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Guilt-free indulgence: A healthy alternative to the classic cinnamon roll

Have you ever smelt something that reminds you of your childhood? I can still remember the warm and cozy feeling I had as a child when I smell freshly baked cinnamon rolls. This sensory experience takes me back to my childhood in an instant. Fluffy, soft, doughy and bursting with cinnamon I just had to re-create the classic home-style cinnamon roll recipe to be gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free.

This recipe’s combination of brown rice flour and coconut sugar produces rolls that are pleasantly doughy with a subtle touch of sweetness. If you are like me and love cinnamon, you will adore the filling of these rolls as they are filled with the aroma of ground cinnamon while also delivering a healthy dose of fibre with the organic chia seeds. This recipe is not only delicious but it is also versatile. You can add nuts to the filling and even top with raisins once glazed.

I really want to speak a little about balance. As a holistic nutritionist I am very pro-balance when it comes to indulgences (and life in general!). It is funny, I usually see shock on people’s faces when I tell them about the indulgences that I have weekly. YES I indulge, I am not a rare creature who lives life restricted. I believe that depriving yourself will only lead to overeating or bingeing.  An overly healthy lifestyle can be restrictive and although I advocate for healthy eating habits, I also encourage my clients to indulge from time-to-time.  There are many healthier treats to indulge in and having something homemade is always a better option than out of a package.

My tips and tricks on exercising healthy indulgences:

  1. Commit to a healthy lifestyle with balance: Eating healthy most of the time (80%) with a few indulgences here and there (20%) and developing a healthy relationship with food eliminating all guilt
  2. Plan for your indulgences: By planning your treats you can ensure your indulgences are a healthier option rather than running to the grocery store to purchase anything that looks tempting. Getting excited about the indulgence, you’re less likely to feel any guilt.
  3. Release the need to eat overly healthy all the time: Food can be the most incredibly beautiful experience or the worst. If you have an intolerance or allergy, stick to indulgences that your body can tolerate. No one is perfect and no one can upkeep an overly healthy lifestyle, it is not healthy! Indulge, enjoy it and let it go!

 

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 cups glutenfree baking flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons ghee melted and cooled slightly

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon organic chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoon arrowroot powder

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Grease a 12 muffin tray with coconut oil.
  3. Dough: In a large bowl place all dry ingredients. Place all wet ingredients into a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Set aside while you prepare your filling.
  4. Filling: In a medium saucepan melt the ghee over low heat. When melted add sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, chia seeds and arrowroot flour until consistency is thick.
  5. Roll out the dough, on lightly floured parchment paper, into a rectangle. Then spread the filling on the rolled out dough.
  6. Roll up the dough into a log and with string feed it under the roll and cut into 12 rolls.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Many people avoid snacks because they believe it will contribute to weight gain when in actuality it helps to maintain a healthy weight and keep energy levels at an ultimate high, avoiding cravings of junk food and refined sugar.  However not all snacks are weighed the same.  Choosing snacks that combine complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats is key!

No bake bars are one of my favourite on-the-go snacks because they are portable, easy to eat and do not require a napkin! WIN!  However commercial bars are what we nutritionists call junk food dressed up as a healthy snack. The majority of these so called “healthy snacks” that sit on the shelf in your nearby grocery store, contain a ridiculous amount of refined sugar and ingredients that even I cannot pronounce!

So why are these individually wrapped bars so popular?  Well because they are easy and can be eaten for breakfast and snack.  What if I told you, you could whip up a batch of really healthy bars in less than 20 minutes?  Would you consider making them?  I hope so because these 5-ingredient healthy bars are not only delicious but they are packed with complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre and a ton of vitamins!

Whether you`re looking to eat healthier, have more energy, fuel your workout or liven up your child`s lunch box these bars are the ideal addition to your life. They are stress-free, convenient and healthy. When you’re short on time, feeling tired, or don’t want to heat up the house, whip up these simple yet delicious no bake peanut butter cacao bars.

We all know that making our own treats means cleaner ingredients and these whole food bars are sure to keep you energized and fueled all day long. I highly recommend making a batch every few days and storing them in the fridge, or freezer, for fast, convenient and healthy snacking!

As a busy mom and entrepreneur anything that takes less than 30 minutes to make is my jam! These bars are an easy grab-and-go power-packed snack keeping my blood sugar levels balanced. In turn, this makes me a better mom, a better wife and a more energetic entrepreneur.

