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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.

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)

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