The Journey Continues

After a bit of a hiatus over the last little while, I’m back!  I hope you missed me. 😉  I was in Winnipeg visiting with family and friends last week so I’m feeling mentally and physically rejuvenated this week.  Nothing like catching up with family and friends that you haven’t seen in too long to give a girl’s spirits a lift.

I’ve also recently been really focusing on working on myself.  In particular, my diet and exercise.  I’m proud to report that I’ve lost about 6 pounds in the last month or so and an inch off a few parts of my body…and I’m not done yet!  I’ve found something that’s working for me, in a healthy way, and I’m excited about it!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been hopeful about seeing positive changes in my body. We all have them – insecurities about our bodies.  I’m too fat. My butt is too big. Why don’t I have abs like hers?  Throw that self doubt out the door and stop comparing yourself to others. LOVE YOURSELF for who you are because that’s what makes you unique!  Loving yourself means treating yourself right, so if there’s something you want to improve about your health and fitness, then just do it!  No time like the present, right?  What are you waiting for?!

I’m happy to share with you all that I’m now a health and fitness coach and I’m running a private online challenge dedicated to helping people achieve their health and fitness goals with a program of their choosing (there are a ton to choose from!). Participating in a team environment can be beneficial in so many ways, including support and accountability.  Also, the more you participate in the group, the more confidence you will build.  Trust me on that one!  You may even make a new friend or two. 🙂

My passion in life is to help people in any way that I can, especially in health and fitness.  I would absolutely love to hear from you if you’re interested.  Please comment below or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LauraBonneyStrong/.  You’ll see my personal story in more detail on my Facebook page so please feel free to find your way there and click ‘Like’ to see my journey so far.  I’d love to get to you know you better and hear about what your personal goals are as well…I’m sure they’re similar to mine!

I would LOVE to have you join us and become your best self… in every way!

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Green Iced Drink for a Balmy Spring

Hello All!  We’ve been having such beautiful weather here on the West Coast of Canada that I wanted to give some sort of cold drink a try.  I found one and gave it a try today and it was so refreshing and yummy I wanted to share it with you.  It’s also packed with great nutrients so you don’t have to feel guilty about drinking it (like you might do with a similar drink from Starbucks).

Let me know if you try it out.  Happy Monday! 🙂

ICED VANILLA BEAN MATCHA LATTE

c/o oh she glows app

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Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Soy-Free, No Bake/Raw, Grain-Free, Vegan

Makes 1 serving

  • 2 almond milk ice cubes (60 mL), plus more for serving*
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Matcha green tea powder**
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1 vanilla bean, seeded***
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 frozen wheatgrass cube (optional)****

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.  Pour into a glass, add some almond milk ice cubes, and enjoy! 🙂

* remember to freeze your almond milk ice cubes ahead of time!
** matcha green tea powder can be a bit pricey, but you don’t use much at a time (max of 1 tsp) so it should last quite awhile.  I bought mine on Amazon.
*** in my experience, vanilla bean powder and vanilla beans are hard to come by (and vanilla beans are pricey).  Alternatively, you can substitute vanilla almond milk and/or a small amount of vanilla extract to taste.
**** I thought frozen wheatgrass cubes would be hard to find but I actually found them in the healthy frozen foods section at Save On Foods.  I believe you can also find them at Whole Foods.  They are a bit pricey, but just like the matcha green tea powder, you won’t be using these every day so they’ll last you awhile.  Plus, they’re packed with tons of nutrients (just google it)!

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 10 – Final Day!

Ooops…forgot to post this yesterday!  I got 3/4 of the way done and then life happened.  Well, here’s my day yesterday!

Today was another beautiful day weather-wise!  I always find it so much easier to eat lighter (aka less) when the weather is warm compared to when it’s cooler, so I’m taking full advantage!  Here was my Thursday.

BERRY KALE SMOOTHIE

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Makes 1 serving

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries of choice*
  • 1-2 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1 cup packed kale
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup filtered water or coconut water
* I used mango and strawberry for myself and blueberry and strawberry for my man

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and enjoy! 🙂

SPINACH AND STRAWBERRY VINAIGRETTE SALAD (OIL FREE!)

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Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh spinach*
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ cup raw pecans, toasted
  • ¼ red onion, sliced thin

* I used spinach and red leaf lettuce, just to mix it up 🙂

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard

Combine the spinach, strawberries, onion and pecans in a large bowl. Blend the dressing ingredients in a blender or bullet. Drizzle on salad, toss to coat.  Enjoy! 🙂

This is my official last day of my personal challenge (as I’ve finished making all of the salads), but don’t worry.  This is not the last of me!  I will be continuing to post about food and other wellness related activities I will be trying, as well as bits and pieces of my journey trying out 21 Day Fix by Beach Body (and my journey as a new coach for them!).

Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend! 🙂

 

 

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 9

Today was a fairly long day as I worked for around 10 hours (got home around 6:30 pm).  I did fit in my usual smoothie for breakfast and also mustered up enough energy to make a dinner for myself and my boyfriend (I think he was feeling a bit left out with me making salads for myself for dinner for the past week or so).  Here was my day!

ORANGE AND BANANA SMOOTHIE

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Makes 1 serving

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 fresh or frozen banana, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries*
  • 1 cup almond milk
* if you’re using fresh strawberries, I would add a few ice cubes to make the smoothie more chilled

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

VEGGIE LASAGNE

Recipe from Grounded Nutrition

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package gluten free lasagne noodles, cooked and rinsed in cold water
  • 2 jars organic pasta sauce or 4 cups home made sauce*
  • 100 grams sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups cashew ricotta
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • spinach
  • basil (optional)
* I only ended up using 1 jar of pasta sauce, so it really depends on how much you want to use

CASHEW RICOTTA INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast**
  • 1 garlic clove
  • dash of onion powder
  • Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
* I soaked my cashews in hot water for about 5-10 minutes
** You should be able to find nutritional (aka food) yeast in any grocery store.  Make sure you don’t skip this ingredient as it gives things a cheesy flavour!

Combine ricotta ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Cook and drain lasagne noodles.  Add a spoonful (or more!) of tomato sauce to a 9 x 11 baking dish* to coat the bottom.  Lay out noodles to cover the bottom of the dish.  Spread layer of cashew ricotta to cover noodles.  Add sliced mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach to noodles.**  Continue layering until all your ingredients are used up.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Top with leftover ricotta and basil, and enjoy! 🙂

* I used a 9 x 13 baking dish and it worked just fine
** You can add any veggies you like really.  I also added red pepper and zucchini and they were delicious!

Happy Hump Day to you all!

 

 

 

 

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 8

Today my little sister was in town visiting so I got to spend the afternoon and evening with her.  We got to do lots of walking with the beautiful weather as well as have a bit of dinner together.  This meant that I couldn’t have a home-made salad for dinner tonight, but I did still choose healthy options.  Sometimes you really have to search, but healthy(ier) options are always there!  Here was my day today.

SUMMER KISS SMOOTHIE

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Makes 1 serving

  • 1 cup fresh peaches*
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries*
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup ice
* I used frozen peaches and strawberries and it did not turn out very well.  It turned out more like a slushy than a smoothie.  Plus, I had to keep adding almond milk/water as it was way too thick.  So I would definitely suggest using fresh fruit and if you don’t, then don’t add the ice and add more liquid. 🙂 *

DINNER

Well, I didn’t make the home-made salad that I planned to, but I still had some healthy options while out at a restaurant for dinner. 🙂

Coconut Shrimp

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Veggie Quesadilla and Side Salad

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Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 7

Well, today was supposed to be the last day of my challenge, but it turns out that’s not the case.  Sometimes life has other ideas.  Doesn’t deter me though…just gotta keep pushing on!  Plus, I really don’t want to miss out on any of these yummy smoothies and salads!  Here was my day today…

BERRYLICIOUS PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

** note that this recipe only makes about 1/2 litre of smoothie, so if you want more you can double it! **

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Makes 1 serving

  • 1 fresh or frozen banana
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup kale, stems removed*
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds or 1 scoop plant based protein powder
  • 1 cup homemade almond milk**
* I used spinach instead of kale and it worked out great
** You can use store bought almond milk as well

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

CHILLED BROWN RICE SALAD

** Make sure you don’t skip the fresh dill in this one…it really makes it! **

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Makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water or organic vegetable broth
  • ½ bunch fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 cups mixed greens*
  • 1 cucumber, shredded
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
* I used romaine and purple leaf lettuce

Place brown rice and water or vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until rice is tender (about 40 or 45 minutes – read the directions on the bag of rice). Remove from heat and chill. Combine chilled brown rice with remaining salad ingredients and toss together.

Hope you made it through your Monday ok!

 

 

 

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 6

Back on track today…yes!  Sundays are my favourite day of the week.  I get to sleep in later than during the week plus I try not to have too many things planned (besides ‘around the house’ kind of stuff).  It’s kind of my recharge day.  So here was my smoothie and salad for today!