Dietary Restrictions: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free

Yields: Makes 8 square bars or 16 smaller bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup organic almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place the dates in a food processor to form a dough
  2. Add all other ingredients until well combined
  3. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and then press the dough tightly into the pan
  4. Place in the freezer for 1 hour
  5. Lift out of the pan and cut into squares or bars
  6. Store in an airtight container (these can be frozen)

As we have all likely noticed, smoothie bowls are the biggest trend on social media these days and for good reason! Take your smoothie make it thick and ditch your straw for a spoon. These thick and colourful bowls provide a ton of variety and the gorgeous toppings you can play with are not only healthy but fun.

Why are smoothie bowls so popular? You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or snack and feel confident that you will be getting the energy and fuel you need to tackle whatever the day throws your way. Filling your smoothie bowl with fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and healthy fats gives you an easy meal packed with nutrients, fiber and vitamins.

The Açaí berry is the popular superfood from Brazil. It is an indigenous berry found in the rain forests of the Amazon. Along with this berry’s delicious taste, it provides an array of health benefits.  The Açaí is a powerful fruit and its popularity is well deserved.  Adding this energy-boosting fruit to your diet, will help stimulate your immune system and may help repair oxidative damage because of its high antioxidant content. In my popular eBook “Healthy is Sexy”, I speak a lot about beautifying from the inside-out and achieving true beauty from a whole foods diet. Antioxidants provide our cells with protection while slowing down the aging process.

Being an entrepreneur and mom I am always looking for fast and easy meals that are packed with nutrients to keep me going all day long. Needless to say, Acai smoothie bowls are my favourite these days.  After eating this beautiful bowl of deliciousness you will feel satiated and full for hours.  Not to mention it will satisfy any sweet craving you may have (minus any guilt or blood sugar dips).

Unfortunately here in Toronto, we are not able to get our hands on fresh Açaí berries. You can only purchase Açaí as a fruit puree and this can be found in the freezer of your local health food store. The biggest producer of this puree is Sambazon. Finding this puree is not the difficult part of this recipe, the challenge here is to find the balance of thickness for your smoothie bowl so that your toppings simply float on the top and do not sink into the mixture. Smoothie bowls really are not difficult but they can take a few tries, especially if you’re new to the smoothie-bowl scene.

If you want to blend a super thick and spoonable smoothie bowl follow my tips and tricks below:

  1. Make it thick – use frozen fruit to give you a thick base (you do not want a soupy smoothie bowl). The more frozen fruit and less liquid you use, the thicker the bowl. Be sure to use a powerful high speed blender like a Vitamix.
  2. Chill your bowl before starting – smoothie bowls can be delicate and can begin melting the moment you pour your mixture into the bowl. By chilling the bowl first you can avoid this.
  3. Find your perfect smoothie bowl – Its best to use a deep bowl versus a wide or shallow one to keep the mixture cold and it is a smaller surface to add your toppings to.

Açaí smoothie bowls are popping up at trending local juice & smoothie bars however I encourage you to try my recipe below. Remember smoothie bowls have personality so you can change up the toppings to whatever your heart desires adding your own flare!

Prep time  10 minutes

Total time 10 minutes

Makes: 2 Bowls

Ingredients

2 frozen Açaí packs (unsweetened)

1 frozen banana

¼ cup coconut milk

¼ cup coconut water

Toppings

½ banana (slices)

strawberries

¼ cup coconut flakes

¼ cup hemp hearts

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Run Smoothie Packs under hot water for 5 seconds.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until well combined (consistency should be that of a very thick smoothie).
  3. Poor Açaí mixture into a deep bowl and top with toppings.

Many people avoid snacks because they believe it will contribute to weight gain when in actuality it helps to maintain a healthy weight and keep energy levels at an ultimate high avoiding cravings of junk food and refined sugar.  However not all snacks are weighed the same.  Choosing snacks that combine complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats is key!

Granola bars are one of my favourite on-the-go snacks because they are portable, easy to eat and do not require a napkin! WIN!  However commercial granola bars are what we nutritionists call a Healthy snack dressed up as junk food.  The majority of these so called “healthy snacks” that sit on the shelf in your nearby grocery store, contain a ridiculous amount of refined sugar and ingredients that even I cannot pronounce!

So why are these individually wrapped bars so popular?  Well because they are easy and can be eaten for breakfast and snack.  What if I told you, you could whip up a batch of really healthy granola bars in less than 10 minutes?  Would you consider making them?  I hope so because these 5-ingredient healthy bars are not only delicious but they are packed with complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre and a ton of vitamins!

