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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

Yields: 8-10

As a child Brussels sprouts was one of those vegetables that I cringed even at the thought of eating them.  They have become one of my favourite adult vegetables (when in season of course).  Brussels sprouts are a great source of iron and potassium (important for bone health) and offer other benefits that can boost your overall health. Butternut Squash is a staple in my household in the fall and winters months.  It delivers an ample dose of dietary fibre as well as potassium and vitamin B6 (essential for the proper functioning of  both the nervous and immune systems). I try my best to incorporate vegetables, herbs and spices that boost the immune system during the fall and winter months to protect us from the common cold.

I adore the combination of ingredients here with all the flavours of winter. This dish is not only low-maintenance but it makes a beautiful presentation too – it was a wonderful holiday side dish that made a great addition to our Christmas menu.

Enjoy xx


  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts (halved)
  • 1 medium size butternut squash (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (Roast). Place the butternut squash chunks in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Place the Brussels sprouts halves into another large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to distribute the oil evenly.
  2. Place the butternut squash on one baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the Brussels sprouts on another baking sheet lined with parchment paper (tip: place the Brussels sprouts cut side down so they caramelize much more evenly).
  3. Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, flipping them gently 1 to 2 times.
  4. Place the pecan halves in a pan and toast for 5-7 minutes until golden.
  5. Gently place the roasted vegetables in a large serving bowl or platter. Drizzle olive oil and toss the vegetables gently until they are lightly dressed. Serve warm.

Lets stop denying the fact that summer is over and fall is coming.  Although in Toronto it may not seem this way with the uncharacteristicly high temperatures, Fall weather will be upon us sooner than we want to come to terms with.  As the days get shorter and the temperature begins to drop, it is essential to adjust our cooking and eating habits. This is largely in keeping with the proceed that nature gives us at particular times of the year.

 Last week I was at the local farmers market and as I walked around the many farmers booths I noticed that the produce has already started to produce reflecting the autumn season.  I saw lots of winter squash, onions, apples and root vegetables.

Tuning into your body and understanding what it wants and needs at various times throughout the year is what I call whole body awareness.  You will notice that you do not crave fresh salads, cool drinks in the fall and winter like you do in the spring and summer.  Eating warming foods in the fall and winter is so vital in keeping the body healthy and balanced.  This philosophy of warming and cooling foods is derived from Ayurveda, which is the ancient Indian tradition of whole-body medicine.

Ayurveda suggests that the metabolism works harder in the fall and winter to keep us warm, and therefore the “digestive fire” must be well fuelled with heavier foods. Salads in the cooler months are suggested to zap the body of energy and possibly weakening the immune system.

Butternut squash is one of my favourite and most versatile fall vegetables.  From creamy soups, to hearty pastas, to nutritious tarts butternut squash truly shines in each and every recipe. I have decided to use this hard-shell squash in a delicious stuffed recipe. What I love most about this recipe are the leftovers!  Easy to warm up days after for lunch for a side to a dinner dish.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Yields:  4


  • 2 Medium sized Butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup fresh pomegranates
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cups Quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds, then place halves on a baking tray, cut sides up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes just until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F

  1. While the squash is baking, place the vegetable broth in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce to simmer for 15 minutes covered. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add the garlic until golden. Add the kale and cook until wilted approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Once the squash is cool, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/2 inch-thick border around the sides. Reserve the flesh (this can be made into muffins, stuffing or mash!). Stuff the squash halves with the kale quinoa mixture and return to the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Serve warm


I have to admit I have been on a kale kick these past few days (or maybe weeks lol)! I can add this hearty vegetable to any dish and be pleasantly full and satiated. Try swopping out spinach or rapini, at your next meal, for this fibre packed cruciferous vegetable.  It contains a ton of fibre which is excellent for elimination and aiding in digestion which puts this leafy green vegetable high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods.

Busy days calls for quick and easy meals.  My days lately have been non-stop however I refuse to allow that to compromise our health and making wholesome nutritious meals are my top priority.  This simple, yet delicious, pasta dish is my family’s “go-to” on days like these.  This is one of those dishes that never disappoints!  You will love the look, smell and taste of this.  It is both hearty and healthy not to mention absolutely beautiful in colour 😉

Most bean based pastas, which are naturally gluten-free, pack more fiber and protein than your typical white pasta (which only raises blood sugar).  You can also opt for an organic brown rice pasta which is filled with fibre and iron.

If you’re a pasta lover like me, it doesn’t get much better than this! Enjoy!


  • 1 bag orecchiette brown rice pasta, cooked to Al Dente
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch organic kale, torn into pieces (stalks discarded)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice



Marinade chicken breast in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave for 10 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir (avoid burning). Toss in the kale and add salt and pepper and continue cooking until slightly wilted about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add kale, pasta and chicken and toss.  Serve hot!


Of the winter soups, leak and potato is one of my favourites.  I have fond memories of my grandmother making this soup for me when I was young.  I have taken her classic recipe and added a twist! This creamy and comforting soup is delicious and takes less than 30 minutes to whip up!

