Category Archives: Sweet Treats

Recipe: Healing Fresh Ginger Tea

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been one of those weeks full of craziness over here as the kids have been home from school and a few girls and I were preparing to throw a baby shower for our favorite person in the world.

Yesterday we gathered 20 girls together to wish our beloved best friend well in her motherhood journey. There really is something very special about spending time with a close group of inspirational women, and it is something that as I get older I have wanted to do more. It’s okay to be real, and to get real in those situations, and yesterday we were (roller coaster of wild emotions and all). Thanks ladies, my heart is full today and I can’t wait to see what’s next! ๐Ÿ™‚

Given the time of year, today’s recipe is all about warmth, digestion, and healing. This age-old remedy for good health has been around for ages, and for good reason. When we were kids, this was what we were given when sick, livened up with fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper & honey. Ginger is spicy & warming and does wonders for settling a tired tummy that could use a little rest from perhaps (just a little) holiday over eating.

I’ve been nursing a pot of this on the stove for a few days now and have to thank a friend for reminding me just how amazing this drink is…so thankful. Between this and the high from being around so many cool ladies yesterday – I think I’m set for a great week to come!

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

The Less:

Less burden on the tummy means it can feel nourished with little food. Fewer bagged teas means less cost, waste, and more freshness. Less caffeinated & sugary drinks means health is just a cup away, so warming up & wellness come together at less cost.

The More:

More spicy, healing ginger means more warmth & aid to your guts. More aid to your guts means happy tummies all the time. More fresh ways to warm up means less reason to seek them outside, so keeping a pot on the stove makes sense all year round.

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Fresh Ginger Tea:

  • (2) large pieces of fresh ginger, peeled, and cut into thumb sized pieces
  • (6-8) cups fresh water for boiling
  • Optional additions: fresh mint in summer, a cinnamon stick in winter, honey, fresh lemon juice, cayenne powder

Clean up your ginger and slice it into small thumb sized pieces. Combine the ginger in a medium sauce pan and fill with 6-8 cups of fresh water. Bring the water to a boil, and turn the heat down to medium and simmer the mixture at a gentle rolling boil for 20-30 minutes.

For cinnamon ginger tea, add a half or a whole cinnamon stick to the pot in the beginning. For mint ginger tea, add fresh mint to the pot for 5 minutes at the end.

Once ready, ladle into warm tea cups and add fresh lemon juice or honey, or both. To help ward off a cold, add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to each cup. Enjoy by the fire with your favorite book or magazine (not required but highly recommended).

You can keep this going by adding more water to the ginger as you run low and re-boiling again. Simply leave the pot on the stove and add water and re-heat as desired. It really is the never ending ginger tea!

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Wishing you all a wonderful, healthy, and feel good week – I am so excited for this year I can’t even tell you. Well, maybe I could ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Are you taking any measures to restore well-being after holiday over indulgences? If so, what are they?

I’d love to know..for now I am off to make a green smoothie…

Yours in less,

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Filed under Food, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian, Victory

A New Years Post, Less is More Style.

Paris Lover's Bridge Pont Des Arts | IPOM

So I love the end of the year, and subsequently the beginning of a new one. (It wasn’t always this way).

Is there anyone else out there who feels the way I do?

I know it is maybe a little cliche, and I am fully aware of the many out there who might point out that this time of year should be no different from any other time of year. A time to maybe set some goals, a time to reflect on the year that past, a time to plan your triumph, and all too familiar for many, a time to fall short on some of those well-meaning goals we set for ourselves.

To them I say, they are all 100% right.

French United Nations Paris | IPOM

I was recently reminded of how each new second is a completely clean & brand new one, one that has never happened before. A simple thought for sure. There really is no time like right now to look around, count our blessings, and think critically about what is working for us and what is not. Why wait for a certain time of year?

As I get older, I realize that the start of each new year does represent certain things to me, and that the power that a clean slate brings is quite wonderful to embrace. I often choose a word or two that will represent what I’d like to focus on (I already have mine for the year).

Versailles Shop Bathroon Paris, France | IPOM

Never a bad time to reflect. Each moment presents itself new.

3 years ago I was struggling with a deep dissatisfaction that I couldn’t put a finger on, I had a compulsion that was out of control and desires that could never be filled (I wrote about it here and here). It was insane and unreasonable, but all too true. Things needed to change.

Two years ago I knew changes were coming, and I was excited. The search had begun, and I had no idea how or when I would find my next project. I owe huge gratitude to those who helped bring it on!

One year ago I had started on the journey. It was exhilarating and completely terrifying all at the same time.

This year, more than ever before, I feel so thankful and hopeful for both this past year AND the coming year.

This year brought this blog, sharing good food with those who have less & a re-ignited connection to the food that fuels us. It also brought a super warm and satisfying connection with ALL OF YOU. Truly, it has been so much fun, so thank you to each and every one of you for making this year truly special! ๐Ÿ™‚

Cassis, France | IPOM

Whether you have commented, emailed, called, texted, spoken to me, (perhaps the best) passed me a sly comment at the dinner table about a recipe you’ve tried, or made a generous donation or volunteered your time, you’ve all made it a year to remember!

  • What are your thoughts on creating goals for a New Year? Do you do it?
  • Is there anything you accomplished in the past year that you are especially proud of?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and best wishes to all for a safe & happy start to 2013! I owe you guys a cookie recipe I promised, but I am thinking that might have to wait until next Christmas….what do you think? Something more to look forward to is always a good thing!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Sweet Treats

Recipe: Coconut Chocolate Ganache Spread

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Holla from the beautiful hills of Whistler everybody!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful time with family and friends over Christmas for those who celebrate. We’ve gotten cozy here in the crisp air of Whistler where we are grateful to connect and catch up with great friends over great food and clean mountain air. It’s pretty spectacular to see the snow at Christmas time, and I for one am always happy to have a break from the rain soaked streets of mild Vancouver ๐Ÿ™‚

Gearing up for Christmas always presents a lot of prep work, and this year was certainly no exception.

Our traditional family breakfast is always the same: fresh crepes stuffed with chocolate and fruit. Always easy, always good. This year I was thrilled to use this recipe in our crepes (the other half was made with classic Nutella). Smooth, rich, creamy, and 100% amazing. Not to mention ridiculously easy to prepare. It’s almost too good to be true!

Almost as good as this view from our walk home yesterday.

Whistler | IPOM

The Less:

Less milk dependent dessert options means more flexibility for those craving it. Fewer ingredients in recipes means easy work of making them. Less chemically laden processed chocolate products means more clean, whole ingredients, so enjoying delicious foods doesn’t mean you can’t pronounce what is in them.

The More:

More clean eating rich desserts means more enjoyment from less volume of them. More full fat plant-based desserts means more taste and less overdoing it. More two ingredient recipes means more two minute inspiration, so whipping up a rich tasty treat is never taxing.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Coconut Chocolate Ganache Spread:

  • (1) 398 ml can of coconut milk (with the cream separated from the liquid)
  • (115-130) grams of dark chocolate

Put up a double boiler onto the stove by boiling a small pan of water with a stainless bowl resting over top. Bring the water to a boil.

Open the can of coconut milk (without shaking the can!) and using a spoon, scoop out the cream from the top of the can, reserving the liquid to use in smoothie or salad dressing.

Combine the chocolate and the coconut cream together in the bowl over the boiling water and stir as the two melt together over the heat. Feel free to turn the heat down a little to maintain just a roiling boil. Stir the two together and using a spatula, ensure any chocolate that gathers on the sides of the bowl gets re-incorporated into the mix.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

Once the two are nicely combined and have formed a silky smooth sauce, remove from the heat and pour into a clean jar or serving vessel. Served warm, you can treat this like a thick sauce, but to keep it, simply store it in the fridge where it will form a thick spread that can be used as an icing, or to fill crepes, or even on toast.

In my next post I’ll share the hazelnut & chocolate Christmas cookies I made, taking inspirations from this recipe.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache | IPOM

It’s always a good time to set up camp in the kitchen for a fun time of exploration – I was so happy to discover this amazing combo (and I am certain I am not the first to do this).

  • Have you experimented with coconut cream & chocolate before?
  • What would you use this for/on?

Me? I am finding ways to use this on just about anything – it is especially good with fresh banana for an easy, sweet pick me up ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to hear your ideas! Wishing you all a wonderful remainder to your holiday week!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan

Recipe: Gramma’s Raspberry Birds Nest Cookies

Gramma's Birds Nest Cookies | IPOM

Holla everyone! I am super excited today to share with you one of my all time favorite cookie recipes over at a super special holiday cookie exchange at Keepin’ it Kind. This cookie combines the wonderful nutty taste of walnuts with sweet raspberry jam to make a cookie as sweet to the tongue as it is darling to the eyes. I grew up eating these every Christmas and am so thrilled to know they are just as good or perhaps even better in this new vegan version (I am sure Gramma won’t mind too much).

kristy

If you haven’t met the beautiful & talented Kristy yet, while it is high time you correct this!

This girl is as creative as she is lovely and her recipes & photography are always mouth-watering.

Her story of choosing a purely plant-based diet as a way of life is a fabulous and inspiring read, and the coupling of her & her husbands talents together make me smile every time I visit her blog.

So head over to read my cookie post on her blog today and see just how much it means to me to have been invited to join this wonderful holiday baking exchange! And enjoy a peruse through the rest of the recipes too while you are at it ๐Ÿ™‚

Gramma's Birds Nest Cookies | IPOM

Head on over to Keepin’ it Kind to find this super nostalgic recipe, and enjoy the rest of the amazing offerings while you are there! I can’t wait to see what comes up next!

