Bags and Blooms

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe that it is already March!  It feels like this year is just zipping by!  While we have experienced a few beautiful days here in Montreal, I can’t wait for the warmer weather and lighter clothing options.  One my favourite things to do is to build mood boards filled with things that make me smile – fabulous fashion shots, inspirational quotes, delicious food and anything else that makes me happy.

While many may think that fashion shots are an odd choice for a wellness blog, I humbly disagree.  Wellness is about healthy eating and living but it is also about embracing things that feed your soul and for me fashion just happens to be one of the things that makes me incredibly happy.

So without further adieu here are some of the shots that I am thriving on at the moment:

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Images via http://www.Pinterest.com, Instagram (@sakaralife, @dalhousenutrition, @statusanxiety, @fashionchicstyling, @shalicenoel)

I hope that you have a beautiful day!

XXS

Inspiring Design

My love of nesting is currently in overdrive.  The winter season may be almost over but I intend to make the most of the last few weeks (hopefully) of the cold weather.

This home in Sweden is straight out of my winter nesting daydreams.  With gorgeous sea views, a comforting minimalist vibe and beautiful muted tones this home is incredible.  Recently renovated, the large kitchen is the perfect refuge for the long winters and the  entire house is the perfect place to nest anytime of the year.  White floors help to brighten the entire home and contrast perfectly with the deep muted and textured tones of the walls.  The garden is a beautiful space to enjoy the gorgeous views once the weather warms up.  This a dream home, inside and out!  I am obsessed!fullsizeoutput_1479

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All images from http://www.fantasticfrank.de

I hope that you have a wonderful day!  XXS

Cashew Butter Blondies

This recipe for cashew butter blondies came to me as an epiphany of sorts.  I love blondies and my favourite recipe in the past was curtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.  Rich, buttery and completely indulgent, those blondies were fun to eat but not so great for my health goals.  So with this year’s baking challenge I decided to include a lightened up blondie recipe.

I thought that cashew butter would be a great addition to blondies and I spent a lot time Googling recipes trying to figure out how to achieve my blondie dreams.  I tried a few recipes that I found, and while they were good they didn’t feel like the decadent treat that I was searching for.  Then I came across a recipe for grain free brownies that was simple and sounded delicious.  I decided to use that recipe as a base and adapt it into the blondie recipe I had been dreaming of.

This recipe is simple but delicious.  These blondies are flourless and can be refined sugar free if you omit the chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 500g jar cashew butter

1 cup (250ml) golden maple syrup

2 organic eggs

4 Madjool dates, pitted and mashed

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp Baking soda

What to do:

Preheat oven to 320 degrees

Blend the dates and maple syrup until creamy

Mix in the cashew butter until completely integrated

Slowly stir in the eggs (one at a time)

Stir in the salt, cinnamon and baking soda

Gently fold in chocolate chips until just combined

Pour batter into a 8 X 8 pan lined with parchment paper

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown

Let cool before cutting into squares

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I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Brownies

Happy December Everyone!

I associate the holiday season with rich chocolate desserts more then anything else.  So while others have visions of sugar plums dancing I tend to dream of chocolate waltzing.  Bad joke?  Alright, I’ll stop before I hurt myself.

At the beginning of November I decided to challenge myself and create a few delicious dessert recipes that were decadent yet still moderately healthy treats. Eating well is a lifestyle not a diet which includes clean high quality foods that support your body without leaving you feeling deprived or overwhelmed.  To me, this includes desserts.  You don’t need to have an all or nothing approach when it comes to eating.  Simple swaps and little adjustments can make a big difference in your health and how you look and feel overall.  I created these recipes for my clients and for you, to give you options during the holiday season and beyond. For those of you who are intimidated by baking please note that I am not a baker by any means, I just really like to eat.  It’s also important to me to know what is in my food. These recipes are simple, easy and require minimal skill, ingredients or effort.  My kitchen is literally in a closet and I have zero counter space, yet these recipes still came together beautifully – if I can do it, I have faith that you can too.

First up: Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Brownies

These dark chocolate chunk brownies are the most perfect dessert that I have ever baked.  Rich, dense, moist and oh so good.  Did I mention that they are gluten free and refined sugar free?!?!

Cue happy dance

This amazing recipe has officially become my go to dessert recipe when I need a sweet treat.

Please note: All of the ingredients that I used when making these little bites of heaven were organic, but I understand that buying organic that can be a little pricey, so just try to keep your ingredients as clean and as high quality as your budget will allow.

Ingredients:

4 madjool dates (pitted and mashed)

1 cup of pure dark maple syrup

1 365g jar of creamy almond butter

2 medium organic eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1 heaping tablespoon of chunky almond butter

pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (or regular sea salt)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup of organic dark chocolate chunks (minimum 70%) plus some more for the top

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 320

Line 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper

Beat the maple syrup and dates until creamy (I used a blender for this part to ensure that the dates were completely integrated)

Mix in the creamy almond butter, this will make the mixture extremely thick so slowly add in the almond milk to loosen up the batter and make it easier to mix

Slowly add the eggs

Add raw cacao, baking soda and salt and mix well until fully incorporated

Stir in the chunky almond butter and the chocolate chunks

Pour the batter into pan and top with extra chocolate chunks

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes

If you can resist eating some straight out of the pan before the brownies have cooled you are officially my new hero.  I on the other hand burned the inside of my mouth – it was totally worth it.

Enjoy! XXS

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Glow Getter Homemade Mask

I love beauty DIY’s and homemade masks are no exception.  Not only is making your own masks cost effective, but masks that you create at home are more natural and safer for both your skin and your overall health.  This honey and papaya mask is one of my favourites and it is very easy to make. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen.  There are many different versions of this mask online, but after trying a bunch of them I came up with this one using my favourite ingredients.  I have been hooked on it ever since!  Just ten minutes will help to leave your skin happy, hydrated and glowing.  Like with all beauty regimens, consistency is key so try using this mask once a week for long term results.

Some of the benefits of the ingredients in this mask include:

Papaya – this beta carotene rich fruit is filled with powerful enzymes that help to combat free radicals on the skins surface.  The alpha hydroxy acids in papaya help to dissolve dead skin cells by acting as a mild exfoliator.

Lemon – this natural astringent helps to tighten pores and lighten acne scarring.

Raw honey – is extremely hydrating which is perfect for the drying cooler temps

Turmeric – helps to tone the skin and is anti aging as it fights free radicals on the surface of the skin.

Ingredients:

3 teaspoons of fresh papaya

1 teaspoon of raw or manuka honey

1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon of turmeric

Directions:

Mash the turmeric with the back of a fork and combine it with the remainder of the ingredients.

Apply to clean skin with a brush.  Turmeric can stain the skin so applying it with your fingers may result in yellow nails and fingers.

After 10 – 15 minutes gently remove the mask with warm water and a wash cloth.  Continue with the remainder of your skin care regimen.

Bonus Tips:

  • It is best to use this face mask at night as some of the ingredients can increase skin sensitivity.  Make sure that you use sunscreen during the day to help protect your skin.
  • For people with sensitive skin, it is best to do a skin test first to ensure that your skin doesn’t react to this face mask.
  • You can use this mask all over your body including your neck and legs.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers and use it within two days.
  • Some people may find that the turmeric has lightly stained their skin (this really depends on your skin tone), cleansing your face should help to remove the colour.

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS