Category Archives: Breakfast

Shamrock Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

shamrock smoothie

SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE (inspired by Kriss Carr’s Greensicle Smoothie)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 small oranges, peeled
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 large handful organic kale leaves
  • 4 organic romaine leaves

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Cheers!!

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrock.

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring your bright, happy hours.

That stay with you all year-long.

Maple-Glazed Apples (with spiced non-dairy yogurt and buckwheat granola)

I rose this morning to a beautiful winter’s day and to the sweet sound of my 10 year-old strumming “Jingle Bells” on her guitar. Ahhh, I am so thrilled she loves to practise. 😉

Over a hot cup of chai tea, I decided to go through my binder of old recipes. I came across this one which I thought was a perfect dish for celebrating our first Sunday of Advent.

maple-glazed apples

I used to make this a few years ago with unsalted butter, non fat yogurt, and a low-fat granola. Like most recipes, this one can easily be made without all the dairy and be just as tasty, if not better.

Today, I used a wee bit of coconut oil, yoso coconut yogurt (a carrageenan-free, non-dairy yogurt), and an adapted version of Laurie Sadowksi’s tasty and wholesome Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola.  So delicious!


  • 4 spartan apples, cored, and each cut into 8 slices
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup yoso creamy cultured coconut (plain unsweetened) yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat granola

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place apples, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and melted coconut oil in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Toss until well coated.

3. Roast apples for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are crisp and tender.

4. Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, spices and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl.

5. Spoon roasted apples into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with granola, then drizzle with spiced yogurt.

*Note on the granola: I have made Laurie Sadowski’s granola recipe a few times now and love it. In my latest version of her recipe, I substituted raw almonds for hazelnuts, added dried cranberries, and eliminated the cacao and cacao nibs. My kids enjoy eating a bowl with my homemade almond milk, but I prefer eating the large clumps as an afternoon snack.

As I write this, it’s early afternoon and the snow has been flying since dawn. Our tree is lit (soon to be decorated) and my daughter is busy putting together our advent wreath. My plan is to spend the afternoon pouring over, once again, all the amazing vegan dishes at last month’s Virtual Vegan Potluck. Tonight I will make my final decision and vote for my favourite dish in each category. (December 2 is the last day to vote). Have you checked it out, yet? If not, you must! (uberdish brought a side dish – herbed spaetzle with beet puree!)

Vegan and Gluten-free Rhubarb Muffins


Tart and tangy and absolutely delicious!  This is the recipe I promised you last week.

I found this recipe for vegan and gluten-free rhubarb muffins at Whole Life Nutrition.  I had just returned from The Almonte Farmer’s Market with a beautiful bundle of rhubarb stalks and the desire to bake something not-too-sweet.  Tom and Ali were absolutely right when they said that “these little gems won’t last long after being baked”!

Next to the 2 cups of chopped fresh rhubarb, this recipe had me at cardamom.  I have always loved the unique flavour of this herb which can be found in chai drinks and curry dishes.

This recipe from Whole Life Nutrition offers the baker in your house some ingredient choices.  This is what I used – brown rice flour, potato starch, melted organic virgin coconut oil, maple syrup, and grated orange peel.   The recipe also suggests using blueberries should you not get your hands on some fresh rhubarb.   A fruit choice I will be sure to try in August when the blueberries are at their peak. 🙂  Gosh, I love this time of year!!

Pear and Almond Smoothie


I have to share this smoothie!  We have made this smoothie every morning this week before school or work and I just made it again for myself this afternoon.  We are a little addicted.

The original recipe comes from  Wanigan Organic Fruits and Vegetables in Brampton, Ontario. Last weekend, I had my husband make a stop there for some fruits and veggies before his trek home.  This store has the best variety and the most gorgeous looking produce you will ever see!  On the back of his receipt, we found this smoothie recipe.  I made one little substitution and one wee addition.  I replaced the teaspoon of vanilla extract with a 1/2 scoop of Vanilla SunWarrior Protein Powder and added some grated nutmeg.  So, chai-like!