  • Got a favorite holiday cookie to share?

Let us know, and thank you for joining us!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Desserts, Food, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan

Recipe: Apple, Kale & Hemp Seed Green Smoothie

Easy, clean eating to fuel your body.

Don’t major in minor things.

~ Author Unknown

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I am a mess.

And no, I don’t mean in the kitchen (but I am that too and I LOVE it).

I mean, I worry. I try to worry (just a little) less at times, but catch me at a bad time late at night and it’s game over.

I worry about my schedule, or I worry that the kids won’t have the strength they need to stand up to a mean kid at school. I worry about the tall tree in the neighbor’s yard that might fall on the house in a windstorm, and I worry that I could get sick with some scary awful disease and leave my kids and my husband all alone (completely unwillingly of course).

Now please don’t get scared, I am not going somewhere dark or deep here.

I’m just saying, I think it’s in us all to worry, right? And we should be responsible, and do our diligence by living healthily and reducing our reasons to worry needlessly.

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don’t be afraid.

~ Frederick Buechner

So cue the checklist to healthy living.

Eat well (check). Live well (check). Exercise (check). Laugh (check). Give thanks (major check) Give yourself regular breast exams.

Silence.

Am I the only one that is (so far) dangerously lax in this department?

This week I decided to take action on that front & was quite terrified when I actually found something. It was indeed a painful lump in my armpit (SO tender!).

It was late at night at the time of this discovery, time for bed. After my discovery and the inevitable irrationality of thoughts that followed, a little visit to the Mr. Internet Selfย  Diagnosis department, and more irrationality (there may have been tears & attempts to hide them from the husband), I finally fell asleep.

Like I said, I am a mess sometimes. But aren’t we all? (And it WAS late).

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~ Chinese Proverb

Waking up that morning I vowed to be better. To check more often, and to visit the doctor more often. After all, I am in the prime age for this kind of stuff, and statistics show 1 in 8 of us will be diagnosed with breast cancer during our lifetime.

Shira you owe it to your family to do a better job (check).

After several hours of worry that morning, trying to work but only really thinking of my sore armpit (it was really really sore), and (maybe) a call to work announcing that I’d found a scary evil worrisome lump (in my pit), I managed to see the doctor in the clinic.

Even waiting there in that room (evidently the very same room almost 10 years ago that I learned I was pregnant the second time), I was a mess. Biting back tears, I explained my case.

I told the lovely doctor about the discovery, and about how I’d rubbed that lump extra hard to see just what kind of lump it was. I told her it really hurt (it really did).

When she didn’t seem to look worried, I started to (maybe) feel like it wasn’t going to be so bad.

Then when she asked me to take my shirt off and started poking around under my arm, I pretty much realized it was going to be okay.

The Less:

Less worry and more action means you can spend energy on real matters. Less avoidance of important issues means more facing things head on. Fewer reasons to fret needlessly means more calm in your center, so making room for thoughts that are fruitful comes easy.

The More:

More action on health issues means fewer reasons to lose sleep. More calm, confident feelings means more rational sound thinking. More healthy food and healthy thoughts means more wholeness and good, wholesome living. So the need to worry can go out with the compost.

Apple, Kale & Hemp Seed Green Smoothie:

  • (1) organic apple, seeded and chopped
  • (1/2 – 1) avocado
  • (1-1.5) cups mango juice, (or apple juice if you don’t have access to mango)
  • (1) tbsp hemp hearts
  • (3-4) leaves green kale
  • (3-4) ice cubes, if desired

Blend all to a creamy consistency and enjoy immediately for full health benefits. Don’t worry though if you do need to blend it and enjoy it later..it will still be good for you (but maybe not if you worry too much about it) ๐Ÿ˜‰

This makes a generous amount that can easily feed 2-3 hungry people, but if you are at all like me, this could be just for one worry-free wonder woman (or man) as well. I often use this as my main daily sustenance until late afternoon, which means I have no problem enjoying the full recipe over the course of the morning.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

~ Dr. Seuss

Turns out, I managed to strain a muscle in my armpit. I learned from the very nice doctor lady that there aren’t any nodes in there, but there are a lot of tendons (apparently ones that don’t like being pressured frenetically late at night).

I’d rubbed the heck out of that node the night I discovered it and caused myself a whole lot of pain for no other reason but to give myself a little wake up call.

I’m glad it was all okay.

And I don’t wish for the day when it isn’t. For anyone out there that has had a scare, or (heaven forbid) has been through cancer, I was reminded this week of how lucky we all are to have our health.

Only a few things are really important.ย 

~ Marie Dressler

How can something bother you if you won’t let it?

~ Terri Guillemets

I don’t know how I strained my armpit, and it doesn’t really matter, the point is, I am going to be okay (it’s all healed now too so that’s good). For now, at least, and that is worth celebrating, and protecting, every day.

And I hope you are too.

So don’t delay on giving yourself some well-intentioned attention. Check yourself regularly, and eat well. Go to the doctor for check ups, and try not to worry (I think it comes with the Motherhood territory and having a majorly over-active imagination).

Surround yourself with friends that care about you.

And treat yourself to a green smoothie. Just be careful not to strain any muscles while tearing up your kale ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s for you, JY and MN ๐Ÿ˜‰ Love.

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Breakfast Bowl

A warm breakfast for those cool autumn mornings.

In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.

~ Sid Caesar

Want to get in your apple a day?

Here is a warm way to start your winter mornings that makes getting your apple a day a (delicious) cinch.

A nice warm bowl of protein and fibre-filled fuel is a great way to start a big day, especially if you’ve got a lot on the go (anyone out there?!).

Because as much as I love to scheme about food and think about recipes, there is a big big life out there to lead with lots of daily responsibilities, so fueling up early can help on those days when the to-do list is long.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Because, as we know, life is about so much more than just food.

On that note I’ve got to say – for those of you who read, paused, thought, commented, and emailed me or shared your own stories on my last post, I not only thank you, but I salute you all.

To recognize & face difficult parts of ourselves is indeed a difficult thing to do, and in understanding that weakness is an affliction no one is ever spared from, it was important that I honored the real reason I am here.

So thank you to all of you, for making that (small) part of me welcome, and for your kind words of support, and in turn for your bravery and honesty in sharing your stories with me and everyone else. Really, as a co-worker of mine says…mad mad love (I can’t quite pull that off but have always wished I could and you get the idea). ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few posts back I brought up this NYT article about how our consumption of quinoa has affected the people of Bolivia.

I was glad to see that many of you are aware of this and already approach this grain with (just a little) more reverence than maybe some other foods, and perhaps try (just a little) harder not to waste any when you cook with it.

This is a good thing!

If you haven’t read the article yet, I encourage you to have a read, and then make this hearty breakfast for one (or two depending on what you enjoy it with).

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

~ Benjamin Franklin

The Less:

Less traditional cooked cereals means less gluten-loaded cooked grains. Less boxed and sugared breakfasts means less waste and empty calories. Less waste when you are cooking means not a single morsel gets left behind, so wasting precious food becomes history.

The More:

More warm food in the morning means you’ll be cozy all day long. More high fiber breakfast food means better digestion overall. More unprocessed whole foods means better for the body to break down, and more ways to portion wisely means food never goes to waste.

Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Bowl:

  • (1/3) cup quinoa
  • (2/3) cup water
  • (1) apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • (1) tsp maple syrup or honey
  • (1) tbsp almond butter
  • (1) tsp coconut butter (optional)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • fruit or berries for the top
  • (1-2) tbsp of toasted nuts or seeds of choice (here we have toasted walnuts)

To cook, start by peeling and seeding your apple. I like to use the ones that are maybe (just a little) past the crunchy stage where I eat them as is, as I hate to waste apples, especially this time of year when they are just so darned good.

Put up to boil in a small pot the quinoa, apple, and cold water. Once the boil is reached, turn the heat to low (do not remove the lid) and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, combine together the almond butter, coconut butter, and honey in a small mixing bowl. If you are toasting nuts from scratch, heat a dry skillet and toast the nuts lightly until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once the quinoa is ready, scrape the cooked apple/quinoa mixture directly into the bowl with the coconut/almond/honey mixture. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and stir all to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a clean serving bowl and top with choice of nuts, and perhaps some frozen blueberries for a hit of summer on a dark morning.

These frozen beauties made for a lovely contrast to the warmth of the cooked grain. You can also add a small spoon of thick plain yoghurt if you like, or milk if that is your preference.

Perfect to warm those bones on a chilly day.

All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of a smile.

~ Chris Hart

Do one thing every day that scares you.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m wishing you all (just a little) extra strength this week – to do one thing a day that scares you, and just to be kind to yourself and to others.

Whether that means cooking yourself a nice healthy breakfast, or singing your favorite song out loud in the streets, it’s never the wrong time to make a change, and to try something new. Maybe even something scary! Whatever that means to you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • What’s your favorite fall breakfast food?

We’re busy here working on stuff as always..from family & work stuff to planning our next NSF cooking class (we are set for November 13th) to the Vegan Potluck event coming up – this fall is proving to be a busy one!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Fresh Coconut Pulp Chocolate Torte & Thoughts on Hope

More fresh ways to get creative in the kitchen.

The greatest thoughts come from the heart.

~ Vauvenargues

It’s true! We are here!

The family made it to Paris, and after a typical long travel day, we arrived yesterday to a bustling busy city at the height of tourist season. As I write this, I’ve got a fabulous internet connection in my quaint french apartment (which will be home for the next week). French press coffee at my side (brought from home), and sleeping children in the room adjacent.

