Where wild blueberries grow

After a 3 hour drive north along the highway we turned left at the towering old train bridge. One quick, winding road down to the water and we had arrived at the loading point. Under the glorious sun we stretched our limbs and inhaled deeply the fragrant, clean air. We unloaded our Fiat, Hubs found a parking spot, and – with perfect timing- our friend pulled up at the dock in her boat. We loaded in our bags of provisions and eagerly sped out into the bay, pulling into the dock on a private island just 30 minutes later. And there, just to the right of the dock and a few steps into the forest, you could see the blueberries. Vibrant blue, beckoning.

Though the forest was full and ripe for picking, the first patch to be emptied was closer yet. Just outside the wall of french doors and across a large, grey-weathered wood patio. A sharp veer to the right, carefully stepping over the giant tree roots, and there they lay waiting. The first morning, while I was sunbathing and devouring the latest issue of Elle, hubs and E. disappeared- only to return a few minutes later, containers full of sweet blue gems, grinning like children on Christmas. “Open up and you’re welcome!” Hubs laughed as he popped a few in my mouth.

AH!! The deliciousness of fresh-picked, wild blueberries! Honest to goodness I laughed out loud. Yes, I’ve had them before (at the same cottage, even!) but it’s something the taste buds forget after time. Good. If they didn’t, how could you ever want to eat anything else? Bursting pops of condensed sweet goodness- freshly picked… pure joy in your mouth. The blueberries immediately went into pancakes for breakfast- topped with maple syrup. Blueberry pancakes are seriously the best.

Though pancakes are delicious, we also wanted a weekend of simple and so I had prepared a big batch of this granola (slightly altered to accommodate our hosts allergy to almonds and hazelnuts) to bring for breakfasts. Of course, once we had arrived  and  realized that there were blueberries, ripe and ready, the granola just couldn’t be served as it was. Hubs and I headed out to the forest the next morning to pick (and eat). Hoods up to protect our heads from the annoying, buzzing deer flies, we moved as fast as we could. Lifting a branch close to the ground often revealed hidden treasures- limbs so bountiful and heavy with fruit that you could simply shake the berries off and into the bowl. Crouching low to reach the loot, I  wondered again at nature, amazed at how something so sweet and delicate can grow on such rocky, stern and sometimes unforgiving land.

As for the granola, I can’t encourage you enough to try your hand making your own! It is so easy to make and adapt- and tastes   a bajillion times better than the store bought stuff. For this batch, out went almonds, in went cashews, and the recipe was doubled. Also added in this time around- pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cocoa nibs (indulgence!), dried coconut (indulgence, again!) and sesame seeds. We loaded it up with the freshly picked blueberries and enjoyed it alongside a pot of steaming hot coffee. Total perfection.

 {additional baking notes}

Mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix the wet (maple or brown rice syrup, a little oil- I like sesame, olive or avocado) along with the salt and spices. Mix the two together until the dry ingredients are coated, spread on a baking sheet or two then bake 10 minute at 350, flip and bake another 10 minutes. Add delicate ingredients like coconut, dried fruits, or cocoa nibs in just before the end of baking then bake 5 minutes longer. Watch the granola throughout, as each oven is different so cooking times might vary. Basically, the granola will turn golden and you know it’s done. Don’t worry if it’s not totally dry- it’ll crunch up a bit as it cools.

Can’t have nuts? Add in lots of yummy seeds instead. Serve as is, or with the freshest berry or fruit of the season. Enjoy!!!

{click the link in the post, or right here, for the original recipe post}

The Dainty Pig - August 8, 2013 - 6:49 pm

Gorgeous photos!!!!!!

Blaine Arin @ Feel-good Food - August 8, 2013 - 7:51 pm

Oh, wow. I want to dive into that bowl of blueberries.

Lovely post! I’m in the mood to stray from my tried and true granola recipes (gasp), I’ll happily give yours a go. xo

Suzanne @RollWithIt - August 9, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Beautiful photos Shauna! Stunning!

tara - August 19, 2013 - 10:32 am

This is truly beautiful! We are in the midst of blueberry season here, too, and I can’t seem to get enough.

Shauna - August 21, 2013 - 10:03 am

Tara, thank you!! and thanks for stopping by! agreed. I’m stalking the markets and our little corner store in hopes of finding some to freeze for the winter!

Suzanne, thank you!! it was so gorgeous at the cottage… I wish I’d picked up the camera a bit more!!

Blaine, it’s a constantly evolving project here depending on the day… stay tuned for a ridiculously tasty and simple dessert recipe with granola… you’re going to love it!!

Jess, thanks! I fall a bit more in love with photography every time I get to pick up my camera…. feels like not enough as of late, but I guess that’s the stuff of life!!

The Body Scrub

ABOUT

Every year billions of dollars are spent on various creams, lotions, topical treatments, remedies, ointments and other miracle promising potions in our quest for perfect skin and flawless complexions. Of course, we know here that what you eat is the super important first step in creating glowing, healthy skin. The Body Scrub is the next step- and you can start doing it today. It’s easy to do, will cost you the amount of a scratchy organic wash cloth and it really does work!

BENEFITS

Your skin is constantly sloughing off old, dead cells. Actually, it completely renews itself every 28 days!! Because your skin is always rejuvenating, you don’t have to wait for the perfect time, or a specific date to start… you can start creating healthy, naturally gorgeous skin today!

Great skin is just one of the rewards you’ll get for doing the body scrub. Here are a few more perks:

  • Increased circulation
  • Morning rub = better + more calm energy all day
  • Evening rub = a deeper sleep! When you sleep longer and better you are more energized and will look fresh and glowing- without makeup!! After doing the body scrub at night I find I fall asleep easily and sleep more deeply.
  • Smooth, soft, glowing skin
  • Helps release any stored toxins that have accumulated under your skin
  • Helps you think more clearly (great for studying/long days at work)
  • More positive outlook
  • Increased awareness to touch and other senses
  • With all of these benefits, it only makes sense that you’ll also find yourself with improved self awareness and a glowing self-image!!!

CLOTH VS. LOOFAH

Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine taking a scratchy loofah or bristly brush, dipping it in hot water and then scrubbing it against your skin. Initially it might seem invigorating, but now imagine using it on the more sensitive parts of your body- behind your ears, all over your face, along the insides of your fingers. Does it make you feel more open and relaxed or slightly tight and closed? Does it retain the heat and moisture from the hot water, or become cold quickly?

Now imagine dipping your organic, unbleached, cotton washcloth into a sink filled with hot water. It’s so full and saturated with water that before you can even use it you have to wring it out. Now place that hot, wet cloth on your face. How does it feel? Imagine yourself gently rubbing back and forth. Now imagine how it feels as you rub behind your ears, or along the insides of your fingers.

Think for a minute about how these two methods feel different.

The objective of the body rub is to gently draw out fat and toxins that have accumulated beneath the surface of the skin which are currently clogging your pores, making it difficult for your skin to discharge and breathe! If you rub your skin with a surface that is too harsh or abrasive, the skin actually tightens and contracts making it very difficult for any rubbish to exit through your pores.  For the body rub, using an organic, cotton washcloth is best. Preferably one that isn’t too thick, but instead is a bit thinner and slightly coarse. Also- please make sure that you are not using any sort of fabric softener! As well as decreasing the absorbency of the towels fibres, fabric softener can add unnecessary chemicals into your body and the environment.

SCRUB VS. RUB

Although in most macrobiotic literature you’ll see this referred to as The Body Scrub, the word scrub can often conjure up images of aggressively scrubbing the skin, similar to the way you would attack the bathtub when you clean it!! In our overzealousness we just scrub too hard. Your skin is delicate- and is your largest organ- you want to be careful with it!! Instead of scrubbing like a fiend, think of this more like a gentle rub, using just a little pressure from your hands. The key word here is gentle.

USEFUL + IMPORTANT TIPS 

There are 2 ways to do The Body Scrub. You can either start at the face working down to the feet or you can work in from your extremities (fingers, toes) in towards just below your navel. Working from the top of your head down to your toes has a more relaxing effect, whereas working from fingers/head/toes in towards your navel has a more energizing effect. Experiment with both and see how you feel!

If you’re pressed for time, the most important areas for you to do are:

  • The hands, wrists, fingers- don’t forget between the fingers!! The tops and bottoms of your feet, your ankles, your toes and between each toe.
  • The face and neck (Don’t forget behind your ears- it feels glorious!!!)
  • Your armpits and groin area.

You should do the body rub either before or after showering, but please don’t do this in the shower or bath.  Three reasons why:

  • Steam from the shower feels relaxing, but can also draw minerals out of the body if you’re in it for too long. (Aim for about 5 – 7 minutes in your shower!) I personally like to do my scrub before I shower, and then have a nice quick rinse off/hair wash under the warm water after my rub is complete.
  • When doing this scrub/rub you are directing the flow of blood and energy to various parts of your body. It’s why your skin starts to turn pink from the heat and rubbing! When you are in the shower, simply being under a steady stream of hot water makes it difficult to have control over the direction and the scrub loses its effectiveness.
  • The water in the sink acts as a powerful magnet. You’ll notice that as you progress through the scrub, especially when you are new to it, that the water in the sink becomes, errr, less clear and pristine as you go. If the water gets cool you can add more hot to it, but don’t be tempted to let the water drain out and start with new. I heard at a lecture by a great macro teacher/counsellor that the rubbish that collects in the water actually acts as a magnet and helps to pull more out from the body as your scrub progresses.

Areas to be especially careful on:

  • Face- esp forehead and bridge of nose
  • The skin along the spine.

Areas to avoid:

  • Women- avoid the breasts
  • Women and men- avoid the genitals, but do the groin area.

About Dry Skin:

For the first month you may notice that your skin is dry and maybe even flaking or rough. Don’t worry!  In fact, be happy and know that your skin is starting to regenerate. It’s just a matter of time now!! If you can, try not to use any moisturizer. This can clog the pores and results will be slower to come. If your skin is severely dry, use a vegetable oil in the evenings after your scrub- Sesame, olive or wild rosehip seed oil. If you must use a lotion/oil (hello, northern winter with zero humidity!!), use one with as little ingredients as possible, and one without chemicals/parabens/preservatives etc. etc.

THE BODY SCRUB

First, fill your sink with hot water. As hot as you can stand, but not scalding hot- burning is bad!!

Fold your cloth into quarters, and dip it into the water. Squeeze out the excess water, so the cloth is damp but not dripping.

Decide whether you are going to work down, or inwards. Remember that this is a rub- and that you only need the gentle pressure from the weight of your hand. You don’t need to use any force!

Place the hot cloth on your skin and, keeping the movement fairly vigorous, start to scrub. Your skin should turn a nice pink colour, which shows you that your circulation is responding to the scrub. Great!! (Note- if at first your skin doesn’t respond and turn pink right away, don’t be tempted to scrub harder/longer. As your circulation improves throughout the month your skin will respond more quickly. Be gentle and patient).

When the cloth begins to cool, dip it in the water, wring it out and continue to do the rest of your body.

Enjoy how amazing you feel!!

Special thanks to my gorgeous friend Karin for modelling! Seriously- you would never guess her age because she has ahhhhmazing skin. There’s something to be said for a good diet, keeping active and being careful with the sun.

Also, it’s not every day that I get to shoot in such a gorgeous space (that bathtub! swoon! and you should have seen the kitchen!!). Our landlord is an incredible contractor and restores heritage homes. We were fortunate to shoot in the master bathroom of one of his newest completed restorations- only a couple of days before it went on the market! Thank you Michelis Contractors!!

 

Irene - July 17, 2013 - 10:20 am

I just tried this today and i feel so refreshed!
Question: is this something we should try to do everyday?

Shauna - July 17, 2013 - 11:42 am

Hi Irene! Awesome!! Isn’t it great? Yes- this is something to try to do everyday, or even twice a day if you’re especially hard core!! Another bonus of doing the body scrub is that is helps to stimulate the lymph system (I should add a little bit into the post about it). Anyways- keep me posted with how the body scrub goes!

Blaine - July 21, 2013 - 8:46 am

Well, this is just awesome.

As much as quality food is an integral part of being well, doing things that assist the body in its own natural detoxification pathways (like scrubbin’) is a key part of getting rid of waste that may be inhibiting feeling awesome (from all that good food!).

I had an amazing macrobiotic instructor who once professed the magic that is the body scrub, but I had since forgotten about it. It does indeed feel incredible! Thanks for posting about this.

Shauna - August 2, 2013 - 6:09 pm

Hey Blaine! Couldn’t agree with you more! Happy you enjoyed it!! (ps- your red lentil dal is on my to-make list this weekend!)

Patricia Thompson - September 3, 2013 - 10:50 am

Shauna, I just had a macrobiotic consult with a dear friend who recently graduated from the Kushi institute and she shared your site, information and this glorious technique with me, thank you so much. I plan on sharing it with my clients as well, what a fabulous way to show your body self love, in loving gratitude, Patricia
ps. I look fwd to trying your recipes, Rita said they are some of the best!

Shauna - September 4, 2013 - 5:34 pm

Hi Patricia, YES! Isn’t the body scrub totally amazing? Love it. Have fun with the recipes, and please let me know how you like them!!

Erika - January 2, 2014 - 8:45 am

Wow! This is such an explanation!
I enjoyed every word and I feel relaxed already! Incredible!
Of course I can’t wait to try!

Thank you so much!
I’ve just ended on your website and I already love it!!

Judy Van Wert - January 5, 2014 - 11:23 am

Good things on this blog
Am very interested in Macrobiotics
Have been practicing for a couple years now

Shauna - February 3, 2014 - 6:12 am

Erika, You’re welcome!It is seriously one of my favourite macro lifestyle practices. Let me know how it goes!!

Judy- Thanks!!

Body Scrub – Day 8 » She Cooks Macro - February 3, 2014 - 6:16 am

[…] I’m in the midst of finishing up a giant work project, so this week is going to be pretty intense. Since macrobiotics is about more than just food, I thought that for week two it might be fun to focus on a lifestyle practice. And if we’re talking big rewards for just a little bit of time (and next to nothing for cost!) the body scrub is huge. As we’re nourishing our bodies from the inside, let’s pamper them from the outside too. My goal this week is to do the body scrub before bed everyday, although if you’re joining in this week you can do it in the morning if you prefer. If you’re really feeling hardcore or are already a champion daily body scrubber you can aim for morning and night. Ready, set, scrub! (New to the body scrub? Click here for a detailed explanation and step by step guide!) […]

[…] @ She Cooks Macro Denny […]

[…] 4)    STASIS:  Finally, just because one consumes mainly plants in a diet, does not mean they have committed to a lifestyle, which includes regular activity, mind-body balance or stress reduction, and blood and lymph friendly practices (such as “body rubs”/The body scrub). […]

shraddha - February 15, 2015 - 12:08 am

I tried it.and my skin feels really soft. I had a question.do you use a body wash after this or totally skip it????

Tahini Lime Dressing

There are 6 students in my current “Intro to Macro” series, and they are a lovely bunch. Six might seem small for a class, but in our little space, it’s the absolute perfect number. Our kitchen table extends just far enough that everyone has room for elbows and cups of tea, and adequate space to jot down notes and ideas for when they try out the recipes in their own homes. Six might seem small, but it’s the perfect amount to allow for the easy flow of stories, knowledge and conversation. If someone wants to sit back and observe, six is just right to let their silence go unnoticed. Six, in our little space, is perfectly comfortable.

Last Thursday everyone arrived almost exactly on time, in the middle of a crazy summer down pour. (Have you been having as wet a spring as we have been?!) Even though they were dripping wet, everyone was smiling and excited, ready to learn. I love the first class, finally putting faces to e-mails, the meet and greet, introductions. Inevitably I’m still doing some last minute prep in the kitchen, and then it’s a whirl wind of teaching and cooking, demonstration, questions and answers, then, finally, the eating!!! Of course it’s my favourite part! I love to eat and I feel bursting to the brim with happiness when I get to be a part of showing others how delicious macrobiotic food can be.

Whether it’s raining, or hot and sunny, this recipe will satisfy. Tossed quickly with some greens it is a quick and easy side, or stir in the dressing amongst some cold noodles and a mix of veggies and fried tofu for a quick one bowl meal. It’s fast, lightly rich and super satisfying- perfect for summer. This recipe is from a class I took earlier this year with Warren Kramer. If you get a chance to see him teach, do it. He’s a fountain of information and his cooking is epic good. Thanks, Warren, for letting me share this recipe today!

Mandy - June 18, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Ohhhh! I can’t wait to try this!! Beautiful post!

Shauna - July 10, 2013 - 2:40 pm

Hi Mandy, Thanks! Hope you like it!

andrea Love Minter - September 25, 2013 - 11:41 am

You have such a beautiful site. Your pictures are great! What an inspiration for cleaning up my eating and trying new things with my cooking.
Thanks!! Keep it up can’t wait for more…

Shauna - September 25, 2013 - 4:59 pm

Hi Andrea- thanks so much!!

Intro to Macro Series- Starting June 13th!

Hi Everyone! I have a recipe (actually a few- yay!) in the line up of things I want to share with you. But today I wanted to quickly let you know that I am offering a (last minute!) Intro to Macro Series- starting tomorrow, Thursday, June 13th! 6 – 8:30 PM. After receiving a number of e-mails about private lessons these past few weeks, I thought, let’s just do a series instead! I love private lessons, but there is something so fun about a group class- how everyone comes together, learns, laughs, asks questions and- most importantly- how awesome it is to sit down and enjoy a delicious and healthy meal together. We have a great time.

Something new that we’re offering for this series is our “take-home” meals! Bring your own container, and for just $15 you can purchase an extra meal to go- perfect for the next day’s lunch or dinner, or for a curious friend, spouse or partner to sample. Share the macro love!

If you think you’d like to attend, there are- at the time of this post- 2 seats remaining.

