Autumn… In Pudding Form

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While looking for the perfect, single sized pumpkin…..  I came across a beautiful, single sized Hubbard squash.  The only thing I knew about Hubbard squash, was that they are starchy something like a potato and require a majorly sharp knife.  Typically the Hubbard squash I have seen are massive, seriously huge – when you see them at the farmers market, sometimes they can be 20lbs.  This little gem was the perfect size, it supplied me with enough of it’s starchy meat for three palm sized tarts and about a cup and a half of extra puree.

I am all for pumpkin pie, all for it.  I love the warm spices, the creamy filling, the whipped (vegan) cream on top – give me the works and I will be a happy girl. I had the privilege of eating a freshly baked sugar-pumpkin pie earlier in October, there was, I think six of us…  sitting on the couch waiting for it to cook.  We couldn’t even wait for it to cool down enough to slice, all six pieces were inhaled.   Essentially ever since, I have been dreaming of it – hence my search for the perfect single sized pumpkin.

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I’m not ashamed to say, the Hubbard did not do it for me in tart form. It was good – but it wasn’t pumpkin. It wasn’t creamy and smooth, the starchiness of the Hubbard flesh was just that. Starchy. The left over puree, however, became the perfect autumn topping to the chia pudding I made for breakfast! Mmmm-mm.  Warm spices, creamy chia, let me tell you – the squash was an excellent addition. It cut the creaminess of the pudding, added some sweetness (I never sweeten my chia pudding, I rely on fruit to do that for me!).   Rich in vitamins A & C, beta-carotene and fiber, adding a gorgeous winter squash to the diet is a great way to eat seasonally, locally, and if it’s something unusual – why not? I didn’t know much about this gem of a squash but am so happy that I took the opportunity to buy one.

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I ate the first one out of a martini glass, tricking myself into thinking I was sneakily eating a rich and indulgent dessert parfait. The second one (yes, I had two) was layered into a hand-sized mason jar and taken on the road!  It could certainly be enjoyed as a dessert parfait, or a breakfast to-go.  I love whole, real foods for their versatility; eating things that are pure any time of day. Chocolate avocado mousse, banana ice cream, or a seriously amazing parfait – these are not limited to special occasions or after dinner treats anymore!

Spiced Maple Hubbard & Chia Parfait
Serves Two

1 Cup Rice Milk (or other non dairy milk)
1/3 Cup Chia Seeds
1-1.5 Cups of Cooked Hubbard Squash
Juice From One Orange
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Fresh Ground Nutmeg, Ginger, Clove, Allspice – to taste
1/3 Cup Coconut Cream
3-4 Tbsp Dark Maple Syrup

Optional Toppings

Bee Pollen
Nuts
Seeds
More Spices
Drizzled Maple Syrup

One night ahead, preheat the oven to 350. Add about one inch of water to an oven proof dish, slice the Hubbard squash in half and roast cut down for about thirty minutes (or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork). Once the squash is soft, allow it to cool, then chop and skin it. In a food processor or blender, add the squash, orange juice, spices, coconut cream and maple syrup. Blitz until it is smooth. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate. Next, in a jar or some container with a lid mix the rice milk and chia seeds. Give it either a shake or a stir, then let it form in the fridge for an hour or so. Just before bed, give it another shake/stir, and let it set in the fridge over night.
Scoop out half of the chia pudding into a bowl/jar/martini glass. Spoon the prepared squash puree, and top with slivered almonds, bee pollen & a quick swirl of maple syrup!

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Flowers, Bees, Workouts and Love.

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Goooooooood Morning!

Rising with the sun is just one of those perfect things. It’s something so simple, and yet we very infrequently have the time or the willingness to do it. I am completely guilty of this.  When the winter begins winding down and spring sets in, I am up and ready to go at 5am as the sun starts peeking through my windows….but now, now that it’s summer that is coming to a close, I am in no way ready get up early.  Each day getting shorter and shorter, I find that it’s so difficult to fully wake. Today was different, today I was up with the sun (which was a bit of a sleep in, considering the season change). Today I greeted the morning with a juicy Canadian pear, and a real butt kicking spin class..  butt kicking, quad kicking, arm and chest kicking.  Man, I really got my sweat on!

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Wandering around the neighborhood afterwards,  I really started to warm up to the fast approaching fall. The sight and smell of yellowing leaves, plants and flowers in various stages of blossom and rest, the crispness in the air…  Fall used to be one of my favorite seasons. This beautiful Saturday morning really reminded me of that.

Post workout recovery is something that I have recently vowed to get better at, in particular – refueling with the right ingredients and pushing myself to deepen my stretching. I know that both of these are super important,  however I am known to forget to do one, or sometimes even both.  Today I got after it, I cooled off – walked the streets engaging and really noticing my muscles and how they were operating; and I had a SUPERpower packed breakfast smoothie to reinforce and nourish my whole body, mind and spirit.