PINEAPPLE POWER UP SMOOTHIE

** I didn’t think I’d be into the cucumber in this smoothie, but it actually made it quite refreshing! **

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Makes 1 serving

  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2/3 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or a few drops of liquid stevia
  • 1/2 long english cucumber
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

LIME CHILI CORIANDER SALAD

** I found the chillies in this one a bit too spicy (and I love spicy!), but it’s really up to you! **

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Makes 1 serving

Salad

  • 1 medium red pepper, ends, core & seeds removed & finely sliced
  • ¼ medium cucumber, thinly sliced with vegetable peeler (might discard skin slices)
  • 1 large handful of baby leaf spinach, chopped*
  • 1 handful sugar snap peas, ends & strings removed & cut in half
  • ½ cup Fresh Edamame Beans
  • 1 medium Red Chili, ends removed, seeded & finely sliced
  • 1 handful whole almonds, coarsely chopped**
  • 1 large handful of mixed seeds
  • 1 generous pinch Himalayan pink rock salt
* I used romaine hearts instead of spinach, just because I didn’t have a ton of spinach on hand
** I used my small food processor to chop up the whole almonds I had

Dressing

  • 1 medium red chili, ends removed, seeded & cut in half
  • 1 small handful coriander (aka cilantro)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ fresh lime

Place all dressing ingredients in container of a hand blender, squeezing the lime juice directly into the container. Blitz for 10-20 seconds

Place prepared almonds, mixed seeds & salt in oven safe baking dish. Bake for 5 minutes (I had the stove set to 400F). Put all the ingredients in a bowl & toss with dressing.

Happy almost Monday! 🙂

 

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 5

Well, I’m a little late to post for yesterday, so apologies to my legions of followers out there. 🙂  Yesterday was a bit of a busy one as I worked 9 hours of OT (beginning at around 7:30 am) and then we had friends over at our place shortly after I got home from work.  I was able to fit my breakfast smoothie in but the rest of the day didn’t go so well.  Ah well…there’s always a tomorrow, right? 🙂

BRAIN POWER BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE

** I was definitely having an off day yesterday, as I can’t find the picture I took!  It was a nice shade of purple…trust me.  **

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1-2 ripe spotty bananas, peeled*
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds or chia seeds
  • 2 cups filtered water
* the bananas don’t have to be ‘spotty’…any banana will do! *

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Lookout for a post about Day 6 (today) later today!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommy’s out there!

 

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 4.5

Well, I’m counting today as a half day in my week challenge.  And I’m ok with that decision.  I did have my smoothie for breakfast and leftover salad from last night for lunch, but I took the night off.  It is Friday, right? 🙂  I did have a veggie noodle dish and shrimp from a take out place for dinner.  Always have to look for healthier options if and when you do order from a restaurant.  So here is the half day of my challenge.

STRAWBERRY DREAM SMOOTHIE

** I was excited about this one as I love strawberries, but I found that there was too much spinach taste and not enough strawberry taste (and colour, as you can see from the picture!).  So I would suggest that you play around with the measurements a bit. **

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Makes 1 serving

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 medjool dates, pitted*
  • 1.5 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup almond milk or homemade orange juice
  • 1-2 ripe spotty bananas, peeled and frozen**
  • 2 cups spinach or kale
* if the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for awhile before adding them to the blender
** you can use any bananas really; they don’t have to be ‘spotty’

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy

I hope you’re enjoying your Friday!  Remember, it’s ok to take a ‘break’ every now and then…and don’t be hard on yourself for it!

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 4

Past the halfway mark…woo hoo!  This honestly has been the easiest challenge I’ve ever done.  I can definitely see myself continuing with incorporating a lot more smoothies and salads into my day to to day routine…probably even have them most of the time!  I find summer is a great time to try this kind of challenge as I’m much less hungry so salads work great, plus cold drinks work better than hot. 🙂  Here was my Day 4!

PINA COLADA SMOOTHIE

** this has definitely been my favourite one so far! **

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Makes 1 serving

  • 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or pure extract

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  YUM!

CHICKPEA QUINOA AND ROASTED YAM SALAD

** This salad is so filling…in a good way!  And don’t leave out the parsley as it truly gives it a unique taste. **

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Makes 2 large servings

Dressing*

  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
* I would make a bit more dressing as I found there wasn’t enough (although I do love an abundance of dressings and sauces!)

Salad

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cups yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 28 oz chickpeas – if using canned, drain and rinse**
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (toasted, if desired)
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
** I only used 14 oz of canned chickpeas and that was plenty for me

Set the oven to 350F.

Whisk together vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, pepper and oil in a small bowl and set aside.

Toss yams in olive oil, with the cracked pepper and salt, and spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast in 350F oven until just tender, about 20 minutes.

Place quinoa and ¾ cup cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.

Turn heat off, leaving lid on, and let stand for 5 minutes. Cool the cooked quinoa on a baking sheet*

*NOTE Putting the quinoa on a baking sheet helps maintain its texture.

Place chickpeas, grated carrots, red pepper, sunflower seeds, spinach, parsley, cooled quinoa and cooled yams in a large bowl.  Pour dressing over all ingredients and toss gently until well mixed.

See you on Day 5! 🙂