We’re celebrating with a $100 GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Wooohoo!! It’s time to celebrate! Today, this post marks my 100th blog post!

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100!!!! AHHHH! How did that happen?!

When I first started this blog over a year ago, it was initially intended as a place to store clean recipes. It quickly grew into an exciting hub where I’ve thoroughly enjoyed interacting with you as you share your ideas and tips for clean living.
I love tinkering in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes and sharing them with you all! I am so appreciative of all of the support you have shown to me!

Now anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to celebrate! I thought this was the PERFECT occasion to celebrate YOU- my friends and blog followers! I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement with this blog!

To show my appreciation I have an AWESOME giveaway for you!

I am giving away a $100 VISA giftcard to one lucky person!

Yes!  You read that right!

ONE HUNDRED SMACKERS!!!!!

What could you do this summer with an extra $100?!!

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This is how the giveaway will work:

* Share ANY past post from my blog on either Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Your name will be entered one time for EVERY “share”.

* “Subscribe” to my blog and receive one entry.

* “like” my facebook page and receive one entry.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cleanlifehappywife/462641640565780?fref=ts

* Receive 2 entries for sharing THIS post to ANY of your social media. (facebook, twitter, instagram)

* THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!!! Once you have completed your shares, subscribes and likes, simply comment to this post with your name and how you shared. (Example: Pamela Sykes, 8 post shares, 1 subscribe, 1 fb like )

* The winner will be chosen on Monday June 29th! You have 3 days to share this as many times as you can to rack up your entries!

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Good luck and thank you sooooo much for supporting this blog!

I’m so excited to see who the winner will be!!  🙂

 

With a grateful heart,

Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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Clean “Make Your Own” Chicken Wraps

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I would like to start off by apologizing for the poor photo quality in this post! I was literally having to hold my two munchkins back from the table while I tried to snap this photo! They LOVE this dinner and I haven’t made it for a while so they were a little excited to dig in! 🙂 Every Mom knows that dinnertime can be a challenge and trying to incorporate healthy eating can seem impossible with picky little eaters! I love this recipe because it is not only delicious it is also fun! Any type of “make your own” meal is a hit with our kids! My kids love choosing their own ingredients and building their very own wrap! In this recipe I listed the ingredients I used, but you can really use whatever you have on hand!

Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken breast ( Cook minced garlic in a frying pan in olive oil until brown. Add the slices of chicken breast and fully cook.)

Olive oil

Minced garlic

Sea salt

Diced avacado

Diced red onion

Shredded goat cheddar

Lettuce

Plain greek yogurt

Alfalfa Sprouts

Ezekiel Wraps

Other ingredients you could use:

Corn

Black Beans

Tomato

Green Peppers

Isn’t eating clean so fun?! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this!

XO, Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappylife.com

For more clean recipes just like this one, click on the top right hand corner to subscribe! 🙂

Clean (oh so mean) Pumpkin Scones

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I was pretty excited about the Clean Pumpkin Scone Recipe I was going to post for you today! Last night I mixed up all of the ingredients and popped them into the oven. I was trying a brand new recipe and I seemed to be off to a good start because my kitchen smelled AMAZING!! My 6 year old daughter came running to the kitchen asking what I was making because they smelled soooo good! When the timer started to buzz and I pulled them out they looked great too! They looked light and fluffy and were golden brown on the edges. My daughter was begging for one before bed, but I told her she had to wait until the morning when they were cooled off, and assured her that I would pack one in her lunch. This morning went just the same way that every Mother with school aged children goes. It was a blur of cereal, uniforms, homework folders, lunch bags and toothbrushes. After I dropped my kids off at school I returned to my house and saw the glorious pumpkin scones sitting on my countertop. I smiled to myself. “Today was going to be a good day”. I put on a pot of tea, and placed the scone on a plate. I admit, I was probably WAY too excited to eat that scone! I poured my tea, sat on my couch, exhaled and took my first bite.
It was…the most disgusting, foul, gag-worthy piece of food I’ve put into my mouth in a very long time! I didn’t even consciously spit it out. It was as if my tongue did it on it’s own.I can’t even really articulate what exactly was wrong it with! It was ALL wrong; the flavour, the texture, the aftertaste- the whole thing! What a disappointment! 😦
The worst part is that I remembered packing one in my daughters lunch this morning! Poor girl! Whoopsie!

I’m sure that everyone who has endeavoured to eat “clean” has had experiences just like this! If you are starting a clean eating program and you are feeling like there is nothing good to eat! Hang in there! It really does get better! If you are feeling like it’s way too much work, the food is gross and it’s too time consuming- you are not alone! You CAN find amazingly delicious recipes! They are out there! But you may need to go through a few bad ones to find the good ones! Don’t give up! The rewards for fuelling your body with nutrition rich foods are worth it! If you are feeling like everyone else seems to have this clean eating thing down while you are just limping along- you are not alone! We ALL experience moments like that!
You CAN DO IT!! Don’t give up! If a recipe seems too difficult or doesn’t taste good- try something else!! Keep going!!

Now, I’ve got to get back to the kitchen because I have a dinner party to go to tonight and I certainly cannot bring those scones! Off to try something new! 🙂

Have a great day!
Pam
http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

The Sugar Made Me Do It!

It was happening again. I wasn’t feeling like myself. It was hard to identify exactly what was off, just something was off. I was completely exhausted. I felt like I was in a constant haze. I was always hot, and my fuse was short. I seemed to often feel stressed, frustrated and even kind of sad. Even when all may have looked well on the outside, I could feel things unraveling on the inside. I knew this feeling. I had felt like this before. Actually, I had felt like this for a long time once. When I first learned the cause of this “off” feeling, I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t want to believe it! I was told it was caused by the sugar I was eating. “Did you know that white refined sugar has side effects”? I was asked. “You mean aside from causing weight gain?…” “Well, no…actually…..no I did not” In addition to being one of THE MOST addictive substances on the planet, the list of “side effects” from sugar is actually quite lengthy. And like you may be thinking right now, I initially thought this was a bit of a “hokey” opinion, and I was very skeptical. Sugar is in everything and everyone consumes sugar…surely it can’t be THAT bad! Never the less, I half heartedly went on a sugar detox as it was recommended to me. When I first cut out all white refined sugar, I didn’t notice an instant drastic improvement. But, it was at the 10 day mark when I was flying around my house cleaning and organizing at lightning speed, and actually enjoying it that I stopped for a moment and realized how different I felt. My increase in energy was off the charts! My head felt clear and light and happy. I had more patience with my kids and my husband miraculously seemed less annoying! 🙂 I felt totally relaxed and confident and I realized that I had actually felt like this for days. Could it really be because of the sugar?!! Maybe it was just a coincidence.

This summer I let things slide. I can list of bunch of excuses and tell you about how insane our schedule was. Isn’t everyone’s though? I stopped planning my meals ahead and found myself often reaching for whatever was quick and easy. The sugary foods quickly snuck back into my life. And again, I didn’t notice anything drastic at first. By the end of August I was reflecting on what a miserable summer I’d had. I was stressed. I was unhappy. I was overwhelmed. Something was WAY off! I didn’t feel like my self. Then I remembered…I had felt this exact way before. It was happening again. It was the sugar!! It HAD to be! I immediately went on a sugar detox and cut out ALL white refined sugar and sure enough within a week I felt like a new person!

Sugar is a drug and it’s making you sick. It’s messing with your head. It’s messing with your emotions. It has the capability to CHANGE THE KIND OF PERSON YOU ARE!
I know… I know…you don’t want to hear this. I know that’s how I felt! Most North Americans cannot fathom the thought of living in a world without sugar! That’s so extreme! It’s madness!

Aren’t you curious to meet the “sugar-free” version of yourself? 🙂

P.S. Cutting out white refined sugar does not mean the end of delicious meals, snacks, and desserts. There are many recipes that use alternative, natural sweet sources and taste incredible!

There are many resources where you can read about the scientifically proven side effects from sugar if you are interested in learning more. Here are a few:

(NaturalNews) A cross-cultural analysis published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found a strong correlation between refined sugar consumption and mental illness. Researchers found that a high national intake of refined sugar and dairy products predicted a higher incidence of schizophrenia and depression. Research published in Neuroscience in 2002 found a high fat, high sugar diet reduces a key growth hormone in the brain necessary for memory and learning. Research into the correlation between diet and mental illness is finally expanding. This new research is shedding much needed light on the reality that diet does play a role in the incidence of mental illness.

The most provocative finding in the cross-cultural analysis was the consistent connection between refined sugar intake and worse outcomes for schizophrenia and increased prevalence of depression. Researchers also found that consumption of pulses or whole grains and high consumption of starchy root vegetables were linked to a lower prevalence of schizophrenia and depression. The connection between dietary habits and mental illness was not seen with healthy carbohydrate consumption but strongly correlated with refined sugar consumption. Sugar consumption causes a cascade of physiological effects that may explain the increased prevalence of mental illness.

Refined sugar consumption suppresses brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, an important growth hormone in the brain. This growth hormone is extremely important for the health of neurons in the brain. BDNF triggers new connections between neurons in the brain which is crucial for memory function. Studies have shown low BDNF levels in patients with depression and schizophrenia. The consumption of refined sugar has the potential to exacerbate depression and schizophrenia by contributing to low BDNF levels.

Refined sugar is notorious for causing increased inflammation in the body. Regular consumption of refined sugar can lead to chronic inflammation which can disrupt immune system functioning. Chronic inflammation is implicated in arthritis, some forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease among many other illnesses. Chronic inflammation has also been linked to a higher risk of depression and schizophrenia. Psychologists who have become aware of the recent research on sugar and mental illness have begun recommending sugar free diets to patients.

Dr. IIardi, associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, stated that he has encouraged depressed patients to remove refined sugar and refined foods from their diets. Patients who were willing to comply to these recommendations reported significant improvements in mental clarity, mood and energy. Research and patient experiences indicate that a diet high in whole grains and low in refined foods and sugar can provide significant improvement in mental health, clarity and reduced risk of mental illness

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032689_sugar_mental_illness.html#ixzz3FkUuVIR6

Eating lots of sugar is going to give you sudden peaks and troughs in the amount of glucose in your blood; symptoms that this is going on include fatigue, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, excessive sweating (especially at night), poor concentration and forgetfulness, excessive thirst, depression and crying spells, digestive disturbances and blurred vision. Since the brain depends on an even supply of glucose it is no surprise to find that sugar has been implicated in aggressive behavior, anxiety, and depression, and fatigue.
Lots of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (meaning white bread, pasta, rice and most processed foods,) is also linked with depression because these foods not only supply very little in the way of nutrients but they also use up the mood enhancing B vitamins; turning each teaspoon of sugar into energy needs B vitamins. In fact, a study of 3,456 middle-aged civil servants, published in British Journal of Psychiatry found that those who had a diet which contained a lot of processed foods had a 58% increased risk for depression, whereas those whose diet could be described as containing more whole foods had a 26% reduced risk for depression.
Sugar also diverts the supply of another nutrient involved in mood – chromium. This mineral is vital for keeping your blood sugar level stable because insulin, which clears glucose from the blood, can’t work properly without it.

Clean Avocado Mango Salad

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The weather has been beautiful this weekend!  Finally!  Just when we were all starting to feel like we were trapped in Arondale’s eternal winter, we could actually venture outdoors without a jacket on!  I don’t know about you, but by the time 5pm rolled around, my entire neighbourhood smelled like a giant BBQ.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better my husband started up the lawnmower and cut our grass.  And so, there I was, watching my kids playing on the swing set, intoxicated by two of my favourite smells of summer! 🙂 And so what, you ask, could make this moment even better?!  The PERFECT summer salad!  This salad is sooooo good!!!!  It has a fresh, yet sweet taste.  It is the the perfect accompaniment to your favourite BBQ dish!  

 

Ingredients:

3 Mangos

3 Avocados

1 cucumber

2 limes

1/4 Cup diced red onion 

1/4 Cup finely chopped cilantro

Pinch of sea salt  

 

 

Directions:
Slice and dice the avocado and mango, red onion and cucumber. Finely chop cilantro. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix in lime juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and put it in the fridge to chill.

This salad is a real crowd pleaser! Everyone loves this whether they are eating “clean” or not! Enjoy! 🙂

Clean Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

designI had these amazing cupcakes recently at a friends birthday party and just HAD to get the recipe! They were so delicious that I actually made them as soon as I got home! I tested them out on my daycare kids and they loved them! (of course I didn’t tell them they were healthy! 🙂 Once you taste these, you’ll find it hard to believe that they are gluten free and sugar free! These are perfect for any Chocolate lover who is trying to eat healthy! Enjoy!
The recipe is from http://www.paleomg.com

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
½ cup dates, pitted
3 eggs
2 egg whites
⅓ cup Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
¼ cup canned coconut milk
¼ cup Coconut Flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

Frosting:
2 cups dates (soften in hot water if they are not fresh)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add dates to your food processor and mix until the dates become a large sticky ball.
Place all wet ingredients in the food processor with dates: coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs and egg whites and pulse until everything in the food processor is completely liquid.
Add your dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well then add your wet ingredients from the food processor to the dry ingredients bowl and mix to incorporate.
Scoop cupcake ingredients into your silicone or paper lined muffin tin and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke a cupcake. (Cupcake batter should not be super runny)
While the cupcakes bake, make your frosting.

Once your cupcakes are done cooking, let cool COMPLETELY.
Frost your cupcakes to your liking then top with some mini Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips!
Makes about 6-7 cupcakes

BIG, BIG, EXCITING news!

  If you have ever done the emotional-eating thing, raise your hand. No, not the one holding the chocolate bar. The other one. 🙂
If you have made a New Years Resolution to get fit, if you have extra baby weight to lose, if you have tried diet after diet, if you need to combat health concerns, or are just tired of being a slave to food, then I have some exciting news for you!

  Central Fit is an 8 week course focusing on health and fitness. Beginning January 21, join this FREE 8 week course where we’ll learn about getting fit and healthy, both body and spirit. With all of the conflicting information out there, how do you know what is REALLY good for you and what is just a fad? Come to the Central Fit classes and we’ll discuss;

* What the rights foods are and WHY they are the right foods
* What foods to stay away from
* Participate in healthy cooking demonstrations
* Receive delicious healthy recipes
* Learn from top notch fitness trainers
* AND have the chance to win some pretty amazing prizes!

 
The BEST part about this class is that it is absolutely free!  

  This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to make the changes you know you need to make this year!  We know it can be a little intimidating to come out to the first class by yourself, so why not bring a friend with you?!

Class Starts: Tuesday, January 21st

Class Time: 7-8:30 

Class Location: Central Community Church (240 Scott Street, St.Catharines) *Part of the Life Lessons courses put on by the church

Registration: To register for this class visit http://www.centralcommunitychurch.ca centralcc.ca and click on “Get Involved”and then select “Life Lessons” and then “Contact” 

Bonus: FREE childcare is offered for children every week during this course! (How amazing is that?!) 

Hosted By: Donna Jo Hewitt, Janina Gordon, Pamela Sykes 

 

Clean Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Pecan Frosting

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My mother-in-law bought me a donut pan for Christmas this year.  As soon as I got home I couldn’t wait to start experimenting with clean donut recipes.  Since I had a can of pumpkin in the cupboard, I decided to try a pumpkin donut recipe.  These turned out better than I expected and are delicious!!  I am sure these will satisfy your donut cravings!  These taste amazing warm right out of the oven or microwaved for 10 seconds. These donuts are sugar free, dairy free and can be made gluten free!  Enjoy!  

Ingredients:

2 Cups whole wheat flour (or can substitute with gluten free flour) 

3 TSP baking soda

1/4 TSP salt

2 TSP pumpkin pie spice

1 TSP vanilla 

3 Large eggs

1/4 Cup honey

3/4 Cup date butter

3/4 Cup pumpkin puree

2 TBSP coconut oil

Maple Pecan Frosting:

1 Cup Pecans 

1/4 Cup pure maple syrup

2 TBSP coconut oil

Blend all ingredients together on high in a blender until smooth.

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients.  In a seperate bowl combine all wet ingreidnets and mix until slightly foamy.  Add the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into greased donut pan and bake for 8-10 minutes.  (If using the small pans)  

 

Clean Peppermint Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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I was at a cookie exchange last night and one of my friends made a peppermint cookie with lemon frosting.  It was such an interesting combination, I just had to try it!  Wow! It was awesome!  First thing this morning I got to work trying to come up with a “clean” version of that cookie.  Here it is, and it turned out really great!  I hope you like them! 

Peppermint Cookie with Lemon Frosting 

Ingredients:

2 Cups whole grain pastry flour (You can substitute this with your favourite flour or gluten free flour)

1/2 Cup honey 

1 Tsp baking powder

1 Egg

3 Tbsp coconut oil

1/2 Tsp peppermint extract

1Tsp vanilla extract 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients together.  Form into balls and place on cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes.  

Frosting:

1 Container of organic cream cheese

1/4 Tsp cinnamon

1 Tsp vanilla

1/4 Tsp lemon extract

Mix well and spread on cookies when cool.  

Coming Soon…

Coming soon….

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YAY!!! The countdown to Christmas is ON!! My favourite time of year is quickly approaching, which brings one of my favourite Christmas activities- Christmas baking!  Although this year will be a “Clean Christmas” for our family, it does not mean we will be going without yummy treats.  Do you want to learn how to make these A-MAZ-ING holiday treats for your upcoming Christmas get-togethers?  

Stay tuned!  I will be posting these recipes and more this coming week! 

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com