Life is good, and I hope to share it as I am inspired over the course of the 3 weeks we’ll be away here.

Of course the blog will look a little different from here, and to me this is exciting, as who knows what might inspire me? There is surely no shortage of material, as I learned from the first time I visited this beautiful city just two years ago.

Today’s post is the follow-up from the recipe for Homemade Fresh Coconut Milk, which I am quite certain a few of you will attempt, if only to get to this dessert.

Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.

~ French Proverb

Taking inspiration from this popular IPOM recipe, (remember those insanely delicious Rice Krispie Treats?), I knew there had to be a most delicious way to take advantage of the by-product from making coconut milk, and after all that work, I surely wasn’t going to waste a single morsel.

And it is so delicious, that would have been absolutely criminal.

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

~ Author Unknown

As it happens, last week was also fun as I was nominated in a blog relay about hope by a fellow favorite blogging chum Cara at Fork and Beans (love this girl).

This ‘relay’ asks bloggers to touch on the topic of hope, an interesting word if there ever was one. I could write a whole essay on this topic (as I am sure some of us could), and hope is a funny thing, as surely we all hope, and in turn also have hopes.

To me, I think hope is the feeling we have when we simply want something to go our way. Hope is also the deep belief & longing that helps us get through the toughest of times.

Simply put, the notion of hoping always reminds me that certain things are in our control, and others simply are not. The things we can control are often the hardest to do.

Things like how we feel & think, how & what we eat, how we behave with others. Hoping is the first step in simply doing. By doing, I believe we can get closer to actually realizing our hopes and dreams.

As a hope without action is simply just that, nothing more than a thought, or a desire. By doing, we become.

And as for the things that are beyond our control? The quote below pretty much sums it up for me.

Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith.

~ Robert Brault

Here are the next few bloggers tagged in this relay – I’d love to hear what these lovely ladies have to share with us as I always enjoy their unique perspectives on food, life, art, travel, and all those hopeful dreams of ours ๐Ÿ™‚

Spree at Cooking Spree, Marina at Marina Chetner, Syders from This Sydney Life, Sharyn at the Kale Chronicles, Ishita at Ishita Unblogged. Have fun with it ladies!

The Less:

Fewer ingredients makes for simple, easy working. Less heated dessert foods means more intact enzymes and less baking in the heat of summer. Less heavy, flour-based baked goods, means less allergens and less gluten, so these treats can really be enjoyed by all, no matter where you go, or who you go with.

The More:

More uses for by-products means less waste and more value. More healthy chocolate treats means more feeling good about eating them. More easy simple recipes means more incentive to get the job done, so killing two birds with one stone just got easier. Not to mention delicious, healthy, and fun too.

Fresh Coconut Pulp Chocolate Torte:

  • leftover pulp from (1) recipe Fresh Homemade Coconut Milk you should have about 2.5-3 cups (the pulp of one coconut, or feel free to sub shredded coconut for the pulp, though I suspect the result will be much drier)
  • (2) cups chocolate chips, for melting
  • (1/3) cup almond butter, raw or roasted
  • (4) cups rice krispie cereal
  • (1) tsp vanilla

Optional Topping:

  • (1) cup chocolate chips
  • (1/4 1/3) cup shredded coconut

Begin by melting the (2) cups of chocolate chips using a double boiler, or by putting the chocolate chips in a stainless bowl (use a bowl big enough to mix the whole recipe if you can) over a pot of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted completely, remove the bowl from the heat.

Add the almond butter and vanilla and stir. The heat from the chocolate will help the almond butter to soften without heating the almond butter over heat itself (particularly good if you are concerned about this and are using raw almond butter).

Add the coconut pulp to the chocolate-almond butter mixture and mix well. The coconut will cool the hot chocolate and bring the temperature down a little. Next, add the rice krispie cereal to the mixture, and mix well with your hands, ensuring it is even.

Line an 8 inch round or square pan with wax or parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan, using your hands to get it as even on the top as possible. Put the pan into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

The mixture will harden and become very firm to the touch. Remove the firm torte and with your hands take out the parchment paper, holding it in your hands carefully. Place the hardened torte back in to the pan.

From here, you can enjoy as is, or if you want to get creative or fancy (like I did), simply melt an additional cup of chocolate chips and spread over the entire cooled torte, topping with shredded dried coconut as garnish. Place the pan back in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

Serve in slices with optional fruit (raspberries are delicious!), and perhaps some ice cream or whip. You can also cut and enjoy through the week as a snack.

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.

~Author Unknown

This dessert made a fabulous treat for a group this week as I said good-bye to my co-workers before my holiday. One good-bye was a little harder than the others.

It is rich while still being light on the tummy. A true feel good dessert!

Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.

~ George Weinberg

Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.

~ Robert Ingersoll

It is my sincere desire that anyone reading this post today can feel hope in knowing that deliciousness is never far away, and that in all of our hands is carried infinite possibilities for action of all kinds.

Whether it is cooking, writing, or any form of art, it is the hands that carry out the work of the heart and the mind.

Here’s hoping we can all enjoy some of that. I’ll be seeking in the coming weeks here from France what has begun as a fabulous time in a most beautiful place. Here’s to infinite possibilities!

  • What are you hopeful for today?
  • Got a favorite no bake dessert to share with us?

More to come readers, stay tuned! Off to see the sights as I’ve officially had enough coffee…

Yours in Less,

67 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Hope, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Fresh Homemade Coconut Milk

It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

~ Confucius

Surely something so simple cannot be this easy, can it?

I assure you, with a little effort, it absolutely is, and with that effort, you will be so richly rewarded.

With all the wonderful alternatives to dairy milk out there, it is no surprise that coconut, with all of the amazing health benefits that come with it, is leading the charge in many ways as a delicious way to get good fats and loads of high quality energy into our bodies.

While it surely isn’t a local food (unless you are lucky to live where they grow of course), coconuts are widely available in markets & supermarkets all across the world, and with (just a little) know how, can be purchased for just a few dollars and used in any number of amazing ways.

Here is my favorite way to enjoy it (other than found as-is on a beach in Mexico), and I am sure I am not the only coconut milk lover out there!

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.

ย  ~ Jimi Hendrix

Picking coconuts can be a little tough, and often can yield something less than fresh.

Perhaps the greatest challenge is finding a coconut that hasn’t gone bad. I assure you, once you crack it and drain the water inside, you’ll know if you’ve got a rancid one on your hands. Such is life, and I often purchase 2 at a time just to be sure. And at such a low cost of $2-$3 each, it’s not such a bad way to go.

If you’ve never worked with fresh coconut before, you are in for a treat!

Just talking about cracking these guys open brings back some of the fondest memories of my childhood – when finding the soft spot on the coconut with my dad (and the nail and hammer) was just about as awesome as it got.

And that’s pretty awesome.

This method of making (and enjoying) coconut might not be for everyone, but if you’ve got the will and a good blender, you might just be in heaven with this.

The taste and texture of fresh coconut milk is about the creamiest, dreamiest thing I can think of, and here it can be done right at home!

So be prepared for (just a little) work, and maybe (just a little) mess, but I promise the results will be worth it. And so will the recipe coming up for the pulp in my next post ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Less:

Less canned, processed items in the home means more hands on, homemade goodness. Less packaging and labels used means less waste, resources, and energy. Less shelf stable anything means more fresh live energy, so you can infuse yourself and your loved ones with love, straight from the earth right to you.

The More:

More rich, satisfying health food means more all round satisfaction in your belly. More whole, natural fats means more easy assimilation and clean fuel. More delicious fresh dairy alternatives means lots of healthy & tasty options, so living with less is easy, while still being tempting and delicious.

Fresh Homemade Coconut Milk:

  • (1) fresh hard-shell coconut
  • (3-4) cups water
  • Sweetener if desired
  • Lots of Love & Elbow Grease

Start by grabbing a safe sharp object – a good pair scissors with a sharp tip, or my dad’s favorite (and thus, mine), a nail and hammer.

Find the three spots on the tip of the coconut and with the tip of the sharp object, gently and carefully try to poke each hole. One of the three holes is the ‘key’ to the coconut and will cave under the pressure much easier than the other two. This is how you know which one to go for! Once identified, poke the soft hole all the way through and twist the scissors or nail to make as big a hole as you can (it will be about as big as a small pencil eraser).

Drain the water inside the coconut and set aside for drinking (right away or later).

Now the fun part.

(and you might find a better way to do this).

You’ve got to break the coconut into pieces. I do this by throwing it against the concrete in my backyard as hard as I can. It’s pretty satisfying and kids do love this (just make sure they are well out of the way of flying pieces!!). Otherwise, you can set the coconut on a hard surface and hit it with a hammer until it breaks. Keep breaking up the pieces until you get pieces smaller than the size of your hand.

Then, using a firm object (like a strong metal spoon that you don’t mind bending), separate the hard shell from the coconut meat. The meat itself will have a soft brown ‘skin’ – this can stay on, just carefully (and with elbow grease) get all the furry hard shell pieces off until you have a bowl of clean pieces of white coconut. Yum!

Growing up, this was a special dessert for us.

Once you’ve got all of your coconut pieces, give them a quick rinse under cold water to get any mess from the skin off. Break the pieces into smaller pieces if desired and add all the coconut to your blender (you should have roughly 4-5 cups of coconut pieces).

Next, add 3-4 cups of clean cold water to the blender. Blend the coconut and water on high for up to 3 minutes, ensuring all the pieces are well blended (the pulp will remain quite coarse depending on the strength of your blender).

