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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Halibut in a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce

Easter is right around the corner. I saw something like this on Pinterest - and thought that I would give them a go to send up to my nieces and nephew. They didn't turn out as nicely - but I still think that they are so cute. I now have a ton of fishy crackers leftover - so I will be making more of them. Please get your order in before next Tuesday. JUST KIDDING. Although I would make you a carrot, because I love ya.

On Tuesday, Tanya (remember I just talked about her HERE - she is my running/coffee date every Saturday morning) went to a Thai cooking class. It was so delicious. Authentic thai recipes - with fresh ingredients. I have never done a class like this before - and I have a feeling that it is going to be the first of many. On Monday night, I watched Masterchef Canada and one of the judges had the contestants preparing dishes from his restaurant - and one was - Halibut in a coconut curry sauce. He didn't show the recipe or how to make it, but showed how to plate it. And, also on Tuesday, my friend Steph gave me two pieces of fresh halibut from her fishing excursion on the weekend.

Are you seeing where this is going? Hint, Thai, Halibut, Fate.

I thought that I would just wing it - and so happy that I did. Chris loved it - said that it may be better than my chicken pot pie recipe. Hoorah!

A couple of things before I get started. 1. I just winged it - and if someone is a master Thai chef - they may said that it isn't Thai. 2. I used way too much jalapeno - my mouth was an inferno when we were done. Chris' loved the heat - but had a little sweat on. I took his picture. Warning: HE'S HANDSOME.


Halibut in a Thai Coconut Curry Sauce

2 generous servings of fresh halibut (I think any fish would work for this - but I really love how halibut held up b/c it's so meaty)
4 cloves of garlic
Fresh ginger - roughly chopped - @ 2 tbsp worth
Jalapeno pepper - use as much or as little as you like
Juice and zest of one lime
2 tbps of curry powder
1 small can of coconut milk
1 tbsp of honey
Kosher salt and pepper for seasoning

In a food processor, add in the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, juice and lime zest - and chop/grind until it is finely minced.
*I didn't have any cilantro - but I wish that I had. I would have added a small bunch to the above mixture, and used a bit for a garnish on top.

In a saucepan - add 1 tsp of canola oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the above mixture and saute for a couple of minutes - until everything is heating up nicely. Stir in the curry powder so that it coats everything. Add in the coconut milk, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer nicely, stirring often - until the halibut is cooked. Add the honey near the end and stir it in completely.

Season both sides of the halibut, with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat a pan on medium/high heat and add 1-2tbsp of olive oil. Place the presentation side of the halibut in the pan first. My pieces still had the skin on so I put the pieces in the pan skin side up.

Cook each side for 5 minutes. Our pieces were quite thick, but you could possibly get away with cooking them 3-5 minutes per side.

Remove the halibut from the pan.

In a shallow bowl, add the coconut curry sauce.

Place the piece of halbut on top of the sauce and garnish. I sliced red peppers very thinly, but I think that cilantro would look lovely.

I served this along side of sauteed yams with yellow and red peppers.



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Long live Spring

I'm not sure if it's because I grew up, up north, in a little town where winter was about 6 months of the year, or if it's because I love wearing sweaters, boots, scarves - typical winter clothes; but I always, every year have a hard time transitioning from winter to spring/summer.

I am from a small town on the northwest coast of BC, Kitimat. I feel very fortunate to have been raised there - there were a lot of great things there that made it a good place to grow up. Every March/April, the snow would start to melt and after about a 6 week transition - it went from cold days and nights with lots of snow - to warmer days and nights with the muck left over from all of the winter snow. Although the spring ended up being lovely and beautiful, it was the length of time that it took to go from one season to another. After living in Victoria now for so many years, I still find myself in that limbo - missing winter, happy spring is here, but just not fully embracing the change of season. It's sort of like I feel that there are going to be a few more cold spells or even a spring snow storm, and I just can't get past it.

I know that it's super odd. We have had amazing weather, and our cherry blossoms have been out for months now. We have tulips and daffodils growing in the gardens and today would be a warm enough day to leave the house without a coat. But... still I left the house with the coat that I pretty much wear all winter, a long sleeve shirt and no desire to spend more time outside than it took to walk the pups. Now, we did have an extra long walk down at the beach, and I did wear sunglasses - so perhaps I am on track; however, I am cozy in my house, cleaning, cooking, watching back episodes of 'Chopped' and writing a blog post. I am trying not to feel guilty about not being outside embracing this incredible spring day, but I feel like I am just not quite ready for spring yet.

What is wrong with me? Am I alone? Is it so bad to want another rainy day so that I can stay inside and not feel guilty about not being out in the yard like my neighbours are? Why do they have to be out so early in the year? Weeding, pruning, planting, laughing, dancing... They probably think that I'm a hermit. Oh well.

I found these pictures that made me happy. They are from last June. Road trip. Oh how she loves the windows down and her hair blowing in the wind. She loves spring. She loves fresh, long grass. She isn't like me. I need to take her lead and do what she loves. When the husband gets home we are going to go for a car ride. :)

I hope that you're loving spring. I know that for some areas it's not quite spring - but it is coming. The sun and warm air will be so good for you.

I don't have any new recipes really - or pictures of what I have been making. BUT, I do have this wee gem from back in April 2010. It made me smile. So much going on that time. A struggling running career, and finding our pup that went missing for a couple of days. Check it out HERE.

Long live Spring.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Must love Kale.

I've mentioned this before - but for me - being organized at home - is like being organized in my core. That may sound a bit odd - but if I have consistency and organization - I just feel better. I function better. Now, that being said, I have so much to do to get full organization around here - so that sort of means I am a bit unorganized on the inside. BUT, I am so much more focused on keeping things in order on a daily basis - that it just really benefits me day to day, week to week, etc.

For example - remember the episode of Hoarders when I showed you our before and after of our bedroom? Check it out HERE. Well, that was done about 9 months ago, and I am so happy to report that our bedroom is still as clean and organized as it was when we finished our wee transformation. We make our bed every morning. We open the blinds and curtains. We put our shoes away. We put our clothes away. That may sound a bit strange - but going to bed and waking up in tranquility, is just so good and healthy for me. Coming home from a long day - and knowing where my cozy clothes are (yoga pants and a hoody) are and seeing everything look fresh and clean, is a huge sigh of relief and peace.

So, taking baby steps, I tackled another organizational task this weekend. Small people. SMALL. We are not seeing any huge victories with this one - but oh did it feel good. I am embarrassed to show you the 'before' pictures, but I figure we're friends and there is no judgment. The TV show 'Hoarders' could have stopped by with this clean-out as well, but they weren't invited.

So, this is my 'spice' cupboard. I referred to it on many occasions. Like when I would be asked 'Where is your vanilla?' I would reply 'Oh, it's in the spice cupboard'. And, 'Where is your poultry seasoning?' - I would quickly answer 'In the spice cupboard, of course'. And then I noticed that I started answering 'In the spice cupboard' to questions like 'Where is that cigar I got from Maxine?' or 'Where is the cat's medication?'. As you can tell, the spice cupboard had sort of been turned into - the get it off the counter cupboard.



See! That baby had a lot of 'stuff' in it.

I pulled out so much stuff. Stuff that I didn't know that I had.

Then I recycled containers, composted (we have a new food composting program now and I was fully onboard with it this weekend) and cleaned it all out.

I got a metal shelf so that I had more space and didn't have to pile things on top of one another. It's not fancy - but it does the trick.

Then I got tiny mason jars and filled them with spices. They are the perfect size and will keep things nice and fresh.


And then I started putting things back in.

And voila! It's clean, organized and I can see what I have at a quick glance.

We are on day 3 and so far so good. The cinnamon that goes into our morning shakes is taken out and put back in the exact spot every time. I just love it.

Alright - time for some food talk.

I think that you may have noticed that we are sort of hooked on Kale around here. The stuff is so full of nutrients. It's hearty. And so easy to add to any dish. So instead of pasta (which I love so much but try to avoid it at all costs) I whipped up some meatballs and kale caesar salad.

I used extra lean ground beef for the meatballs.
And spaghetti sauce - from a jar. I used the Safeway Organics brand - and it is my 'go to' when I am not in the mood for making sauce from scratch.

