Apple, Clementine, Cranberry Cider. Healthy Holiday Drink.

This warming cider can be enjoyed by the whole family! It is non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, as well as free of added sugar. The combination of nutritious, antioxidant-rich fruit, and health-giving spices, makes this beverage both delicious and immune supporting – a wonderful winter drink!

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Festive Fruit & Nut Chocolate Tart. Healthy Holiday Dessert.

Holidays gatherings are often centred around cookies, cakes, and chocolate, usually made from less healthy ingredients. However, we CAN indulge in sweets and enjoy holiday desserts in a healthy way! Using whole food nutritious ingredients like nuts, dried and fresh fruit, citrus zest, spices and tea’s, one can create rich and flavourful holiday desserts that everyone will enjoy. This recipe for my Fruit & Nut Tart, is packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy un-saturated fats, and plant-based protein. A rich and indulgent tasting dessert that you can feel GOOD about eating and sharing with your friends and family!

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Carrot Nut Oat Bars & Orange Maple Silken Tofu Frosting.

This ‘carrot cake bar’ is a healthy plant-based dessert! Made from nutritious whole ingredients, the carrots, oats, almonds, walnuts and tofu all provide complex carbohydrates, good monounsaturated and essential omega fats, plenty of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The carrots are inherently sweet, so make a great base for any sweet preparation. The nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest add flavour and enhance the natural sweet taste of these other ingredients. The oats and nuts act as the ‘flour’, holding the carrots together to form a cake. Raisins provide natural sweetness, texture, and are a visual reminder of the carrot cake you may have grown up eating. The natural smooth consistency of the silken tofu provides a perfect base for the ‘cream cheese’ frosting, minus the saturated fat and cholesterol! This recipe uses minimal added sweetener in the form of maple syrup, the most an unprocessed/natural and local sweetener available, making these bars an appropriate dessert for diabetics. I made both a raw and cooked version of these bars as seen above, and personally preferred the baked ones. I would recommend serving the baked bars to kids or those who are not accustomed to fully raw desserts – as a transitional dish!

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Quinoa-Crusted Tofu, Roasted Vegetables, Pea Puree & Parsnip Chips.

This dish makes for a nutritious, warming and balanced meal! Quinoa makes a great flour coating/breading for the tofu, which you can easily make yourself in a spice/coffee grinder. This ingredient also adds protein to whatever you’re crusting. I’m a huge fan of mashed peas and often use it as a creamy textural component to meals like this. Peas are very high in plant-based protein, in fact 1 cup of cooked peas has 9 grams of protein and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium and fiber. Sweet green peas are also a good source of B vitamins (including folate), magnesium, manganese and Vitamin K. Buy organic frozen peas which are harvest fresh, preserving the nutrients through freezing produces a highly nutritious food! Rather than using potatoes, I prefer using lower glycemic/less starchy root vegetables like celeriac and parsnip. They added aromatic sweetness to the meal and offer a wider range of nutrients.

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Rainbow Salad in a Mason Jar. Plant-Based Lunch or Snack.

Making your own healthy plant-based meals and snacks for work/school helps you eat a healthy whole-food diet, and is much more cost-effective. One of the food myths is that eating healthily is more expensive. This may be the case if you’re eating out, but not if you’re preparing meals at home, which is always the healthiest approach. These ‘packed lunch’ mason jar salads are a great addition to your lunch and or delicious as a mid-afternoon snack! a nutritious and tasty way to incorporate more vegetables into your daily diet! To make this a complete meal salad, you could add 1 cup of beans, shelled edamame, lentils, peas, or a pseudo-grain like buckwheat, faro or quinoa that are all high in plant-based protein.

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Roasted Delicata Squash, Arugula & Fennel Fall Salad.

This warm salad is a healthy and comforting meal to enjoy during these cooler months. While the season for Delicata squash is coming to an end, I’ve been enjoying the last days of its deliciousness! My favourite winter squash, Delicatas are a beautiful pale yellow colour with green stripes. Their small size makes them sweeter and easier to prep/cook. One can find them at outdoor markets, farmers markets and some health food stores in Quebec between the months of September to November. If you cannot source this special veggie, any other hearty winter squash will work in this salad, like butternut, Acorn, Buttercup, Kobocha, or Pumpkin – which are readily available all year round. With the exception of spaghetti squash, the skins of winter squash are edible so please do not peel them. Not only are the skins packed with nutrients, but they become crispy and delicious when roasted! All winter squash are a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, other antioxidants that support a strong immune system.

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Seasonal Raw Apple Tart. A Healthy Whole Food Dessert.

With apples still in season, I wanted to celebrate this locally grown fruit by showcasing it in a simple tart, which I made for some friends. This nutritious and delicious dessert is made entirely from whole, plant-based foods, containing no refined ingredients or animal products. The base is made from ground almonds and walnuts, offering healthy fats and plant-based protein, while the filling is composed of apples and a small serving of added sweetener from pomegranate molasses. The sweetness of this tart comes from the natural sugars found in the dates, apples, and molasses. The chai tea (used to soak the dates), along with the orange zest and cinnamon, enhance the inherent sweetness of these ingredients, while adding more flavour to the final dish. Unlike conventional desserts often made from refined sugar, white flour, butter and eggs, this vibrant and refreshing tart will leave you feeling good, both physically and physiologically – knowing that it’s made from real & healthy ingredients!

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Cancer Prevention Through A Healthy Diet & Lifestyle.

Today, most of us have sadly been touched by cancer in some way. Either witnessing our friends or family endure the illness, or experiencing the disease ourselves. Cancer is the number one cause of death amongst Canadians, with lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers being the most common forms (11, 20). According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, and 1 out of 4 Canadians (29% of men, 24% of women) are expected to die from the disease. The growth and development of cancer is complex, given the number of potential factors that can cause the disease. However, most cancer cases are preventable, linked to ‘environmental’ / diet & lifestyle factors, and are not genetic or hereditary.

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Toasted Oat, Apple, Almond, Maple & Chai Cookies.

These delicious and nutritious cookies are made with only whole foods ingredients, free of all refined flour/sugar/oil or animal products. Composed of mostly oat bran, a nutrient-dense food rich in protein, fiber, and iron. These cookies are sweetened naturally with homemade applesauce (using hand picked seasonal organic apples!), local maple syrup (a minimally processed local sweetener), and dried apples. The almond flakes provide some healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, flavour and texture. Mixing in the whole toasted oats gives these cookies more texture, and hydrating the dried apples with steeped chai tea gives these cookies an extra boost of flavour!

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