Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PROBIOTIC BEAUTY SLAW SALAD

I've become more and more interested in fermented foods such as sauerkraut , kimchi and kefir by listening to lectures from Donna Gates of Body Ecology and Summer Brock of Fermentationist. One of my goals for this year is to start making my own sauerkraut. I've been making water- and coconut kefir since last summer and it's super easy and great for a healthy belly. Gets things moving almost right away! Kimberly Snyder was one of the first people I started following on my journey to health (besides Kris Carr) and her blog as well as her book The Beauty Detox Solution really opened my eyes to what was wrong with the way we eat. Here's an easy recipe for probiotic slaw that will become a staple in our house for sure.

Monday, March 2, 2015

SALT OF LIFE

Not all salt was created equal. There’s a big difference between regular, refined table salt & pink Himalayan salt crystals. I've gone from toxic table salt to celtic sea salt to Himalayan these past several years and don't keep crappy salt in our house anymore at all. Here's a short story of the salt:

Salt is made of two minerals, sodium and chloride, which are essential for human life. They serve important functions like helping the brain and nerves send electrical impulses. 

Regular table “salt” is manufactured by taking natural salt (such as crude oil flake leftovers) and heating it to 1200° Fahrenheit. During this extreme process, the chemical composition is completely altered and all of the nutritional benefits are destroyed. In the end, generic table “salt” ends up being about 97.5% sodium chloride.

Himalayan Pink Salt is a pure salt that is derived from ancient sea salt deposits, and it is believed to be the purest form of salt available. Pink salt can be used in the same manner as table salt for cooking and baking, but it is purer and higher in mineral content. 

Externally, pink salt can be used to stimulate circulation, relax the body, lower blood pressure, sooth sore muscles, and remove toxins from the body. Use it for example in bath salt recipes, body scrubs, aromatherapy, homemade soap. 

Himalayan Pink Salt has a rich mineral content that includes over 84 minerals and trace elements such as: calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. Himalayan Pink Salt provides:
- essential minerals and trace elements
- it balances electrolytes
- supports proper nutrient absorption
- eliminates toxins
- balances the body’s pH
- normalizes blood pressure
- increases circulation and conductivity. 

It can also assist with relief from arthritis, skin rashes, psoriasis, herpes, and flu and fever symptoms. How cool!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MY WEEK IN SNAPSHOTS

It has been so cold and snowy these past few weeks that I find myself searching for flights to the Caribbean almost daily. I've been really questioning myself why do I still live in this climate and not somewhere warmer, like California. Or Costa Rica. Why are we still here when neither one of us wants to be here anymore? So yes, big questions are being handled right now in our household. Things I've done to beat the cold and darkness:

1. Eating good, healthy food (and to keep the balance, doughnut a week is allowed :))
2. Drinking herbal tea, trying new flavors and brands. 
3. Short morning exercise straight out of bed
4. Learning new things daily (listening lectures, reading, webinars)
5. Going to bed early (when not working late)

More daily snapshots can be found on Instagram.

Monday, February 23, 2015

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST BAKE

Blueberry Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:

¼ cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. flour of choice (I used gluten-free)
¼ tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
 ¼ cup almond milk
½ Tbsp. maple syrup
 ¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F, and grease an individual sized ramekin with cooking oil. In a medium-sized bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add almond milk and maple syrup, mixing until well combined. Trow in blueberries. Transfer dough to the ramekin, topping with a few extra blueberries if desired. Bake 20-30 minutes, depending on desired consistency.

Note: You can replace blueberries with any berries, apples or even pineapple. Possibilities are endless!

Friday, February 20, 2015

HOME WITH INDIAN FLAVOR

My friend just moved into a new place (5 min drive from us!)and I absolutely love all the Indian influenced design elements she has incorporated into her home. Many are old treasures straight from India and some from stores such as Pier 1 Imports, World Market and Home Goods. It's a beautiful mixture of old and new making the home just a bit whimsical yet cozy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

VALENTINE'S DAY PARTY

In Finland, Valentine's Day is called the "Friend's Day" and as the name indicates, this day is more about remembering friends, not significant others. The day has no romantic content, instead people send cards and gifts to their friends. Valentine's Day celebration came to Finland quite late which might be the reason why it led to it's unique interpretation. Since I'm living merged between two cultures I celebrate it both the Finnish and American way. I mean, can you ever have too many celebrations in life? Therefore we had a little get-together with friends listening to Finnish music, eating Scandinavian candy from Sockerbit, eating cake and snacks. 
We baked organic chocolate cake and made a really easy raspberry sauce from frozen raspberries and a tad of coconut water. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

MEATLESS MONDAY : CREAMY ROASTED TOMATO, PEPPER, ONION AND GARLIC SOUP

I'm always in a mood for a good soup and was thinking of doing some kind of soup detox since it's a bit too cold for a juice detox. I've been browsing tons of delicious soup recipes and found this creamy, vegan, roasted veggie soup from Oh She Glows. I modified it a little based on what ingredients I had at home. It came out absolutely delicious! Hearty, creamy, but not too heavy and oh so tasty!

Roasted Tomato Pepper Soup
6 cups

Roasting vegetables: 

5 small tomatoes, washed & sliced in half
2 bell peppers, washed & sliced
1 large sweet onion, peeled & sliced 
1 large garlic bulb
olive oil, salt, & pepper for vegetables 

Soup: 

all the roasted tomatoes & bell peppers
2 tbsp roasted garlic flesh 
all of the roasted sweet onion 
1 can coconut milk  
3 cups vegetable broth 
2 tbsp tomato paste 
2 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper 


1. Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheet with foil (note that parchment paper will burn). For how to prepare the garlic, see this tutorial. Lightly drizzle on oil and season onions, peppers and tomatoes. Roast for about 30 minutes and then check on the vegetables. When the onions are golden and lightly blackened on the edge, you can remove them. Continue roasting the garlic for about 60 minutes and the tomatoes for about 1 hour and 20 mins. 

2. Add all roasted tomatoes, onion, peppers, 2 tbsp roasted garlic flesh into a large pot. Add coconut milk, tomato paste, and broth and stir well.

3. Stir in the seasonings and spices to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

4. Transfer into a blender, processor, or use an immersion blender. Pulse for just a few seconds until chunky. You can also make it smooth, whatever is your preference. Serve immediately and serve with fresh avocado (for healthy fats!) and sprinkles of nutritional yeast like I did. Or garnish with splashes of coconut milk, a sprinkle of garam masala, croutons/bread, and fresh black pepper.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ROMANCE IN MANHATTAN + A GIVEAWAY (CLOSED)


In NYC around Valentine's Day? Love romantic movies? Looking for something fun to do with your girlfriends or that special someone? I have a suggestion: Take the Romantic Movie Moments Tour! For approximately 2,5 hours you're being driven around Manhattan in a comfortable bus guided by your local NYC actor/actress to keep you entertained while passing through famous romantic film sites from movies like "You've Got Mail", "Serendipity" and "Sleepless in Seattle". You'll see places like Cafe Lalo, Grey's Papaya, Lincoln Center, Serendipity 3 and the Plaza Hotel.  

I took this tour last Sunday after work and had so much fun! Perfect ending for my week! Now is your chance to experience the city in a whole new way because I've partnered with On Location Tours to give away 2 tickets to any of their tours. Options include The Romantic Movie Moments, Sex & the City, Sopranos and many more. I've also taken the Sex & the City Tour few years ago and had a blast. Read about my experience here. 

On Location Tours is offering one lucky reader two tickets to their choice of tour. To enter to win, leave a comment below. The giveaway will close 1 week from today. The winner will be drawn at random and emailed directly. Good luck to you all!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY : HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT SMOOTHIE

Smoothies (mainly green ones) have been my ultimate favorite foods for years now. Here's my very first green smoothie posting from 2010. They're such quick to make and nutritious, great for breakfast, lunch, snack or dessert. Many green smoothie enthusiasts suggest a 60/40 formula (60% fruit, 40% leafy greens) to make the perfect green smoothie, but that is way too sweet for my taste. Therefore I flip it around and use 60% greens and 40% fruit. Sometimes I use even less fruit. My husband for example likes his smoothies as little sweet as possible so I use only 1/2 pear or apple to sweeten his smoothies. And this is a guy who just a year ago was addicted to soda, juice and candy. People really can change their bad ways when they set their mind to it.

