Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food


Matcha Pina Colada Green Smoothie + "Advanced Raw Cuisine Course"

Smoothies, RawLina LiwagComment

This looks like a "matcha green tea sequel" but it wasn't intentional.   It was one of those instantaneous inspiration in the kitchen.   Since  the snow has melted and some warmer weather is upon us, green smoothies are just perfect these days.

This mix is great even to those who are still newer in adding veggies to their drink.  Pineapple + greens  is refreshing and yummy at the same time.  I know mint can be intimidating to some...the thought of toothpaste is usually associated  with it but trust me, it's awesome.  I put it in my smoothies all the time!

Matcha Pina Colada Green Smoothie

1 handful organic baby spinach 
1 handful sunflower sprouts
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1  1/2 cups homemade coconut milk (recipe below)
6 -8 mint leaves
1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4  - 1/3 of an avocado
2 tsp. matcha green tea powder (I used this)

Blend until smooth.  You can also add some ice before serving. Serves 2.

Homemade Coconut Milk
1 cup coconut flakes, soaked in 2 cups of water for 15-30 mins until soft. Use the same water to blend.  Strain in a nut milk bag or wire sieve. 

You can also substitute coconut milk on this recipe by using 1  1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 Tbsp. softened coconut butter.  


Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary 

I'm back to culinary school again!  This time, I'm taking the online Advanced Raw Cuisine at the Matthew Kenney Culinary School.  I am almost finished.  Hence my absence from the blog for a while now.  Here are some of the dishes that I've made in the last few weeks.

   New Style Miso Soup using carrot juice, infused with herbs.  I used lemongrass on my recipe.


New Style Miso Soup using carrot juice, infused with herbs.  I used lemongrass on my recipe.

   Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce


Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

   Green Curry Kelp Noodles.  


Green Curry Kelp Noodles.  

   Vanilla Panna Cotta.  I made my own sauce of blood orange, strawberry and raspberry sauce with cardamom and orange zest.


Vanilla Panna Cotta.  I made my own sauce of blood orange, strawberry and raspberry sauce with cardamom and orange zest.

I will  be wrapping up this course very soon and will have time to develop some products and host some events.

Enjoy Spring!



Spring Smoothies + My Recent Trip To New York

Smoothies, BreakfastLina LiwagComment

I truly am excited about Spring being here!  It's been a long winter and now my coat and boots have been put away.  I am also excited that we can have lots of berries, mangoes and watermelons... not just the usual apples or pears.

So with this new season, my family has been making lots of smoothies using the fruits and vegetables of the season.  While we have our own favourites, I try to be creative and regularly come up with different varieties just to make things fun and exciting.  Part of that is also embracing new healthy ingredients.  

Just recently,  we organized a “Lunch and Learn” smoothie making session at work and it was an opportunity for me to share some of my smoothie recipes with 15 ladies in our department (you can check my Instagram account here to see our picture posted that day).  A few of them were familiar with smoothie making while others were just starting.   After an hour, we all had a great time.  For me, I felt very encouraged that we can all learn together no matter where we’re at in our own pursuit of healthy eating. 


So here are two recipes that I shared with my co-workers.  The green smoothie (to my surprise) turned out to be their favourite!  I purposely did not bring kale, chard or any other "hard core" greens that may be too much for others.  I find that that spinach and microgreens are the best introductory options for greens.  And yes, they love the  addition of dried golden berries, sunflower microgreens and hemp hearts to their new and improved smoothie making times. There's  an earlier post for a green smoothie in January with more of the "technical stuff" and you can check it here.

Spring Blast Green Smoothie
Ingredients: (Preferebly Organic) 
2 c. baby spinach
1 handful sunflower microgreens (about 1 c.)
 1 champagne mango, cubed (about 1/2 c.)
1  ripe pear, chopped
2 Tbsp. hemp hearts
2 Tbsp. sprouted chia powder (I used this)
1 Tbsp. coconut butter
 2 Tbsp. dried golden berries
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 of a small avocado
1 3/4 c. filtered water
2 very small slices of fresh turmeric or ginger (optional)
ice (optional)

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Serves 2.   The fresh turmeric is something new that my husband and I found to be a nice addition in smoothies and juices.  This was not used  at the lunch and learn session.  You can also use ginger if you prefer.  Ice is also an option if you like a much colder drink.



Berry Blast Smoothie
 Ingredients: (Preferably Organic) 
1 c. spinach
1 c. red kale microgreens
1 c. blueberries
1/2 c. blackberries
3/4 c. strawberries
1 champagne mango, cubed (about 1/2 c.)
2 Tbsp. hemp hearts
2 Tbsp. sprouted chia powder (I used this)
2 Tbsp. lemon 
1/4 of a small avocado
1 1/2 c.  filtered water 
ice (optional)
1/4 c. coconut flakes (optional)

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Serves 2.    Add ice if you want a colder drink or freeze the berries before blending.  My son does not like coconut so I have marked the coconut flakes as an option (I love anything with coconuts).  This was his smoothie today:)  If you're a banana lover, you can also substitute the mango with 1/2 of a banana.

