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Those of you who know me know I often refer to fruit as “nature’s sugar,” and nothing could be more true for delicious, ripe, in-season pears right now. I’d take a juicy, nourishing pear over a lollipop any day — and do! Especially if it’s in the form of pear crisp.

This harvest time in Ontario (my favourite time of year, by the way) means Bartlett pears are so fresh and perfect for eating whole or baking. Not only tasty, pears are also a great source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. 

I have a confession to make, though. I originally set out to make an apple crisp the other fall afternoon. Three lonely and slowly wrinkling Honeycrisps sat on my counter staring at me for weeks until I obliged to make use of them in an oaty, crumbly, gooey fall crisp. Upon cutting into them, however, I realized the cores were rotten and mouldy. Cue a lengthy Google search for what this means and how this happens.’

So with all the ingredients for a crisp out in front of me and my trusty 8×8 Pyrex already coated in coconut oil, I scooped up the lucky three ripe Bartletts which also called my fruit basket home, and opted to use them, instead.

And I’m so glad I did! Not only were they not rotten at the core, but they were the perfect tenderness — it took all my willpower to stop myself from eating all the pieces while dicing them up. Similarly, when this beauty came out of the oven all golden and bubbling with goodness, I willed myself not to eat the entire pan.

I hope you enjoy this crisp as much as I do — whether it’s for an afternoon snack with tea, bringing to a friend’s house for dessert, or enjoying with Greek yogurt or a dollop of coconut whip on top after a crisp fall hike.

Healthy Pear Crisp (Gluten- and Refined Sugar-Free)

Serves: 6 Total time: 60 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Crumble:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Optional: handful of chopped walnuts

Filling:

  • 3-4 ripe Bartlett pears
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and dice pears, leaving the skin on. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8×8 baking dish.
  3. Make crumble by whisking oats, flour, and cinnamon (and nuts, if using) together in a medium bowl.
  4. Add melted butter and syrup to oats mixture and combine with a spatula or spoon until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed and a crumble forms.
  5. To the pears, add cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss with a spatula until the pears are coated (be careful not to mush the pears as they’re soft).
  6. Transfer pear mixture to prepared baking dish, spreading out evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  7. Layer oat crumble on top of pears.
  8. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbling on the bottom and golden on top.

Enjoy warm with plain Greek yogurt as a delicious and healthy snack or — my favourite — with a dollop of coconut whipped cream on top for the best fall dessert!


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Today’s very special post is by Dr. Allison — a licensed clinical psychologist who helps people lead healthier, more meaningful lives. With fear being such a regular resident in our minds, I hope you find her advice as illuminating and helpful as I do. 

Dr. Allison of drallisonanswers.com

Fear is a powerful thing. It plays a huge role in our lives. No matter how old we get, no matter how many successes we have, fear seems to follow us. Fear of failure, fear of discomfort, fear of saying no, fear of change. Unfortunately, the natural response to fear is avoidance. And if anything can stop progress and commitment to our goals, it’s avoidance. So today, I’m sharing 5 ways to manage fear so that you can absolutely crush your goals!

See fear as a “proceed with caution” sign, not a stop sign. It might seem silly to point out, but fear is normal, especially when we’re talking about change. I’m not advocating that we ignore fear completely, but we need to rethink it. I see so many people looking at fear and uncertainty as a stop sign. Try to see fear as a “proceed with caution” sign, evaluating what happens as you move forward. My guess? It won’t be as awful or scary as you’re predicting.

Remind yourself that you’re going to make a mistake. So many of us worry, “What if I make a mistake?” The fear of what if looms close by. But when we accept that we will make a mistake, things shift. We’ve normalized that we won’t get it perfect, and that frees up room to actually deal with our mistakes, rather than staying stuck and worrying that we’ll make them at all. When you’re working toward your goals, remind yourself, “I will make a mistake. And I’ll deal with it when I do.”

Breathe mindfully. Deep breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to manage fear in any given moment, yet I’ve found that the majority of people don’t know how to do it.  It’s not as simple as taking a big breath in and a big breath out. In fact, doing just that will probably make you more anxious.  I’ve got an entire video on mindful breathing, but I’ll give you the highlights.  Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose and then hold your breath for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale through your mouth, taking a pause after you exhale.  Repeat slowly, focusing all of your attention and awareness on your breath, nothing else.  In just a few breaths, this act can reduce stress and increase clarity.  (Click here for the full video. I promise, it helps!)

Recognize your successes, no matter how small. Fear is based on the idea that we can’t do something. Believe that, and fear has a nice, comfy place to sleep at night. But when you start to challenge this notion by noticing your successes, suddenly that that fear isn’t so comfortable. Notice and name successes, no matter how small they may seem. This provides real life, undeniable evidence that your fear is not entirely accurate. Do this repeatedly, and you begin to see how inaccurate your fear-based thoughts are.

You don’t have to figure it all out now; you can take one, small step at a time.  Fear wants to keep you stuck in your tracks, believing that you can’t move forward until all the uncertainty is gone. We feel pressured to have steps A through Z figured out before we even take step A. Not only is this unnecessary and unrealistic, this way of thinking keeps us stuck. Just focus on taking one, small step at a time, reevaluating and recalibrating as you go.

Fear can be so convincing, yet I hope you remember that our fears are not always the truth. We have the power to move, even in the face of uncertainty, doubt, and worry. Your success and growth are on the other side of fear, and I firmly believe you can get there!

A huge thanks to Stephanie for opening her “home” to me today. I am inspired by and grateful for the space she has created here. I hope you’ll pop over to my site to say hello!