If you start with less water, make sure to add enough water to facilitate good blending.

Once you have blended the mixture for up to 3 minutes, strain the milk through a fine strainer or cheese cloth. Notice the cream that rises to the top during this process – this is so good for you and so incredibly delicious too!

From here, transfer the milk to a large mason jar or container for storage in the fridge for up to 5 days. The milk will separate a little in the fridge, but just give it a good shake before using!

One recipe will make enough milk to fill just under a one liter jar (depending on how watery you like it). Feel free to sweeten with vanilla or maple syrup as desired, and enjoy this with anything and everything you like ๐Ÿ™‚

And there you have it, fresh, homemade coconut milk. How awesome is that?

Make sure to save the pulp, as I’ve got a most yummy dessert to share with you next, when I will be posting fresh upon our arrival in France!

You’ll be ready to dive into making coconut milk just to make the dessert I am sure, but once you’ve done both, you might not be able to stop (or maybe you will).

The more I see, the less I know for sure.

~ John Lennon

I’ve said before that coconut is almost literally a vegan’s dream, and whether you are vegan or not, I have yet to meet a soul (aside from my youngest daughter but never mind her) that doesn’t love the flavor and richness of coconut.

Here it is in all of it’s pure, unadulterated glory. The best kind of glory there is, if you ask me.

There is no exquisite beautyโ€ฆ without some strangeness in the proportion.

~ Edgar Allan Poe

Beauty is not caused. It is.

~ Emily Dickinson

So if you are an adventurer in the kitchen (I know quite a strong few of you out there) – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’ve been relishing in the freshness of this drink all week and I’ve got to tell you, my friends and co-workers have not minded one bit, as they’ve also enjoyed the outcome of the delicious pulp too.

  • Have you ever made coconut milk at home?
  • What is your favorite way to use coconut milk?

Do tell friends! This will be the last of me from Vancouver for a while, we are literally in the last few hours here, and we leave very early Sunday morning. I’ve said my good-byes (some were very hard this time), but I am so looking forward to not only going, but to returning too.

Renewed. Inspired. Fresh.

I can’t wait to have you all join me. I hope you will!

This recipe has also been featured in Healthy Vegan Fridays #5 – check it out here!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free, Happiness, Health, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Fennel Apple Juice with Greens & Fresh Lemon – and a Guest Post & Giveaway!

A little rest for the tummy is sometimes nice.

Fresh air impoverishes the doctor.

~ Danish Proverb

Happy Saturday readers!

Today I am excited to share with you a number of things. Firstly, this Saturday, one of my most favorite blogging buds Somer over at Good Clean Food is hosting a super awesome giveaway.

She is also kindly hosting a guest post from yours truly for this very recipe shared here today: a gorgeous, sweet, and truly healthy green juice! Read on to get the goods here, or head straight over there and enter to win a sweet running skirt from Lululemon on Somer’s blog!

Somer and I both share a mutual love of running – and I encourage you to read her story here – her ‘becoming a runner’ story is truly as inspirational as her personality. I’m thrilled to team up with her to share this recipe and celebrate all things healthy – whether it is a healthy diet, or health through physical activity, or just a straight up healthy attitude & mind (the most important thing of all, IMO).

Today’s juice recipe is (true to IPOM form) super simple. Of course, you need to own a juicer for it, but other than that, the ingredients are easy and accessible, and won’t break the bank either.

Sweet fennel and apples team up to offer balance against healthy cancer fighting vegetables like cabbage and kale, and are rounded out with the zing and pop of fresh lemon.

I’ve posted one green juice recipe here on this blog before, but I think I may have just found my new favorite. Now that is a seriously big claim, but if you get a chance to try it, I’ve a feeling it could become yours too!

The Less:

Less chewing and digesting means less work on the system. Less store-bought, packaged juice means less sugar and cooked compounds. Less refined sugar beverages means more low-calorie energy, and less cooking means hopefully more ways to expend it.

The More:

More easily assimilated raw juices means more dynamic raw nutrition. More sweetness and balance means more satisfaction to ward off cravings. More creative ways to juice with more easily found ingredients, means more likelihood you’ll do it over (and over) again.

Fennel Apple Juice with Greens & Fresh Lemon:

  • (2) small fennel bulbs, or (1) medium, with stalks removed
    (if the only fennel available is extra-large start with half and adjust to taste)
  • (2) medium organic apples
  • (1) organic lemon, whole
  • (8) leaves kale
  • (1/4) medium-sized green cabbage

Clean and process all ingredients into juicer friendly pieces. Make sure to leave the skin on the lemon as this adds to the taste of the final product significantly.

Juice all ingredients and strain if desired (my preferred way to enjoy it), and serve immediately for best nutritional value and taste!

