What causes are dear to your heart? What moves you? Some of you may know that I grew up in the Dominican Republic, a beautiful island full of colour and character. A developing country in the middle of the Caribbean, where not every family has access to clean water or proper education for their kids. Traveling around the world has truly allowed me to see how lucky we are when we live in cities and communities where access to water is a given.
Access to water is necessary for a healthy life and essential to live. From drinking it daily, to preparing meals at home, clean water should be available to all, but it’s not. Sadly, this is a huge issue in many parts of the world. You don’t have to be a parent to be moved by the fact that this reality has a devastating effect in so many parts of the world. In 3 years, a child in Africa, typically a girl, will travel the same distance as crossing Canada just to collect fresh water.
That’s why this holiday season, I’ve partnered with Plan International Canada, an organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. I was moved to my core when I learned about Gifts of Hope, a Plan International Canada program where anyone can unleash the potential of children and families around the world by purchasing tangible goods and services on behalf of their loved ones. Goods and services that will help these families and children live a better life wherever they are most needed.
filled with beans, cooking oil, and cereal. These baskets are a gift that will help thousands of pregnant women, mothers, and young children who are malnourished.
A gift that not only launches livelihood and empowers women to help pay for housing, healthcare and food, but also helps local crops thrive.
The gift of girl power offers nourishment, education and protection. This gift aids in creating schools and safe spaces for young girls, ensuring they are not forced into early marriages.
For the holidays, its important to give with intention. To support organizations that strive to make the world a better place. I encourage you to believe in the power and potential of every child by taking a stand anywhere children are exploited, oppressed or left behind. As the mother of two kind, thoughtful girls who were born in a country where they can reach their full potential, I hope that one day we can see girls around the world being helped in reaching those same opportunities, health, and a fulfilling life.
If you want to contribute in any way this holiday season, Gifts of Hope start at varying price points (even as little as ten dollars). Visit plangifts.com to learn more and shop for your loved ones online.
Like the great Martin Luther King said “Life’s, most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” I believe that it’s by helping others that we can help not only humanity, but also ourselves. Anything can make a difference in someones life.
How you can help
In the spirit of giving and helping those in need this Christmas, I’ll be giving the gift of Clean Water to a family in need. The burden of finding safe drinking water usually falls upon young girls, who travel grueling distances day-to-day and miss school, leaving them vulnerable to harmful situations along the way. The gift I’m choosing to give provides community-based water solutions and keeps girls safe and in school, bringing water and alleviating a significant stressor to underprivileged families.
As the year comes to an end, I also wanted to share the recipe for my Spiced Maple Granola. A few years ago I used to do holiday pop-ups in Toronto, and made batches of this granola specifically for these events. To this day, people still ask me when I’m going to share this recipe so here it is; I hope you enjoy this with the ones you love.
Spiced Maple Granola
- 1.2 Kg Large flake oats
- 3 cups almonds
- 2 1/2 cups pecans
- 2 1/2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups pepita seeds
- 2 cups sunflower seeds
- 3 cups pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 4 cups dried cranberries
- 3 cups coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 3/4 cup chia seeds
- 3/4 cup hemp hearts
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil.
- In a large bowl mix the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pepita seeds, and sunflower seeds. Stir well until the nuts and oats are well combined.
- In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg. Whisk well and pour the mixture over the oats and nuts, then stir until everything evenly coated.
- Divide the granola evenly between the two trays and flatten lightly with a spoon.
- Bake for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden and toasty.
- Let trays cool on a cooling rack and add the cranberries, coconut flakes, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and hemp hearts evenly on both trays. Enjoy with Greek yogurt and your favourite fruit. The granola keeps well for over a month, just store it in airtight containers.