Simply Delicious Paleo Banana Bread

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I am always looking for new baking recipes so that I can satisfy my sweet tooth! This recipe is simple, delicious and does not cost very much. Almond flour has become a staple in my diet as the paleo diet does not contain any wheat flour. This bread is so moist because of the eggs, oil and honey it is great for your morning breakfast or in the evening as a dessert with a nice cup of tea! The oil really gives the bread a moist texture. I use grapeseed oil by President’s Choice. The MOST IMPORTANT part of this recipe is making sure you mix the egg whites until you form stiff peaks. Check out this video on how to ensure you have the right consistency. 


This banana bread is best when it sits overnight as the bread becomes thick and easy to eat. 
Try it out…. you will not be disappointed!

Ingredients
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp raw honey
4 tbsp grapeseed oil/olive oil
3 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups almond flour
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Instructions
1. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form (Learn how to make stiff peaks here
2. In a separate mixing bowl, with a hand held mixer cream yolks and honey until light and fluffy. Add grapeseed oil, vanilla, spices, and mashed bananas and mix until fully combined. Add nut flour and mix. Fold in egg whites with a spoon gently until combined.
3. Add in chopped walnuts or pecans if you like.
4. Pour mixture into greased pan (with coconut oil) and bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 F.



Recipe adapted from http://paleoonthecheap.blogspot.ca/2012/12/banana-bread.html

5 Natural Ways to Fight/Prevent a Cold

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This year has started off as a very cold winter season! So I decided I would share some of the things I use to fight off colds and coughs. There are many different ways in which you can fight off a cold but there are a few key tools you can keep in your medicine cabinet that are really powerful and can help! One thing to consider is the importance of taking something as soon as you first start to feel a cold coming on. This will help boost the immune system and prevent the cold from progressing. Here a list of things I will use when I start to feel a cold coming on…

1. Echinacea or Oil of Oregano
Echinacea is a very good immune booster. It is great to use when you first start feeling a cold coming on. You know you have some good quality echinacea when it tingles your tongue! Oil of oregano is another favourite of mine. It works as a powerful anti-microbial to fight off viruses and bacteria and works well when cold symptoms first appear. As a fair warning, it is very potent and can be difficult to take alone! I usually will put a couple of drops into some juice to help it go down easier. Both oils can be purchased at a health food store or the grocery store. 

2. Homemade Cold and Cough fighting tea
Ever since I discovered this tea, it has been my go to whenever I get sick. It soothes the throat and helps to relieve congestion. This tea will warm you up and provide lasting relief. I tend to drink multiple cups a day along with lots of water when I am sick to stay hydrated.

Mix 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a dash of ground cinnamon. Mix, drink and feel better!



3. Nin Jiom Cough syrup 
This cough syrup was recommended to me when my significant other had a terrible cough. It tastes fairly good as the base is honey. It helps decrease coughing, soothes a sore throat and is made with all natural ingredients. This cough syrup I bought at a health food store but I've also seen it in shops in China town. 

4. ColdPro by CanPrev
This supplement is something I also tend to use when I start to feel sick. It is a great supplement for strengthening your immune system. It has some powerful herbs to help maintain the immune system such as Astragalus, American Ginseng and Zinc.

5. Eucalyptus Oil
I absolutely love eucalyptus oil. I usually get very stuffed up when I get a cold so I will put a few drops in boiling water and use it as a steam inhalation. Cover your head with a towel and breath in the steam. Make sure to only use a few drops, as it can be hard to inhale if there is too much oil. It helps to relieve congestion in the head and the chest. I love using eucalyptus oil on my chest instead of Vicks Vapor rub, as Vicks contains petroleum. You can find this in the pharmacy aisle within the grocery store. 

So there you have it, these 5 tips are simple and do not cost very much. Next time you feel a cold coming on remember to take something right away! My classmate has also created a blog post on natural ways to fight a cold. She has some great tips on different teas to buy and how a warming sock treatment can really help. Check it out here. 





Fall Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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During the Fall season, I always crave something made from pumpkin. So I decided to find a quick and easy recipe to satisfy my craving. Turns out everybody has enjoyed this recipe so much I've already made it twice in one week! The fragrance of these cookies will scream Fall when they are in the oven. They are so moist and chewy they end up just melting in your mouth. Best of all, these cookies are dairy free, gluten free and vegan!

Ingredients: 
1/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin (make sure you buy 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie) 
1/2 cup almond butter (or any nut butter you prefer, I like Maranatha Almond Butter
1/4 cup honey 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (***see instructions below on how to make your own pumpkin pie spice) 
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips)
1/2 cup crushed walnuts, or pecans, or whatever you'd like (optional) 

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Combine all wet ingredients together in a mixing bowl and stir using a whisk. Combine dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. 
4. Scoop batter onto baking sheet with desired thickness. These cookies do not flatten out on their own so you may have to bake them a little longer if you make them thicker.
5. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes and let cookies cool before serving. 