For the kale - I add a tbsp of lemon olive oil and two cloves of grated garlic. I chopped a large bunch of kale into short strips and sauteed with a pinch of kosher salt over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until it was  slightly softened.

In a bowl, I added 1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt, a heaping tbsp of dijon mustard and a tsp of honey and some freshly ground black pepper. Whisked it together and poured over the warm kale.

And topped it all with parmesan cheese.

It's hearty, flavourful and best of all good for you.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Icy

I am embarrassed really. It has been almost 4 months since I have posted anything on my blog. Maybe embarrassed isn't the right word. I am feeling badly that I sort of 'gave up' on this wee part of me that I have enjoyed so much for so long. I am not sure what happened really. I use the excuse - life, and sadly, it's sort of what happened. Busy with Christmas, then a new year, a new workout regime, a new schedule with my husband after 14 years. There has been a lot of changes within the last 4 months. All good. All worth it. All a part of life.

I don't want to say 'I'M BACK BABY', because what if I'm not? And then BABY will be like 'uh, you said you were back, and then you bugger off again'. It's just like me, isn't it? So, I think, like with the new changes that have been successful over the past couple of months - I will just take tiny steps - try to commit to a few posts a week and not declare a post a day and after 5 days of no posts, I won't feel like a failure, curl up in a ball, and just rock.

I won't get into everything that I have been doing over the past 3.5 months, because trust me it is huge and  you guys will be on the edge of your seats with anticipation of how life is so grand. Just kidding. Although, life has been good. After 14 years of my husband being at the studio 5 nights a week and 1 weekend day - he is only there 2 nights a week and for a couple hours on a Saturday. It's been a huge change. Actually cooking and sitting down to have dinner together, more than once a week is pretty great. There are so many bonuses - I am feeling pretty blessed to have some good quality time with him.

For Christmas this year, my mom gave us a Vitamix. Now - if you're not familiar with the Vitamix, you have to check it out. We started with the NutriBullet - remember THIS ? The Vitamix, pretty much puts the NB to shame. This thing is the wizard of all blenders. It is brilliant. We love it. I love it. My husband REALLY loves it. He is hooked on making us the most amazing, healthiest breakfast drinks every morning. Doesn't the Army say something like 'We do more before 8 AM than you do all day'? Well, our saying could be 'We eat more vegetables before 6 AM than you eat all day'. Seriously, it's crazy. Our fridge is always stocked with kale, swiss chard, broccoli, carrots, berries - and then the other stuff like pumpkin seeds, chia, hemp, sesame seeds, almonds, goji berries - all raw - full of nutrients and goodness.

Now, while Chris is making our daily 'shakes' as we like to call them, I am trying new things out, like this.

Looks like a strawberry milkshake, doesn't it? It sort of is.

But, before I share this recipe - I want to share a bit about my friend Tanya. She also has a Vitamix - and tells me about the great treats that she makes with it.  It's sort of because of her that I really wanted to get one. That, and because when we were in Costco in Maui, there was a guy doing a Vitamix demo, and he made the most amazing lemon ice treat - and I almost bought one right then and there. And then remembered that it wouldn't fit in my luggage.

Ok, so Tanya is a great friend that I have got to know her over the last year. We have become running partners. We run every Saturday morning together - rain, snow or shine - we're there. We take turns picking a route, and we have increased our runs in duration and distance for the past couple of months. For the past month or so we have headed to a Starbucks - recover from our run - replenish our body with much needed liquids - and just sit (I wince when I sit b/c my legs are always so sore) and talk and talk.

I LOVE our new Saturday ritual - I look forward to it all week.  She has become an amazing friend - and pushes me probably without knowing that she is - and makes me want to work hard. At the end of our run we always feel great - and I feel really lucky to have found someone with similar fitness goals - and has become a great friend.

When I was thinking about what to whip up for a sweet treat this weekend - I thought of strawberries and balsamic vinegar. And balsamic vinegar reminds me of Tanya b/c she loves it. It may sound like a bit of a weird combination - an icy treat with strawberries and vinegar, but trust me, it isn't! Just wait to you see what else is in this. You'll freak. In a good way.

Strawberry Balsamic Icy

2 cups of ice
8 strawberries  - washed and tops removed
1 1/2 cups of light ricotta (say what???)
1 tbsp of creme de balsamic

If you have a Vitamix - so easy - put everything in and blend on low for 30 seconds and then on high for another 30 seconds. And that's it.

If you have another type of blender - blend until all of the ingredients are smooth and creamy.

Top with a drizzle of balsamic, and enjoy!

Seriously, so good.

Alright friends. I am just cooking dinner. We are having mini turkey meatloaves (also inspired by Tanya) with a sweet potato hash that has celery, onion, peppers, zucchini and corn. I have been eating the sweet potatoes, raw, the entire time. I love them.

Thanks for stopping by. I will try not to be a stranger.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Chef - Stephanie

I am very excited to have a Guest Chef for my blogpost today. It's been quite some time since I have had a guest - and not only do I love sharing their recipes - I love what they share with me, so that I can share with you.

I have had a few guests, all have given great recipes - you can check them out HERE.

Today's guest chef, is my friend Stephanie. We have known each other for a little over a year. We met at our gym and became friends while talking ground turkey from Costco as we sweated our butts off while spinning. In January, we decided to start our running adventure together and created 'Friday Night Run Club'. Or 'FNRC'. Or 'Eff'n Run Club'. Depending on the day, the weather, our moods - really depended on what we called the club. We started out with 2 members - her and myself. We picked up a few other members from time to time. Then we added our dogs - her Stella and my Magnum. Stella is a natural runner with long legs - sure could be a marathoner. Magnum, his short little legs didn't stop him from trying to keep up.

Stella. I love this dog.

We started out slow and steady - and before too long - we pretty much switched to Tuesday nights, picked up a permanent member, Natasha, and before we knew it we were ready for the TC10K. And since then, Steph has upped her running career and has done quite a few more.

When I started this 'new life' of mine - I knew that there would be struggles, wins, losses, bad days, good days and a bunch of other stuff in between. What I didn't really even think about when I started would be the friendships that I would make along the way. That didn't even cross my mind. I feel fortunate to have met Steph and a few other lovely ladies (they know who they are) who have helped make this experience way more than I ever thought it would be.

I appreciate her friendship - and the fact that she has had to listen to me bitch and moan about my weak bladder on so many different occasions. That she had me out running when I would have rather have been in front of the TV with potato chips. And she makes me laugh when I definitely need it.

Now, not only is she a great friend and workout mate - she is an incredible baker and cook.

The pictures that I am about to share - are incredible. Please don't try and eat your computer screen. 

Chocolate Pavlova - with fresh fruit, whipped cream and chocolate. Oh my.

Meet Stephanie. 

What is your favourite meal of all time (to eat?)
My favorite meal would have to be perogies. As a child my mom use to hand make them each year for my birthday only. And too this day she still makes the best (even tho she hasn't made them in years) :)

What is your favourite meal of all time to cook?
In the winter time my fav thing too cook is soup! I dont have a specific thing I like too cook, I love to experiment in the kitchen.

What is your favourite dessert to bake?
I actually never bake dessert unless we have company over but in the summer I like making pavlova with fresh fruit and cream.

Where did you learn to be such an amazing cake decorator? 
When I was 16 I got a job at a high end catering company as a dishwasher. I later became a cook. We had an inhouse baker (2 over the years) that both took me under their wings and showed me the basics of baking, filling, icing and decorating cakes. After that I learned by myself through trial and error and by having great family and friends that would order cakes and let me develop their vision into a cake. Ive never done the same cake twice, therefore I have been learning new skills with each cake.

What is your most memorable meal?
Best meal EVER was from Zambri's. A bunch of foodie friends and I went there in.our late teens. I had Steak with a blue cheese demi glace sauce. Polenta with truffle oil and brown butter sage roasted squash. Drool! Ive recreated the same meal at home a few times, but its never AS good as Zambris.

If you could have dinner with anyone - who would it be? What would you eat? And where?
I have to say Gordon Ramsey. I love how passionate he is. Id eat anything he would cook but better yet Id love to just cook with him. 

Now for her recipe. These were so incredible. So pretty. And I was being ladylike that day and only had one - but if I had to do it all over again - I would have told everyone to look out the window and then grabbed 4 or 5 or how many I could fit in my mouth/pockets and ran.

Black bean brownies

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15½ oz)
2 eggs
3 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup honey or agava
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
zest of one orange

In a food processor puree beans, once smooth-ish add the remaining ingredients except the eggs. Blend. Put in a bowl and beat in eggs (being carful not to over mix the batter at this point)
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350 or until almost puffed in the middle- approx 15 minutes.
Let cool Completly
Chocolate avocado icing
1 avacdo
1/3 cocoa powder
Honey/agave- to taste
1 tsp vanilla
In a food processor blend avacado and cocoa powder. Add more cocoa powder if you like. Add honey too taste and vanilla. Let icing set in the fridge, the cocoa will naturally thicken the icing. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

These freeze great iced. And because their is no butter in the icing you can take a frozen iced cupcake, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, until its warm and soft in the center and have a guilt free treat.

Seriously they are as deelish as they look - maybe even better! You would never have knows that they were made from black beans or that there was avocado in the icing. 

Steph also did our little Miss Avery's 'cow theme' first birthday cake. 




Saturday, November 16, 2013

Butternut squash posing as pasta. Whoever would have thought?

I had to share this. I took it yesterday morning - he was so cuddly with his sister - I brought out the camera and he totally posed. 

I made this for dinner last weekend. It was a hit. And, I think that I may make it for dinner again tonight. Is it weird that if I make something that I like that I want to make it over and over?

It reminds me, I think that I have may have said this before, but when my mom made lasagna when we were kids. And then she made it all the time. I am not complaining - trust me - she made good lasagna - but we seemed to have it a lot. And now I know why. It was pretty easy to put together,  you can make them and stick them in the freezer - defrost and cook - and it's delicious! And considering there was something on every night of the week - having a fully stocked freezer was a must.

I haven't got into freezing meals. I have friends who do a ton of it. They freeze individual dishes so that they can pull them out for lunch or dinner - and they meal is ready. I think that it's brilliant. There are a few reasons why I think that I don't do this: 1. We have a pull out freezer in the fridge - which makes it a bit of a challenge to add in containers; 2. We have a small deep freeze - that at times, I'm not going to lie has been a little like a black hole - you put something in, and then you put something else in, and something else... and before you know it you can't remember what's at the bottom. We did a big clean out several months ago - and we turfed some stuff that probably should not have been missed - chicken, steaks...; 3. We don't have a microwave - not that you need one - but it's much easier to heat something up in a microwave in the same dish that it defrosted in; 4. I think that I just really prefer making something in the moment and eating it and having it for leftovers.

I think that if we had kids - freezing the meals would be a must. And I think that if we had a stand up deep freeze - then I would be able to see what is in there at all times and it would be easier for things not to get buried.

Anyways - let's talk this dish. Similar to my Zucchini as Pasta dish - HERE - this one used butternut squash. I LOVE butternut squash. I almost always either make a soup with it - or chop it up and add it to a hash type dish.

Butternut squash 'pasta'

1 medium sized butternut squash
1 medium sized onion - diced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts - diced
1/2 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves - minced or grated
1 red pepper - thinly sliced
2 cups mushrooms - thinly chopped
1 cup light ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Using a peeler - peel thin lengthwise strips of the squash. Once you get to the center- it's time stop. I wrap my squash up and use it for soup or in a stir-fry.

In a skillet - with a drizzle of olive oil - saute the onion until it becomes translucent. For about 10-15 minutes. Add in the chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is tender. Add in the garlic and the white wine. Scrape up all the flavourful bits and then add in the squash. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add in the pepper and mushrooms. Continue cooking until the squash is el dente and the vegetables are at a consistency that you like.

Reduce the heat and stir in the ricotta and about half of the parmesan. Let it coat the squash and vegetables, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the ricotta is nice and warm.

Serve immediately with another sprinkle of parmesan. And enjoy.

It's not pasta - but to me it's lighter and more flavourful and much healthier. You could make this vegetarian, just taking out the chicken. And could make it vegan - removing the chicken and cheeses - and adding a bit of vegetable stock to give it more of a sauce. 

I hope that you're enjoying your Saturday - breathing in the sun if it's out where you are.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Green with eggs and ham

I have had this thought on my mind the past couple of days. I am not sure what brought it on - maybe it was coming back from paradise and reflecting on 'my world'. Or if it was a huge change that someone I know is making in their life - throwing everything out (or so to speak) and just starting over. Or if it is because it's November, the raining season is among us, the nights are longer and darker and I have more time to sit and ponder instead of heading down to the tele and watching RHofNJ.

Settling. That's what I have been thinking about. I just sort of have been wondering - if the decisions that we make in our life are because we have settled for them, or is it because we have put thought into these decisions and that is what we have decided on? I guess there are a couple of different ways to look at it. And as I write this - I wonder if it is really 'settling' that I am thinking about - or is it in fact the decisions that we made or make?

I think about health and fitness for example. Is the reason that I am overweight because I settled for this because I thought that this is the way that I am destined to be? Or, is it because I made the decision to not live my life to the healthiest way that I possibly should? And then I can go from there and ask myself, that if I settled, would I have made a choice to change and work hard to turn my life from not taking care of myself - to making myself my number one priority?

I guess what I am thinking is that if we make a decision that eventually we feel may not have been the best for us - that it's possible to change it. But, if we make a decision and feel that we have settled, then making a change may seem impossible because it's harder to change something that we have settled on or deserve.

Maybe using the words 'settle' and 'decision' aren't the best words to use. Who knows?!?

What I feel that I am trying to say is that any decision that we make in our life, whether it be long or short term, we should feel that we have the ability to change it if it isn't the right one. And although we make a decision at one point in our lives - with or without really even knowing - we have the ability to make a change. That just because we have chosen a path doesn't mean that we have to settle on that path.

Life, love, happiness - is what we make of it. Wanting the most for ourselves is probably the most important thing - because we're worth it.


Alright - quick recipe that I love. I have said this before, and before and before that. I really like eggs. Before I started my workout program - I would probably have eggs for breakfast maybe once or twice a month. Something that we really focus on in our program when it comes to diet, is ensuring that we have protein at every meal. At first, I thought - easy. But really - it wasn't. I didn't realize that what I thought was protein wasn't really a good source. So, as a result, I introduced a lot more eggs to our diet. Chris works with a woman who has chickens - so normally we're having eggs from organic free run/free range chickens on a weekly basis. I have a couple of 'gotos' that I love to whip up - and am always trying new things. Scrambled eggs and goat cheese is still probably my all time fave - but sometimes I need to mix it up a bit.

We eat a lot of kale - so I was happy to have something else to add it too. I may need to become a kale farmer to keep up with our demand.

This Saturday morning - after a grueling spin class - I whipped these up - and they hit the spot.

Green with eggs and ham

3-4 kale leaves - chop them up into small pieces - nothing fancy - just a quick, coarse chop
6 eggs
1 tbsp italian seasoning
Chili flakes
1/4 skim milk
Ham - pre-cooked - chopped into small bite size pieces
Cheese - parmesan, cheddar - shredded - just enough to add a bit of deliciousness - maybe 1/4 cup (and if you don't want to add cheese - then don't!)

In a large skillet - drizzle a tsp of olive oil and add the kale and cook over medium heat. Saute until the greens start to slightly wilted. Add in the ham and toss it all together.

In a large bowl, crack in the eggs. Add in the italian seasoning and chili flakes. I tend to not season with kosher salt because the ham is already salty. Use a whisk and whisk the eggs up. Add in the milk and give it another whisk.

Pour the eggs over the kale and ham and with a spoon stir it all up. Stir constantly to ensure that the eggs are coating all of the kale and ham. Let the eggs cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the cheese and stir it into the egg mixture.

And that's it.

I like to serve the eggs with a piece of whole wheat toast - and some grape or cherry tomatoes.

And that's it. Super easy, super healthy and nutritious and a super way to start the day.