My children are very close in age and when they were small, life could be best described as noisy, chaotic, and messy. My days were spent in near-constant motion, days of meeting never-ending needs and tidying up never-ending messes — until naptime. That brief window of silence in my days was my chance to take a break, a few moments just for me. I could sit undisturbed and sip a cup of chai or peppermint tea, and eat a snack that I would have to share with no one.
Those stolen moments in my day were real lifesavers to me; they allowed me to recharge and breathe and feel like myself again, even if only a half an hour before I was dealing with tantrums and spilled milk and explosive diapers.
Motherhood can be a stressful business, and that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. As I get older, I think more and more about the importance of my physical health not just for my own well-being, but for that of the family as well; I’m always cooking foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and am constantly on the lookout for healthy and delicious products.
I was really happy, then, to find out about Heights Honeybush Health Tea, a new lineup of teas that are full of antioxidants, which counteract the ravages of stress on the body — as I look in the mirror at my grey roots and lined face. I feel I need all the help I can get.
Honeybush is an ancient plant native to South Africa. A botanical cousin of Rooibos, it has been used by the native peoples for centuries as a herbal tea, and tincture. It is especially valued for its naturally sweet taste, delightful aroma, and medicinal qualities.
In a 2012 study, it was found that Honeybush normalized blood sugars and improved other metabolic aberrations associated with type 2 Diabetes. So the consumption of Honeybush Health Tea has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugars — great news for anyone concerned about Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
My husband's sugar consumption is severely limited due to health reasons, and he was more than happy to enjoy a glass of the naturally-sweet tasting iced tea, which has no sugars or artificial sweeteners.
My favourite? The loose-leaf Heights Hibiscus Tea shown in the large image at the top of this post.
Heights HoneyBush Herbal Tea is also:
Want to give it a try? The iced herbal tea can be purchased at these retail stores and their loose-leaf tea is only available online. And a bonus...part of the proceeds from each sale of loose leaf goes towards providing school supplies for Joubertina Elementary school in South Africa.
No matter what stage of life you are in, whether you are dealing with diapers or homework drama, toddler tantrums or teenager tantrums, we could all use a relaxing afternoon tea break. With antioxidant-rich, cholesterol and blood sugar-lowering Honeybush Health Tea, it can literally be a lifesaver.
If you've been reading my recipes for a while, you will know one thing about me for sure: I do not back away from weird food experiments. I make cream out of cashews and ice cream out of bananas, I put beans in ice cream sandwiches and spinach in my smoothies. I make desserts out of avocados and chips out of kale. Some days my life feels like one long experiment in strange foods.
But there is one trend I've avoided, and that is the making of pizza crusts from cauliflower. It seemed too strange even for me. I kept seeing it, and hearing great things about it, so eventually I gave in to the siren song of the crazy food experiment.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make a vegan cauliflower pizza crust that would a) hold together, and b) be tasty. This recipe fills the bill! It holds together but it is still quite delicate, so handle with care. There are a few steps involved, but not more than making your own pizza crust from scratch, and the best part is that it's delicious and healthy! Two of my favourite things. Let your freak flag fly, give this a try!
In a food processor, pulse cauliflower florets until they resemble rice or couscous.
Place cauliflower "rice" in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for eight minutes, stirring at the halfway mark. Allow to cool.
Scoop cooled cauliflower into the middle of a tea towel and squeeze the liquid out of it. Repeat this three times until it is very dry and you can squeeze no more liquid out. At this point, the cauliflower will be reduced in size by one half, so you should have approximately 2 cups of cauliflower that resembles cookie dough.
In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax and water; set in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Press the dough onto the sprayed parchment paper and form into a circle. Ensure that the middle is about 1/4 inch thick and the sides are slightly thicker.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the middle is very firm.
Remove from oven, add your favourite toppings and then bake for another 10 minutes.
Handle with care, and enjoy!
Yield: Makes one 12-inch pizza crust
Want more cauliflower? Try my Oven-Roasted Cauliflower With Pesto, or my Vegan Mac & Cheese (speaking of food experiments - a "cheese sauce" made out of cauliflower!).
Oh, that special time of the month. I usually refer to it in the sweetly euphemistic yoga term, “ladies’ holidays,” although in reality it is less “holiday” and more “shark week.” When I look at my husband and wonder why he is being such a JERK, and why my children are TALKING so much, and why everyone in the world is so ANNOYING, and, good grief, I’m STARVING, and this song on the radio is so SAD, and I hate my HAIR, and my pants feel too TIGHT—when all of those things happen within a half-day span, I generally remember to look at my calendar, which will inevitably show me that I’m due for a visit from Auntie Flo.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Did you know that there are a number of foods that you can eat to help alleviate those nasty PMS symptoms? No, I’m not talking about a giant bag of salt and vinegar chips or a hot fudge sundae—although those treats might feel good in the moment, they won’t help your premenstrual bloat/ irritability/ feelings of despair. Instead, give these snacks a try!
Mood-Altering Sweet Treats
These Gluten-Free Almond Butter Blondies are rich in calcium and magnesium, thanks to the almonds, flax, and quinoa. Calcium and magnesium are not only great for your bones, but they have been shown to improve mood and lessen bloating, especially during that time of the month. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a smiley face and pants that button, thanks! Speaking of bloating…
Fight Fire With Fibre
I know you don’t want to talk about it, but sometimes constipation can be a problem around “ladies’ holidays.” Fight it with these high-fibre Cranberry Blueberry Bran Muffins! Remember those old commercials for fibre cereal wherein everyone is amazed at how good fibre tastes? Well, these muffins are a testament to good-tasting fibre—think a healthier version of Tim Hortons’ signature muffin.
I’m Strong To The Finish 'Cause I Eats Me Spinach
Spinach is also an excellent source of magnesium, not to mention iron. Shark week can deplete your iron levels, so why not partake in a Tropical Green Smoothie? It’s tasty and energy-boosting, and the hemp seeds in the smoothie are a huge source of iron, magnesium, and manganese, which has been shown to reduce feelings of irritability, depression, and tension. I'm pretty sure my husband is going to be checking my "special calendar" in order to desperately blend up some of these as a "surprise" for me. Extra hemp seeds, stat!
Vitamin B6 is vital in the production of dopamine, which is the body’s “feel-good” neurotransmitter. The humble chickpea is one of the best sources of Vitamin B6; therefore, eating this Roasted Red Pepper Hummus will bring joy to your life. QED!
Must Eat All The Chips
Here’s a confession: I cannot keep potato chips or other salty snack foods in my house. They are my Kryptonite. When faced with an open bag of potato chips, there is only one possible outcome—me, lying bloatedly on the couch with crumbs all over my shirt. Needless to say, this is not a great situation, especially if one is already premenstrually bloated and puffy. Skip the potato chips, give these savoury Kale Chips a try—not only will they help curve cravings for salty snack food, but kale is also a great source of calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Next month, when the kids' discussion of Minecraft is threatening to make you lose your mind, when you have to pull the car over to cry because you heard Foolish Games on the radio, or when your husband "forgets" to unload the dishwasher and you find yourself secretly plotting his demise, stop. Stop right there and try a few of these snacks—you'll be glad you did!