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Owner, "MAP Wellness" - a culinary nutrition and wellness company. Writer. Passionate cook, raw food chef, reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and LIVE WELL educator. ​do yoga. enjoy good food. run. plant food. cook. savour wine. read books. buy good food. love. grow your energy. find peace. enjoy food. have passion. skip. eat food. do yoga. listen to jazz. have presence. be present. bike. read. see. hear. be. live. love.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I love food. Did'ya know?

Nut butter-goji-flax power balls

A slightly different kind of post today, all about my biggest passion: healthy, yummy food!

I have a crazy busy schedule this week, and I am finding myself at home for no more than an hour or two at a time. With this week being as kooky as it is, and with my upcoming road trip to NYC, I know that I will need some quick, easy, on the go energy to help power me through my long days.  Over this past weekend, I spent many hours in my kitchen, perfecting an entree recipe of mine as part of an assignment for my culinary nutrition course (recipe to come!).  I wasn't the only one working away on that, and after seeing all the Facebook postings, and Twitter updates from many of my schoolmates about their food creations, I was inspired.  Yesterday afternoon, I happily found myself with 60 minutes of me-time, and so after juicing what felt like every last ounce of fresh veggies I had left in my fridge for my afternoon green gulp, I figured I would also try and clean out a few pantry items that I am due to re-stock as well.  And with that, I whipped up a batch of all-new edible delights that I am calling "Nut butter-goji-flax power balls".  Super simple, super tasty!

Whatcha Need: 
1/3 C ground flax
1 1/2 T sunflower butter
1 T peanut butter (almond would be yummy too!)
1 1/2 T ground goji berries (they grind well in the blender)
1/4 C ground almond (I used pre-ground meal)
1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 T chia seeds
1 1/2 T raw honey*
Whatcha Do:
Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined and easily handled.  Roll into balls. Refrigerate. Eat. Yum. Energy. Power.

*I eat a primarily vegan diet - no meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs.  I do however consume raw honey;there are just too many health benefits not to, and it is simply an amazing sweetener.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Life is crazy delicious, isn't it?

I have to admit, I am simply exhausted more often than not right now, but at the end of each day, as I crawl into bed, turn on my ocean waves sound machine, and put on my sleep mask (yep, you need one of those when you go to bed before the sun goes down), I am nothing short of thrilled, grateful, and truly happy. 

Everything in my life seems to be rolling along as it should; pieces of the puzzle that I have taken 31 years to solve are slowly falling into place, serendipitous events are unfolding all around me, paths are intertwining with the characters I need most to meet, and I feel good.  I do wish I had more free time to devote to my family and friends right now however; I have sadly had to reschedule my trip home to see mom several times, and dates with my closest girlfriends have been shuffled around like pawns on a chess board.  And so it begs the question, how on earth did I think I had the time to date again?  A few weeks in on an online dating site, and it is clear to me that love may not be in the cards for me just yet.  I have no idea when I might even squeeze in a simple coffee rendezvous!  But, I soldier on, and do see the light at the end of this 18 hour day cycle, and it is beautiful.  

This week is going to be an epic one for me, as I have much awesomeness planned, and I am sure I will have many a story to tell via my next blog.  It's a 3 day workweek for this gal, and I am excited to be VIPing at my fave Spirit Junkie, Gabrielle Bernstein's reception & lecture on Tuesday night here in TO.  Wednesday (which will be my FRIDAY this week!) has me headed North to Barrie to hear from David Wolfe - "The rock star of the superfoods and longevity world".  He is scheduled to speak from 6pm til 11:30pm, but from what I hear, we will be there into the wee hours of the morning!  I am so pumped!  There are a few carloads of ladies from my culinary course making the pilgrimage together, and I am sure it is going to be an inspiring, raucous, and exciting night!  And then...on Thursday I head off on my much-needed NYC getaway, my solo excursion to the city that I admittedly would cheat on TO with, no contest.  I have my days booked solid, including meals at all the best vegan food joints, and some required TV related stops (while in NYC, I must check out the big, bright, and fancy network studios!).  Friday night I am again going to see Gabby B, this time for her "Manifesting your Desires" workshop, and then on Saturday morning, I have a date with a local farmers market via bicycle with my lovely hostess for the weekend, Grace.  I am also excited to share a bite at some point with a dear old CityTv colleague, that I haven't seen in close to 5 years, and just so happens to be visiting NY simultaneously.  

And after that?  Well, I have a few weeks left in my culinary course, and have nailed down one of my co-op placements with Belmonte Raw, the sassy, hip, and real raw food boutique in Leslieville that I encourage you all to check out.  Later on in May I am all signed up to earn my level 1 Reiki certification, and I also hope to finally write my Canfit Fitness Instructor exam!  And to wrap up the month, I will be taking yet another course with Meghan Telpner, only this time it's a business and marketing workshop!  I am hoping this will help me develop more focus about what exactly I plan to do with all these sexy new skills I am layering onto my being these days!

So yes, life is grand.  I'm tired, but it's a fatigue from fun and fabulous-ness, so I'll take it any day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A conversation with Meg

Scorpio- Saturday, April 7, 2012 
An old repetitive and never-ending problem is going to get resolved once and for all. It may not seem like it considering the way things have been going lately, yet improvement is happening in areas of your life where it really counts. The only way to go is forward. Success is waiting for you.    

Huh.  Nice way to start my day, reading that there horoscope before even rising out of my bed at 7am.  Immediately I thought, yes, I must blog about this.

I think we all have at least one area in our life that we truly want to change for the better.  One specific habit, an old repetitive and never-ending problem, that we so desire to resolve once and for all, but we are just too frightened to make that huge paradigm shift.  I know I do.

It's funny, because just yesterday, whilst walking home from Whole Foods, I decided to have a conversation with myself about just that problem of mine.  I had recently read an article about why it is so damn hard for us to make positive changes in the most important areas of our lives when we know exactly what it is we need to do, to do it.  The writing stated that quite often it is simply an issue of our "child-like" selves resisting the ideas for change brought on by our "adult" selves, and thus sabotaging all of our efforts.  The article went on to say that the first step in making massive transformation in our lives is to simply have a conversation with our kid-self.  This internal chat should focus on distilling the FEAR that our child self feels about the change.  We also must insist that our grownup self will take care and ensure protection and safety into the soon to be new way of thinking and doing...

So yes, I talked to myself.  Half out loud I might add.  I must have looked mildly of a crazy person walking through Rosedale muttering words of encouragement under my breath to my mini-me.  But I did feel better after the "talk".  I felt lighter.  Calmer.  Total placebo effect?  Maybe.  But isn't that exactly what it is? Shifting perception equals a shifted reality after all.

Now upon receiving my astrological prediction for today, it only adds fuel to my fires of motivation.  Yes, most areas of my life are a rockin' - really and truly great.  And if I can revamp this one zone in my world, and END my never-ending problem, I can only imagine what amazing things will result...

So today I suggest to you, please sit down, take a breath, and say hello to your kid-self and give him or her a hug.  Have a conversation and see what transpires.  You just might be surprised.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April checkpoint

Okay, where did March go?  Seriously. Crazy busy fun times.  Breathe.

Well, this past week week marked exactly 10 months since my father's passing.  Not a usual milestone of note, but I took it as a marker to reflect on all that I have accomplished in those ten months, and with that, I do declare that I think dad would be proud.  I am really making things happen.  :)

So what goes on?  Well I am thick in the trenches of my CNE course, cooking up a storm, madly finishing assignment after assignment, amassing large quantities of super-food stock, and realizing less and less counter space due to my new array of kitchen appliances.  Not only have I been active with my new juicer, blender, steamer, food processor and mandolin, but now dear friends, I get to add a super high-tech professional level Blendtec blender to my arsenal!  Yes indeedy, I can officially bid adieu to my "Vitamix savings account" (they run you over $500), and put that money elsewhere.  Just last night, as part of Earth Hour, I hit up Doug McNish's book launch party for his new recipe compilation "Eat Raw, Eat Well".  Not only was this event filled with great food, great fun, and great networking, but it was also where my lucky name was drawn and I won over $800 worth of Blendtec swag!  And I never win anything!!  So amazing, so shocking, so blessed.  I also got the opportunity to meet Lisa Borden while there (she's an inspiration), and it was in her opinion that I won this great prize because the universe was recognizing my choice to do something better with my life.  There are just too many serendipitous events unfolding for me to ever question my decision to do what I am doing.  It was another motivating evening, and I left more assured than ever that this is the arena I want to play in.  

