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Beetroot’s deep, overpoweringly red juice has earned it the reputation as the most bossy of vegetables.  It is difficult to resist the ruby red juiciness especially when you know just how good they are for you. It is a great source of iron and folate while also containing antioxidants and magnesium.
As a Fitness Trainer, I adore beetroot because it is suggested to enhance exercise performance.  Beetroot is packed with nitrates which our body converts into nitric oxide, a molecule that enhances blood vessel dilation. As a result, this increases blood flow capacity, lowering the amount of oxygen your muscles need. Beetroot also enhances energy so grabbing a beetroot juice or shot around 3pm, when most find their energy dips, is much healthier than consuming caffeine (which causes a crash and burn effect).
So with all the benefits beetroot provides why not spice up our regular hummus with this superfood? I say Hell YA!
This sophisticated twist on the breakfast sandwich will liven up your day! Enjoy xx
Ingredients
Beetroot Hummus:
  • 1 boiled beetroot
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas
  • 2 garllic cloves
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 a lemon (juiced)
  • fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
Bread:
  • Brown Rice Sourdough
Topping:
  • 1/2 hass avocado
 Instructions
1. Place 1 peeled medium size beetroot in a pot of boiling water. Boil on medium-heat for approximately 15 minutes or until soft.
2. Place lemon juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, tahini, chickpeas and the beetroot (in this order) into a high speed blender (a blender will give you a smoother texture than a food processor). Process until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add some cold water until the mixture is a smoother consistency.
3. Season the mixture with salt, cumin, extra olive oil (optional)
4. spread the beetroot hummus on sourdough bread and top with 1/2  an avocado and then top with fresh parsley (optional).

I am super excited about this recipe as it is simple and sooooo good! It is both creamy and tart. I taste tested this on a few of my family and friends who are not dairy free nor vegan and they loved it!

The crust is only 2 ingredients and the filling only 5 – must I say more? Go on and give this recipe a try. Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup pitted dates
1 cup raw pecans (you can use any nut here)

Filling:

1 1/2 cup soaked cashews
1 large lemon juiced
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Blueberry Jam:

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lemon grind

Instructions:

  1. Add dates to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until it forms into a ball. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add nuts into blender or food processor and blend into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend.
  3. Lightly grease, with coconut oil, a spring foam pan
  4. Place crust into the foam pan and press with your fingers to fill the old. Pack the crust mixture down using the back of a spoon. Set in the freezer to firm up.
  5. Add the filling ingredients to a blender and mix until very smooth.
  6. Pour the filling mixture on top of the crust and smooth with a spatula
  7. Pour the blueberry jam on top of the cheesecake mixture and cool in fridge until served

Blueberry Jam:

  1. Put the blueberries, lemon juice and lemon grind in a pot, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the lid and cook on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes. The mixture will reduce by 1/3 and thicken.
  3. Blend the mixture until a smooth consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture into a jar and store in the fridge.

 

Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Refined sugar-free

Yields: 10 truffles

This simple 4-ingredient recipe is made with no heavy cream or refined sugar and takes less than 15 minutes to make! As many of you know by now, I have a love affair with chocolate (always have!). It is a nice sweet treat that I love to keep in the fridge for when I am feeling it. Most truffles are far too decadent for me and they typically contain dairy which I am highly intolerant to and steer away from. In replace of heavy cream I have used heart-healthy avocado as the base and let me tell you – you wouldn’t even guess that this is what makes these truffles super creamy.

As you begin to rid your diet of refined sugars, artificial flavours, preservatives, msg and the list goes on you retrain your taste buds to want and crave healthier foods. By eliminating these ingredients you begin to detoxify the body giving it only real ingredients that is recognizes and can eliminate.

I decided to coat the truffles with maca powder for its many health benefits. You can also use shredded coconut, cacao powder, chia seeds, etc. Maca is naturally high in minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc), sterols, essential fatty acids, lipids, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids. It is often recommended to those with adrenal fatigue as it nourishes them and reduces stress hormones. It is also fantastic in helping boost hormones, fertility, increase energy and more!

With Valentine’s Day just one month away I really wanted to perfect a decadent chocolate recipe to share with you all. Enjoy x

Ingredients

  • 1 Hass avocado
  • ¾ cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy life)
  • A pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • Maca powder (to roll balls in)

Instructions

  1. With a potato masher, mash one avocado until smooth and lump-free
  2. Melt chocolate chips in a double broiler
  3. Pour melted chocolate into the bowl with the avocado and mix until well combined
  4. Place the mixture into the fridge to set for 30 minutes. Once th e mixture has firmed up, remove from fridge and make the truffles by rolling a tablespoon at a time into a 1-inch ball.
  5. Fill a shallow bowl with maca powder and roll each truffle until coated. Roll some truffles in the maca powder and some simply sprinkle a few Himalayan sea salt crystals on each truffle. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free

Yields: 10-12 cookies

In nursery school, my daughter Savannah has been learning about Christmas traditions. She comes home one afternoon and asks me to make gingerbread men cookies for Santa. She was so excited and I could see the sparkle in her eyes, I couldn’t resist but agree! I immediately realized that I had never made Gingerbread men cookies before – yikes!  I never grew up with this cookie which meant I needed to make it a few times until I was satisfied.  The first time I made them the shape of the cookies were distorted but the taste was there. My mistake was rolling out the dough too thin.  It is imperative that the dough is no less than ¼ inch thick to ensure the gingerbread men do not break when transferring them from the cookie cutter to the baking sheet.

I absolutely love the spices in this cookie. I use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger; all spices that remind me of the Holiday Season. The best part of this recipe is making it with my daughter and enjoying the process. Being present in today’s society is becoming more and more difficult. As life becomes busier we become more and more distant from the present moment.  Engaging in activities that bring you, family and friends together will help with presence. I am so happy that Savannah came home and asked me to make these cookies because it allowed me to get out of my comfort zone.

Now I can comfortably make these cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa with a Camomile tea 😉

Happy Holidays xo

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup 1-to-1 baking flour (Bobs Red Mill)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and baking powder. Blend well.
  2. In a small pot, combine the coconut oil and molasses and heat up for only 20 seconds until well combined. Add the coconut sugar (leave the 2 Tbsp for sprinkling) and whisk until blended. Add the egg and whisk the mixture until thoroughly blended.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry and mix until combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 2 sheet sof plastic wrap on your working surface, placing one dough on each and roll out until ¼ inch thick.
  5. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes and place each cookie on the baking sheet. Combine your dough scrapes into a ball and roll them out again repeating until you have used all of your dough. Sprinkle the cookies with coconut sugar.
  6. Bake for 8-11 minutes (8 minutes for a softer cookie and 11 for a more crisp cookie). Place cookies on cooling racks to cool.

For a drink with holiday spirit!

Dairy- free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free

Yields: 4

As soon as it begins to get cold I start to crave eggnog. It screams Christmas to me and I get this warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Eggnog, or also knows as egg milk punch, is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks. It is a creamy dairy-based beverage that I have steered away from for years because of my dairy intolerance. However last year I decided to give this holiday drink a try making it gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. The holidays just aren’t the holidays without eggnog so I am happy I perfected this recipe (and so are my family and friends).

Some of you may be reading this blog thinking why make your own when you can buy a festive carton at the nearby grocery store. Store bought eggnog is filled with thickeners and stabilizers, artificial colors and flavors; some are also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Making your own eggnog may initially appear intimidating but I promise that this recipe is simple. Making your own will spare you these additives and preservatives and you can create variety in the flavours of your eggnog. Using an orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and maple syrup will give your homemade egg nog the boost it needs without any refined sugars.

Some recipes use raw eggs to avoid tempering but typically these recipes call for quite a bit of alcohol which acts as a preservative and sterilizer. My recipe involves tempering the egg yolks but it is a quick process and you can still add in alcohol if you choose to 😉

Ingredients

  • 6 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 stick whole cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and maple syrup until thick. Set the bowl aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, slowly heat the almond milk with the cinnamon stick, stirring frequently, until the cinnamon becomes fragrant. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and discard the cinnamon stick. Pour the milk very slowly into the egg yolk and maple syrup mixture, whisking constantly. This is how to temper the eggs, so they don’t scramble. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and stir in the coconut milk.
  3. Return the saucepan to the stovetop, and simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble slightly (not a full rolling boil, or it will curdle) and starts to thicken.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla, nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Chill completely in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Have your cake and eat it too!

These no-bake cake bites are soft, chewy and delicious. It is a healthy treat packed with nutrients. They’re sweet and packed with flavour, without the added white sugar and gluten. Yes you read that right – these cake bites are refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. Shhhhh you can’t tell.

These cake bites are super easy to make of course because I only ever do easy! This is the ideal treat recipe for busy schedules and anyone like me who is often “on-the-go”. No baking is required here which makes them fast to make, easy to pack and an instant treat in your mouth!

I am constantly trying to create simple healthy recipes that the whole family can endulge in.  These cake bites have been a success with my little one. She attends nursery school and snacks are included however I decided to opt-out of this snack program once looking at the list of snacks provided. Our family sticks very closely to a dairy-free and refined sugar-free lifestyle with minimal to no gluten. Opting out of the snack program meant that I would have to become more creative with the snacks I pack Savannah to somewhat mimic the snacks being provided so she doesn’t feel completely left out. This is not an easy task! Well, these cake bites are always a WIN and she has her nursery school friends asking her to share! What parent doesn’t like a hidden veggie snack that tastes like dessert!?

