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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Happiness is a Choice. A Beautiful Choice.

Life is beautiful. I am grateful for this day and everyday. I see beauty everywhere and I smile. A lot. I often get asked how I can be so gosh-darn happy all the time. My response is that Happiness is a choice. I choose it everyday.

How do I do this? I was very lucky to be raised the way I was, I think my dad may be the happiest guy in the world. But I attribute my awareness of happiness as a choice to the Singing Substitute Teacher. I remember him 'subbing' our class when I was 14/15 years old. He usually brought his guitar, which the cool kids thought was dorky and used this time to goof off or skip out. But I listened very diligently, being a rule-following dork myself, and am very happy that I did because he taught me a lesson, not in science or in math - a lesson about happiness.

He came in one day and taught us that anger and happiness are not thought and feelings that can be caused by others. That someone cannot make you angry. That anger is a choice that YOU choose in reaction to a situation or another person's actions/behaviours.  And so with that happiness is also a choice, and if you choose to be happy, to see the positive in even a bad situation, you can have a beautiful life.

This lesson has stuck with me ever since and when I get angry I often think of this day when the Singing Substitute Teacher came in and taught me an amazing life lesson in how to be happy 101. It's not that I don't get angry at all anymore, I just am more aware that I am the one choosing these thoughts and feelings, and when you are aware, it makes it easier to choose happy.  Who doesn't want to choose and be happy? I can't help but think 'why wasn't this in the curriculum???'

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Love Truffles

I went to my friend Stephanie's house today to see two of my favorite little girls and give them some Valentines hugs and kisses (not the chocolate, real hugs and kisses!) While I was there, Averee was telling me about the Valentines treats she was making for all of her friends tomorrow- she's such a sweetheart! 

When I got home, I decided to make some healthy V-day treats for myself!  I have been craving chocolate truffles ever since I came back from Sedona.  They had a raw/vegan friendly restaurant called the Chocola Tree that had these amazing raw chocolates. My favorite was Lulu's Love Truffles - raw vegan perfection! 

                                                    -Lulu's Love Truffles

                                   The Chocola Tree - Sedona, Arizona

I tried to find a recipe online for raw chocolate truffles, based on ingredients similar to Lulu's Love Truffles.  I found one that was similar on Raw Food Recipes website, and adapted it to my taste.  I used almonds because that was what I had on hand, but next time will make them with hazelnuts! You can also add mint extract, coconut flakes or other ingredients to make them fun. I just wanted sweet and simple chocolate today though.  I ate half of the batch and saved three balls to enjoy tomorrow on Valentines Day. They reminded me of little brownie fudge balls. So good!

Here is my recipe, try them out and let me know how much you love them:

Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Naturally Ashley's Favortie Smoothies

Tropical Pineapple Smoothie

  • 10 dates
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • water from one young coconut (or a can of coconut water)
  1. Shuck your coconut using the heel of a lagre knife, pour into blender
  2. Pit and soak the dates in the coconut water 1/2 - 2 hours
  3. Add 2 cups frozen pineapple
  4. Blend and enjoy!

Caramel Apple Smoothie

  • 3 organic apples
  • small head of lettuce (romaine, green or iceberg)
  • 3 pitted and soaked dates
  • small stalk of celery
1. Pit and soak dates 1-2 hours (I just pit and throw them in if I dont have time)
2. Chop up apples and celery
3. Rinse lettuce
4. Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

Green Banana Energy Smoothie

  • 6-8 ripe brown spotted bananas
  • 1/2 - 1Lb spinach 
  1. Peel bananas and throw in blender
  2. Along with desired amount of spinach
  3. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Medjool Caramel Dip

Looking for a healthy snack or fun dip to take to your girls night? This medjool date caramel dip is a hit at parties. I made it for two christmas parties this winter. Gluten-free, dairy-free, raw, vegan, fruity goodness! 

I shuck 1 young thai coconut and put 10 medjool dates inside to soak in the water for at least an hour. When they are done, take them out and remove the pits and put in blender.

Measure 2/3 cup of coconut water and set aside. Save the rest in another container and scoop out the meat. Should be around 2 tbsp of meat.

Place the coconut meat in a blender along with the dates and 1/3 cup of coconut water. Add 1.5 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla powder and a pinch of salt (optional). Blend, adding more coconut water 1 tbsp at a time until you get the desired thickness. 

Serve with sliced apples, carrots, or celery and enjoy!

You may substitute the young thai coconut for canned coconut milk - start with 2/3 cup and add more as needed, and soak the dates in water. I'm sure this could also be done with almond milk as well!

Banana's about Blogging

I am going to try my best to make time for writing blog posts. Between nutrition school, running my facebook page, doing workshops, waitressing, painting, photography, taking care of three crazy dogs and working at a care centre, I don't have a lot of spare time. But I would like to post about my favorite recipes and have them organized and easy to access. Wish me luck. 
Naturally Ashley