry?

Lots of risotto, pesto, bacon and OJ. I really like pesto. Oh and goat-cheese.

Mix up your standard spaghetti & parmesan with some chevre and pesto. It’s guaranteed to make you feel like a grown-up without dirtying more than a single pot! (Photo Credit: 101 Cookbooks)

Favourite local bar/venue/party to blow off steam?

My local bar Margret is pretty rad for just shooting the shit. I also work the door at my buddy’s night, Humblemania, which is held at the Ossington. The bartender, one in particular named Johnny, is so fucking rad. So those two bars are my jam. As far as venues go, I really like Czehoski and the Piston. The old haunts are great too though… I never have a better beer than one served by Teddy at the Horseshoe.

Best place to caffeinate/hydrate?

I’m not going to name my old employers, because they fired me. They had really great espresso though. The Good Neighbour is pretty good but I guess I’d have to go with Dark Horse… and Cherry Bomb of course!

The Good Neighbour. The Junction, Toronto.

Greatest hero of fiction?

The guy from High Fidelity. Or the protagonist in most of my short stories.

Style icon?

Hands down, David Byrne. The hair, the beady-eyes (which I wish I could use on women). Also, all my friends rag on me for my trademark top-button-done-up-on-shirt look. I got that from him. I should really get on-top of a big suit…

Favourite ways to get active?

Take stairs two at a time, don’t be afraid to walk places… smoke cigarettes? Err…

Who were you in high school?

I was your boyfriend for about four and a half years (**ahem…personal details, what!?!). I was also known to ride with the drama crowd.

You’re on death row, whats your last supper?

Oh jeez. Maybe I’d ask you to make me something. I guess my mum’s quinoa, some sort of goat-cheese infused salad with spinach and baby greens and walnuts, bacon and a six-pack.

Most played song on your ipod?

What To Say by Born Ruffians, Don’t Worry About the Government by Talking Heads, and Quay Cur by the Fiery Furnaces. I’m really into Matthew Friedberger’s record called Death-In-Life. The sexiest church organ record you’ll ever hear in your life.

The Healthy Hipster Report Card

Well hello, lovelies! It’s been far too long but as I mentioned in my last post I have been keeping very busy lately getting acclimated at my new job and adjusting to the 9-2-5 lifestyle. Nevertheless I press on, doing my best to get past yet another period of transition, excited to find my rhythm once again.

Since I am going through transition (and its springtime to boot) I figured what better time to reflect a little on what exactly the “Healthy Hipster Lifestyle” really is? When I started the blog I think I focused largely on the mainstream understanding of health…food & fitness. But what kind of hipster would I be if I was satisfied with mainstream anything?

Now I find that when I need to check in with myself…give a little self-assessment…a report card if you will…that I divide up Healthy Hipsterdom into 5 Categories…

  1. Eats: Am I eating well? Enough? Mindfully? Am I enjoying the meals I eat? Am I eating a diversity of food?
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    My breakfast this morning: an egg white, avocado & dijon wrap in a brown rice tortilla with a side of spinach and berries.

  3. Activity: Am I moving my bod? Am I being consistent? Am I balancing structured workouts with sports, recreation and cardio LIFE?
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  5. Balance: Am I seeing friends? Enjoying a wide range of cultural and social activities? Have I become a crotchety hermit?
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    Me and my bestie at a magazine launch I hosted this past weekend.

  7. Thrift: Am I conscious of my financial priorities? Am I overspending on disposable items (take-out, cheap clothes, etc.)? Am I spending on the items that matter (health, home, savings)?
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    Ahem…Not in this lifetime. Looks like my salvaged wood furniture will actually have to come an actual barn not the pottery kind!

  9. Sanity: Am I taking time to myself? Am I dealing with my shit or just distracting myself (see items 1-4)?

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Taking time to reflect & notice the little things….e.g. hidden bike gardens!

Do these questions resonate with you too? How do you measure up on the Healthy Hipster Report Card?