These no-bake granola bars are refined sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free. and a great on-the-go healthy snack even for your little ones!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup sunflower seed butter

1/2 cup raw honey

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)

Note:  you can get creative with your bars by adding chocolate chips, dried fruit, coconut flakes – whatever your heart desires

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan warm the sunflower seed butter and honey until consistency is smooth and well mixed (do not heat too much, mixture should not be hot)
  2. In a large bowl add rolled oats, sunflower seed butter/honey mixture, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon and mix well (you will have to use your hands)
  3. Place granola mixture into casserole dish and flatten out until the mixture has taken the shape of the casserole dish. Cover and place in the fridge
  4. Once ready to eat cut into granola size bars
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These 5-ingredient muffins are my favourite go-to as they are not only delicious and moist but they are fluffy, gluten-free and naturally sweetened with banana and maple syrup making these a healthy treat!

As a busy bee, like many of you out there, I wanted to create a recipe with minimal ingredients that only takes 5-10 minutes to make. These muffins freeze very well so double my recipe below to make a larger batch so you always have some on hand.

Remember it is key to make simple healthy treats, like these muffins, that will stay fresh in your bag or desk drawer for easy, hassle-free snacking.

 

Enjoy! x

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 eggs

1 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1/4 cup Dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease 12-hole muffin tray with coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. Place all ingredients into a large bowl in the following order: brown rice flour, coconut oil, eggs, banana, baking soda, maple syrup, cinnamon
  4. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth
  5. Spoon batter into the muffin tray and bake for 15-20 minutes

There is something about warm baked apples topped with crunchy crumble that makes me drool.  It is one of my favourite winter desserts and when you see how simple it is to make it will quickly become yours too! I also love apple crumble because it is made with simple ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen.

I have taken the classic apple crumble recipe and swapped out the ‘not so healthy’ ingredients for more natural options.

By using brown rice flour in place of all purpose white flour, this winter dessert is gluten-free. I have substituted coconut oil for butter and naturally sweetened the dessert with maple syrup and coconut sugar.

Enjoy this warm, comforting and incredibly delicious Winter dessert! Serve with Coco whip for an extra treat!

Ingredients

5-6 Apples peeled and sliced thin

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons Coconut Sugar

2 tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 cup Rolled Oats

3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour

1/2 cup Coconut Oil

Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking dish with coconut oil and set aside.
  3. Place the sliced apples into a medium bowl and mix in lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and maple syrup.
  4. To make the crumble, place the oats, coconut sugar, brown rice flour and coconut oil in a bowl. Using your fingers, mix the ingredients until crumbly. If it is too dry add more coconut oil.
  5. Sprinkle the crumble over the apple and place into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

 

This Thanksgiving dessert was a hit!  When I was asked to bring dessert to our Thanksgiving potluck, trifle immediately came to mind!  Growing up with a British mom our house was always filled with traditional British desserts and this was one of them.  Traditional British trifle is made with cake, sherry, ready-made custard (or custard made with custard powder), fruit and topped with whip cream.  I took a chance with making this vegan gluten-free dairy-free trifle but I am so pleased that I did. I used Enjoy Yoso chocolate and vanilla dairy-free yogurt in replace of the traditional pudding layers (they are so good you won’t know the difference!) and Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips.

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Enjoy!

Ingredients

Pumpkin chocolate chip sponge cake

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1 can Organic pumpkin puree

3 eggs

3 cups brown rice flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

Dairy-free coconut custard  

5 Egg yolks

1 can Full fat coconut milk

1/3 cup Coconut sugar

1/4 cup Tapioca flour

1 tablespoon Organic vanilla extract

Toasted coconut for topping

Coco Whip

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1 can Full fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Instructions

Pumpkin sponge cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cake pan with coconut oil
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, spices and salt
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil until well combined.  Add one egg at a time then add vanilla extract to the last egg
  4. Add flour and pumpkin to the egg mixture, alternating between the two, mixing well on medium-low. Then fold in chocolate chips
  5. Pour batter into cake mold
  6. Bake for 60 minutes then cool

Dairy-free coconut custard

  1. In a medium pot, add the coconut milk and heat over medium-low
  2. In a medium size bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar and tapioca flour and whisk together until well combined (mixture will be clumpy) and then set aside
  3. Continue to whisk the milk until it begins to steam (do not boil) then remove the milk from the heat and while whisking pour a small amount of milk into the egg mixture while continuing to whisk
  4. Once all the milk has been poured stir the mixture well and pour it back into the pot
  5. Heat the mixture over medium heat and stir until it gets thick like pudding and begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Pour the mixture into a strainer and push the custard through so all clumps are left behind
  7. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and let it cool before refrigerating (minimum 2 hours before serving)

Coco-whip

  1. Place the can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight
  2. An hour prior to making the coco whip, place a bowl and whisk in the freezer
  3. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the solid white coconut cream into the bowl (this is the whip cream we need).  Place the coconut water in an airtight container (you can use that for smoothies)
  4. Using a stand or hand mixer, whisk the cream until it is a light and smooth texture.  Add maple syrup and vanilla

Putting the trifle all together

  1. In a trifle bowl, arrange 1 layer of sliced sponge cake to cover entire bottom of bowl top with a layer of Enjoy Yoso chocolate dairy-free yogurt (tastes exactly like chocolate pudding!) then a layer of coco whip and top with ripe sliced banana, continue with these layers until the bowl is full.  Then top with coco whip and toasted coconut.

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These delicious and simple blueberry muffins are not only dairy-free and gluten-free but they are fluffy and stay moist for days all because of this one secret ingredient: yogurt!  You can replace oil with yogurt in most recipes to obtain a similar light, fluffy and moist result.

Don’t be alarmed if the batter seems runny, they rise quickly forming perfect domes. You can use an ice-cream scooper to scoop the batter into each muffin tin so that the muffins come out all the same size. Or you can use a regular spoon and go ‘rustic-style’ !

 

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I have stopped using baking liners when making muffins because I enjoy the crispy texture the outside gets when baking them with coconut oil.

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My daughter has been sick the past two days with Roseola so we have been spending some much-needed quality time indoors and what better way than to bake! For those of you who don’t know what Roseola is, and I was one of them, it is a virus that commonly affects young children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old.  It is typically marked by several days of a high fever, followed by a distinctive rash just as the fever breaks.  I am so proud of Savannah and her strong immune system. She had only one day of a high fever and it broke quickly revealing the rash the day after.  She is bouncing around and back to her energetic self.  This mama is feeling grateful and proud as well, with all the hard work at building her immune system through her nutrition it is clearly paying off and shows us this in these times. Watch out for my ‘holistic treatment reveal’ post coming in the next few days.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of gluten-free steel cut oats

1 cup of brown rice flour

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup almond milk

1 egg

1/4 cup cashew almond yogurt (enjoy yoso)

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon coconut oil (to grease muffin cups)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (oats, flour, baking powder and salt). Then add maple syrup and yogurt mixing well. Fold in blueberries.
  2. Fill greased muffin cups with batter
  3. Bake at 425 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes

 

Watermelon is one of my favourite summer fruits.  It is no coincidence that the word WATER appears in watermelon.  It is thirst quenching and with this hot and humid weather we have been experiencing here in Toronto I can’t get enough of it!

Who says your pizza has to be made out of bread? Bite into a slice of summer with this savoury pizza fruit salad.  You can have fun combining different savoury flavours or turn it into a sweet treat by adding banana, chocolate sauce, berries, yogurt and the list of lovely ingredients goes on.

This watermelon pizza can also be served as an appetizer or side to a grilled summer dish.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 watermelon slice (1 inch thick)

1 oz goat cheese

6-8 green olives

6-8 basil leaves

1 tablespoon of balsamic glaze

Instructions

Slice a whole watermelon in half. Placing the flat down on a cutting board, cut a 1-inch thick slice from each half then cut each again in half (making 4 wedges).

Place the cut watermelon on a round dish and top with cheese, olives, basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze

These Protein-Packed cookies are not only loaded with nutrients ready to fuel you but they are out of this world good! The best part is they have the perfect ‘balance’ of healthy fat, protein, and complex carbohydrates which makes them an ideal pre-workout snack or even a treat!  For those of you with a picky child, husband or wife all of the goodness is well hidden so these are sure to pass the test every time!  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup almond butter

1 egg

1 egg white

2 tablespoons unsweetened organic applesauce

¼ cup organic brown rice protein

½ cup quinoa flakes

½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

½ cup maple syrup or honey (or a mix of both!)

Pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum-free)

2 tablespoons cocoa nibs (optional)

** If mixture is too soft add more unsweetened coconut flakes and quinoa flakes to thicken up batter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Warm up almond butter in a pot for 30 seconds or until soft making it easier to mix. In a medium bowl mix together the first four ingredients until smooth. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  3. With an ice cream scooper or a regular spoon, place the batter onto the baking tray in balls. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool.