Healthy Carrot Soup

Carrot SoupI don’t know about you, but between the darkness, cold weather, shorter days etc. my whole system just feels kind of off. My body is needing more sleep than usual, and needing a lot more warming foods – hello carbs! I think it is so important to be in tune with our bodies and give them exactly what they are asking for and also ask ourselves why? I have been so incredibly busy (in the best kind of way) that my body is just telling me I need to slow down slightly, get an extra 30 minutes of sleep and ease up at the gym. The cold weather makes me crave soups, granola, bread, muffins and anything else that sticks to the bones! Am I alone here? Luckily there is this great community that allows us to eat all these delicious treats in the healthiest way possible. I have been making my goddess granola and homemade almond milk on repeat for the last two weeks. I don’t feel guilt for the added carbs or extra sleep ins, rather I feel good that I am giving myself what I need for this particular moment. Like everything, pushing yourself is good thing, so long as it is in moderation. Knowing when to take a few steps back can sometimes be the hardest part.

If you’re feeling even slightly how I have been feeling, I wanted to share this recipe to help keep you warm and cozy. After sharing my carrot soup pictures and videos on Snapchat and Instagram stories, lots of you wrote in that you’d love the recipe. Although I prefer chunky soups, pureed soups are definitely the easiest. It doesn’t matter how perfect your produce looks, or how nicely you chop it because in the end, it all gets blended together. Pureed soups are also a great way to add in extra nutrients that maybe your significant other or child doesn’t particularly like (think spinach, celery, broccoli). Because I love multiple textures, I like to add crunchy chickpeas, crushed tortilla chips or some nuts and seeds on top! Enjoy this recipe, stay warm and give your body what it needs and DESERVES!

Ingredients

• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 shallots
• 3 garlic cloves
• 12-15 carrots (side note: I actually used purple carrots in this recipe, despite the orange colour!)
• 1 peeled and cored apple (add a second for a sweeter soup)
• 2 litres organic veg or chicken stock
• salt and pepper (to taste)
• pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
• 4 tbsp freshly chopped dill

Directions

1. Roughly chop all of your ingredients. Size doesn’t really matter here because it will end up in your blender anyway!
2. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook onions until translucent, add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
3. Add your carrots and apple, sauté for 5 minutes. Add your stock, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and dill. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are cooked through.
4. In small batches, transfer mixture into your blender. Blend until smooth (may need to do this more than once) then transfer into a container. You can also use an immersion blender for this. Top with fresh dill.
Carrot Soup

Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Valentines Day has never really been my favourite ‘holiday’. Although it’s nice to have a specific day where we spoil our loved ones, I think we should be doing this EVERYDAY; ok fine… at least weekly. However, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to make a sweet treat or write a card to a loved one. One thing I have learned from my mom is that even if you don’t get a gift, ALWAYS write a card. I am so grateful I have passed that along to Zach because I have such amazing cards from all the different stages in our relationship and I’m sure our future kiddies will love to read them one day! If you’re looking for a last minute card, you HAVE to check out my future sis-in-law’s new letterpress Etsy shop.

If you want to give a handmade gift AND a card, this chocolate bark is the easiest last minute gift. It has all my personal favourite combinations with chocolate but free feel to add some chilli, chia or any of your other favourite superfoods/treats! As nice as it is to get a box of chocolate for valentines, it is even nicer to get something homemade.
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Ingredients:

• 3 cups 70% dairy free chocolate (20 ounces)
• 3/4 cup toasted coconut chips
• 1 tbsp lavender
• 1/2 cup maple flakes (can find them here)
• 1/2 cup toasted cashews
• 1 tsp coarse pink himalayan salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Cover large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Melt your chocolate over a double boiler. (Lazy? You can melt it in your microwave in 30 second stints, mixing vigorously in between each.)

3. Pour chocolate onto your baking sheet, spreading the chocolate evenly on the parchment. For a thicker bark, do not spread it as far.

4.Sprinkle with toppings. This is a salty-sweet combination, so if you don’t like too much salt then only use a pinch or none at all.

5. Allow to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until it has solidified. Break into pieces with your hands or hammer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, freezer or room temp.

6. Eat with loved ones!

Happy Valentines Day to my awesome readers. I love and appreciate every single one of you!

Love,
Jen
Lavender, Maple, and Coconut Salted Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark

Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves

Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves

I am so grateful to have my own home office thanks to an amazing man who so generously gave it to me. One problem I seem to face often is a lack of space on my desk. School books, materials for my students and recipe development notebooks have completely taken up all the space on my desk. Finding an empty space to jot down a note has become next to impossible. So as I promised to myself in my previous post, I plan to make organization a priority and have a life with less clutter, which includes my desk! All I really needed was a few pretty inexpensive baskets or crates to store the bulky items. A basket with a cover is a great idea if you have a few eyesores that you rather keep hidden. What’s best is that because the baskets look beautiful, you can still keep them next to your desk so you have easy access at any time.

Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves

Before

Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves

After

Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves
A small desk leaves room for only a small snack, so in light of this small office remodel I have made a perfect treat that is portioned, yet full of protein. With no added sugar thanks to Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener, this mini loaf is a great grab and go breakfast that will you keep feeling satisfied until lunch. The best part about the recipe? You make the entire thing in your blender. Yup I said it. No mixing bowls, mixers, spatulas etc… Talk about saving space! I also love that with Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener, there is no need to make a mess measuring sugar, you just rip open a packet and you’re done. This makes the baking process a lot easier and most importantly remains delicious.

Ps. For free samples of Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener head to Truvia.com/Canada/products/free_sample
Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves  Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves  Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves  Mini Banana Chocolate Protein Loaves

Ingredients:

• 1 ripe banana
• 1/3 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy beverage)
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
• 1/3 cup chocolate protein powder (I use garden of life raw protein powder)
• 1 cup gluten free oats
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 4 packets Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener
• 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans (for sprinkling)
• 1/4 cup 70% chocolate chips (for sprinkling)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 6 mini loaf pans and place on a baking tray. (If you don’t have mini loaf pans, you can do this in muffin tins as well)
2. In a high-speed blender add the banana, almond milk, eggs, coconut oil, protein powder, oats, vanilla, Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener, baking powder, and baking soda. Blend until thoroughly combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the blender.
3. Pour batter evenly amongst the loaf pans (about 1/3 of the way up) and bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
4. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.