Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Hello my darlings. What a lovely time of year. The leaves are starting to turn here in Central Ontario, I’m not sweating to death daily and I’m currently cruising a turkey and wine hangover after a weekend of over-indulgence and Canadian Thanksgiving/birthday celebrations. And the most over-done thing in the Fall is Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Pumpkin Spice

“Squeeeeee-ing” women (and men) everywhere are flocking to the coffee houses to scoop up these syrupy, spicy indulgences.  Even though they are a bit annoyingly over done as far as the Facebook and Instagram posts, I do enjoy a PSL. But, my body doesn’t love sugar and most PSL’s hover around 50 grams of sugar. Each. Gross.

So I decided to whip up my own concoction which is just as good, or better than the stuff at the store that my body hates. And also inexpensive and incredibly versatile. You can customize your PSL to your tastes. I use real, unsweetened pumpkin which has tons of health benefits like vitamin A and beta carotene (eyeballs, skin), fiber (weight loss), vitamin C (immune function, cold fighter), potassium (natural energy) and carotenoids (eyeballs, skin, immunity).


So be flexible with this! Sweeten however you want (or not want). Use coffee or espresso. Pick your milk – coffee cream or almond? You’re going to be your own barrista

I would suggest if you are making multiple PSL’s, do them one at a time in a small-batch blender like a Bullet or my personal favourite the Hamilton Beach Single Serve blender so that each cup gets the frothy fun that ends up being poured last.

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • Coffee/Espresso
  • Cream/Milk/Almond Milk/Whatever You Choose
  • 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of unsweetened, organic, pumpkin puree (open a can and transfer it into Pumpkin Pie Spicea glass container to use throughout the week).
  • Sweetener of your choice – Amber honey, Stevia, or unsweetened…up to you.
  • Several healthy dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spice (make your own, or buy it pre-made). Plus some for garnish.
  • Healthy pinch of sea salt (important)

Brew your coffee or espresso. In a personal or small-batch blender, add the milk, pumpkin, sweetener, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add in the coffee and blend for at least 45 seconds. Sometimes hot beverages do a bit of splashing…just be cautious (ie: white shirt, hotter temps). Pour into latte mugs and sprinkle a bit more spice over the top.

Enjoy and Happy Fall!


Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday






Mercury is Out of Retrograde

Mercury is Out of Retrograde

Haha…I saw this picture this morning on my Facebook timeline. Mercury is no longer retrograde. Let the computer Gods rejoice.

The Mercury retrograde phenomenon – for me at least –  is an actual thing. The day Mercury went retrograde (August 30th) my internet went on the fritz and my phone pretty much bit the biscuit. Throughout this retrograde, a tech project I’ve been working on has caused me many bangs of my head against the desk.

In Astrology, Mercury surrounds communication, travel, thought and logic. When it goes retrograde (the illusion of it moving backwards, even though it just slows down a ton), it has been known to snarl otherwise harmonious plans and communications.

And of course, it’s handy to have a planet to yell at when the internet goes down.

Mercury goes retrograde again on December 19th, 2016.

What shifts do you notice in a Mercury retrograde period?

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday


Summer Heat Hack: Facecloths in the Fridge

Summer Heat Hack-

Howdy, my hot, hot friends. Has it been hot enough for you? Where I am, yes, thank you. I believe I’m fully sauna detoxed at this point. This summer where I am (Ontario) it’s been hot, hot and freakin’ hot. I’ve been religiously throwing cold damp facecloths in the fridge to have handy and it’s proven to be a valuable little hack if I do say so myself.

Facecloths in the Fridge
Cheap, white Dollarama face cloths come in handy for this purpose!

I always have in stock about 30 facecloths – mostly those baby facecloths as I use them to remove make up, etc. and they are pretty gentle and soft. I also get plain white ones from Dollarama and have given up on using my nice ones unless company is staying over…I’m tired of having to chuck the expensive ones in the trash due to my mascara issues.

Every evening before bed, I take a couple of clean cloths, dampen them with cool water, wring them out well (don’t let them sit in a pile of water), and stack them on a side plate in the fridge for a few hours to get cool. The plate conducts the cold better than a ziplock or Tupperware container. Cold showers are always useful, but sometimes you just need a quick, portable cool down.

Ways I use my cold cloths in the summer:

  • Seriously, just to cool the eff down…forehead, back of neck, boobs….whatever…it’s hot.
  • On my eyeballs for 10 minutes in the morning.
  • On my face after my shower and before primer/make up…to close pores and un-swell.
  • On areas where I’ve got too much sun.
  • Great for cooling/wiping off when coming in from yard work/gardening/running/other sweaty activity.
  • On the back of my neck when I’m blowdrying my hair – this activity has the potential to actually spontaneously ignite my body…cold cloths help.
  • For kids when they have had a bit too much heat/sun/excitement or to bring fevers down.

It feels humidI make sure to have a few to start with so I can toss one’s that I’ve used directly in the laundry (which is why I always have a lot). Only put clean cloths in the fridge. I also wouldn’t let them sit for days…although they are in cooler temps so undesirable bacterial growth would be slow but you just don’t even want to play with that…they will also slowly dry up. Throw a few in the fridge before bed or in the morning when you are fixing your coffee/tea/bong hit.

Stay cool, my Loves!

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday


Natural Household Scrubby Cleaner Recipe

Natural Household Scrubby Cleaner Recipe


Howdy, Loves.

Weekends over here are usually for cleaning, laundry, working in the garden and organizing household stuff (haha, I lie about that last one – mostly). As I whip up my usual batch of cheap and natural cleaners to tackle this place, I thought I would share my favourite DIY cleaner recipe with you.

I’ve been using essential oils and creating my own cleaners since 2001 when I was pregnant with my daughter and wanted to start making my own soap. (I was obviously pregnant and insane…soap is super time consuming and slightly technical to make..somehow at the time it was a fabulous idea). I kept making cleaners over the years though because of how easy and natural they are.

This is an abrasive-like cleaner (I hate that word…it reminds me of … ahem….a few people…), but it’s totally safe and gentle…both in toxicity and on your fixtures. Why I love it:

  • Easy to make
  • Inexpensive
  • Shines up fixtures easily (taps, drains, tubs, sinks, toilets, tile, scummy glass bottles, stovetops, microwaves)
  • Gentle on almost everything, won’t scratch
  • Effective cleaning, anti-microbial power – from powerful essential oils
  • Fabulous on soap scum
  • Fabulous on baked-on stove and microwave disasters
  • Smells lovely – baking soda, IMG_4567 citrus + tea tree oils fight and neutralize odours
  • Non-toxic, environment approves!

The tea tree oil in this recipe is a must due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Citrus not only smells lovely but also offers its own effective cleaning power.

I’m in LOOOOVE with citrus-mint essential oil blends right now. They smell amazingly clean and fresh and yummy. I’ve added a touch of spearmint to this recipe which is a sweeter, milder smelling mint and it’s heavenly.

Trash the Comet or Vim and use this stuff instead. (Breathing in Comet dust, ummm, no thanks…it’s FULL of toxic chemicals).

The recipe below covers a double sink in the kitchen and 1 full bathroom (tub +tile, toilet bowl and sink + surround). Double or triple the recipe as needed. I also get my baking soda in bulk which makes this even more cost effective. The mixture will separate slightly when it sits, just give it a quick stir.

Natural Household Scrubby Cleaner Recipe

In a jar or container, mix up:

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp natural dishwashing liquid
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 10 drops of citrus essential oil (I use a blend but straight lemon, orange or grapefruit would work as well)
  • 2 drops of spearmint essential oil (I’m in LOVE with the citrus/mint blend)
  • 1 tbsp of water

Mix with a spoon.

Usage Directions:

  • Splatter the mixture on the area to clean
  • With a clean, damp cloth, clean/scrub areas as usual
  • Rinse well with clean water

Happy Cleaning!

Brooke Simmons




Get Updates Delivered

Christmas on Wednesdays! CSA Haul

I’m pretty excited, you guys.

This summer I’ve signed up for a CSA-type of program with a local farmer. Every Wednesday, I’ve been receiving a box of goodies on my doorstep with fresh, local, organic veggies and a selection of local organic meats. I live in a smaller town where local and organic at the supermarket (believe it or not) are hard to come by.

The fun thing that I am enjoying the most is that although I know what veggies I’m getting in advance, is the meat delivery is always a surprise. He packs in all sorts of cuts that I wouldn’t ever think to purchase myself, which gets my new recipe testing skills out from the cobwebs and gets us trying new things. Last week I made Schnitzel which I don’t even think I’ve ever eaten before. It was fantastic! (Made a gluten free option with gluten free breadcrumbs and flour, and the Schnitzel recipe I used is here).

It’s a surprise – like Christmas on my doorstep every freakin’ Wednesday! It even gets dropped off in a cute tote.

CSA Haul

We received lots of beautiful greens and radishes and potatoes and such as well as a variety of beef and pork in this round.

This weekend, my own veggie garden is going to get planted as well, so abundance of lots of gorgeous, organic food this summer! This stuff makes my heart happy, folks.

What have you had success with in your veggie garden? Do you sign up for a CSA in the warmer months?

Happy Friday.
Brooke Simmons


Stepping Away to Get it All Back

Stepping Away to Get it All Back

At the time I am writing this, it’s a glorious “May Two-Four” long weekend here in Ontario (after a particularly dreary, long winter). I’m in a motorhome drinking a decaf and Kahlua (long weekend, hello), and getting ready to head out in the sunshine and breathe in some campfire smoke and exhaust fumes (I’m at a speedway).

It’s really glorious though.

Yesterday, I spend the day in the garden and overhauled two of my front beds.

The start of the garden overhaul before and after
The start of the garden overhaul before and after


This time away is particularly lovely because I live and breathe my business 24/7. I’m always thinking, strategizing and tweaking, even if I’m not “working. Right now I’m in the midst of creating new products, services and a website overhaul. I work weekends a lot. Sometimes my brain gets tired. To say I’m mildly obsessed probably hits it on the head. But I think this actually creates a problem: I believe you can be obsessed to the point of not making any forward movement. Like divots. Divots in your brain. Like when you’re looking for the same thing over and over again…only to find it an hour later immediately when you’ve come back from a break.

It’s not ‘forward moving’ when your brain cells are frizzled on the same thing over and over. As much as we would like to think it’s best strategy, I believe it has the opposite effect.

Taking two days away (still one to go, yo) and I’m already feeling energized. Yesterday my whole focus was landscape fabric and moving rocks. Today, I’ve got myself an “O” magazine for some mindless entertainment and feel good shit between the excitement of road racing. Then I might drink a beer and have a nap.

It’s already created space in my brain and made space for those divots to fill themselves in.

Zero effs given until Tuesday.

Happy May Two-Four.





My Morning Game Changer and Morning Routine Take 2

Morning Routine

Morning routines of different successful people and creatives is been something I’ve always been curious about. I like to seek out articles about routines and study them. Look for comparisons. Try something new. Imitate a routine – try it on for size. Keep what fits, toss what doesn’t.

A few years ago, I wrote about my morning routine as it was at a time when I was consciously carving out a specific “power hour” time in the morning (I really hate that term, but it fits). Time for me. Prep my day. Create the plan. Connect with the Universe…yadda yadda. Over the last few years as I have grown to know myself more and more, it couldn’t help but evolve.

Right now my routine is more flexible. I’m someone who enjoys routine AND spontaneity (impossible?). Also being someone who isn’t the most…shall we say, quick to get moving in the morning…I need something that is flexible but also reaps many benefits. I have several things that my current morning routine consists of – only a few that are set in stone – and I take or leave the rest. No guilt. No pressure.

The common thread to my mornings is that: 1. They are spiritual. 2. They are easy. 3. They are setting myself up to have the most successful day possible. 4. Email/social media isn’t part of the plan (this drains my morning mojo almost instantaneously). It’s time to focus on my goals, my body and my spirit. To get into alignment about what’s important to me that day.

One Simple Morning Game Changer

One thing that has taken my mornings to a new level of greatness, is that I wake up a lot earlier. I am not

Morning routine
This little guy is a ray of sunshine at 5am

a morning person by nature, but a few months ago as an experiment, I invested in this wake-up light alarm clock. My iPhone does not come into my bedroom anymore as it’s such a huge distraction! Checking email and Instagram first thing in the morning is a recipe for a shit day.

So this wake up light, wakes you up gradually with a simulated, lighted sunrise. Then pops on music, or birds chirping or whatever froo-froo happy sound you choose, at the time you actually want to get up. I am a heavy morning sleeper and I have to say this gentle light has worked to wake me up every morning since I purchased it. It’s an easy wake up. It’s not jarring or annoying, and as I used it more, I experimented with earlier and earlier times, all with success. So then the earlier I get up the more time I have to linger on the things below.

My Current Morning Routine (roughly…with room and permission to flex)

5:15am – Wake-up light comes on and slowly gets brighter

5:45am – Music comes on, by this time I’m usually awake. I lay in bed and meditate and release anything that is concerning me.

6am – Wash face, brush teeth, get gym clothes on that have been picked the night before*. Make a lemon water and grab a banana for the ride to the gym.

6:20 – Most mornings now since my daughter is older, I head to the gym. I feel and work so much better after a work out. This is a static part of my routine unless there is a super valid reason why I can’t go (sick, dead).

7:30 – Home. Make tea and breakfast (I tend to at least figure out breakfast in my head the night before, prep it if I’m being a super adult). This is where my options come in. I then do one, two or several of the following (depending on what I really need, and how much time I have before I need to be in the shower):

  • Morning Pages.
  • Read a non-fiction book about a relevant topic (I save fiction for bedtime).
  • Write in my gratitude journal.
  • Pull an oracle card.
  • Brainstorm/mindmap/plan – when my mind is really on fire, or I’ve busted out a wicked idea.
  • Sun salutes (yoga).

8:10 – Shower + Podcast. I use my shower time to listen to whatever Podcast I fancy that day (money, Tim Ferriss, leadership, online marketing, astrology).

9am – Out the door or at my desk. Some days I drive my daughter and her posse to high school. Most days I’m a working nomad and work in cute cafe’s or other creative entrepreneurial gathering places.

*Life hack to get your ass to the gym.

Occasionally things don’t go as planned, but that’s life and I let that shit go. I get back on track the next day. Another thing that has been helpful is keeping things really simple in the mornings. I pick from a few simple breakfasts to make – enough that there is variety but nothing that requires a lot of effort or decision making. I try and pick out clothes the night before. I also create lists of what I may need to bring with me the next day.

More Morning Routines

If your interested in other people’s morning routines, is a cool site to read about successful people’s routines from all kinds of careers and lifestyles. This article showcases the morning routines of 12 female leaders, and one of my favourite authors and Podcasters, Tim Ferriss gets into this topic.

I’m genuinely curious. Feel free to share your morning routine in the comments or send me a note .
Brooke Simmons

Viva Las Vegas – Fun in Sin City

Las Vegas Strip
Hi Loves. Just back from a whirlwind few days in Las Vegas. I haven’t been to Vegas since I may or may not have tied the knot there many, many moons ago (oops). I wasn’t going for a do-over. Just a last minute “hey wanna go to Vegas?” style of trip. I expected nothing. I got fabulous.

It’s changed in the last 13 years – more hotels, it seemed classier and it’s helluva lot of fun. I didn’t gamble at all. I was too busy eating and drinking to think about it. You definitely don’t have to be a gambler to enjoy this city.

Highlights of Vegas I enjoyed muchly:

  • Nobu in Caesars Palace. Sushi/Japanese, fresh, impeccable service and awesome food. Do the Chef’s Menu if possible. So yum. You’ll enjoy flavours and things you probably wouldn’t think to try. *mouth waters*
    Cosmo in Las Vegas
    Our room at The Cosmo. I heard a rumour that these rooms were all supposed to be condos at one point.
  • Harley over (or car) to the Hoover Dam and Red Rock. Wish we had more time to hike and explore Red Rock. We did the Hoover Dam tour…this is an timeless engineering wonder, and take in some of the art-deco (love) style buildings! Recommended to do once in your life.
  • Our hotel, The Cosmopolitan. Lovely, trendy and awesome. It was hard to go home to my dinky cottage. Uh….and they had colouring pencils IN MY ROOM for my colouring book issues. It’s like they fucking knew me.
  • The Secret Pizza resto in the Cosmo. Yes, a secret restaurant! This makes me feel like a special agent of something. To keep it’s secret integrity – and my imagined agent status, I’m only going to say it’s on the third floor. (Although you can really find it’s location all over the interweb). A slice from this place is just what the doctor ordered the day after the night before.

My liver and stomach needed a few full days to recover from this trip, i’m not going to lie. But it was all worth it. One thing that really stood out was the standard of service in this town. Impeccable. They have it nailed. I am making a point to go back very soon. This trip was very much about the food and drink…I’d like to explore the entertainment scene and catch a show the next time.

What are your favourite spots in Vegas? What do you recommend?


Brooke Simmons