My Go-To Green Smoothie

green-smoothie-recipe
When I’m in a pinch for time or simply want a super healthy meal on the go, green smoothies are one of my favorite breakfast options. They are packed with vitamins and can be made in minutes with minimal clean-up afterwards. Packed with chlorophyll and other essential plant-based nutrients, green smoothies have been praised for their many health and beauty benefits, such as glowing skin, shinier hair, a stronger immune system, and a decreased risk of heart disease. They are also a great way to sneak in extra greens without you even noticing them (kids love them)! There are a lot of great recipes out there that I enjoy, but this is my favorite green smoothie recipe of all time. Chock-full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants, this rich and creamy smoothie tastes like dessert but packs a serious nutritional punch. Plus it’s vegan!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Handfuls of Mixed Greens
  • 1 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, Peaches & Pineapple
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 2 tbsp Matcha Powder
  • 2 Cups of Vanilla Almond Milk

DIRECTIONS

1 // Add all of the fresh fruit and avocado into the blender and add one cup of almond milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

2 // Toss in the leafy greens and frozen fruit along with the almond milk, spirulina, and matcha powder. Blend on high until the smoothie is entirely mixed and has a frosty yet creamy consistency.

3 // If you prefer your smoothie to be sweeter, add a drizzle or honey or real maple syrup and blend on low to mix it in.

4 // Enjoy your delicious and super healthy green smoothie!

Have you tried green smoothies and, if so, are you a fan? If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you felt about it! It’s my fave but I’m curious about what others would think. Until next time!

xoxo,

Alicia

Healthy (And Vegan!) Pancakes


There are few things I love more than breakfast and I especially love pancakes. The lazy Saturday mornings I spend making chocolate chip pancakes with my boyfriend are something I really look forward to and cherish.  That being said, lately I’ve decided to put more effort into my health and eating right. I’ve also started eating a vegetarian diet. Although I am not vegan and do eat dairy and eggs, I try to keep portions of those foods small and so I really love the idea of making dishes vegan whenever I can. This pancake recipe came from a friend and colleague and is as delicious as it is nutritious. It leaves out all of the things that could conceivably make pancakes unhealthy (refined sugar, dairy, white flour, eggs) but keeps the flavor and fluffy texture of the pancakes you’ve grown up eating. It’s also filled with energizing vitamins so you won’t feel sluggish after eating these like you would with a stack of flour-made pancakes! They are incredibly quick and easy to make – all you need is a blender and a mere handful of ingredients. Here’s how it’s done!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 Mashed Banana
  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • * Extras ( I like raspberries, blueberries, and matcha tea powder)

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat a pan or skillet on medium heat. Grease the pan with a bit of coconut oil.

2 // Measure out the ingredients and dump them into your blender or food processor.

3 // Blend on a low speed until the ingredients are blended and have a consistency that resembles batter. If the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of coconut or almond milk.

4 // Use a soup ladle or 1/2 cup to scoop up the batter and pour it onto the hot pan.

5 // Cook the one side until small bubbles start to form. Flip the pancake and cook the other side (approximately 2 minutes). 

6 // Repeat until all of the batter is used up. Garnish with fresh fruit, whipped coconut cream, and a touch of syrup!

If you give these a try let me know how they turned out for you! Also, I’m on the look out for other good vegetarian or vegan recipes so if you have a great one, please share! 

xoxo,

Alicia

Non-Boring Low Calorie Cocktails


I’ll say it – I love a refreshing cocktail, especially as a way of relaxing after a long work day. And while I may enjoy a glass (or three) of crisp white wine or a frosty margarita, I do not enjoy the extra pounds that I gain after indulging in a few too many of those tasty bad boys. That being said, cocktails can be a part of a healthy diet. The key? Moderation and recipes that call for little to no added sugar. So without further ado, here are seven bevvies that you and your waistline will love! 


Photo and Recipe via My Crazy Good Life

1 // 100 Calorie Coconut Margarita 

Put the lime in the coconut but leave out the sugar. Using stevia instead of sugar cuts a ton of calories from this cocktail, while the coconut water is filled with antioxidants and electrolytes. Translation? The hangover and puffy face that many get after drinking won’t be a thing. Now that’s something to raise a glass to!