Other options: 

Different nut milks or coconut water.  
Other nuts and seeds of choice (nuts or bigger seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds when soaked overnight are best for digestibility) .




Hopefully, you can try these recipes and enjoy them as well.   If you happen to be new in smoothie making, it may take a while to get use to it but it gets better with time.  Experiment with your favourite fruits and vegetables and be open with new and unfamiliar ingredients.  It wasn't easy for me personally.  I grew up in the Philippines where we didn't eat our vegetables raw.   Green smoothies?  Who knew?


Here are some pics of my recent trip to New York.  The Institute for Integrative Nutrition had a Live Conference on May 4-5 for its students.  What an empowering and inspirational time to listen to great speakers and motivators.  It was also a great time to connect with so many future health coaches like me...about 1,100 of us during those two days at the Jazz at Lincoln Center.  Here's a page that shows the list the speakers. I just did not learn about Nutrition but also the call for mentorship, of becoming an agent of transformation and change and that showing people is more important than just telling them what to do.  I was inspired by these speakers who changed their lives first and are now helping to change other people's lives: Joe Cross (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead), Christine Hassler and Michael Ellsberg.  

Today is a Holiday Monday in Canada and it was a good time to chill with the family. We had an outdoor church service yesterday and a picnic followed after.  I will definitely be  sharing some of the picnic pics next week.  I hope your week had a great start.  Enjoy the rest of it!






Green Smoothie

SmoothiesLina Liwag2 Comments

Well, it's now the end of January and I'm done with birthday celebrations!   I'm back to my green smoothies after making too many raw cheesecakes!

I'm pretty sure many of us have already settled in to a great start for 2013  especially in the areas of health and fitness.  I'm not one who puts her goals in paper at the beginning of each year.  However, I automatically find myself turning the switch on to the I'll exercise more" mode every 2nd of January.  Sounds familiar?  I don't really get carried away with all that food during the holidays but I tend to shy away from my yoga studio or my gym and then my mind go on a mini vacation so to speak.  Got my groove back now and hoping you got yours too.  

Some of you maybe trying to focus on eating more veggies which is awesome. I bet  you've also considered green smoothies or are already even making them.  They get very popular around this time of year.  I want to share a recipe of one of my favourite combinations. 


There are a few things I try to follow when making green smoothies which can also be helpful to you.

1. More greens than fruits is a good rule of thumb.  I know that it can be challenging in the beginning.   If you are new to green smoothies, using equal portions of fruits and veggies is a good place to start and then gradually increase the vegetables. Cucumbers, lettuce and spinach have mild flavours and are not too strong for a newbie.  Just be careful not to overpack on fruits as we can also overdo our sugar consumption depending on what we are eating daily. This is specially so to those who have medical issues like insulin resistance or if you just love eating sweets.  Dr. Joseph Mercola  has a great article regarding fructose from fruit which you can read here.   Experiment on your own and  pretty soon, you’ll be able to come up with your own favourite combinations.  

2.  Using organic produce or avoiding those fruits and veggies with high levels of pesticide. Check this list  By the way, kale/collard greens and green beans have been added to the original dirty dozen.

3. Rotating greens is also a great idea.  Here is a very informative article on the three top reasons why it is important.


Kale, Sprouts and Pear Smoothie
Ingredients: (Preferably Organic)
1 big leaf of curly kale, torn into pieces, about 1 cup
Handful of pea sprouts or sunflower sprouts, about 1 cup
1 pear, cut up
1/4 cup unsweetened dry coconuts (see notes)
2 Tbsp. walnuts
1 Tbsp. chia seeds or sprouted chia powder
2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 - 1/4 of an avocado (depending on how thick you want it)
2  1/2 cups water (or more)
2 Tbsp. dried golden berries or 1 piece Medjool dates (optional)
unsweetened cacao nibs for toppings

 Place all the ingredients into the blender and process until smooth.  Adjust the taste.  This serves two.  Transfer the smoothie to glasses and top with cacao nibs.  Enjoy!

This mixture maybe a little bland for other people.   Add 1 banana,  increase the water by 1 cup and exclude the dates.

I buy the raw and organic dehydrated coconuts from The Big Carrot, a natural food market located near the Danforth and Chester area of Toronto.  They may also be available at Whole Foods Market.  I also soak and blend these to make my version of coconut milk.  They are also great to add in salads, porridges and other drinks.