Recipe: Gluten-Free Cacao Cranberry Loaf

Jan 17, 2018

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I’m not a lover of cooking. I mean, I don’t like long prep times to prepare meals. If I can spend less than 20 minutes in the kitchen to make a meal, I’m all for it. Anything beyond that, I get a bit antsy. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little (not really) Christmas breakfast took me at least one hour to prepare. Not including the slow baked ham.  So the holidays are an exception.

It’s a new year and with a new year comes new goals. My number one goal is to keep to a solid healthy eating routine. I don’t mean simply minimizing the amount of bad food that I eat but really making an effort to cut them out of my diet permanently. My number one priority is to eliminate all gluten.

In general, I’m conscious of what I eat. I very rarely eat white flour, drink pop, or fried foods. I drink lots of water, not always a full 8 glasses but I get up there. I do occasionally have a sugar and bread binge but eventually I get back on track. Since being gluten-free is my priority and snacking tends be a  weakness, I’ve decided the best way to control my gluten intake (especially when I crave sweets) is to make my snacks from scratch. I’m not sure how long the Betty Crocker effect will last. Remember, I’m not one for slaving away in the kitchen for too long.  But at least, I can feed my occasional craving in a fairly healthy way.

Enter in my gluten-free-cacao-cranberry loaf….

A personal recipe inspired by whatever I had sitting in my kitchen cupboard (mostly). It was only my third time making the loaf but it’s been a life saver for breakfast or as a quick snack. And the best part is it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. Like I said, 20 minutes or less and I’m a happy camper!

Bon Appétit!


PREP TIME: 20 minutes or less

COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 minutes

1 cup of gluten-free flour
1 cup of brown rice flour
1/4 cup of flax meal
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar (1 cup if you want a sweeter taste)
1/4 cup of organic cacao bits
1/4 cup of cranberries (fresh, frozen)
2 1/2 cups of Almond milk (3 cups if you want to make the batter a bit thinner)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast

Mix the brown rice flour and gluten-free flour in a large mixing bowl with a fork. Then mix in the baking soda, nutritional yeast, flax meal, again continue to use the fork. Then mix in the cane sugar.

Once all of the dry ingredients are mixed together, add the milk, cocoa bits and cranberries and then mix everything together one last time. Let it sit for a few minutes and dust a bread pan or cake pan with a bit of flour and pour in the mixture. Put in the oven.

Let bake for 30 minutes or until brown at 275 – 300 degrees. To ensure the middle is cooked insert a butter knife or toothpick in the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean with nothing sticking, the cake is done.


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All Things Natural At The Textur’d Hair And Beauty Show

Oct 1, 2017

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I’ve worn my hair naturally mostly under protective hairstyles for a few years now. It just made things easier. But easier isn’t always better if you let a busy schedule and a non-existent hair care routine get in the way. If your natural hair isn’t getting TLC on a regular basis it will take a toll on the health of your hair.  Let’s just say, my hair is in need of TLC, a good hair care routine and a few good products to match. Coincidently, timing couldn’t be better. The  Textur’d Natural Hair & Beauty Show was happening right in my neck of the woods and I was able to catch day 2 of the event.

With over forty (mostly female) vendor’s, I looked forward to chatting it up with hair and beauty brands from Toronto and the United States. It was hard just to choose just one item from the variety of organic, vegan and naturally handmade products available. Almost all of the brands had a solution to maintain, repair and encourage healthy hair growth.

Not just a vendor showcase, several workshop facilitators shared their unique knowledge on everything to do with natural hair, body and skin care. Nutritional Consultant, Trisha Smith, discussed natural remedies and the connection between digestive disorders and the various effects on the hair.  Certified Shea Butter Technician, Kedar Waterman, discussed the many healing properties of premium grade Shea Butter and it’s benefits.

I ATE whole wheat roti, coconut curry chickpeas and quinoa salad courtesy of Chic Peas Veg, a plant based catering company.  I CHATTED with Ndija Anderson-Yantha,  a natural hair advocate and author of “What are you going to do with that hair?” A non-fiction book encouraging young girls to celebrate and love their natural hair. And I BOUGHT, (with so many wonderful products to choose from) En’tyce Your Beauty’s Herbal Temple Root Gro to help with thinning edges. And Muthaland Secrets’  Three Leaves Special Body Bar to help tone and purify your skin. It was a great afternoon fill with positivity and love for all things natural!

My haircare brands wish-list to definitely try,

What do you use in your natural hair?




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5 Basic Photography Tips That Helped Me Take Better Photos

Sep 22, 2017

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I have a slight addiction to stalking beautiful looking Instagram profiles. Seriously, I do. You know how you can get lost on Pinterest for hours? Yup, like that. I can look at any number of individual profiles for hours taking in the quality of the photos, the layouts and everything that makes the images visually appealing. I often wonder if everyone online has a dedicated photographer on speed dial. Cuz I sure don’t.

So, what do you do when your photography skills are very limited? You get inspired and you learn “how-to”. I challenged myself to stop the point, shoot, click and hope for the best tactics. And learned a few basics to help me spruce up my photos.

(2 pieces of white Bristol board, iPhone camera 5s, Snapseed app for editing)



I’ve taken a good look and studied the Instagram profiles of a few influencers that I admire. They all treat their profile as a secondary blog or showcase a body of work of some sort. It’s their portfolio. It helps promote who they are and what they do. Because of this, their images have a consistent tone, style, or colour scheme and quite often each photo aligns with their brand. As I work towards creating a seamless looking profile, I get lots of inspiration from online influencers ThisRenegadeLove, TheMattieJames and Kwame Delfish.


If you’re just starting out (and for the purposes of Instagram) you don’t need an expensive digital camera to take great looking photos. I use my iPhone 5s camera (yes, it still works) and the SnapSeed editing app to help me enhance and adjust my images. Snapseed and VCSO (another recommended app) are absolutely free. Take some time to learn each editing feature. I’ve made the mistake of trying to accomplish a look rather than learning how to use each feature to eventually get the look that I really want.  I often use the white balance, tune image and rotation features to customize my photos.

(iPhone Camera 5s, Snapseed editing app)



Natural light is everything. I’ve heard it time and time again, from the various photographers that I’ve worked with. I take advantage of the natural light that shines through the largest window in my home. When I shoot things like accessories,  I’ll take photos in the early part of the morning. Extremely sunny days can often create a shadow of the object you are trying to shoot. To block or minimize the appearance of a shadow, I often prop a piece of white Bristol board (folded in three parts) behind the object that I’m shooting.


For affordable photo backgrounds make a trip to your nearest dollar store and pick up two pieces of Bristol boards. Lay them on a flat surface, place the object in different positions and start shooting until you have something you like. It’s the easiest most cost efficient way to create clean looking photos. For a pop of colour, use brightly coloured Bristol boards or your brand colours.

Fabric works the same way. Purchase the ends of textured or print material from your local fabric store to use as your photo background. Furry materials, rugs or a fluffy white comforter often adds a soft touch to the photo. Be careful with very busy prints, it can distract from your primary object.


If you’re not one to learn on your own, a beginner photography class can get you off to a good start. I’m not saying take an entire certificate to add to your already busy life but an online tutorial course can teach you basic editing skills, photography styles or photo processing tips.  Skillshare (an online teaching platform) offers a large variety of simplified courses in almost any industry.  The best part is, each course is developed and taught by individuals experienced or currently working in the field.

Have any other tips to share?


Cheers for now!

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Weekly Wisdom: Just Live

Sep 19, 2017

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I was stressing for a little while about life and all that comes with it. One thing that added to my stress was my lack of commitment to writing more frequently. Yes, time was a factor but more than anything else, I found myself overthinking every single topic I wanted to write about. Nothing seemed to fit or be good enough. It wasn’t a brand issue, it was an authenticity thing. Do I really want to talk about it, kinda thing. I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult for me to get something down and like it. I mean, I’m not new to this. I’ve done this before.

While voicing my frustrations out loud, my daughter said two little words that was a clear sign of the issue I was having. Those two words stuck with for the entire day and ended all my confusion.  “JUST LIVE!” She said. That was it. I wasn’t living. I was worrying. And the moment I stopped worrying and starting living the stress disappeared. The ideas started flowing again and now I have so much more to write to about.



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Must Try Turmeric Infused Energy Boosters

Aug 24, 2017

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Getting through a tough work week can be tricky when overloaded with tasks and to do lists. For me, working a 9-5 while slowly transitioning to full-time blogging can be a bit stressful (mentally and physically). Working long hours can often make me feel sluggish and lack energy and a great energy booster often gets me through the day. I was never a coffee drinker and for better health I stopped drinking caffeinated teas and pop some time ago. As a natural alternative to any sugary or caffeinated drink, pure turmeric infused juices have been my savings grace!

Why turmeric juice?

  • It’s a great detoxifier for your liver and blood
  • It promotes good digestion and improves gas and bloating
  • It acts as a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Helps to boost the immune system

Haven’t tried a turmeric infused juice yet? Lucky for me our city has a number of organic juice bars with great tasting pure turmeric juices.

Here’s a few to get you started,


Their cold pressed Healer blend is a mix of turmeric root, ginger, orange, pineapple, celery, lemon and Himalayan pink salt. They produce their juices in small batches, is 100% organic, raw, vegan and cold pressed.


Their Golden Potion is a mix of yellow turmeric root, grapefruit, lemon, orange, ginger and hemp oil. They also have Runner’s High blend with white turmeric root, ginger, pineapple, lemon and chlorella.


Their turmeric booster shot is a fresh blend of turmeric root, orange and black pepper.


Their YYZ booster is a mixture of orange, turmeric, ginger, organic camu camu.


Try one it will be well worth it!


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