  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 chopped pear
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (I used a raw almond butter)
  • 1/2 scoop of Vanilla SunWarrior Protein Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • bit of grated nutmeg or dash of ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  I enjoyed my last glass with a couple of ice cubes on my deck. 🙂

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes


When my husband and I first decided our kitchen was to be a gluten-free zone, we stayed clear away from buckwheat and buckwheat flour because of its name.  We naturally assumed that buckwheat was some form of wheat.  After some reading and research, we eventually learned that buckwheat is in fact gluten-free and that it is not a grain, but a seed from a plant closely related to the rhubarb family.

I love buckwheat flour for its taste and nutritional value.  Containing 8 amino acids, buckwheat is very high in protein.  In his book Whole Foods to Thrive,  Brendan Brazier writes that buckwheat includes “high amounts of the often-elusive tryptophan”.  Tryptophan, one of the ten amino acids, helps “enhance mood and mental clarity”.  On this dreary cool spring morning,  we could all use a little extra tryptophan!  Buckwheat is also high in fiber and it gives baked goods a unique nutty flavour.

Our pancakes this morning were adapted from Brazier’s above mentioned book.  The original recipe calls for hemp flour and barley flakes.  I had neither in the house, so I substituted quinoa flour and quinoa flakes.

BUCKWHEAT BANANA PANCAKES (adapted from “Whole Foods to Thrive”)

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes

In a large bowl, mix the flours, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a food processor or blender, process the banana and water while slowly adding the dry ingredients until a smooth mixture is reached.  Transfer mixture to the large bowl and stir in the quinoa flakes.

Lightly oil a frying pan with coconut oil and heat over medium heat.  Pour scoopfuls of batter in heated pan.  Once bubbles appear (a few minutes), flip pancake over and fry for another few minutes.

Serve with some fresh fruit and a helping of maple syrup. 🙂

Almond Butter and Applesauce Muffins


I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and energetic after a very relaxing March Break.  We didn’t get away to any sunny or luxurious destination (well, does Toronto for one night count?), but we did savour some lazy afternoons at home with the kids.  I think we even had a couple of days where we didn’t get dressed ’till after noon. 🙂

Since it was unlikely that I’d get called to work on the first day back to school after a week break, I decided it was a great day to do some baking.

This muffin recipe came to mind when I was looking for a muffin that contained no gluten, no eggs, no dairy, and no sugar.  Those of you sensitive to gums like xanthan or guar, will be pleased to learn that this recipe contains absolutely no gums.  However, you will find baking soda in this recipe.

The ground chia seeds holds these muffins together nicely and thanks to the applesauce in this recipe, there is no need for any added oils.

These muffins are sweetened with our good ‘ol maple syrup.  They have the perfect amount of sweetness, in my opinion.  Also, these muffins are a little higher in protein than most due to the almond flour, almond butter and ground chia seeds, not to mention the additional  fiber boost.  You gotta love that!


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (grind whole chia seeds in a clean coffee grinder)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup creamy natural unsweetened almond butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a muffin pan for 12 with paper liners or lightly grease pan with coconut oil or vegan butter. (I like to use IF YOU CARE BAKING CUPS because they are unbleached and made from recycled board).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In a small pot over medium heat, whisk together the milk, applesauce, almond butter, and maple syrup until the mixture is warm and smooth.  Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir.  Pour batter evenly into muffin cups or greased muffin pan.

Served with a delicious smoothie,  these muffins make a great breakfast treat.  No guilt in giving these to the kids!

Rustic Sweet Onion Flatbread with Sacha Inchi Butter

Rich in fiber, protein and essential fats, this flatbread is a good choice for individuals wishing to boost their immune system and reduce inflammation in the body.  Spread thinly on a teflex sheet or lined baking sheet, this recipe makes an absolute delicious light cracker for soups.  As smaller pieces, it makes a savoury and crunchy topping for salads.


I served this flatbread earlier this week with my Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup .  The following day, I offered it to my kids with a heaping spread of sacha inchi butter as an after school snack.  They absolutely loved it!  They said it tastes a lot like peanut butter. 🙂  Sacha inchi seeds are a wonderful nut alternative.

I took both recipes from one of my favourite cookbooks and resource.   Whole Foods to Thrive: Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health by Brendan Brazier is a book I highly recommend to those striving for a healthier diet for themselves, their family and our planet.  Brendan’s recipes are easy to make and are all allergen free.


  • 3/4 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (I used mellow yellow)
  • 1 red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed powder
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

In a food processor, blend the tomato, raisins, and miso paste until smooth.  Add the onion, garlic, and flaxseed powder and blend again to a smooth consistency.  Mix in the hemp seeds and chia seeds by hand.

I used my dehydrator to dry the bread, but you can certainly use an oven.  Spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 2 hours at 250 degrees F.  Be sure to flip the bread over after one hour to allow for even cooking.  When the edges begin to brown, your bread is done.  Turn the oven off and leave the bread inside for another 30 minutes.  Break into pieces.

I prefer to use my Excalibur dehydrator.  I spread the mixture onto 2 teflex sheets and set the temperature to 112 degrees F for an optimal raw bread.  Cooking food at such a low temperature helps to maintain the food’s enzymes and nutrients. This eases digestion which in turn helps preserve energy. (Ever feel like taking a nap after a heavy meal?).  I allowed the bread to dry in my dehydrator for 8 hours (overnight).  In the morning, I flipped the bread over and continued to dehydrate it for another hour and a half.  I cut my cracker on a cutting board into even (well almost even) rectangular pieces.

This flatbread or cracker satisfies the carb craving without the guilt.  Most packaged, store bought crackers are terribly high in fat, sodium, refined sugars and refined carbohydrates, even if the outside of the package tells you otherwise! 😉


  • 1 cup sacha inchi seeds
  • 2 tsp hemp oil
  • dash of seed salt

Process all the ingredients together in a food processor.  (My kids prefer the seeds to be a little crunchy.  This takes only a couple of minutes of blending).

“It’s a Good Morning” Smoothie

morning smoothie

About a week before our Thanksgiving holiday, my sister-in-law and friend asked me to participate with them in a month long raw cleanse.   Considering this is a big season for hot soups and beautiful curry dishes, I was somewhat reluctant.   But after a little thinking, I realized that this may in fact be a good time of the year.   Our days are getting shorter and cooler and often with it comes the common cold and flu bugs.  I want my body to be in “tip top” shape to fight these nasty invaders.  I just do not have the time to be sick!   Also,  why wouldn’t I want to feel more energetic and youthful?  (My birthday was only days away from this realization).   So, today is my fourth day on “The 28 – Day Simply Raw Detox Program” by Natasha Kyssa.

This is my second time on this program – the first being in the Spring.    Back then, somewhere near the end of the program, I discovered that I had developed some excellent dietary habits. Unfortunately, for me,  some of those habits slowly slipped away during the hot summer months.   So,  I am looking at this cleanse as a “refresher” – a reminder to continue those healthy habits once learned.

When I meander to the kitchen, first thing at the crack of dawn, I down one whole glass of room temperature water.   Water helps every cell in the body function properly.   During this cleanse, I must be sure to drink LOTS OF WATER.   For breakfast, I choose to whip up a green smoothie of apple, lemon juice, kale (high in calcium) and WATER.   For this first week of the cleanse, I can add some raw agave, stevia, or unpasteurized honey, but I have found that this smoothie really doesn’t need it.  I love it as it is!   Normally in the mornings,  I would throw a banana in there, but Natasha recommends leaving a banana out for later in the morning.  Bananas take longer to digest, so they are best to be left for later when I may require something heavier or more filling.

On a cleanse or not, green smoothies are a quick and healthy breakfast option.   Here is Natasha’s recipe – hope you give it a whirl!


  • 4 apples, cored
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice*
  • 4 leaves kale*
  • water to thin

Blend all ingredients together.  Makes 1 serving.

*At first, I found this to be a little too much lemon juice.  For the first time, you may want to decrease the quantity and adjust to taste.  If you don’t have any kale in the fridge, try a big handful of spinach.  Choose organic, local produce, if you can.

****If you feel you need a little sweetener, try adding a tablespoon of raw agave or stevia.  Soften dates are a great sweetener, too.  Soak dates in filtered water overnight.  Drain water in the morning then toss them in your blender.  You’ll love a smoothie with dates!    Please avoid adding white table sugar.  More about this in an upcoming post!



This dish was developed in the early 1900s by one of the first vegetarian doctors.   Bircher-Benner (1867-1939), a Swiss physician, conducted numerous nutritional experiments using whole, raw foods to heal the sick human body.   Unorthodox for this time period, Dr. Bircher-Benner insisted that his patients consume at least 50 per cent raw fruits, vegetables and nuts.  He believed strongly that individuals should focus less on meat and more on the vegetarian diet as a way of maintaining good health.

This muesli cereal was created to help heal patients in Dr. Bircher-Benner’s private clinic.   There are many different versions, but I have chosen to adapt my (Swiss) mother-in-law’s recipe.  This recipe is uber-delish as a dessert, breakfast, or even supper!   We have had it a gazillion times on super hot days down at the dock at our family cottage.   Birchermuesli is super easy and doesn’t require hours of dish washing afterwards. Gotta love that!

Be creative and have fun with it by tossing in whatever nuts, seeds, and seasonal fruits you have in your fridge. Try soaking your raw nuts and seeds first in the fridge overnight to increase their digestibility.   Rinse them in the morning, then toss them in your bowl.   Dr. Bircher-Benner also suggested using dried fruits like prunes, apricots or raisins during the winter months.  If you’re like me and don’t mind the kids being adventurous in the kitchen, ask them to make it for you while you sit back and enjoy the morning paper.   You may be surprised with what they create in their bowls. Another great thing about this dish is that it fills the belly, so there’s no need to make anything else.


  • 1 tbsp. per person of uncooked, pure oats*
  • milk* – enough to cover oats for soaking
  • 1 cup yogurt*
  • 1 grated apple or chopped apple
  • 1 grated or chopped banana
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup (optional)
  • chopped or grated raw nuts
  • seasonal fruit (if using berries, smash a few first)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

In a large bowl, soak the oats in milk while you prepare your fruit and nuts. Grate or chop an apple and cover it in a bit of lemon juice to avoid browning.  Chop or grate your chosen nuts, banana, and/or any other fruit you wish to add.  Scoop your yogurt into the large bowl and stir. Add your nuts, fruit, and sweetener.  Give it another stir. Add some berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon for presentation and…. voila! You are now ready to serve!

*There has been much discussion over the years on the consumption of oats in the gluten free diet.  The reason for this is that some commercial brands of oats have been cross contaminated with gluten-containing grains such as, wheat, barley and/or rye.   In 2007,  The Canadian Celiac Association issued a position statement on the safety of pure, uncontaminated oats.   It reads,  “Clinical evidence confirms that consumption of pure, uncontaminated oats is safe in the amount of 50 to 70 grams per day (1/2 – 3/4 cup dry rolled oats) by adults and 20 to 25 grams per day (1/4 cup dry rolled oats) by children with celiac disease.”   Only Oats (a Canadian product!) and Bob’s Red Mill Oats are two brands that we use in our kitchen.  Bob’s Red Mill Oats are now readily found in most grocery stores.

*My preferred milk choice is almond milk. I love the taste and it has more protein than the other milks. I have recently discovered amande (cultured almond milk) in my local grocery store and, oh my…’s delicious! I now use amande as my yogurt in this recipe, but you can use soy yogurts as well.