I am so grateful to have had the chance to connect with Doug and his crew, and will be eternally thankful for this opportunity to advance my culinary chops he's given me via this great gift!  

 This was my homework this weekend; just perfecting my quinoa breakfast bowl recipe for a meal plan development project!

So, where will I stash that money I was saving for a heavy duty mixer?  Perhaps I will put it towards a few fancy dinners when I hit NYC in April!  Yes, that is another plan I have in the works; a romantic trip to the city that never sleeps...ironically almost EXACTLY 2 years to the day from when I got engaged there in 2010.  This time around I am flying solo, and just like my gal Carrie Bradshaw, I intend to be courted and wooed by Manhattan over the course of my 3 day "date" with the city.  Fortunately I am blessed that my father's cousin's daughter (my second, third, fourth cousin?) is living in Washington Heights and  has kindly offered to accommodate me that weekend.   Grace is her name and I have not seen her since the summer I was in grade 10.  I really look forward to catching up, and getting her opinion on my very own "Grace" tattoo!  So that weekend promises to be filled with great food (Candle 79 here I come!), great fun, sweet recollection, and superb solo chill time.  Can't wait!

 Yup, that's me on Carrie's stoop.

Now that I have a Spring getaway in the works...why not start thinking about a Winter one, right?  And what better place to travel than Costa Rica to escape the snow?  Again, strangely, the last time I visited this country just so happened to be 2 years ago, the March prior to my NYC trip of "love".  So it's quite funny to me that I am now also booked to head back there as well!  Yuppers!  I am hitting up CR once again, this time along the west coast of the Guanacaste Peninsula near Nosara and San Juanillo.  I will be heading down there alongside 21 other sunshine seekers with a passion for holistic nutrition, yoga practice, and a desire to heal what ails them.  I'm part of the group signed up with one of Meghan Telpner's super retreat packages (yes, the same Meghan I am doing my nutrition course with!) and I am stoked to have the chance to scoop up one of the coveted spots.  This holiday runs during the last week of February, so I am hoping I can work it out so that I can have my week in the jungle, and then fly straight into Florida to spend my special March time with mom right after.  Wouldn't THAT be a divine way to ring in 2013? 

 Costa Rica, Pura Vida!

Well then, so this is where things stand: NYC in April...Costa Rica in February...Panama in November?

Let's hope!  Okay, so this week I should hear from BootyCamp Fitness in regards to my audition I did a few weeks back to be a part of their next home DVD video shoot.  It is taking place in Panama this coming November, and yes I am excited, yes I am praying, but man am I nervous about the results!  This would so be such a dream come true, and I am trying not to hold my breath in anticipation.  I am telling myself that I will not be disappointed if I am not chosen as I have so many other great things going on in my life right now, but jeez.  Come on!  Panama!  Workouts!  Sunshine! All in my birthday month!  It is so meant to be.  

Oh, and one other wee update;  this past week I received my first round of recipes to whip up as part of my new gig as recipe tester for "Chatelaine" magazine!  Super fun.  I signed up ages ago and now get to play the part of guinea pig with their meal ideas for upcoming issues.  No pay, but a fun excuse to try out new food ideas, and the chance to get my reviews published.  Not to mention, I think it'll be a cute addition to my culinary resume.  Hooray!

Anyway, that's it for now, dinner is in the oven and I best go give it attention.  I will try to write again soon, and my apologies for the erratic postings these days!  In the meantime, please cross all your parts for me, and pray for PANAMA!