Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food


Spring Salad With Strawberry and Orange Dressing

Salad, RawLina LiwagComment

In the warmer months, our bodies crave for lighter foods .  This is not accidental as nature has its way of resetting our bodies according to the season.  In Ayurveda, Spring is the start of the ‘detox season.’  In contrast,  we eat high fat and high protein foods in the winter to keep ourselves warm and nurtured.  Fast forward to spring and summer and it’s clean up time.  Ever wonder why Spring’s harvest brings us greens, sprouts, microgreens, berries and cherries? Read this article here by one of my favourite teachers at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Dr. John Douillard. 

This is a Spring salad that my family has been enjoying recently.  It consists of fruits and vegetables of the season which I find very refreshing.  At this time, I’ve been trying to get away by not using oil in our dressings.  The good fats from the avocado and walnuts are enough.  Trust me, you will definitely not miss the olive oil that’s present in the dressings that we’re so accustomed to.  I highly suggest organic strawberries as the conventional ones are on the dirty dozen+ list of produce high in pesticides. You can check the full list here.  And by the way, this is also salt-free!


Spring Salad With Strawberry and Orange Dressing

Ingredients (Preferably Organic)

6-8 Romaine lettuce leaves, torn to bite-size pieces
2 handfuls of baby arugula or other greens of choice
1 handful of mixed microgreens (pea, sunflower, daikon radish and corn) 
3-4  red radish, thinly sliced
20 organic strawberries
1/3 c. raw walnuts
1 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp. red onions, minced

Optional add-ins:
sulphite-free cranberries or
sulphite-free dried cherries or
dried golden berries


10-12 organic strawberries
juice of 1 medium orange
2 tbsp. lemon juice
a pinch of grated ginger (optional)


1. Wash the lettuce, spin dry and tear them into bite-size pieces. Also wash and prep the rest of the ingredients and place them in a salad bowl.  
2. Juice the orange and lemon then put them with the strawberries in a blender and process until it becomes thick and smooth.  
3. Mix the dressing  into the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!


1. Feel free to substitute the lettuce, greens, sprouts and the berries with fresh produce available in your own area.  I sometimes add mangoes in.

2. Another option for the dressing is using just oranges which you may have to increase accordingly so approximately 1 - 1 1/2 depending on their size.  You also have the option of blending the oranges instead of juicing them.  I sometimes do that if I happen not to have any fresh strawberries. 


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!






Austin’s Saturday “Deluxe” Pancakes (Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry Vegan Pancakes) + My Interim Health Coaching Certificate

BreakfastLina Liwag4 Comments

Ahhh!’s Saturday’s  Austin’s designated “pancake day.” It’s a regular work day for my hubby so it’s just me and my son at home.  Pancakes are the focal point and the starting point of his weekend breakfast.  He usually has his smoothies during school days but in the weekend, he looks forward to what he calls his “deluxe breakfast.”   On Friday evenings, he’ll  actually  ask me “what time do I wake you up to make my breakfast, Mama?” I leave our home very early during the work week so Saturday morning is just the only time I get to sleep in a own little way of indulging.



So I try to do different variations of pancakes.  You see, he started having some food sensitivity almost a year ago.   For six months, he had to be strict with the list of food he can’t eat and I sort of work around this list.   These days, we’ve been introducing some items every now and then and it seems to be working for him.  No more breakouts so far.  However, he can’t just go crazy yet so most times we still stick to no eggs, definitely no dairy and although he’s not really completely allergic to gluten, we try to simplify and use oat flour, buckwheat flour and the occasional spelt which poses no problems for him.

Blueberry pancakes are his favourite but  this week, I felt like making pancakes that’s a cross between chocolate banana bread and something I grew up eating in the Philippines - banana fritters. How yummy!  It brings back childhood memories for me (although at my age, I can't really eat this too much).   It would have been better if the bananas were from my dad’s backyard but hey, organic Ecuadorian bananas will do just fine. They are not local but Canada is just not the land for banana trees.  I hope everyone will enjoy this as much as we do.



Austin’s Saturday “Deluxe” Pancakes (Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry Vegan Pancakes)
Ingredients (preferably organic)
Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 c. oat flour
1/4 c. buckwheat flour
3 Tbsp. cacao powder 
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder 
1/4 tsp. Himalayan crystal salt
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/2 nut milk of choice (I used homemade cashew milk)
1 very ripe banana, chopped (to be blended with the nut milk)
1 banana thinly sliced (to be mixed with the batter)
coconut oil to cook the pancakes
sliced strawberries
sliced bananas
cacao powder
maple syrup

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
2. Combine  the one banana with the nut milk in a blender and pulse until  well blended. 
3. Pour the nut milk/banana mixture into the dry ingredients.  Add the banana slices then  stir the mixture until well combined then set the batter aside for at least 10 minutes.
4. Heat a little coconut oil into a skillet and pour 1/4 c. of the batter for each pancake making sure 4  banana slices go to each one.  Turn the heat into low and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes.  It should form some bubbles on top and check the underside for doneness, then flip over to cook the other side.
5. You can place the cooked ones in a warm oven while waiting for the rest to be done. This makes about 10 pancakes. 
6. Serve by sprinkling cacao powder, top with a mixture of strawberries and more bananas then drizzle with pure organic Canadian maple syrup.  Enjoy!



1. If you want a thicker mixture, you can reduce the nut milk to 1 1/4 then the pancakes will be more dense and thicker.  
2. You can also use other berries for toppings.  By mixing the berries with bananas, it gives it a little tartness for an enhanced flavour. If you are using blueberries or strawberries, make sure that they organic since they are on the dirty dozen+ list of produce high in pesticide.  You can check the list here.


Last week, I received my interim certificate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I’m halfway through my holistic health coach training.  How exciting!  It felt like I just  started yesterday but it has already been 20 weeks.   I am very grateful for this small victory and I can’t wait to finish the whole course!


I hope everyone is enjoying this time of year.  Toronto had some winter weather with some snow and freezing rain last week but I will wait patiently for the trees and flowers to bloom.  I am looking forward to take pictures when they do!