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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

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.

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

 

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.

Everything in moderation. Except for Avocado

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip, originating in Mexico. Mexican cuisine uses guacamole as a condiment or side to their more snack-type dishes (burrito and tacos). However guacamole has become an addictive and very popular dip internationally and rightfully so!  Avocados are a unique type of fruit in that they are high in healthy fats.  Where most fruit contain primarily carbohydrates, avocados are also incredibly nutritious containing powerful health benefits.

Avocados have made the `superfood` list and it is not surprising considering its high nutrient content and health properties. Avocados are rich and creamy making them a fantastic addition to smoothies, desserts, salad dressings and guacamole. Guacamole has become well admired by most vegetarians and vegans, mainly because they contain 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fibre and 15 grams of healthy fat making this fruit a low-carb friendly plant food.

Avocado is a high fat food in fact the majority of the calories are from fat, making it loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It is important to note that the majority of the fat in avocado is a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid. Oleic acid is proven to reduce inflammation and is also resistant to heat –induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe cooking option.

Fat does not make you fat! I am persistent when it comes to demolishing this myth. Our bodies need good fats. When we eat healthy fats we are more satiated which allow our bodies to indicate to our brains that we are full and content (eliminating over eating or cravings for junk food). Most people confuse fat itself with the junk food that it is associated with. Do not be afraid of the heart-healthy fats that exist in avocados. Not only are they packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre but they are loaded with powerful antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

Avocados add that smooth and creamy texture and flavour to guacamole, making this dip an ideal snack or side dish. My guacamole bowl takes less than five minutes to make with very minimal utensils to clean afterwards.

Ingredients

3-4 ripe Hass avocados

Juice of 1 lime

¼ cup diced red onion

¼ cup diced ripe tomatoes

3 tablespoons of cilantro (chopped)

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

A dash of black pepper

1-2 jalapeño (stems and seeds removed) – optional

Instructions

  1. Cut the avocados by running a knife around the avocado (top to bottom) and twist in half. Once the avocado is open, firmly press the knife onto the pit and twist to remove. Pull out and place the pit in a bowl to the side. Slice the avocado in strips vertically (top to bottom) and then repeat horizontally. Scoop the flesh out with a spoon into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash the avocado until a smooth consistency. Cut the lime in half and squeeze both halves into the bowl with the avocado.
  3. Dice the onion and tomatoes and add to the avocado, mixing until well combined. Stir in all other ingredients. Place the avocado pits back into the bowl (this keeps the guacamole from browning).
  4. Serve with non-gmo organic corn chips

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)

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

 

Instructions

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!

 

The only thing that gets this girl energized in the morning is a breakfast filled with fuel.  As a crazy-busy passionate entrepreneur and mom, I have a few projects on the go right now and have been living  my life a mile a minute. This is most definitely not my preference but it is also reality right now. There are days that as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning I am moving so fast that I forget to eat!  This leaves me low on energy which doesn’t start my day off on the right foot.  My blueberry super smoothie is nourishing, fueling and energizing, providing me with exactly what my body needs to get through these busy busy days.

If you are reading this and nodding you can relate. If you experience rough mornings from time to time then you can use a healthy-on-the-go smoothie that will take your mornings from rough and grumpy to smooth and happy!

Smoothie bars seem to be popping up impressively fast here in Toronto.  Some are good, most are not.  Most smoothies we think are healthy are actually filled with sweetened fruit juice, way too many bananas, dairy and can contain as much sugar as a large coke!

Be mindful of what ingredients are in your smoothie while out buying one! Or better yet, make my Blueberry Morning Super Smoothie and avoid wondering.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

½ cup blueberries

1 cup almond milk

½ cup coconut water

2 scoops Sunwarrior natural protein powder

½ cup spinach

2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter

½ Tbsp pure maple syrup

½ Tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp flax seeds

Directions

Blend all ingredients (add ice if you want it cold)

Cooking a healthy breakfast for your kids can be tough especially when you want to add variety to their diet. I often struggle with breakfast ideas and what to make Savannah that is healthy, well-balanced, nutrient-dense and tasty!

I like these patties because they’re a quick, handheld meal or snack that your kids can eat on the go or even on the way to school. They contain protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates and will give your kids the energy to get through the day!

   

 

Savannah loves black beans and I wanted to create another fun way that she could enjoy them! I love serving these to her with a side of dairy-free yogurt for her to dip.  Most of the ingredients I keep on hand, so cooking up extra is easy and this way my hubby and I have something nutritious on hand to snack on throughout the next day.

If you’re a mom who is tired of feeding their child cereal and milk in the morning try something new and whip these patties up in less than 20 minutes and you can finally smile with the knowledge that your child is getting a healthy breakfast.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 15oz can of organic black beans, rinsed and rained

1/4 cup zucchini chopped

1/4 cup cilantro

1 garlic clove minced

2 Tablespoons ground flax seed

2 Tablespoons hemp hearts

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1 egg

1 Tablespoon grass-fed butter

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients, except the butter, into a bowl and mix well
  2. Heat a large pan over low to medium heat with 1 tablespoon butter
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of black bean mixture into the pan. with a spatula, spread the mixture into a shape of a pancake
  4. Cook each side for approximately 2-3 minutes
  5. Cook the remaining mixture, using 1 Tablespoon of butter for each batch
  6. Cool and serve

This smoothie makes the ultimate breakfast to-go.  If you are anything like me who values time above anything else, you will appreciate this smoothie as it takes less than 5 minutes to make.  Your mornings just got a little bit easier!

I absolutely love this smoothie because its sweet and tart in taste, super healthy and filling! Even if I am not physically going somewhere in the morning I seem to be still on-the go with my little one and this is such a great and tasty go-to breakfast for me.  Now that the weather will be warming up here in Toronto (I hope!), I am definitely blending up this smoothie a few times a week.

This delicious smoothie recipe makes eating breakfast easier and healthier.  It is packed with fruit, protein and good carbohydrates to power your day. Remember starting with small changes and keeping life and your diet simple is key.  This breakfast smoothie will have you looking forward to your mornings and enjoying healthy eating!

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon chia seeds

14 frozen or fresh strawberries

1/4 cup almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

1 cup almond milk

3/4 cup yogurt (I use coconut based yogurt for a dairy-free option)

1 tablespoon raw honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon hemp hearts (topping)

Instructions

  1. Blend oats and chia seeds together in a blender until a fine consistency
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients until smooth
  3. Top with hemp hearts