This little sweetheart of a snack is right on point with maple syrup season here in Ontario.

You might be experiencing a bit of a sweet craving and looking for a healthy choice, or finding that you need a nutrient dense snack to help you sail through the afternoon.

Enter Maple syrup almonds. Yes, they contain sugar in the form of Maple syrup (and so, sadly not suitable if you are on a candida cleanse diet), but they are also loaded with health fat, protein, fibre, calcium and magnesium.

You can stick with straight up almonds, as in this recipe or you could substitute roughly 1/3 of the almonds with raw pecans or walnuts. Still need more variety in your snack? Mix these with 3-4 squares of 70-80% dark chocolate (I like Zazubean Nudie) and/or dried organic blueberries or cranberries and/or raw or roasted pumpkin/ sunflower seeds.


Maple Syrup Almonds

Preheat oven to 335 degrees F.

Toss 3 cups raw almonds with 1/3 cup real maple syrup.

Add 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil and toss to coat almonds.

Spread coated almonds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (FSC certified/ unbleached and chlorine-free).

Bake until roasted and syrup has thickened, approximately 18-20 minutes (stirring every 5-7 minutes).

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle to taste with Himalayan pink salt.

Cool completely, and transfer to glass jars. (Jars in the picture are repurposed from Riviera yogurt containers, with matching lids. Jar size is approximately 1/2 cup.)

Store in refrigerator until ready to devour!

IMG_9639.JPGIf you aren’t already enjoying bone broth, now is the perfect time to bring health boosting and incredibly delicious and soothing broth into your life!
Did you know that bone broth supports proper digestion, heals leaky gut -thus improving food sensitivities and auto-immunity, improves connective tissue, reduces joint pain and inflammation (thanks to chondroitin sulphates, chondroitin and collagen supporting nutrients), contains important amino acids such as glycine (supports nervous system, detox, digestive health and wound healing), proline and arginine, contains nutrients important for health bones such as calcium and magnesium, promotes health hair, skin and nails, supports your immune system and inhibits infection (yes, chicken soup for a cold!) and promotes heating throughout your body!
Broth can be made of any type of bones that you like; chicken, turkey, beef, bison and wild game, lamb and fish (including fish heads) – seek bones from organically raised, pastured or grass-fed animals, and include collagen-rich choices such as chicken feet and turkey necks.
You can use leftover bones or get bones from your butcher or a local farmer.
  • Place bones in a pot. (roasting bones is optional, but will improve flavour)
  • Add 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover bones.
  • Let stand for 20-30 minutes so the vinegar can leach the minerals from the bones/joints.
  • Optional; add 2-3 stalks celery, 2-3 carrots, 2-3 onions and 3-4 bay leaves for enhanced flavour and nutrition.
  • Bring to a boil, **skim the scum from the top and discard.
  • Reduce to a low simmer in the pot (or transfer to a slow cooker) and cook for roughly 18-72 hours. (chicken/turkey bones – 18-24 hours, beef/lamb/bison bones- 24-72 hours, fish bones – 8 hours)
  • If cooking in a pot, can turn off heat, keep covered and let sit overnight, then turn it back on and let summer all the next day.
  • During the last 10-3- minutes of cooking add herbs as desired. (ginger root/turmeric root/ fresh garlic – roughly 20-30minutes, fresh parsley/thyme herbs – roughly 10-15 minutes)
  • Let the broth cool slightly and strain.
  • Store in glass containers in fridge for up to 5 days and in freezer for up to 6 months (leaving a few inches empty in glass container to allow for expansion in freezer)

Enjoy 1-2 cups of health boosting broth daily, especially during fall and winter.

  • heat with Himalayan pink salt and drink from a mug/thermos
  • heat with ginger root (or add a ginger tea bag) and Himalayan salt for a warming and soothing ginger broth
  • heat with sliced ginger root/ turmeric root/ black pepper and Himalayan salt (and strain) for an anti-inflammatory powerhouse broth
  • warm with fresh parsley, lemongrass or any herbs of choice
  • use to make soup/stew or rice/quinoa pilaf (or replace in any recipe calling for broth)


IMG_9725.JPGBack in my early days at naturopathic college, I was introduced to a little gem of a restaurant, called ‘Juice for Life’ (now, Fresh). They made the most divine cold-pressed juice and smoothies that I had even known, and introduced me to the divine combination of quinoa/brown rice, with loads of veggies, plant based protein, delicious sauce and accents like herbs, lemon, nuts and seeds – behold, the ‘Fresh bowl’.

What was soon to become my favourite was their ‘Green Goddess’ bowl – brown rice topped with steamed broccoli and greens, grilled tempeh, toasted sunflower seeds and pickled ginger, bathed in tahini dressing and a their ginger/soy sauce.

Fast forward 18 years – Ottawa now has Pure Kitchen – a delicious restaurant, equally committed to vegetable prominent meals and game-changing quinoa/rice bowls. My bowl of choice comprising steamed broccoli and greens, falafel balls, sauerkraut and roasted sweet potato, on a bed of quinoa – and brought together by their ever smooth tahini dressing.

Building a quinoa/brown rice bowl can be as easy or elaborate as you’d like;

Step 1: Grab your favourite bowl – medium or large, with a wide mouth.

Step 2: Scoop in quinoa or brown rice (these can be prepared ahead of time and portioned in the freezer for greater ease)

Step 3: Add your favourite veggies – steamed, roasted, raw – or a combination thereof.

Step 4: Add 1-2 protein sources – this can be plant-based protein, such as roasted chick peas or hummus, legumes, tempeh, falafel, adzuki bean stew or black beans – or other protein, such as organic chicken, wild salmon or free run eggs.

Step 5: Garnish with superfood toppings as desired – fresh squeezed lemon, sprouts and microgreens, toasted nuts and seeds, raw hemp hearts, spouted seeds (I love Go Raw), sauerkraut or kimchi.

Step 6: Add 1-2 tasty sauces of choice. Do not skip this step! A great sauce will elevate your bowl to divine!

The sky is the limit in terms of your combinations! But here are a few samples;

*brown rice or quinoa + hummus, cucumber, avocado, parsley, lemon/lime, extra virgin olive oil, himalayan pink salt, grape tomatoes and your choice of protein (ie. roasted chick peas or free range chicken).

*brown rice or quinoa + avocado, shredded carrots, shredded beets and arugula, with toasted or sprouted seeds, tahini dressing and your choice of protein (ie. black beans or free range eggs).

*brown rice or quinoa + avocado, steamed greens and broccoli, sauerkraut, roasted root vegetables, microgreens, tahini dressing and your choice of protein (ie. grilled tempeh or wild salmon).

There are lots of tahini dressings our there, but when I made this one for my best friend, she said that it literally changed her life;-). From Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox;

Oil-Free Garlic, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Tahini and Almond Butter Dressing
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups

Here’s a dressing to get your raw apple cider vinegar on. It’s creamy from the beneficial sesame seeds (what tahini is made from) and almond butter—so absolutely no need for oil.

Put all the ingredients, except for the tahini and almond butter, in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the tahini and almond butter, and blend again until the dressing is thoroughly combined.

2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. tamari
3 Tbs. raw apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. high-quality sea salt
½ cup water
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1⁄3 cup tahini (preferably raw)
2 Tbs. almond butter (preferably raw or unroasted)


Delicious, satisfying and heaping with nutrient density – hopefully these bowls will be life-changers for you – or at the very least, lunch/dinner changers.



“Social relationships, or the relative lack thereof, constitute a major risk factor for health—rivaling the effect of well established health risk factors such as cigarette smoking, blood pressure, blood lipids, obesity and physical activity” Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_8997I love the holiday season – spending time with family and friends and feeling all of that holiday love.

But sometimes enjoying all of this holiday love has us burning the candle at both ends- leaving us susceptible to viruses, colds and flu.

How do we show our immune system love, amid all of the holiday cheer?

  1. Sleep. Get your zzzs.
  2. Breathe. Stretch. Relax. Paint! Snowshoe! Anything that reduces stress for you.
  3. Keep up those good eating habits! Be sure to include a rainbow assortment of veggies (think Vitamin C and Beta Carotene!), fresh herbs, nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, homemade bone broth(!) – and remember to include a protein source with each meal.
  4. Check your Vitamin D level and consider supplementation through the winter if indicated.
  5. Do include a probiotic supplement or probiotic containing foods – Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and miso all fit this bill!
  6. Do include immune boosting foods such as onions and garlic, ginger, turmeric, raw honey (only if not pregnant) and mushrooms.
  7. Did I mention rest?
  8. And enjoy!

Wishing you all the very best for this holiday season and beyond!



Apple Crisp

Serves: 6



  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine oil, agave and vanilla
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  4. Place apples in a 2 quart baking dish
  5. Crumble topping over the apples
  6. Cover and bake at 350° for 50 minutes on low rack
  7. When apples are soft and their juices bubble, remove cover and bake 10 more minutes to brown crisp

“Recipe from Elana’s Pantry by Elana Amsterdam”

Hemp Protein Granola Bars


1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (or any other nut)
1 cup dates, chopped (or any other dried fruit)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or coconut, olive, walnut…)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
6 Tbsp. water

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. In a small bowl, mix the chia seeds and water together. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.
    4. In a food processor or blender, mix bananas, oil, vanilla, and maple syrup (you can also just mash everything together with a fork). Add chia gel and pulse to mix. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
    5. Spread the batter evenly into a baking pan (mine was 9″ x 11″), and smooth out the top with the back of a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let cool completely, store in airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for longer shelf life. You can also freeze these – take one out half an hour before you want a perfect snack!

“Recipe from Elana’s Pantry by Elana Amsterdam”


Paleo Bread




  1. Pulse almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt, and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse in eggs and vinegar, until combined
  3. Transfer batter to a greased 5 x 3.5 magic line loaf panor 7.5 x 3.75 fox run pan
  4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  5. Cool in the pan for 2 hours
  6. Serve

“Recipe from Elana’s Pantry by Elana Amsterdam”



Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN

Recipe type: side, bread

Prep time:  10 mins

Cook time:  45 mins

Total time:  55 mins

Serves: 12 slices

A simple grain free walnut bread loaded with healthful fats, protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.


  • 1 cup homemade walnut butter (1½ cups chopped walnuts made into a butter or use store bought)
  • 4 whole eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons whole flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoon dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Using your Vitamix or food processor make the walnut butter by pouring walnuts into the machine and blending until smooth. This can take up to 8 minutes, and scrape the sides every minute.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, mix the walnut butter, maple syrup, and 4 eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Next add almond flour, baking soda, optional dried herbs, and flaxseed until combined.
  3. Using coconut oil, grease a 5 x 9 inch bread loaf pan (silicon preferred).
  4. Spread the dough evenly into the bread loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
  5. Take out of the oven once cooked and let cool for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan, further cool before slicing.
  6. Store: in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks, or slice and individually wrap slices in foil and store in the freezer for a month.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 220 Fat: 20 g Carbohydrates: 6 g Sugar: 2 g Sodium: 160 mg Fiber: 2 gProtein: 7 g


Breakfast Bars

Serves: 12-16 bars



  1. In a small bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda
  2. In a large bowl, combine grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla
  3. Stir dry ingredients into wet
  4. Mix in coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond slivers and raisins

“Recipe from Elana’s Pantry by Elana Amsterdam”




  • (1) cup quinoa
  • (1) cup coconut milk
  • (1) cup cold water
  • (1/8) tsp salt

Add per serving:

  • (3) tbsp shredded coconut
  • (1) tbsp maple syrup to taste
  • (1/4) cup fresh blueberries
  • (5-6) fresh cherries, halved and pitted
  • (3-4) chopped pitted dates (optional)
  • (1/4) cup plain yoghurt (optional)

Combine the coconut milk, quinoa, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat with the lid on, once it boils, turn the heat to low, and cook (covered) for 25 minutes.

Once the quinoa is cooked and all the water is absorbed, remove from the heat and fluff with a fork inside the pan.

To serve, scoop one cup of the coconut quinoa into a bowl, add the maple syrup and stir. Top with coconut, fruit, and optional dates and yoghurt. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy




3 eggs white

1 cup maple syrup

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon


4 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned oats)

1 cup pumpkin (pepita) seed kernels

1 cup sunflower seed kernels

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup pecan pieces

1/3 cups sesame seeds


This recipe makes a generous amount suitable for about 20 helpings. You can easily halve it if you don’t wish to make too much. Store it in an airtight jar to keep it fresh or in the freezer. As well as breakfast, try it a q quick snack in the mid afternoon if you are craving something with some crunch and a little sweetness

Grease 2 large baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)

Whisk the egg whites, maple syrup, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in an extra- large bowl until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined

Spread the oat mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheat oven, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or golden brown and crisp. Let cool completely before storing.

Make about 10 cups

“Recipe from”




1 tbsp (15ml) extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp (2.5ml) cumin

1/2 tsp (2.5ml) turmeric

1/2 cup (125ml) onion, sliced

1 cup (250ml) zucchini, into 1/2 -inch (1cm) dice

1/2 cup (125ml) diced asparagus or broccoli

1/2 tsp (2.5ml) grey sea salt or pink rock salt

1/2 tsp(2.5ml) coriander

1/2 tsp (2.5ml) cinnamon

4 large organic eggs

1/2 cup (125ml) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


  1. Warm oil in skillet on medium-low heat and add cumin seed and turmeric powders. Stir for a few seconds
  2. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes
  3. Add the zucchini and asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes
  4. Add the salt, coriander and cinnamon
  5. Stir and cook for 2 minutes
  6. Whisk eggs in a small bowl and pour into pan. Add cilantro and stir until the eggs are cooked

Make 2 servings

* Recipes from ” Meals that Heal Inflammation” by Julie Daniluk

I’m always on the lookout for simple, nutritious recipes that are kid approved and school friendly. These cookies are muffin-like… like little bites of banana bread. Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and delicious! Oh, and did I mention easy….

1 cup ripe banana, mashed (approximately 2 bananas)

1 cup oats (I use gluten free oats, such as ‘Only Oats’)

Optional ingredients; dark chocolate chips, walnut pieces, sliced almonds, carob chips, coconut, raisins, carob chips, cinnamon, chia seeds, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and etc…

I added 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup cocoa camino 71% dark chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp chia seeds.

Let sit approximately 5-10 minutes. Drop approximately 1 Tbsp size of cookie mix onto cookie sheet greased with coconut oil, or lined with parchment paper.

Bake 15-20 minutes @350. Let cool, and enjoy.

Can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days (if they last that long!) or frozen.

Helping your child pack a lunch for school is no easy feat. Schools in the Ottawa area have a plethora of school, board and ministry level policies that dictate what foods can and cannot be in your child’s lunch box.lunchbox-ideas-kids

In an effort to improve the total nutrition of our children, the Ministry of Education has endeavoured to create a School Food and Beverage policy which dictates what foods acan be sold in schools. They have divided foods into 3 categories;

Sell Most – greater than 80%

Sell Less – less than 20%

Not Permitted for Sale

Check out the ‘quick’ 35 page reference guide to the Ministry of Education’s School Food and Nutrition policy.

Then there are the guidelines applied to what kids bring into schools for their own consumption. Special considerations for childrens’ allergies, nutritional needs and the environment have significant impact on food choices. Gone are the days of peanut butter and jam on white bread in the handy clear plastic baggie. Making lunches and choosing snacks for picky little eaters, when prep time is a factor, well, it becomes a bit of a daily nightmare.

For ‘lunches from home’ most schools have the following guidelines:

  • No nuts at all
  • No “junk” – ie chocolate, gummy candies, hard candies, lollipops etc
  • Litterless – ie no plastic baggies (even if you reuse them)

Each kid is different and has an ever changing palate. That said, as a health care provider, I cannot emphasize enough the need for us responsible adults to keep offering vegetables (not just fruits) to our kids. Too many studies show that kids who don’t eat veggie grow up to be adults who don’t’ eat veggies, which will (and does) have undeniable negative health outcomes. Taste buds are changing, so try a new veggie every week. One that may have been discarded last month, may now be a smash success!

What goes into the lunchbox? Here are some kid tested and approved suggestions from many parents.


  • Squeeze fruit
  • Fruit – add goat cheese
  • Apple slices with sunbutter or soft goat cheese
  • Crackers – whole grain, gluten-free such as Mary’s crackers
  • Hummus with veggies or crackers
  • Veggie sticks – carrot, pepper, radish, celery, raw zucchini, raw asparagus, snap peas, cherry tomatoes etc.
  • Goat yoghurt with added berries and chia seeds
  • Chia seed pudding – made with nut free milk, such as coconut milk
  • Chia seed pudding ideas from the Huffington Post (some contain nuts) –
  • Avocadoe – squeeze with lemon to keep it green
  • Dry cereal – ‘Power O’s’ (Love Grown brand)

Left-overs from last night’s dinner

  • Rice pasta
  • Chili or stew
  • Curries or dahl
  • Porridge left-over from the morning – can add apples, cinnamon, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Sandwich options
  • Whole grain bread, deli meats, condiments, cheese, lettuce
  • Ezekiel bread sandwich with Sunbutter

Water with berries or cucumber or mint leaves for flavour


Great ideas from blogs