*UPDATE This class is now sold out!*

Also- a quick thank you to those who commented, and the surprising number of people who sent messages, about the last post. All of your thoughtful and kind comments and ideas mean so much to me- thank you so much!! xo

 

time to breathe

I want to dangle strings of lights from the giant tree that gives shade to our apartment. Heavy branches cocooning our patio, giving the impression of entering some type of carefully tended and intimate open air tree house, something of a fairyland, perfect for sipping iced tea and sharing a plate of good eats, hidden away from the bustle of life.

Containers spilling full of lavender, and some tall grasses that will rustle in the breeze are what I want to plant. This weekend, perhaps. It has been cool this spring, and I’m late getting started. Time has this way of continually zipping by. I can hear a nest of new baby birds cheeping from somewhere close by.

I know it’s been quiet here. I didn’t intend to step away for this long, or at all, actually. Yet here we are, and it is June. There are some delicious things that I want to share with you. Strawberries might be involved. Soon they will be ripe. Soon.

I’ve been thinking about change, changes, changing. Inevitably there are (always?) things I’d like to change and recreate on this little site of mine. I know deep down what direction I’d like to take, but I would love to know what all of you, my friends and readers, are interested in seeing and reading in this space. More of something? Less? Something new? I look forward, very much, to reading your thoughts and ideas, please share them in the comments. I would love to continue to build our little community.

I suppose, in this break away, I’ve been thinking about what direction I’d like my life to go in. There are so many things I like to do, sometimes it all becomes a tangle. Each goal, dream, fleeting idea, big idea, getting trapped together into what I can only describe as one big rubber band ball of insanity that just gets tossed around and down, bouncing like crazy everywhere, sometimes resting, sometimes hurtling fast, ricocheting at top speed from every wall, corner, nook and cranny available. Everything was everywhere, nothing was happening. My mind was trapped in a crazy time of ridiculously intense, sound-barrier breaking speed of rubber ball travel insanity, and then, with nowhere to turn, it basically exploded, imploded, and just, well, stopped.

And I saw that crazy, wild, ball of chaos that I’d backed into the corner like it was a sweating, wild and scared animal. Ready to charge or bolt at any second. I really saw it. And instead of barreling down on it, adding one more passionate thought into an already charged creation, urging it to go! move! do something! think something! be better! be the best! be fucking amazing! NOW! I just stood still. Paralyzed. And I watched. And you know what? After just standing there, being, looking and not judging, not adding to it, just not thinking all the damn time, it took one giant, free, inhalation. And relaxed.

Oh to breathe deeply! Suddenly I was free! And with that freedom I calmly walked in, slowly, gently, and began to untangle the crazy elastic rainbow mess of thoughts and ideas. I swept many aside, put some in storage for later, and lay out to look at, like beautiful curated gems and works of art, the few I want to tackle now. They are goodies.

Thanks for your patience. See you again soon. xo.

Blaine - June 5, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Girl, I hear ya on the crazy mind ball of chaos. Sometimes pauses are necessary to move forward with fresh zeal and inspiration; aren’t those mental breakthroughs delicious?

My input: bring on more of what you’ve been doing! Don’t have any specific tidbits, other than I love reading your recipes, everything from simple macro standbys to extra special treats. As a natural foods chef myself, I would also love glimpses into how you conduct your classes or cook for clients.

Your beautiful posts are much appreciated!

xo Blaine

Shauna - June 6, 2013 - 3:48 pm

Hi Blaine! Thanks for writing! I’ve been thinking about having some class footage- guess it’s time to start learning the video function on my camera!! If you want to send me an e-mail we can totally chat about cooking for private clients, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Thanks again for the kind encouragement.

Csilla - June 10, 2013 - 5:57 am

Hi,
I agree with Blaine, I also would like to read more about your thoughts and experiences on cooking classes and working with clients.
I think it is very nice that you share some things of your life, so I would like to encourage you to continue it.
Of course you take very beautyful and demanding (I hope that this is the correct word for what I mean) pictures, which are inspiring for many people. I love them. Sometimes when I start to be tired of always cooking or when I have no idea, I take a look at these pictures and I feel: Wow, I also want to cook something beautyful, delicious and healthy.
And, I would like to read about how you handle your everyday cooking, how you can always cook variously, if you would like to share your thoughts about it.
I am also interested in the macro community there in Toronto, it would be great to read about it.

I like changes, so I am excited about what you will decide to change.
I wish you all the best :-)

Shauna - June 17, 2013 - 5:22 pm

Hi Csilla!
Thanks for the comments- and suggestions! I think one of my favourite things about blogging, so far, has been all of the great people I’ve had the chance to “meet” (via the internet, anyways!) from around the globe. It’s so humbling to me to see that people take time to read my posts and look at the pics to get inspired!! xo