Utilizing kale and cabbage as the veggie base of this juice adds such amazing nutritional benefit, and both are easy to find and easy (and cheap) to grow just about anywhere. Cabbage is one of my most favorite vegetables and keeps all through the winter given proper storage.

Adding sweet fennel offsets any bitterness, and makes this green cocktail absolutely sing!

So whether you are a runner, a walker, a cyclist, or just about any other fantastic version of yourself, this juice is almost guaranteed to make you feel like a million bucks.

It might make you feel almost as good as you’ll look in Somer’s sexy running skirt if you head over there to enter;)

The greatest wealth is health.

~Virgil

Sometimes the body just needs a rest. Just like a good nap on the couch on a lazy Saturday, this juice could provide just the break you need to feel (just a little) more rested and whole. Doesn’t that sound spectacular (I’m thinking of the nap really!)?

  • What is your go to physical activity?
  • Got a favorite juice to share with us?

We’re on the countdown here to take off (8 sleeps!) and are hard at work packing and tying up details before our big upcoming holiday. I’ll be sipping and slurping this juice this weekend and enjoying (just a little) fresh air.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer weekend!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Running, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Picking Fruit Seaside and a Chilled Cherry Almond Smoothie

This is one of the best parts of summer.

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

~ Emily Dickinson

Oceans are beautiful, aren’t they?

I am lucky to have grown up on the ocean, spending my youth just a few minutes from the peaceful rocky beaches of British Columbia. I still live near the ocean here in Vancouver, and admit I might find it tough to ever live away from it.

I am also lucky enough to live in one of the top cherry producing regions in the world. You know, those dark red fruits that grow up to the size of small plums and stain your hands and clothes as well as your palate, rendering it useless to enjoy any other fruit as much (at this time of the year).

Oceans and cherries. Two wonderful things.

Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.

~ Bob Marley

You have to be someone.

~ Bob Marley

Well you can imagine the sheer glee on our recent island weekend at the discovery (by me, my daughter, and my visiting younger sister) of cherry trees laden with ripe fruit growing seaside not far from our parents home.

There isn’t a much better way to cap off a leisurely afternoon of sunshine and swimming at the beach than taking a spontaneous detour down a country lane to find bushels of your favorite fruits – just hanging there amongst the shipwrecks and sun-laden stillness.

It was a perfect day if there ever was one.

You can only lose what you cling to.

~ Buddha

My sister and I felt like kids again without a care in the world, except maybe being late to dinner at home as a result of our spontaneous excursion to the seaside orchard. Not far from when we were kids really, now that I think about it. And it felt good.

Today I’m excited to share those photos with you all as well as this simple and truly delicious recipe for a memorable summer drink. Another simple recipe requiring no more than 2 ingredients, this summer chiller really, truly, hits the spot.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~ Ghandi

The Less:

Fewer ingredients to play with means each one stands to play its part. Less time to prep once you are ready means having it in hand in minutes. Less packaged, store-bought fruit drinks means less waste and cooked sugars, and more reasons to use what’s seasonally on hand.

The More:

More fresh fruit and whole ingredients means more easy simple nutrition. More fresh fiber and whole fats from soaked nuts means more natural fuel, protein, and roughage. More easy simple recipes means more ways to enjoy your favorites, and these two are a match made in seaside cherry heaven.

*photos of the recipe were not made with the cherries picked that day : – )

Chilled Cherry Almond Smoothie:

To pit cherries, use the ripest fruit you can. If you have a cherry pitter, go ahead and use it, but I never have and (like usual) prefer to use my own tools (my hands). If the fruit is ripe, simply tear the cherry open and remove the pits with your hands. If they are more on the firm side, you can open them with knife (like an apple) and remove the pit then.

If you have the almond milk handy, simple combine the milk and cherries in a blender and add the ice cubes. Blend on high until frothy. Serve as desired and enjoy! A simple, easy way to cool down and enjoy two healthful and delicious foods.

Nothing fancy. But somehow it still seems fancy to me – how about you?

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it

~ Henry David Thoreau.

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Summer is here and it’s a beautiful thing, my weekend at home was such a fabulous one, and much love to my folks and to my sister for the time together!

On another note, we are in the 10 day countdown until we leave for our trip to France for 3 whole weeks! I’ll be blogging from there as there will be just too much to keep up with, especially as we try to work our way through it all in true ‘less is more’ fashion.

As well, we are adding a link to the sidebar, but for those who wish to follow me on Instagram, you can do so by following @shiramcd.

I’ve really been enjoying this new way to keep up with friends, as pictures really can be worth a thousand words. There, you can bet I’ll be adding shots daily while we are away.

  • Are you an Instagrammer?
  • What is your favorite way to eat cherries?
  • Ever picked them from the trees?

Do let us know. Until next time, IPOM readers, and I wish you all a truly wonderful day wherever you may be ๐Ÿ™‚

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Children, Cooking, Desserts, Food, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian