The Writers' Exchange

Help Vancouver’s Writers’ Exchange!

Friends! The Writers’ Exchange gets Vancouver’s inner-city kids excited about reading and writing through crazy, fun, and imaginative creative-writing projects and support from volunteer mentors:

 

 

The Indiegogo Campaign

This month, they’re raising funds to help cover the costs of renovating a new space. Although they’ve been in the same space for years, their rent has recently doubled and forced them to move upstairs–which they’re happy about, because it means not moving locations for the sake of their students.

However, it DOES mean renovating that upstairs space. June first marked the first day of their Indiegogo campaign to help raise their goal of $20,000, and they’re already at almost $14,000 as I’m writing this! But here’s the thing: the full budget of their move and re-design is $53,500, so any extra funds that they can raise would be AMAZING.

About the Writers’ Exchange

Over 500 kids a year attend the Writers’ Exchange programs at their home on East Hastings in Vancouver and in schools across East Vancouver and in the Strathcona area. Most of the kids have been referred to the programs offered by the Writers’ Exchange by their teachers, because they either need extra literacy support (less than half of the kids at Vancouver’s inner-city schools are meeting provincial literacy expectations), or just need a safe place to go after school and/or during the summer.

Or both!

Even though most of the kids they work with say they don’t like reading and writing before they attend the Writers’ Exchange programs, in 2016, 99% of kids said they liked doing the fun literacy activities at the Writers’ Exchange! Also, every single parent polled said their child benefited from attending this amazing organization’s programs.

The Writers’ Exchange runs free, fun literacy programs after school and during the summer, and inner-city teachers also invite the program’s teachers into their classrooms to create publications with their classes. And then they actually have book launch parties for these kids when their publications are bound and ready to go! (The program receives very generous help with this part of the process from a local publishing company.)

This is a legit program that is VERY much needed for everyone in the community–and they need support. Watch their Indiegogo campaign video here, then please, please donate! xo

 

 


The Writers’ Exchange Society is a registered Canadian charity, number 795045095 RR0001.

New Year Goals

New Year, New Goals

As we approach a brand new year, many of us are taking some time to figure out how we can improve our lives in a healthy and productive way. After all, a new year is a great jumping off point for new focus, new aspirations, and new energy.

I’m so pleased to introduce a guest writer for this post; Cassie Brewer:

Build a Stronger and Healthier You this New Year

Our plans to completely transform our bodies, our habits or our lives are often too ambitious at the start of the new year, leading most of us to fail by giving up on our resolutions soon after we get started.

Rather than overhauling your whole entire life by simply listing goals, you can try to adopt lifelong habits this new year, so that you can become a stronger and healthier version of yourself, without having to resort to extremes like crash diets or end up suffering from severe exhaustion.

There are several things you can do to turn your life around and be the best version of yourself this new year and for the years to come, but the following are the top five habits to adopt:

Eat When You’re Hungry

If you’re ending the year emotionally exhausted from yo-yo dieting, then think of turning a new page this new year by foregoing dieting, and instead, choose to listen to your body. Rather than figuring out the best diet for you, try to understand why you are hungry. Do you really need to eat something or is there an emotional issue that you want to forget with food?

Don’t make 2017 another year where you use food as a crutch.

new year meditation

Adopt a Meditative Ritual

Unless you live on a farm with no Wi-Fi, then chances are your life is bound to get busier. Adopting a meditative ritual such as meditation first thing in the morning or yoga a few times a week will help you to find stillness despite your busy life. Download an app to guide you through meditation or chant the mantra you feel most connected to.

When it comes to yoga, you can join a class or even do the poses at home — no matter how hectic life gets, you can always sneak a few minutes of yoga to de-clutter your mind.

Find a Skincare Regime (that works for YOU)

Skincare is not something that you start worrying about later in life when much of the damage has been done. It is essential to find a quick but effective skincare regime with high quality products that are right for your skin. While the regime will vary, depending on your skin type, there are certain products our face will always need, such as sunscreen (even on winter days!) serum, eye cream and a good moisturizer.

Tap Into Your Creativity

We all have our versions of what creativity is, but most of us tend to lose this trait because of an overwhelming work/life schedule. Creativity is essential to drive us to be better at work and in life, so it’s important to go in search of inspiration throughout the year. Read books that challenge you creatively, learn something new, or go back to doing something you used to do when you were very young and let your mind find its way back to being spontaneous and perceptive.