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The perfect meal prep breakfast with the sweetness of fresh, juicy peaches

I wasn’t always a fan of overnight oats – eating cold oatmeal never seemed very appealing to me and even if I soaked them overnight, I’d still heat them up in the microwave in the morning. I’ve *warmed* up to eating them cold lately, though – partly because of summer and partly because of the delicious combination I’ve created.

Peaches are one of my all-time summer favourites, and this blend combines together this seasonal fruit with the protein of chia seeds and creamy coconut whip for the best breakfast – at home or to go.

This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and keeps you full until lunch. Make it in just a few minutes the night or two before (or make a double batch on the weekend to meal prep) and have this all ready to go in the morning.

Peaches n Cream Overnight Oats (GF, SF, vegan)

Makes two servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick oats (use gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 fresh peach or nectarine
  • Dollop of coconut whipped cream (I love Oh She Glows’ recipe)

Directions

  • In a bowl, mix together oats, milk and chia seeds
  • Add salt and cinnamon and combine until the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed in
  • Wash and dice peach and mix into the oats
  • Make coconut whipped cream; store in glass container or bowl in fridge
  • If meal prepping, portion oats into two containers and let sit in the fridge overnight
  • Top with whipped cream in the morning

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


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How to create an easy, nutritious (and Insta-worthy!) bowl meal

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s been a challenging couple of months with my injury and making improvements and renos to our new house. While the health thing certainly is a legitimate reason for not having been as active on here lately, part of me has been holding off because I haven’t been able to come up with a good, long piece.

But, as a reminder to my recovering-perfectionist self, “done is better than perfect,” and a quick post is still better than no post at all. I get so caught up in having things need to be perfect that they never get finished – and that doesn’t benefit anyone. It’s much more gratifying to have things put out into the world, even if the picture doesn’t have perfect lighting or there’s a typo in my post. (Even writing that gives me anxiety… something I need to work on, clearly!)

In the midst of the past chaotic little while, I’ve managed to keep one thing steadfast: healthy eating habits. And my go-to meal when I’m in a rush or out of inspiration and want something nutritious, tasty and satisfying is a bowl filled with hearty grains, vitamin-rich rainbow vegetables, creamy avocado, crunchy toppings and a healthy dressing to tie it all together.

I love that you don’t need a recipe for this kind of meal, it’s perfect for meal prepping, and there’s the opportunity to be creative with both the ingredients and presentation. A win-win-win.

How to create the “perfect” power bowl
  1. Pick a grain. I love quinoa, rice and buckwheat as nutritious and dense bases to top with superfoods. Cook according to package directions and add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil to the pot with a sprinkle of pink salt too boost healthy fats and flavour.
  2. Roast some greens. What veggies do you have laying around in your crisper? Don’t fuss over what goes well together – the beauty of these bowls is that everything just works. Throw red pepper, broccoli and yellow zucchini on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and garlic powder and bake. You could also sauté Swiss chard, carrots and snap peas in a frying pan for an Asian-inspired bowl, or opt for tri-coloured peppers, tomatoes and corn for a taco version.
  3. Pick a protein. Grilled chicken, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, ground turkey, black beans and chickpeas, or plain old hemp seeds all work wonders to put the “power” in power bowls.
  4. Layer up! Now’s the fun part. Grab your bowls or glass containers, scoop in your cooked grain, top with veggies, avocado and protein, and garnish with fresh microgreens, sesame seeds, crushed nuts or chia seeds.
  5. Finish with flavour. Adding a delicious dressing brings it all together. I love a basic lemon-garlic dressing that goes with everything, a tahini-based sauce, or plain soy sauce works well for rice-based bowls.

I hope you’re getting through this busy month healthfully and happily, and that you try adding this meal option into your weekly rotation. Check out my series on September to see why I love this month so much!


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Book off some time, grab your passport, and get set to jet to any of these ideal destinations during our country’s 150th anniversary!

Whether it’s a solo adventure, couples trip, girls’ weekend, or family getaway, there’s something for everyone at these beautiful Canadian locales.

Calgary

If visiting Canada’s cowboy city in July is not already on your bucket list, add it in now. The world-renowned Calgary Stampede runs from July 7-16 this year and the town is abuzz.

We checked out the Greatest Outdoors Show on Earth last summer for the first time and were amazed at the variety of things to do and see – I would go back in a heartbeat!

If the rodeo isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to see and do in Calgary outside the fairgrounds: incredible food featuring the best of the area from leading chefs, concerts, shopping, site-seeing, and more. But don’t miss the Stampede’s Grandstand Show – with entertainment for everyone, it had our jaws dropped.

Tacos at Native Tongues Taqueria Kelowna

Our most recent trip had us back on the west coast recently to experience beautiful Kelowna, BC. A wellness fanatic’s dream come true, this city set upon Okanagan Lake boasts a thriving farm-to-table food scene, spectacular recreation activities, great golfing, cute local shops, and world-renowned wineries.

Summer is the perfect time to visit, when boaters pull up to the Delta Grand Okanagan’s expansive outdoor patio to sip afternoon cocktails at Oak + Cru, hikers set out to climb Mount Knox, and foodies rejoice in the bounty of the region’s peak season.

Cape Breton

Planning to head out east? Set your sights on gorgeous Cape Breton Island – as A wrote in this travel post, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character. If the stunning ocean views set against rocky terrain and sandy beaches don’t invite you, the warmth and hospitality of the locals sure will.

Boardwalk along Inverness Beach, with Cabot Links to the right

Be sure to check out Middlehead Trail for hiking, tour the Glenora Whisky Distillery, stomp your feet to the live Celtic music at the legendary Red Shoe Pub, and stay for golf at Cabot Links and beachcombing in Inverness.

Stay tuned for Pt. 2 of this series featuring where to travel in the U.S.!


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