***To make pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, and 3/4 tsp ground all spice. 

ENJOY! 























This recipe has been adapted from: thegirlwhowentpaleo.blogspot.com

Paracelsus Garden at CCNM

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Our botanical medicine class had the opportunity to go on a tour of the CCNM garden this term. We were introduced to many of the herbs and plants in the garden and learned a great deal of valuable information. In class, we have learned that by connecting with plants and their properties through the power of energy you can begin to understand what their properties are without any previous knowledge of the plants. This was something I had a hard time wrapping my mind around, but we had the opportunity to do a meditation with a plant and we found some interesting results. Find out what happened during the meditation at the very end of the post :)

Below are some of the herbs we studied!

Echinacea spp. (Cone Flower)
- You know you have a good quality Echinacea plant if your tongue will go numb and you can't taste anything when you eat some of the seeds.
- Great for the fall/winter season as it is commonly used to prevent and treat common colds.
- Enhances the immune system, relieves pain and inflammation, and has antiviral properties making it a great plant for treating various conditions such as urinary tract infection, sinusitis and hay fever.




Gingko (Ginkgo biloba L.
- Ginkgo was first used in Western medicine in 1965 in Germany.
- The shape of the leaves are very similar to the cross section of the human brain.
- Primary actions include increasing blood supply, along with protecting and enhancing brain function.
- Used primarily in times of difficulty in concentration and memory, absentmindedness, confusion, lack of energy, tiredness, decreased physical performance, depressed mood, and anxiety.








Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus) 
- This is for the ladies... due to its ability to normalize female sex hormones it is recommended for painful periods, PMS, irregular periods, changes of menopause, etc.
- Chaste tree in tincture form doesn't exactly have the best taste, but it's definitely worth it if you are suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms. It is a herb I used to successfully combat my symptoms related to PCOS.


Herbal Guided Meditation 
Now it's time for the herb meditation results. Our class had the opportunity to try to connect with a herb that none of us had previously studied about. We were guided through a series of questions on the physical sensations we experienced when around the plant and what we observed while looking at its properties (e.g. leaves, thorns, colours, etc.). The plant I studied had leaves with small spikes, contained berries, about 2-inch thorns (which I did not even see at first), and was a very tall tree. Some of the feelings we felt were along the lines of deceivious, warming, and scared. The plant felt friendly but had long thorns which felt harmful. Through the guided meditation, we were asked to close our eyes and become aware of the sensations we felt. I felt a sensation in my heart, others felt their chest opening up and most of us felt like we were being drawn into the plant's space.

We then found out the plant was actually Hawthorne (Crataegus spp.). It is generally used for cardiovascular disease as it increases the contractibility of cardiac muscle and helps to keep the heart in a healthy condition (e.g. can help to minimize coronary heart disease). This information was truly interesting especially because the sensations I felt were directly related to the heart. This exercise made me realize to be open to anything I learn even if it sounds like it may not be possible. If we strive to be open to new experiences, there is no boundary to what can be learned. Below are some pictures of Hawthorne.



Healthy and Delicious Sheppard's Pie

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Growing up, Sheppard’s Pie was something my family ate on a weekly basis. However, it was made with Yukon Gold potatoes and we always ate it with ketchup. So I decided to find a Paleo friendly version of one of my favourite dishes.
I found this recipe from Ditch the Wheat, which is so similar to my mother's recipe and I would say it is even better. The sweet potatoes bring the dish to a whole new level and the fresh vegetables make it pure and enjoyable.

            Ingredients 
                        1 lb. ground beef, raw
                        1 cup carrot, finely chopped (about 1-2 medium carrots)
                        1 cup onion, finely diced
                        ½ cup celery, finely diced (about 3 stalks)
                       1 clove of crushed garlic
                        ½ cup of beef broth
                        2 tbsp olive oil
                        1 tsp barbecue sauce, (replaces Worcestershire sauce)
                        Generous amounts of Salt & Pepper
                        1-2 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled & diced


Instructions
Filling

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. On medium heat, sauté carrots, onions and celery using olive oil until onions are translucent.

3. Add the ground beef, garlic and sprinkle generous amounts of salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is brown.

4. Add the beef broth and barbecue sauce and cook on low for 10 minutes.


5. Place everything in a 6 x 8 inch oven proof dish. (We used a glass dish). 



Topping:

1. Peel and cut the sweet potato into cubes. Place sweet potatoes in a pot of salted water over high heat. Turn to a boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. *You should be able to put a fork through it. 

2. Drain and mash the sweet potato.



3. Add spoonfuls of the sweet potato over the beef mixture. Then spread it all over.



4. Bake for 30 minutes then broil on high for 5 minutes.


5. Let it cool for a couple of minutes then, serve warm.