All you will need to make this quick recipe is a few simple ingredients and a food processor or blender. You begin by blitzing the raw carrots in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Then you transfer those to a bowl. Place dates, nuts and all other ingredients into the food processor or blender. I adore adding in dates to anything no-bake as they act as a sticky binder keeping the balls together. Not to mention they provide a lovely touch of natural sweetness.

I created this recipe with pecans for the caramel favour they have but you can most definitely swap out this nut for almonds, walnuts or your preferred nut of choice.

To this mixture, add the rest of the ingredients and then pulse until it forms a dough that you can roll into balls.

Important to Note:

  •  Keep the cake bites in the fridge as these tend to be softer than other no-bake bites I have created due to the high water content in raw carrots
  •  If nuts are an allergen in your household, you can swap in sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for the pecans

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, plus 1/4 cup for rolling
  • 5-7 medjool dates, pitted (if dry, soak for 10 minutes first)
  • 3/4 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (also called coconut manna)
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh turmeric, grated or 1/2 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt

Instructions:

  1. Place raw carrots in a food processor or blender and blend until finely chopped. Then transfer into a bowl
  2. Add all other ingredients and blend until fully combined –  and a sticky yet workable texture is formed
  3. Roll out heaping tablespoon sized bites, and set onto a baking sheet, repeat until all the mixture is used.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup of shredded coconut on a plate or in a shallow bowl and roll each turmeric carrot cake bite to lightly coat.
  5. Place finished bites in the refrigerator to set for a few hours, or overnight
  6. Store in the refrigerator for one week or freeze for a one month

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

Ingredients

  • 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

 

The stomach flu has been traveling in my house for the last week or so (yikes!). Parents warned me that once my little one started nursery school she would bring home gifts other than her cute art work LOL. I do have a protocol to boost her immune system, using different herbs and supplements, at various times throughout the year however sometimes it just can’t be avoided. With that being said, the weekend past and I was not feeling my best so Savannah and I stayed home and hung out around the house.  We woke up Monday morning and I did not have much in the fridge to whip up for breakfast. I saw the very few ingredients that I did have and decided to make a batch of these banana pumpkin breakfast muffins. Savannah and I sipped our camomile tea, had these delicious warm muffins on the couch while watching Dora. It is these small moments that I know I will cherish forever.

I was overwhelmed with the comments and requests for me to post the recipe I created on the fly. I hope you enjoy them as much as Savannah and I did (the batch lasted less than two days!).

 

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free

Yields: 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

3/4 cup pumpkin puree, canned

1 egg

1/4 cup coconut yogurt (dairy free)

1 1/2 cups 1-to-1 baking flour (Bobs Red Mill, gluten free)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup

1 tablespoon raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (topping)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mash the bananas, add sweetener of choice (honey or maple syrup) then add pumpkin puree and mix well using a hand mixer).
  2. Mix in egg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Then add in flour.
  3. Spoon evenly into a 12 muffin tin greased with coconut oil. Sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top.
  4. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Baking your muffins at a high temperature for 5 minutes allows them to rise and gives them a beautiful plump appearance.

Most of us have been perpetually reminded since childhood, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This meal influences how we perform physically and mentally throughout our day.

The average adult gets 8 hours of sleep per day (or should) and 10 hours for children. In those 8 to 10 hours hours that the body is resting it is also essentially “fasting”. If breakfast is not consumed in the morning the body does not get the energy needed for the day, affecting concentration levels (particularly in children), mood and weight maintenance. Eating a nutritious and balanced breakfast (protein, veggies, good carbohydrates) maintains blood sugar levels and sets the tone for a day of healthy eating.

5 reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of the day:

  1. Increase metabolism
  2. Maintain or lose weight
  3. Enhance mood
  4. Enhance immune system
  5. Stimulate the brain improving memory and concentration

However on the days when we are scrambling to get out the door, we tend to push it off. What we really need is a breakfast that can rush out the door with us. By taking the time to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast, you eliminate grabbing or picking up the high-sugar breakfast options at your local coffee shop.  My simple and nutritious egg muffins prepped in a muffin tin are tasty, healthy, and totally transportable, making your mornings easier and your days energized.

These delicious and healthy breakfast egg muffins can be made in advance and even frozen for more convenience! When you’re busy, portable breakfasts make all the difference. I have created three difference recipes below but you can swap out or change up the ingredients as you desire.

Yields: 12

Ingredients

Kale & Spinach

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Broccoli Cheddar

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup sweet yellow onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Pomodoro

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped or minced)
  • 1 handful fresh basil torn
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked

Instructions

  1. Coat muffin tin with coconut oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dice the vegetables into small pieces and add to the egg mixture (for the broccoli cheddar add the nutritional yeast at this stage as well).
  4. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until centres are set and no longer runny.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before serving

** Please note that extras may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.