In spite of the name, this soup does not have a drop of dairy. It might seem like a strange addition but I have used full fat coconut milk as the substitute to cream making this soup incredibly flavourful and thick.


3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cloves garlic

1 medium yellow onion

2 leeks

4 large potatoes

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1/2 tablespoon cayenne

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk


  1. Cut of the tough dark green tops and discard. Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks into 1/4-inch thick slices. Peel and cut potatoes into cubes
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a medium pot and sauté garlic and onions until soft.  Add leeks, potatoes, salt, pepper and cayenne then lower heat and cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil the simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Using a hand blender, puree half of the soup (for a chunkier consistency)
  5. Add more spices after tasting (potatoes soak up salt so you may need to add more here) and coconut milk. Top with chopped parsley


These wholefood patties have become one of my favourite dishes to make.  The Indian-inspired spices make these patties a delight to eat not to mention how filling they are! As many of you know, I lean towards easy to make healthy dishes that turn into yummy leftovers the next day! Add these to that list – these patties are not only flavourful but they are simple to make and only take 20 minutes from prep to plate.

Lentils are incredibly rich in dietary fibre, lean protein, folate and iron.  Apart from being a great source of potassium, calcium and zinc lentils have a high nutritional value.  I am always looking for higher sources of protein to keep me fuelled and full of energy.  Lentils have become a staple in my diet as they contain the third-highest levels of protein. Lentils are filled with fibre and complex carbohydrates, stabilizing blood sugar levels and keeping energy at an ultimate high.



1 1/2 cups red lentils

3 cups vegetable broth

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 eggs

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon curry

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Avocado oil (for frying)


  1. Bring the lentils and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Drain lentils well.
  2. Heat avocado oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Sauté the shallots and garlic until golden-brown. Add curry, cumin, salt and pepper and continue sautéing until spices are fragrant. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked lentils, sautéed shallots and garlic, eggs, cooked quinoa and cilantro.
  4. In a large pan, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat.  Drop a tablespoon of batter into the hot oil and flatten out into patties using a spatula. Fry the patties until golden-brown and crisp adding more oil if necessary.


Vegetarian stuffed mushrooms are a win in our household as a main dish because they are large enough to fill a plate (and our stomachs!) and can be stuffed with a variety of healthy ingredients. This hardy meal is not only melt in your mouth delicious but Portobello mushrooms contain macronutrients consisting of protein, fat and carbohydrates.  As a Fitness trainer I love macronutrients and I am always speaking about how important your nutrition is for energy and fuel. Energy level is a fundamental key to thriving and not just surviving.

Did you know that one Portobello mushroom delivers more potassium than a banana? Although potassium does not directly give you energy, it helps send more oxygen to your brain allowing your heart and arteries to function more efficiently resulting in more energy in the PRESENT.

Look out for my next Blog on Love your MACROS 😉

As a mom and business owner I am all about quick and easy recipes like this one.  Get ready to indulge!


2 Portobella mushrooms

1 can black beans

1/2 cup brown rice

1 head of rapini (or can also use spinach)

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup avocado oil

2 Tbsp grated goat cheese


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and place 1/4 cup water in a casserole dish
  2. Remove brown gills from undersides of 2 portobella mushrooms using a spoon and discard gills
  3. Wash the mushrooms and dry well removing stalks
  4. Boil 1/2 cup of brown rice in 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  5. In a pan, heat 1/4 cup avocado oil on medium heat and sauté garlic. Once garlic is browned place in 1 head of rapini and mix with oil and garlic. Turn heat to low and cover until soft
  6. Warm up 1 can of black beans until soft and then using a potato masher, mash the beans until soft and creamy
  7. Once rapini is sautéed, cut into small pieces and mix in with brown rice
  8. Place mushrooms in the casserole dish flesh up and stuff with one layer of mashed brown beans, then brown rice and rapini
  9. Place mushrooms in the oven for 25 minutes. Pull the dish out and place grated goat cheese on top and put back in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted



This Thanksgiving is the first where I truly know what it means to be thankful. I speak a lot about being grateful and appreciating the things you already have (even starting your day with a gratitude journal) but is this the same as being thankful? Who are we giving thanks to?  Life is beautiful and more often than not, we do not take the time to really appreciate all of our blessings.  If we all lived in the moment a little bit more we would see, and be thankful for, the beauty that surrounds us everyday.  The other evening Savannah and I arrived home and it was a stunning clear night.  The stars were sparkling and the moon was so bright and so close you could grab it.  Savannah reached up to grab the moon and said “oooooo” and we both took a moment to look at the breathtaking view and I said “oooooo” as well.  If we all just put down our phones more and really took the time to soak in the gifts we are given and the abundance thats surrounds us.  This morning I woke up and stared at Savannah’s little toes and perfect little features – and thought wow life is truly miraculous.

This Thanksgiving I am not only grateful for my family, friends and the beauty of life but I am also grateful for my personal growth and development.  Embracing the moment and surrounding myself with positive people who help me be a better version of me. Setting healthy boundaries and communicating my wants and needs.  They say the best project you will ever work on is YOU, I have come to understand that all you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else.  I am deeply grateful for my experiences (good and bad), my energy, my love and my spiritual journey.

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. I absolutely adore the beautiful side dishes and the array of colours this celebration brings.  Our family is so large that we celebrate every holiday twice!  This is definitely one holiday I do not mind repeating.  I decided this Thanksgiving to make a colourful beet and goat cheese salad paired with a pumpkin maple vinaigrette.  This colourful beet salad is a simple dish that screams fall and just happens to be really pretty too!


As a nutritionist, I am always thinking about the health benefits of the foods my family and I enjoy.  Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fibre and essential minerals.  For all you mothers out there who are expecting, you will want to stock up on beets as they contain the B vitamin (folate) which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.


As we all have come to know and experience, turkey often makes us feel sleepy.  Although this could largely be due to the mere fact that many of us overeat during these holidays, turkey contains the amino-acid tryptophan which forms the basis of brain chemicals that make people tired.  My beet salad will counteract this sleepy feeling by giving you a healthy jolt of energy!  A single serving of beets can boost your energy as they contain nitrates. Nitrates are compounds which improve blood flow throughout the body – including the brain, heart, and muscles. So make sure to give yourself a nice dollop of beet salad so that you can last till the dessert stage (look out for my next post on my healthy and tasty Thanksgiving dessert!).




1 box of Arugula

5-6 large Beets

Goat cheese

1/2 cup Walnuts

Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette 


Parsley (as garnish)


1/4 cup Pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons Maple syrup

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 cup Olive oil

2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar

1 medium garlic clove (minced)

                                                               Salt & pepper to taste




  1. Place beets into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool, then cut in to cubes.
  2. In a medium sized mason jar, whisk together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, dijon mustard,apple cider vinegar and olive oil to make the dressing.
  3. Place a large helping of arugula onto the platter, then place the cubed beets on top allowing for the greens to frame the platter.  Top the beets with goat cheese and walnuts and drizzle with the dressing.  Sprinkle parsley on top for added flavour and colour.

Eggplant bruschetta has been making a regular appearance at my house this summer – especially with all the fresh tomatoes I have in my garden. Yum!  My incredible mother-in-law showed me this recipe a few years back and I must admit – I am hooked!! Bruschetta is traditionally made with hard bread but what if you could replace that bread with warm baked eggplant?  Sound delicious?  It is and it also makes your dish grain-free!


This vegetarian dish is incredibly tasty and you can grab second and thirds without the guilt! You can serve this dish as a main, a side dish or even an appetizer and you can be sure everyone will love it!


To make this flavourful dish, I started by making cuts throughout the eggplant and then sprinkling high quality sea salt over each eggplant slice.  This process, known as “degorging” draws out the moisture and improves the flavour.  Then I put the eggplant in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.


Then I make the bruschetta “the tomatoes”.  This is a recipe my family has been making for years!  It is made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.



3 small eggplants

4 tomatoes (to be diced)

1 tablespoon fresh garlic

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut small eggplant into halves placing on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Generously sprinkle salt onto each eggplant slice (flesh part) and let sit for 30 minutes
  3. Squeeze any excess liquid and pat dry
  4. Sprinkle a generous amount of olive oil over the eggplant slices and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden
  5. While the eggplant is baking in the oven, begin to make your tomato bruschetta by dicing the tomatoes and adding in the olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper and mix well
  6. Once the eggplant is cooked, top each slice with your tomato bruschetta mixture


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!


1 watermelon slice (1 inch thick)

1 oz goat cheese

6-8 green olives

6-8 basil leaves

1 tablespoon of balsamic glaze


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

For the longest time I thought vegetarian dishes were boring.  I mean how could dishes that don’t include meat, cheese, milk or cream be appetizing? However health matters have allowed me to really embrace vegetarian cooking and I can say I quite enjoy the flavourful dishes that I have been creating.  Coming from an Italian and British background, heavy foods have always been part of my daily meals.   Vegetarian food doesn’t have to be boring and I have finally realized how to get my meat-loving husband to eat (and enjoy!) these flavourful dishes.  It is all about shifting your perspective about a plant-based lifestyle.  I always encourage my clients to start slow and incorporate one plant-based meal once a week and then increase from there.

These hearty vegetarian tacos are my ‘go-to’ they take only minutes to make.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


1 tablespoon of avocado oil

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1 (15 ounce) can of organic black beans (rinsed and drained)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons hemp hearts

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste


  1. With a potato masher, mash black beans, then add chia seeds, hemp hearts salt, pepper and cayenne until thick
  2. Heat avocado oil in a pan over medium-low heat; sauté garlic in hot oil until golden.  Add in black bean mixture and reduce heat to low cooking at a simmer until thick and fragrant
  3. Serve with corn tortillas, tomato, avocado, shredded lettuce, cashew yogurt (in replace of sour cream) and goat cheese