INGREDIENTS

  • Ice (crushed or cubes)
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1/2 Lime Juice 
  • 3 oz Coconut Water
  • *1 tbsp Stevia
  • Soda Water

Photo and Recipe via The Taylor House

2 // Fruity Moscato Wine Spritzer

Fresh fruit, fragrant Moscato, and soda water are the three main ingredients in this low cal recipe. This pretty poopsie is super flavourful but light. In other words, it’s the perfect summer sipper!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Bottle Moscato Wine
  • 1 Bottle of Soda Water
  • 1 Cup Diced Strawberries
  • Lemon Slices

Photo and Recipe via Pretty Providence

3 // Skinny Piña Colada Slushies

A piña colada that is not chock full of empty calories? This is not a drill. With coconut water and milk, sugar-free flavour drops and a bit of dark rum, this cocktail is every bit as delicious as the classic recipe, but is waaay healthier. Go ahead. Have another.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 Cups Sugar-Free Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cups Coconut Water
  • 2 Squirts Dasani Pineapple Coconut Drops
  • 2 oz Dark Rum


Photo and Recipe via bird + cleaver

4 // Wasabi Bloody Mary

With zero added sugar and vitamin rich tomato juice, this lighter take on the bloody mary is a savoury treat with a fiery kick. Some people say that spicy foods and drinks rev up your metabolism, but even if that’s not the case, this tasty drink is a much healthier option when you’re craving a ceaser or Bloody Mary. Drink your veggies!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz Vodka
  • 12 oz Tomato Juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Wasabi 
  • 4- 6 Dashes Sriracha (to taste)
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 4 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Pinches Celery Salt


Photo and Recipe via Peanut Butter & Peppers

5 // Skinny Watermelon Mojito

The only thing that can improve a refreshing, minty mojito? Sweet chunks of watermelon! Not only is this pink fruit super tasty, it’s also hydrating and filled with potassium. Sip this frosty treat with way less calories and zero guilt. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Watermelon (seeded and chopped)
  • ½ Lime (juiced)
  • 4 Mint Leaves
  • Ice
  • 1 oz. White Rum 
  • Club Soda


Photo and Recipe via Camille Styles

6 // Fresh Grapefruit Greyhound 

If you’re not a fan of super sweet drinks, then this tart combination of grapefruit juice and vodka is sure to please your palate. Also, this refreshing drink is pretty easy on the waistline! A good rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating (and drinking) – the fewer ingredients involved, the better. This recipe calls for only three and zero refined sugar. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 oz Vodka
  • 6 oz Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • 6 oz Club Soda


Photo and Recipe I Breathe I’m Hungry 

7 // Low Carb Sparkling White Wine Sangria

Stevia is kind of a magic ingredient when it comes to sugar replacements. It’s zero calories but it’s also all natural – no nasty aspartame here! I use it when baking and in my coffee. Why didn’t I think of using it to sweeten cocktails? It does the job perfectly and without a side of guilt. Add a little bit of this non-sugar-sugar to some bourbon, peaches (I prefer frozen), vodka, and mandarin soda water and you have a tangy toast that rivals your favorite belini. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Cup Peaches (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar-Free Mango Flavoured Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Stevia
  • 1/4 Cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 Cup Vodka
  • 24 oz Mandarin Flavoured Seltzer Water

I don’t know about you but it feels like cocktail hour! If you try any of these, let me know what you think! 

xoxo,

Alicia

High Tea at Home


I am someone who truly believes that almost all problems can be made a little better with tea. Happy? Sad? Peeved? Tea is the answer to everything. My love of tea has definitely been passed down by my mom. Ever since I was a little girl she would collect tea cups and teas. Some of my earliest memories as a child are of hosting tea parties with my dolls as the guests and my mom pretending to sip on invisible tea. Flash forward 18 years and I still love tea parties. My mom and I especially love sitting down for high tea, although it has always been a special and infrequent treat because of how expensive it is. I started thinking about ways that I could recreate that luxe high tea experience at home and I came up with these 5 tips and tricks. Here’s how to host an intimate and elevated high tea experience at home and without breaking the bank.

1. Break out the pretty china.

Save your university mugs for another time. High tea is the time to channel your inner Marie Antoinette and bring out dishes, cups and cutlery that look like little works of art. It will just add to the whole experience and impress your guests to boot.

2. Set the mood with scents.

Our sense of smell is deeply entwined with our memories and emotions. Though it may seem simple, lighting a scented candle, burning some incense, or putting out a dish of potpourri can really create a beautiful atmosphere. You can also choose specific scents depending on the season or occasion – for example, I love soft floral scents in the spring and summer, and woody candles in the fall and winter.

3. Prep some salty and sweet appetizers.

You can’t have a high tea without serving some nibbles! It’s always best to serve a variety of different flavours, with savoury and sugary options to please all of your guests’ tastes.


4. Keep a variety of teas.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to have a few different options on hand to suit your guests’ preferences. Some people only drink green tea, while others prefer classic black. It’s also a good idea to offer a herbal tea as well, just in case someone is sensitive to caffeine. Keep things interesting with a variety of flavours – think floral jasmine, sweet vanilla, and classic earl grey.


5. Leave a lasting impression.

It’s always a sweet touch to have a little takeaway token prepared to give your guests when they leave. They don’t need to be big or expensive, just a small gift to thank your guests for coming and to remind them of your high tea! Handmade gifts have a personal touch that you just can’t get from a store, and I love the idea of centering your gift around, what else? Tea. And how cute are these tea cup planters?!

xoxo,

Alicia

Vegetarian Enchiladas


Photo via WeHeartIt

For a long time I have wanted to adopt a vegetarian diet and I have finally decided to take a leap and just do it. I know that there are going to be challenges ahead of me – mainly battling temptation while eating with my family and boyfriend, all of whom love meat and think I’m a bit of lunatic for trying to give it up again. Maybe now that I have put this out into the webosphere I will feel like I’m held even more accountable for my eating habits. I’m super stoked to try more vegetarian dishes and I decided to try and replicate one of my favorite meals – enchiladas – without using any meat. I made this for my boyfriend the other day and he said that he couldn’t even tell that it was meatless. It was flavourful and filling, and a lot lighter in calories than the enchiladas I used to make. It was also super easy! Whether or not you are a vegetarian, I am pretty confident that you will enjoy this dish!

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 2 Cups of Veggie Ground
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Chili Powder (or to taste)
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup of Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Can of Lima Beans


Photo via WeHeartIt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Celsius).

2. Chop the onion into small cubes and sautée with olive oil and the veggie ground. Add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Sautée for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

3. Grease a baking dish with a bit of olive oil (or coconut oil) and lay out tortillas.

4. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl (I used pre-made sauce) and scoop a spoonful onto a tortilla and spread the sauce from edge to edge, covering the tortilla. Scoop a couple of spoonfuls of the veggie mixture into the tortilla and sprinkle cheese on top. Roll the wrap and place into the baking dish. Repeat this and line up the enchiladas until all of the mixture is used up.

5. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas and spread it as evenly as possible across. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the enchiladas.

6. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream, cilantro and guacamole. Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Also, if anyone has any vegetarian recipes you think I should try, let me know in the comments!

 

xoxo,

Alicia

Five Fragrant Twists on the French 75

Aside from the Dirty Martini, the French 75 is one of my favourite cocktails of all time. It’s classic, fitting for all occasions, and always makes me feel a bit glamorous (apparently it is supermodel Kate Moss’s favourite cocktail as well, and we all know her taste is impeccable). While the classic recipe of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar is hard to beat, these 5 versions sound absolutely delectable. From herbaceous lavender to sugary cotton candy, these creative recipes have me counting the minutes until cocktail hour.

1 // Elderflower French 75

Fragrant floral notes of elderflower enhance the crisp flavour of the gin and add a pretty elegance to this classic drink.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 2 oz Champagne
  • 1 tsp Granulated Sugar

2 // Blackberry French 75

Freshly picked blackberries add a little extra sweetness and a gorgeous violet hue to this party perfect bevvy.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • ½ Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Blackberries
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 oz Champagne
  • Blackberries and Lemon Peel (Garnish)

3 // Cotton Candy French 75

Because if you can add cotton candy to something why wouldn’t you? A puff of spun sugar dissolves instantly in the champagne and gives the drink an insta-worthy blush hue.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 tsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Champagne
  • Cotton Candy

4 // Lavender French 75

The only thing that can make a French 75 more elegant is a few sprigs of fragrant lavender. A pinch of lavender sugar adds a touch of perfumed sweetness.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Lavender Simple Syrup
  • Champagne
  • Lemon Twist
LAVENDER SIMPLE SYRUP 
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Lavender Sugar (or Plain Granulated Sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp Lavender Extract

5 // Meyer Lemon and Cognac French 75

If you’re someone who likes their drinks to have a bit of a kick, than replacing gin with cognac will likely be your jam (I only like whiskey in a French 75). A squeeze of tangy Meyer lemon makes this sparkling cocktail all the more refreshing.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Grand Marnier
  • 2 oz Cognac or Brandy
  • 1 tbsp Agave or Sugar Syrup, or Honey
  • Ice
  • 6 oz Champagne

Which one of these recipes would you like to try? Do you have any special French 75 recipes of your own? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

healthy-snacks

My Favorite Healthy Snacks 

I wholeheartedly believe in eating healthy as consistently as possible (with a little room for my favorite indulgences – dirty martinis, pineapple and olive pizza, and cheese plates) and that treating one’s body right benefits every aspect of a person’s life. Since it’s the start of the new year, I feel even more motivated to keep my diet clean and work out more than I used to. While I mainly keep my meals healthy, I have found that one of the biggest diet-busting culprits is snacking. It’s easy to overindulge on decadent treats like chocolate, ice cream, and chips but it’s also easy to over do it on seemingly healthy nibbles like cheese and crackers and even nuts. That being said, snacking can (and should) be a part of a healthy diet, as long as it is done right with nutrient dense, low-calorie options. With this in mind, I have rounded up 7 of my favorite guilt-free snacks.

1 // Dried Seaweed

I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth and I can easily pass on the rich, calorie-laden desserts that make most other people weak in the knees. However, if you put a plate of cheesy nachos or salty fries in front of me, it’s game over. Dried seaweed manages to curb my salt craving without making me forego my healthy diet. It’s crispy, savory, and just as addicting as a pack of chips but with a small fraction of the calories. Rich in magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamin A, B, and C, dried seaweed packs a serious nutritional punch.

2 // Goji Berries

I decided to give goji berries a try after reading an interview with Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr in which she deemed the tart red superfood one of her go-to beautifying snacks. While no amount of antioxidant-rich berries will transform me into a Victoria Secret angel, I was intrigued to try them and see if they a) would make my skin glow and my hair bouncy and b) if they actually taste good. Well, guess what? They are actually pretty tasty, they keep me sated in between meals, and since I’ve started eating them regularly I do notice a healthier glow to my skin (but maybe that’s just wishful thinking). They are a bit tart, like dried cranberries but a little bit sweeter. Plus they are chock full of antioxidants, fiber, and beta-carotene. I keep this low-calorie, nutrient-high snack in my purse to nosh on at work and when I’m feeling a bit peckish.

3 // Popcorn with Olive Oil & Sea Salt

I’m obsessed with popcorn and it’s my favorite movie-time snack. It’s also surprisingly healthy – so long as you pop it yourself, either with an old-fashioned air popper or a healthy oil like coconut or olive oil. It’s low in calories (1 cup of air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories) and actually has a ton of antioxidants. I choose to skip the artery-clogging butter and instead drizzle mine with olive oil and add a sprinkle a bit of sea salt for an added dose of healthy fats and flavor.

4 // Edamame

My boyfriend loves edamame and is the one who got me hooked on them. Edamame has become a trendy food and its stellar reputation is well deserved. Edamame is a young soybean which has been harvested before it has had a chance to harden. These delightful green gems are low in calories, high in protein, and are packed with vitamins, protein, magnesium, and iron. They are also naturally free of cholesterol and gluten. I also love them because they are delicious and super easy to prepare. Simply steam them on the stove or pop them in the microwave in a bowl with a bit of water. They are delicious on their own but are even tastier with a bit of salt and cayenne pepper.

5 // Frozen Fruit

When I’m craving ice cream but don’t want to splurge, a bowl full of frozen fruit totally hits the spot. Sometimes I’ll blend the fruit in my food processor for a sorbet-like treat that feels like an indulgence but is completely healthy and free of added sugar. Pro-tip: if you are feeling creative, blend a couple of frozen bananas with a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa powder. Voila! Chocolate ‘ice cream’ that is full of vitamins and totally guilt-free.

6 // Plain Yogurt and Honey

I’ve always loved yogurt, but a lot of the flavored versions that are available in stores are way too sweet for my taste and are loaded with unnecessary junk like gelatin and processed sugar. Instead, I prefer to eat plain yogurt (greek yogurt is my favorite) with just a little bit of honey. Sometimes I will toss a couple of frozen blueberries on top for some extra sweetness and added vitamin C. It’s not too sweet but is very flavorful and fills me up without making me feel heavy or bloated. It makes a great breakfast or late snack and is filled with satiating protein and calcium.

7 // Veggies and Hummus

I have to say, I’ve never come across a vegetable that I didn’t love and I don’t need any dips, dressings, or seasonings to make me want to eat them. That being said, if you don’t love veggies, dipping them in garlicky hummus is sure to change your mind. I like to make my own with chickpeas, olive oil, garlic and a bit of salt. I’ve seen recipes with spinach and beets added and they look amazing as well. Hummus can be pretty calorie-dense but it has tons of nutrients. As long as you keep your portions under control, this is a completely diet-friendly, healthy, delicious snack for any time of day.

xoxo,

Alicia