Go Offline

Finally, learn to switch off and take real breaks. It has become the norm to be constantly on and having something to do, but doing nothing has its many benefits, too. Go for long walks in nature, have tech-free weekends and start your morning without checking your phone. Only by quieting the noise of the online world can we understand what is going on inside our mind, so we can understand what we are doing, how we are feeling, and where we are going.

“Just as good sleep hygiene was the hot topic of 2016, digital detox plans will be trending in 2017.” –Jennifer Browne

Happy New Year! Cheers to a new and improved you, and an amazing 2017. xo


About the Author

Cassie Brewer is a makeup professional in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (makeup of course!) and everything beauty related. Nothing makes her happier than helping other be the best version of themselves they can be. You can read more at cassiebrewer.weebly.com and follow her on twitter @Cassiembrewer.

 

Herbs for cold and flu

10 Medicinal Herbs to Help You Through Cold and Flu Season

Hey, everyone! It’s October! (Whaaaat?!) I’m doing a talk today at Parallel Yoga in Abbotsford, on the topic of herbs and their associated health benefits. (Specifically, their benefits during cold and flu season.)

During this talk, I promised to share my presentation via my website, so here it is, in all its Power Point glory. (FYI–it’s been a few years since I’ve done one of these, so please be kind in your judgement against my obvious lack of creativity and originality.)

Everything in this presentation is referenced from my book The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea, which is in turn referenced in about 32 pages of scientific research. (YES–it took forever.) If you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me and voice them.

I promise I’ll respond!

Cold and flu season sucks, so without further adieu…here you go:

Medicinal Herbs for Cold and Flu

Moms: Do Your Kids Have Food Sensitivities?

Hey, friends! I have an exciting announcement: on March 1 2016, Baby Nosh quietly made its way into the world.

(Note: I’m talking about a baby book, not an actual baby.)

What

Baby Nosh is a book I co-wrote with the talented and locally acclaimed shutterbug, Tanya R. Loewen. Geared towards helping parents make good choices when it comes to feeding their baby solid foods, Baby Nosh is ultimately filled with tips, ideas, and 100 recipes that are kind to your baby’s digestive system and will not promote food sensitivities.

These days, with our food supply being so artificial and commercially prepped, we’re all (including our babies) feeling the results of a poor western diet.

But Baby Nosh can help!

This book is chalk-full of nutrient-dense foods that help your baby (your whole family, actually) successfully grow and thrive the way we were all designed to. Babies and children don’t need to suffer with food sensitivities.

If supplied with the right kind of foods, your family can be 100% food sensitivity-free.

Why

Your body is amazing. It does absolutely everything in its power to keep you alive, and that is the only reason we’re not all dropping like flies. I mean, let’s face it: most of us do nothing to mindfully and intentionally assist our bodies in being the best possible bodies they can be.

Right?

But a funny thing happens when you have kids: overnight, you become completely willing to give up your bad vices and totally prioritize your kids’ health and well-being. By way of osmosis, you also usually improve your own health, too.

SO: if you just had a baby, or your have small children, or just want to learn how to make easy, healthy, kind foods for your family, attend one of the two Baby Nosh events below. If you have kids with food sensitivities, you should come. If you have food sensitivities yourself, you should come.

When

Books will be for sale, and Tanya and I would be more than willing to help you achieve a blissful, healthy home–and usually, that type of wellness begins in the kitchen.

There are two locations: Abbotsford (April 5th at Precious Kargo Baby Boutique) and Vancouver (Commodity Juicery). Pick one (or both!) and we’ll see you there. If you can’t make it, you can still buy the book HERE. xo

Vegetarian Cooking at Lepp Farm Market

Happy Sunday, everyone! On Tuesday March 8, I’ll be demonstrating 4 recipes at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, BC. The event will run from 7-9ish, and will include a signed copy of Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

So sign up today HERE!

I’ve decided to post the recipes we’ll be making here instead of handing out recipe cards, because it’s more eco-friendly, and easier to find than a lost piece of paper.

Right?!

It’s also noteworthy to mention that while 3 of the 4 recipes are from Vegetarian Comfort Foods, the smoothie is from my latest book, Baby Nosh.

So here are the 4 recipes we’ll be going through, and I hope you love them! Xo

Recipe #1: Green Goodness Smoothie (From Baby Nosh)

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. hemp hearts (optional)
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (optional)

Method

  • Combine first 6 ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • Sprinkle with hemp hearts and chia seeds for extra awesomeness.

Recipe #2: Mediterranean Sprouted Endive Boats (from Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ zucchini
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup sprouted beans
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. Greek salad dressing (Rendezvous is perfect!)
  • 2 endive spears

Method

  • Clean the veggies, and throw the mushrooms, pepper, and zucchini in a food processor.
  • Process until piece are small, but not quite minced. Set aside.
  • Peel the carrot and set aside.
  • Peel layers off endive spears, and arrange on platter so the cavity is face-up, resembling boats. Set aside.
  • Place ¼ cup of water in skillet and heat to medium.
  • Once simmering, add processed veggies (not the carrots) and sprouted beans, and sauté for 2 minutes to soften, slightly.
  • Remove from heat and drain any remaining water. Add tamari to the heated mixture, toss to coat, and scoop into endive cavities.
  • Garnish with 2-3 strips of carrot, and serve.

Recipe #3: Squashed Puttanesca (From Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 3 cooked artichoke hearts
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped parsley

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut squash lengthwise into two halves.
  • Grease cookie sheet with half the oil, and place squash flat-side down on sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice the onion, mince the garlic, slice fennel into “v” shapes, and quarter your artichokes.
  • Place pot on stove, and heat on medium. Once hot, add remaining oil, and throw in onion and garlic.
  • Let them brown while pushing around with spatula for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat down to medium and add tomatoes and fennel. Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove cover and add artichokes, capers, and olives, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove squash from oven, and flip over. Set two plates close to stove.
  • Remove the middle stringy, seedy part of the squash using a large spoon.
  • Using a fork, scrape the cavity of the squash so that it comes out in strips, like spaghetti.
  • Once squash is plated, it should resemble spaghetti noodles. Top with sauce and then garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe #4: Coconut Bliss Balls (From Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Makes approximately 36 balls)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Method

  • Mix all ingredients except for coconut together in food processor, until well combined.
  • Form into balls, roll in coconut, and place on parchment paper or in mini-muffin cups as you go.
  • Store in mini-muffin cups in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I hope to see you at Lepp Farm Market in a couple of days! For more vegetarian recipe ideas, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods. xo

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Recipes for The Wellness Show

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to share the two recipes I’ll be demonstrating for The Wellness Show this weekend. This event is taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, located at 999 Canada Place. It runs from Friday to Sunday, and it’s awesome, so you should be there!

I’ll be on the Healthy Families Cooking Stage on Saturday, February 13th at 3:00 making Raw, Nut-Free Bliss Balls. I’ll also be making Sprouted Endive Boats on the same stage on Sunday, February 14th (Happy Valentine’s Day!) at 3:00. Both recipe are from my recipe book, Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Here are the full recipes:

Raw, Nut-Free Bliss Balls (vegan and gluten-free)

Makes approximately 36 balls   

The original name for this recipe was “Nut Balls,” but I got very made fun of for it. Bliss Balls sounds a little better, I guess. (Not as much fun, though.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut OR chia seeds

Method

Mix all ingredients except for coconut together in food processor, until well combined. Form into balls, roll in coconut or chia seeds, and place on parchment paper or in mini-muffin cups as you go. Store in mini-muffin cups in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Sprouted Endive Boats (vegan and gluten-free)

Makes approximately 16

These cute little two-biters are super nutritious and look cool plated. They have tons of flavor, with the benefit of being wholesome and vegan. (My kinda tapa.) Note: sometimes it’s hard to find endive spears, so ask around.

Ingredients

  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ zucchini
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup sprouted beans
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. gluten-free tamari
  • 2 endive spears

Method

  1. Clean the veggies, and throw the mushrooms, pepper, and zucchini in a food processor. Process until piece are small, but not quite minced. Set aside.
  2. Peel the carrot and set aside. Peel layers off endive spears, and arrange on platter so the cavity is face-up, resembling boats. Set aside.
  3. Place ¼ cup of water in skillet and heat to medium. Once simmering, add processed veggies (not the carrots) and sprouted beans, and sauté for 2 minutes to soften, slightly.
  4. Remove from heat and drain any remaining water. Add tamari to the heated mixture, toss to coat, and scoop into endive cavities. Garnish with 2-3 strips of carrot, and serve.

Hope to see you all at The Wellness Show! xo

 

The 24th Annual Wellness Show Vancouver

This weekend (February 12-14) marks the 24th annual Wellness Show Vancouver, taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre. I’ve been before, but it’s either been as an attendee or a media representative. This year, I’m much more involved! Check it out:

Fresh + Fit Vancouver

The best place to catch me will be at my booth for Fresh + Fit Vancouver. This boutique white label firm specializes in assisting small wellness businesses promote themselves on social media, and build better online visibility through original content creation in the form of website content and unique and relevant blog posts.

If you’re wondering why small businesses need a service like this, click HERE or watch the video at the end of this post.

The Fresh + Fit booth is located in space 817B—come say hi!

Healthy Families Cooking Stage

I’m not totally sure how this happened, but I’ll be conducting two live demos of healthy snacks for the new Healthy Families Cooking Stage. On Saturday the 13th, I’ll be making Bliss Balls at 3pm, and on Sunday the 14th (Happy Valentine’s Day!), I’ll be making Sprouted Endive Boats (sponsored by Eat More Sprouts) at 3pm.

Come watch my demo(s) and I’ll be happy to make sure you get a signed copy of Vegetarian Comfort Foods after!

Book Sales + Signing

At the Fresh + Fit booth, I’ll also be selling and signing books. They include:

So if you’re at The Wellness Show this weekend, come pop by and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you. xo


 

Why Your Business Needs to Utilize Social Media

Release: The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea

Friends! I’m excited to announce that a book I signed a contract for over a year ago will be releasing in just ONE WEEK! On January 5th, The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea: 50 Ways to Brew the Cure for What Ails You will hit the shelves at Chapters, Indigo, Coles, Barnes & Noble, and more! It will also be available for purchase through amazon.com, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond!

Here’s the description from the back cover:

More than just a warm and comforting drink, tea has medicinal properties that are widely underused in North America. Common herbs, spices, fruits, and barks have been scientifically proven to help relieve pain, menopause symptoms, high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, and digestive angst. When taken preventatively, certain herbs in tea can help fight off cancer cells, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease and fibromyalgia. By learning about what these various natural ingredients are capable of and how they work, readers can begin to treat many ailments with what grows in their gardens—plants that have been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years.

The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea invites readers into a world of medicinal plants, instructs on the specific healing properties of each, matches them to ten common North American health disorders, and provides simple tea recipes readers can make in their own homes.

Late Japanese author Okakura Kakuzo has been famously quoted as saying, “Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.” The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea encourages readers to turn their favorite drink back into medicine—and outlines exactly how to accomplish this. With the help of beautiful photographs and an easy dialogue, Jennifer Browne clearly explains to readers how teatime can garner impressive health benefits.

This book is my third, and I’m extremely proud and excited to share it with everyone. If you’re someone who loves to create and cook and be healthy and inventive and holistic and maybe has a little bit hippie inside of you, this book is for YOU.

Merry Christmas and Nappy New Year–2016 is going to be amazing. xo

The Wellness Show Vancouver

Hey, everyone! If you live in the Vancouver area, and have yet to attend the annual Wellness Show at the Vancouver Convention Centre, you need to give it a go in 2016.

Besides the fact that I’ll be there (both as a Healthy Families stage presenter, and at my Fresh + Fit Vancouver booth) and I’ll need some good, distracting company, I also have coupons for you!

Not that The Wellness Show is expensive (it’s $14.50 for a general admission and $30 for the entire weekend, and you make your money back pretty quickly in free swag and delicious food samples), but as an extra enticement, the event coordinators have offered me a 2-for-1 coupon for Friday the 12th to offer anyone who may be interested!

You can download it HERE:

Once the holidays are over and you can breathe and focus on your own wellness (by January, we all wanna do it), I promise that this event will sound more than appealing.

Hope to see you there! xo

wellness show coupon