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A few nights ago I attended a lecture on bees and bee products. The healing medicines that come from a hive, and I’m not just talking honey here.  Bee pollen is one of my favorite treasures from the hive, from the bees, from the plants of this earth.  We all know the importance of reducing completely eliminating GMO products from our kitchens, we know that altering plant DNA and tarnishing our natural fields have negatively influenced bees,  but how many people have thought about those two things together at once?  GMO plants…  produce GMO pollen, GMO honey, and all kinds of alterations that impact my beloved honeybee. An article I read a while back in VegNews magazine about bees and GMO plants really shook me to my core. “Poland recently banned a genetically engineered crop in an effort to save the country’s native honeybee population. Monsanto Mon810, a strain of GE corn that self-produces the popular insecticide neonicotinoid, can no longer be grown in the country after research found that it triggers Colony Collapse Disorder – a worldwide plague that has caused honeybees to die en masse since 2006.” Disgusting, no? This is what plants are doing to the bees, what the heck do we think they’re going to do to us? Before I get off on too much of a tangent….  In my opinion, and this was reinforced and agreed upon by everyone at the lecture I attended – buying non GMO bee products is incredibly important. Buying honey that comes from wildflowers, buying honey that is local, buying honey that is cruelty free. All so important. It can only improve our health (and the health of the plant).

Bee pollen increases strength, and energy – both important after a workout. It helps to rebuild muscle and tissue, it’s a great source of a plethora of vitamins, and is super high in protein.  I had a heaping tablespoon this morning! Nothing like tasting the pure love of a flower, delicately gathered by a tiny, fuzzy, striped angel.  Have I mentioned… I love bees? Love them. Love them love them love them.

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Recovery smoothies that you can buy in stores tend to taste a bit off to me. I don’t like the taste of strong protein powders, and I very much try to avoid any packs with added sugars, or even other added beneficial nutrients.  I like just plain, raw hemp powder. High protein, nothing extra.  That way….   I can make it into something so super delicious all you can do is drink it down and giggle with delight. Yep, giggle – that’s exactly what I did this morning.  My recovery smoothie this morning was reminiscent of a almond butter cookie.. with chocolate.. and espresso.  Umm… YUM! I had the pleasure of drinking a chocolate mylk elixir at the Light Cellar, I have been thinking about it ever since… so I made my own version of it, recovery style.

SUPERpower Recovery Smoothie

1 Tbsp Maca Powder
2 Scoops of Raw Hemp Protein Powder
1 Tsp Dried Reishi Mushroom Powder
1 Tsp Dried Chaga Mushroom Powder
8-10 Cacao Whole Beans
1 Vanilla Bean – Scraped
1.5 Bananas
1/2 Cup Young Coconut Meat
2 Tbsp Raw Almond Butter
1 8oz Glass of Purified Water

Layer everything in a blender, start with adding about half a cup of water – just to allow the blades to get working and grind up the cacao immediately. Adding in a full glass of water right at the beginning will just make the cacao whirl and float! Once the mixture is smooth, add in the rest of the water and enjoy!

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Happy Mornings.. & Slow-food Breakfast

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I love breakfast.    Easily my favorite meal of the day.   Typically – also the meal I tend to forgo on work days.  Whizzing up a smoothie and heading out the door is my usual routine, nothing like the slow sweet enjoyment of weekend breakfasts.   Weekend breakfasts…..  I take time to eat, I dial it right back… slow way down and actually savor everything that lay before me.   There’s something so special about slow-food, connecting with what you’re eating and being in the moment. Today, was a perfect morning for just that.

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Starting this beautiful sunny Saturday at 6am with a giant jar filled with greens (yes it’s actually so green is appears black)..  absolutely wonderful.  What a glorious way to energize my body without a caffeine jolt!  My new home has a very large, very sunny east facing bay type window, second only to the kitchen – that window is my favorite spot to be while indoors.  Since moving into this house, I have been blessed with an abundance of natural light.  With that.. comes the ability to rise with the sun. Nice and early, my rooms are flooded with sunshine and up I get.  Well… up we get…

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A curious and loving face inches slowly towards the head of my bed, giving little licks up my arm to let me know she’s ready to begin the day.  Here is where our morning ritual starts.  A jar full of glorious greens, and breakfast made to be enjoyed in the sunshine with my kitty – welcoming the day in a big way.  Savoring each bite of this breakfast bowl…. took me at least 25 minutes. Seriously.  I find great value in waking slowly, giving every part of my body time to adjust for the day.  Not just waking up and moments later rushing out the door and into early morning traffic is fantastic, a feeling I need to cherish more during the work week. This lovely Saturday, I made an agreement with myself to do exactly that – cherish each morning, enjoy it slowly. Start the day off properly.

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Breakfast of Champions – Early Morning Bowl

1/2 Cup Cooked Red Rice
1/3 Cup Warmed Brown Basmati Milk (or whatever milk you enjoy)
True Cinnamon (and any other warming spice you fancy)
A Handful of Flax Seeds
Piles of Your Favorite Fruits
Dollop of Coconut Yogurt

The rice can be cooked in advance, and used for up to three days if kept sealed in the fridge. Scoop about half a cup of the rice into a nice, deep bowl. Sprinkle with as much cinnamon (clove, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, or warming spice of your choice) as you like. I like lots! Slowly warm the basmati milk on the stove, and pour over the rice just before it begins to boil. Top with fruit – I used blueberries, raspberries, kiwi and pear, flax, and a nice big dollop of coconut yogurt…..   Now the best part…

Enjoy. It. Slowly.