Few tips for making the perfect smoothie:

- Freeze your fruits and berries so there's no need for ice.
- Use coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk or water as liquid. I sometimes use even kombucha if I'm low on fruits.
- Get creative with your greens and keep switching them up weekly.
My favorites are kale, swiss chard, collards, romaine lettuce, bok choy, parsley, cilantro and beet greens.
- To get a perfectly smooth mixture blend greens with the liquid base at first and then add the fruits or berries and blend again.
- When on the run or pressed with time I buy fresh squeezed juice and mix it with portable greens powder like Aloha. Perfect for traveling! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

ANTIOXIDANT ACAI-BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE


I'm a bigger lover of berries than fruits (maybe growing up in not-so-tropical Finland has something to do with it) and especially blueberries are part of my regular diet. Recent years I've also got to know new berries such as goji (not a fan of the taste) and acai. I started drinking supermarket bought acai juices at first (they're all pasteurized!) and then acai breakfast bowls from Juice Generation. Eventually I discovered that you can also buy acai puree in handy freezer packs you just throw in your smoothie (Whole Foods and health food stores sell them). 

Acai is called the “Beauty Berry” because it has so many compounds that make the body feel and look better from the inside out. Its combination of antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acids all help slow the aging process by boosting immune and metabolic function and removing destructive free radicals from our bodies. Acai has all the vitamins and minerals of most fruits, but also boasts a range of unique plant chemical compounds found in no other fruit on the planet. 

Acai contains an antioxidant anthocyanin, which is suspected to be the powerhouse behind acai’s age-fighting powers. It is common in red and purple colored fruits, like grapes and berries, but acai has significantly more than any other food.

Acai berry packs more grams of protein than an egg, and when combined with omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, it has been shown to improve the look and texture of your hair, skin and nails.

Antioxidant Acai-Blueberry Smoothie

Big handful of greens (kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, spinach etc.)
1 acai smoothie pack
Handful of blueberries
Coconut water
Lemon Juice
Cinnamon (for warmness)


Sunday, February 8, 2015

TREAT OF THE WEEK: OATMEAL LACE COOKIES

Oatmeal Lace Cookies
(Makes about 8 large ones)

50 g (about 3.5 tbsp) coconut oil
1/2 cup (1 dl) sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 cup (2 dl) old fashion rolled oats
1 tbsp flour (I used coconut flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon (optional)
1 egg or egg replacer (I used replacer)

Melt the oil in the pot together with the sugar. Take off the heat. Add the rest of the ingredients stirring fast so it won't stick to the bottom. Scoop the dough by the tablespoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and push the top of the dough to flatten just slightly. Bake 5-7 mins in 385 fahrenheit oven (200 celsius). Let cool and enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

GIRLS NIGHT IN JERSEY

 One cold Saturday afternoon we decided to get together with the girls and enjoy lots of goodies and chit chat to beat the winter blues. We've got lots of snow and freezing temperatures lately so everyone is dreaming about the spring by now. I sure am. This winter has felt extremely long because of many things that are on the works, but not being able to move on with them. When life becomes just a constant work-home-work-home routine it's time to re-evaluate your life and ask one question: how much fun are you having? If the answer is "none" or "not enough" then it's time to change it. Simply, call a few friends to come over, ask everyone bring a thing or two to eat and drink and put your party dresses on.
These healthier cocktails had coconut water, organic cucumber vodka and pureed strawberries and kiwi. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

MONDAY THOUGHTS

It has been such a busy January and I feel very proud and accomplished getting so much done. I am finally (after one little deadline failure) Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition. I have adopted a beautiful new one-hour morning ritual (20/20/20) that makes my entire day so much better, cleared and focused. It involves 20 minutes of exercise right upon waking, 20 minutes of learning (reading, studying, watching lectures etc) and 20 minutes of journaling and planning. What a game changer. Few other things that have come up to me this January:

Drink lots of alkaline water (pH 8.5 or higher). I've been drinking lots of herbal tea lately and definitely feel very dry so I've upped my plain (or lemon water) game again. Alkaline water hydrates you faster and may also help to heal diseases linked to chronic acidity in the body. See how different bottled waters compare (chart).

Fermented foods. I've experimented with homemade water kefir for its health benefits (immunity, digestion, mood) for some time now and next on my list is to make my own raw sauerkraut. Store-bought is so expensive!(if you want organic and raw, which I of course do).

Warming night cap. If you have trouble falling asleep, get into the routine of having something before bed that cues your body, such as a warm glass of almond milk with cinnamon and half a banana. (calcium-magnesium combination works as a natural muscle relaxant).

Oh, and don't forget! There's still time to win warm headgear from Superyellow! This giveaway is open worldwide and ends Tuesday so head over here now for your chance to win!