Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food


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!






Spring Chia Pudding With Blueberries and Champagne Mango

BreakfastLina Liwag6 Comments

Happy Easter!  What a beautiful weekend we've had so far especially celebrating Easter Sunday.  And what better way to celebrate than having  a breakfast of chia pudding (or porridge)  - my all time favourite.  I posted a recipe in November which you can find here but I eat this regularly and just add different toppings depending on the fruits in season.   Many of us are fans of chia...I am a big chia cheerleader among my friends  and co-workers.  It works very well with keeps me full until lunch time without any snacks in between.  It's been believed that the Aztecs and the Mayans relied on it for increased stamina and energy over periods of time.  But then again we also hear of others who cannot tolerate it and it's because we are all different...I am learning more about bio-individuality at IIN.  One man's food may be another's poison despite the media telling us that there is just one perfect diet  every time a new best-seller book comes out.  Our bodies are made differently and therefore react differently with different kinds of foods.   You can read a short article here which best describes bio-individuality frrom Joshua Rosenthal, founder and director of IIN.


So back to our chia pudding ... blueberries and champagne mangoes I think are just so perfect around this time of year and so I have tweaked an old recipe little bit for a variation. The blueberries were blended and then mixed with the pudding so it has that purple colour.  And this is exciting to me because I love Champagne mangoes  with their golden yellow colour and  smooth texture... similar to the Manila mangoes I used to eat back home in the Philippines when I was growing up. This is also the time when they are in season there.

Spring Chia Pudding With Blueberries and Champagne Mango
Ingredients:  (Preferably organic)

For the base:
4 Tbsp. chia seeds
 1/4 c. raw cashews
 1/4 c. coconut flakes
1 piece of Medjool dates, cut into small pieces
1 c. blueberries
1/4 t. vanilla powder
 1 1/2 c. filtered water for blending (or more if you prefer a thinner consistency)
water to soak the cashews and coconut flakes (see Method)

For the toppings: 
1 -  1 1/2 Champagne mangoes, cut into cubes
1/2 c. blueberries
4 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
4 Tbsp. desiccated coconuts

1. Soak the following in different bowls or glass containers  and keep them in the fridge overnight:
a) the cashews in 3/4 c. of water
b) the chia in 1/2 c. of water, stirring it a few times before placing it in the fridge (this prevents it from clumping)
c.) the coconut flakes and the date in 1/4 c. of water (same container)  just to soften them
2.  In the morning, discard the water where the cashews have been soaked.  The coconuts and the date will rehydrate and absorb the water.  Place these ingredients  and the  1 1/2 c. of water in a high speed blender then blend for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.  No need to strain as the pulp is quite soft and not grainy.  Add the blueberries and vanilla and continue to blend for a few seconds until the blueberries are liquified.
3.  Place the soaked chia in a mason jar or a bowl then pour the blueberries cashew/coconut milk mixture slowly and mix until well incorporated.  Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve in nice glasses then add the toppings.  Enjoy!  


This is truly delicious and if by chance you are not fond of chia pudding, give it a chance ...most people I know change their minds after the first try.


Today, I get to celebrate Easter with my family and close friends.  The message at Church was awesome: because of Christ's resurrection, we have no more confusion, no more fear and no more doubt!  It gives me such great confidence and makes me grateful.