Vanilla Protein Cold Brew Latte Recipe

Image

I got a number of comments and messages yesterday after posting a picture of a cold brew latte I made at home, so here’s the recipe:

Step 1 – make your cold brew

There are plenty of tutorials available online, but I have a French Press, so this is essentially the process I followed.  I used about 2x the ground beans as i would for normal coffee, added room temperature water, and let it sit in my press on the counter for 12 hours.  Then I pushed down the plunger, and poured my cold brew into a jar to store in the fridge.  Some of the tutorials I read called for straining through a coffee filter or a cheesecloth, but I find that my French Press doesn’t leave a lot of grounds behind, so I skipped this step.

If you don’t have a press, I’m told you can cold brew your coffee in a jar, and then strain through a coffee filter.  Let me know if you try this method.

*obviously 12 hours is a ridiculous amount of time to wait for coffee, so a few times now I’ve made a pot right after brewing my morning coffee, or put some on in the evening so it can sit overnight.  Then I just store a few large jars; you could likely pour some into a pitcher for yourself as well.

IMG_4738

Step 2 – make ice

This step is optional, but I like to add the extra chill of ice WITHOUT diluting my coffee, so I made extra coffee one morning, and poured the leftover into two ice cube trays.  I keep my coffee ice cubes in a big ziplock bag in the freezer, and toss two into my blender for a cold brew latte.

IMG_2839

Step 3 – add mix-ins

In my latte you will find

  1. milk alternative since I can’t have dairy (I made my own oat milk recently and it’s awesome, but I’ve used almond/coconut/cashew milk, or even a non-dairy coffee creamer).  If I could have dairy, I might consider adding Bailey’s or another cream liqueur for a boozy treat.
  2. a splash of pure vanilla extract
  3. a scoop of collagen peptides (odorless, tasteless, and completely unnoticeable blended into coffee or smoothies); a quick, easy way to add protein to my diet.
  4. a dash of cinnamon
  5. about 1/2 a teaspoon of raw, local honey.  I buy mine from a local farmer’s market – Flint Farm Honey in Paradise Valley, AB

I blend it all up in my vitamix, and pour into a mug or jar.  It comes out creamy and frothy, so I usually let it sit and settle for a couple of minutes before I sip.

 

Unscrewing the Lightbulb

Image

I saw this graphic on a friend’s Facebook page last week, and I’ve been thinking about it off and on since then.  I messaged her to ask if I could write a blog post about it, since the image stuck with me so intensely.

lightbulb

Here’s the thing:  I REALLY wish it was true.  But it’s not…and yet, it also IS.  Yeah, yeah.  I know that’s really convoluted, so let me explain.  Tearing someone else down DOES NOT build me up, in fact, I believe the opposite is true.  If I talk shit about someone else – especially about another woman – not only does it make me feel crappy about myself, but it very likely makes others think less of me as well…certainly not the way to shine, right?

And yet, I have plenty of recollections of conversations and thoughts from my past where I unfairly and ridiculously judged other women.  I was such an asshole. I’m not sure I would call myself a bully – usually it was small-scale assholery, like whispers or sideways smirks with a friend – completely out of earshot of the person we were mocking; more often it was silent judgements about my own perceived superiority.  I sometimes noticed and commented if other women had gained or lost weight, or gotten a haircut I didn’t like, or wore clothing that fit their body in a way that I deemed less than acceptable.  I judged women who had sex with “too many” men, and those who “acted like a prude.”  I acted superior to women who chose to terminate pregnancies, or parented in ways that I didn’t agree with, or spent their money on luxuries that I scoffed at, yet often secretly coveted.  I wasn’t joking when I told you I was an asshole.

The most ridiculous part of this for me is that I didn’t ACTUALLY think I was better than these other women; in most cases, it was my own feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, and lack that lead me to judging, whilst subconsciously trying to assert and raise my own value.  I was trying to unscrew other women’s lightbulbs, in some awful, ridiculous, misguided, and downright mean attempt at brightening my own.  That was stupid.  And pathetic. And wrong.

But I’m learning.  and I’m getting better – or at least I’m trying.  I’ve made some significant revelations about my own motivations, and I’ve had a BIG TIME change of heart.  Now I try really hard to stay in my lane and mind my own Goddamn business, and I’ve also come to wholeheartedly embrace the phrase, “good for her, but not for me.”

You see, none of those things that I used to judge other women about are even remotely my business, and they are certainly not judgement worthy.  Whatever other women choose to do with their time, their money, their bodies, and their lives is entirely up to them, entirely fine by me, and entirely none of my business, unless of course I’m trying to help them shine.  I won’t be unscrewing any lightbulbs from here on out…I want women to light up the whole fucking world.

The Pragmatic Hippie’s Thoughts on Safer Skincare

Video

BCThose of you who know me in real life, or have been following this page for a while have probably realized that I’m a bit “granola” and kind of a “hippie.” It’s totally true, and there is no use denying it. I like to hang my laundry on the line when it’s warm enough, I use essential oils regularly (though I’ve made some important changes about HOW I use them), I try to avoid harmful synthetic chemicals, I typically try to reduce my carbon footprint, and I use a shit tonne of coconut oil. I even tried making my own laundry detergent for a while. PRO-TIP: don’t do that; it doesn’t really work, and you will smell faintly of BO, even with freshly washed clothes on.
In addition to being a hippie, though, I’m also a pragmatist, so after a whole bunch of spectacular failures, I have finally come to realize that I prefer to make decisions based on real life, and actual EVIDENCE. Part of that is recognizing that synthetic doesn’t always mean BAD, and “natural” doesn’t always mean safe. Seriously – I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard someone utter the phrase, “it can’t hurt you because it’s NATURAL.”
Umm…have you ever heard of poison ivy? How about rattlesnake venom? That shit is ALL NATURAL my friends, but that doesn’t make it safe!
I now know that it’s better to have information about what I’m putting into and on my body, and then making logical decisions based on that evidence. Sometimes I opt for the cheapest, or most convenient options, even when that doesn’t entail making something from scratch, or choosing all organic. That means my kid knows that fries come from drivethroughs, and I do a lot of online shopping for the convenience factor, even though I try to shop local when it works, It’s called BALANCE. And sanity.
So all of that brings me to talking about skincare and makeup products: I’ve tried a bunch of different things in recent years. Some of it was totally organic and “natural” but didn’t work worth a shit. Some of it was kinda effective, but took a whole bunch of effort, or contained ingredients that I didn’t feel good about, or didn’t know what they were (if you’re interested, ask me more about what the ingredient “fragrance” tells you about a product. HINT: the answer is kinda terrifying). Some of it contained “natural” ingredients that were unregulated, and I later found out were actually harmful.  All of the stuff I tried was lacking enough that I kept searching for something better. And I think I’ve found it! For the last few months I’ve been using Beautycounter skincare products. Beautycounter is committed to making the world healthier, and to getting safer products into our homes and our hands. They have a “never list” of crap products that they just won’t use – even if both the US and Canada are actually pretty terrible at regulating personal care products, and they are very transparent about what ingredients are in each of their products.  On top of providing safer products, I can honestly say that the Beautycounter products I’ve been using over the last little while are really fantastic and effective as well – my skin is doing great, even though I’m less than 6 months postpartum, which means I’m both hormonal and tired as Hell.  It’s good stuff:  safer, effective skincare, body care, and make up products that you can feel good about using for yourself and your families.  Check out a video here.
I promise NOT to be one of those super annoying people who post every day with a giveaway or a contest or a promotion, but I DO think this stuff is pretty great, so if I’m going to talk about it with my friends,  I might as well try to make some cash…so YUP – I want to sell you shit.  But I won’t be an asshole about it.  If you want to know more, just ask, or if you’re already sold, you can visit https://www.beautycounter.com/en-ca/chrissybaker/ to order some really great stuff that you can trust is safe to use.

 

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the “Average Canadian Woman”

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau is a beautiful, charming mother of three, who attends many important events, and speaks on behalf of multiple worthy causes – many of which support women and women’s issues.  She also happens to be the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau…and it seems that she has pissed off a lot of Canadian women.

She recently gave an interview to the French language newspaper Le Soleil, where she revealed that she is overwhelmed and needs a break.  She also indicated that she wants another staff member to help her out with the multiple correspondences and requests for public appearances, speeches, and charity events.  All of this is IN ADDITION to the two part-time nannies the Trudeau’s already employ – on the tax payers’ dime, nonetheless.  Oh, and don’t forget the fact that Trudeau campaigned on wealthy families (like his) NOT needing so many tax breaks.  So I get the disgust that I’m seeing all over social media for Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

Except that I think this disgust is horribly misplaced.  And I keep seeing women disparage each other, and critique each others’ mothering, and judge each others’ life choices, and it makes me so sad.  Being a mom is hard.  Hell, being a WOMAN is hard, and I don’t know a woman who doesn’t, at some level, understand this and know it to be true.  Deep down we know that supporting each other is the way to go – that’s why there are moms’ groups in every community, and all over Facebook – but yet we continue to trash each other.  Have I mentioned that this makes me sad?

The anger at Sophie Gregoire Trudeau can’t be purely political in nature, since ALL of the Prime Ministers’ wives in recent memory have had staff devoted to them.  Mila Mulroney, wife of Conservative PM Brian Mulroney, who had the most similar family situation to Sophie, and who also spent a great deal of time championing a variety of important causes, reportedly had a very similar staff to what Sophie is requesting.  At the time, many Liberal opponents argued that providing Mila with these staff members was a waste of taxpayer money, but Conservative supporters argued that her work was valid and she needed the help.  I agree with them wholeheartedly.

I have read a few social media posts, including this one from a Saskatchewan mother of 5 who calls herself “an average Canadian mother.”  This woman sounds like an exceptionally hard-working person, and a very caring mother, and I certainly laud her for that.  She takes Sophie to task for choosing to attend charity events and speaking engagements, since Sophie has “no official duties.”  She also says that Sophie’s actual “job is to stay at home with [her] children and call [her] driver when [she needs] to go somewhere, eat what [her] chef has prepared [her and her family] and make sure [she doesn’t] get in the way of [her] cleaning staff.”  While I will certainly concede that the Prime Minister’s wife has no official duties, I think it’s laughable to expect her to do nothing in her position.  As the wife of a Canadian Prime Minister, just like every woman before her in that role, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau is undoubtedly expected to be present at a variety of events, and has a very important role in terms of representing Canada on an international stage.  The fact of the matter is, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau IS NOT an average Canadian woman; she is the Prime Minister of Canada’s wife, and unless your name is Laureen Harper, or Aileen Chretien, or Mila Mulroney, then you have NO IDEA what that entails.  To take this even further, only Mila Mulroney lived a similar life, raising a young family while her husband held office, and being very active with charitable events and speaking engagements.  But to be totally honest, no one – NO ONE – knows what it’s like to walk in Sophie’s shoes, just as no one truly knows what it feels like to live my life, or yours. And this is my point – this is where I take issue with the anger and disdain directed toward Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.  None of us get to tell her how to live her life as a woman and a mother.

Being a mom is hard.  It’s hard when – like me – you have only one baby, and are on maternity leave for a year as is typical in Canada.  It’s hard when you have three kids, or five, or nine.  It’s hard when you are a stay at home mom, and when you choose (or simply must) return to work.  It’s hard whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, whether you are an attachment parent or you cry it out, and whether you make any number of different choices than other mothers.  Every woman, every mother, has challenges that are unique to her particular situation, and none of us REALLY knows what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes.  Every mother also gets overwhelmed from time to time – some more so than others, and we all absolutely need a break.  ALL OF US.

So why all the hate and judgement for Sophie Gregoire Trudeau?  I truly believe it is because many women hear that Sophie needs help, and they look at their own lives, and they see that they need help too.  But maybe they aren’t getting it, or aren’t getting quite enough, so they lash out in anger, and they say that Sophie doesn’t need this help after all.  But what these women don’t realize is that by bashing Sophie, they are actually bashing themselves.  Every time women stand up and speak out professing to know what another woman is going through, and what another woman does or does not need, we are tearing each other down.  We are fueling the misconceptions that women’s work is less important, and that mothering isn’t a real job, or that the best place for a woman is in the kitchen, and this is unacceptable.  Women have a lot of power, especially when we band together, and lift each other up, and celebrate the gifts of each other’s unique strengths.  Unfortunately for the “average Canadian woman,” this power will be lost if we keep on tearing each other down.

What to Expect at Yoga

I was inspired to write this post so that the brand-new yogis aren’t quite so intimidated by their very first yoga class with me, but then I realized that the message here is really for ALL participants…

What Should You Expect at Yoga?

* Remember that this post is about MY classes in particular; there are a lot of parallels in other classes, but you might find something different there.

1. Expect to work hard – your muscles might shake, you will probably break a sweat, and you might even be a little sore the next day. All of that depends on your fitness level, and the intensity of the particular class, but I can promise you that my classes aren’t just “easy stretching.”

2. Expect a welcoming environment, but not necessarily one free of all distractions – my class is NOT one where the door gets locked the second the class begins, where the only sounds you hear will be waterfalls and birdsong, or where you must wear Lululemon (and look spectacular in it, even while your feet are wrapped around your head) to participate. Those classes are lovely, or at least they CAN be, but it’s not what my classes are about: I want to share the gift of yoga with all people – especially the newbies who are just learning to love it! Most of my classes are taught in local community centres and schools, where we sometimes have to move tables or desks out of the way, and frequently hear traffic or bouncing balls from the gym next door. One of the most important yoga principles is learning to focus on your own breath, and the sensations in your own body, instead of dwelling on outside distractions.

All of that being said, please try to minimize any distractions you might be bringing to the yoga environment for others! Turn OFF the ringer/vibrate function on your cellphone. If you forget and it rings, please don’t awkwardly pretend it’s not yours while everyone else looks around uncomfortably; just get up quickly and switch it off – people sometimes forget, and we will forgive you for that.

Try to make it to class on time, but if you must be late, please come in as quietly as possible. Close the door softly, lay out your mat quietly, and move into the pose we are working on. There is no need to announce why you are late – that only distracts the other participants from their own practice.

3. Expect a variety of body types and levels of practice – people often say to me that “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.” And I always tell those people they are EXACTLY who should be taking yoga! You don’t need to be flexible and strong to take yoga, you just need the desire to become MORE flexible and MORE strong; and the more frequently and steadily you practice, the more strength and flexibility you will begin to see in your body. I provide various levels for students to progress at the rate best suited for them. As a student, you must pay attention to your own body and honour the place it is in. So what if you currently must bend your knees to touch your toes? So what if you must take Child’s pose instead of downward dog sometimes? So what if handstand isn’t part of your current practice? We call it YOGA PRACTICE, not yoga perfect. Yoga is about making improvements, NOT about being awesome.

4. Expect to challenge yourself, but remember to listen to your body – just as in the previous note, I want you to honour yourself and your body…but I also want you to work to improve. Often we confuse discomfort with pain, and it is imperative that you learn to tell the difference. That 80’s fitness slogan “No Pain, No Gain?” Total garbage. Pain is not a good thing! Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, and you should stop or ease up immediately. Please honour that, both in my class, and in life.

Discomfort is very different. Discomfort is your legs shaking in Chair pose, or your shoulders burning in Downward Dog, and it is a good thing…a VERY good thing. Discomfort means that you are making progress and getting stronger. Improving our selves and our bodies is never easy; in fact doing so is hard work, which takes effort and dedication. Challenging poses will become less challenging the more we work at them; if we simply stop because challenging poses cause us discomfort, then we will never get stronger, we will never become more flexible, and we will never improve. Learn to breathe through discomfort, and reap the benefits of challenging yourself.

5. Expect to hear some Sanskrit – those funny words you hear me repeating over and over? Those are Sanskrit terms for poses, and they will eventually become familiar to you. You might even begin to know them well enough to use the Sanskrit words yourself. But don’t be daunted by the foreign language; I also use the English terms along side the Sanskrit ones, and I will always DESCRIBE what I want you to do, so I promise that you will be able to figure it out. And there won’t be any tests!

6. Expect a relaxation component – at the end of practice, we always “seal in” the hard work we’ve just done with a relaxation component. You will lie on your back with your eyes closed, legs falling open toward the outside edge of your mat, and arms stretched out at your sides with palms facing up. This pose is called Savasana, or Corpse pose. I will turn the lights down low, and talk you through the beginning of Savasana. Then, we will all be quiet and you will focus on your body and your breath – usually for 3-5 minutes. Eventually, I will invite you to move up to a seated position, and bring your hands into “prayer position” for us the say thank you – to ourselves, to each other, and to God, to the Universe, or to life in general (whichever is most agreeable to you). The term we use in yoga is “Namaste,” which simply means “the light in me greets the light in you.” It is customary for the yoga teacher to say Namaste, and for class participants to repeat the word back to the teacher.

7. Expect to get hooked – if you REALLY let yourself be in the moment , one day you will experience the highs that yoga has to offer. For many of us, the most difficult part of yoga is turning off our minds and focusing on the moment at hand. We can be distracted by others in the class, outside noises or smells, worries about our “to do list” or our family, and even our own feelings of limitations and weakness. BUT if you can set all that aside for the duration of your practice, focus on your breath and your body, and really just be in the moment, that feeling of lightness and strength will find you, and you will be hooked forever!

I’m Thankful for Many Things…Including Grown Up Mac n’ Cheese

Gallery

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving dear readers! I’ve been absent from the blog for a long time, and I figure that Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to foray back into the blogging world – mostly because it’s Sunday evening, … Continue reading