Desserts, Recipes

No-Bake Dairy-Free Cheesecake: 2 Ways!

I love developing and sharing recipes, especially ones that are allergen-free and safe for everyone to eat! These days my schedule is so hectic, I struggle to find time to practice this favourite pastime of mine.

This is one of the recipes I sampled during one of my cheesecake workshops back in the summer. During that workshop, I talked about the many different ways to make dairy and allergen-free cheesecake. Along with different flavours, we also sampled a variety of different crust and filling options.

There are many different combinations of ingredients to try, but for this post, I went with my favourite – chocolate peanut butter! Not a fan of chocolate peanut butter? No problem! At the bottom of the page, I explain how you can easily transform this recipe into a fruit flavoured cheesecake.

Crust Options:

The first crust option uses pecans and dates. For those who avoid nuts, you can use either oats or oats combined with hemp seeds.

Crust Option #1: Pecan and Dates

  • 12 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup pecans
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  1. Pour the pecans into a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
  2. Add the dates and salt and continue to process until the mixture starts to clump together.
  3. Grease the sides of your springform pan with coconut oil and place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom. Add the crust mixture to the pan, pressing down firmly.

Crust Option #2: Hemp Seeds and Oats

  • 12 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • A touch of water, as needed. Hemp seeds are very absorbent. If the mixture seems too dry, add small amounts of water as needed.
  1. Add oats to a food processor and pulse until it resembles course flour.
  2. Add the hemp seeds, dates and salt and continue to process until the mixture starts to clump together.
  3. Grease the sides of your springform pan with coconut oil and place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom. Add the crust mixture to the pan, pressing down firmly.

Filling Options

For the filling, two options are Daiya cream cheeze (dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free) or blended cashews.

The benefit of using the Daiya Cream Cheeze is that it’s more room temperature stable than a cashew base cheesecake without keeping it frozen.  To make the cashew cheesecake more room temperature stable, you can use agar.

Using Agar (optional)
Agar or agar-agar is a jelly-like substance, obtained from algae.
It’s available as a powder or flakes. Agar can be used as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin to thicken for soups, fruit preserves, pies and cheesecake.
Agar has to be boiled for at least 2-3 minutes for it to activate. Once you start using the agar, you have to move fast before it becomes too thick to mix in with your other ingredients.

Mix 2 tablespoons of agar flakes with 8 tablespoons of water in a tiny saucepan. Bring to a light boil while continuously whisking. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Let sit for one minute, then add to your recipe. Using agar in the cashew cheesecake will make it more room temperature stable so you can keep it out of the freezer without it melting right away.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheezecake: 2 ways!

Filling Option #1: Daiya Cream Cheeze Filling

  • 2 (227g) containers of Daiya Plain Cream Cheese Style Spread
  • 1/2 cup *coconut cream
  • 2 Tbsp. natural vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    * Coconut Cream: Take a can of full fat coconut milk and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
    Scoop out the solidified coconut cream that settles on top.
    Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Topping
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, smooth peanut butter, mixed with 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life), mixed with 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
    The coconut oil added to the peanut butter and chocolate allows you to swirl it easier on top of the cheesecake.
  1. Add the Daiya cream cheeze spread, coconut cream, vanilla, coconut sugar and maple syrup to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into your springform pan (on top of your already prepared crust).
  3. In a small pot, warm up the peanut butter with 1 Tbsp. coconut oil.
  4. In a double boiler, melt chocolate with 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil. You want both the peanut butter and chocolate to be melted and ready to go at the same time.
  5. Drop dollops of the peanut butter on top of the batter in the springform pan and use the end of a knife to swirl it around.
  6. Drop dollops of the melted chocolate on top of the batter and use the end of a knife to make swirl designs.
  7. Place in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.
  8. Enjoy!

Filling Option #2: Cashews

  • 2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes, then drained. Soaking the cashews softens them and allows them to blend up more smoothly.
  • 1 cup full fat coconut cream
  • 2 Tbsp. natural vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  1. Combine soaked cashews, coconut cream, vanilla, coconut sugar and maple syrup to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. * If you are using agar, prepare it at this point. If not, continue to step 3.
    Add 2 tablespoons of agar flakes to a small pot with 8 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until dissolved. Add the agar to the cashew mixture and blend well.
  3. Pour mixture into your springform pan (on top of your already prepared crust).
  4. In a small pot, warm up the peanut butter with 1 Tbsp. coconut oil.
  5. In a double boiler, melt chocolate with 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil. You want both the peanut butter and chocolate to be melted and ready to go at the same time.
  6. Drop dollops of the peanut butter on top of the batter already poured in the springform pan. Use the end of a sharp knife to swirl it around.
  7. Drop dollops of the melted chocolate on top and use the end of a knife to make swirl designs.
  8. Place in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.
  9. Enjoy!

Additional Flavour Options
Berries of your choice:
1 cup berries + 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
Add berries and maple syrup to a blender or food processor and pulse until almost smooth. You can then either add the berry mixture directly to the cheesecake batter, or swirl it on top.

Blueberry Lime Zest
This is one of my favourite flavour combinations after chocolate peanut butter! The only difference is that you’ll be blending the juice and zest of 1 lime in with the filling (not with the blueberries).


healthy snacking, Recipes

3 Simple Snack Ideas

Frozen Blueberries
It’s always a good idea to be prepared with quick and easy snacks in order to avoid reaching for sugary treats. Try keeping frozen blueberries in your freezer at all times. Buy them organic when they are in season. Wash them immediately and lay them out on a towel to dry before storing in zip-lock bags.
Frozen blueberries make for a satisfying and nutritious snack!

84651549 - frozen currants

Pimped out Apple Slices
Cut apple into slices. Top with your choice of:
– Almond butter
– Peanut butter
– Almond slivers
– Pecans
– Dairy-free chocolate chips/cacao nibs
– Coconut flakes
– Hemp seeds
– Cinnamon


Pear Slices with Almond Butter
Slice pears and spread with almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

36974349 - pears on a wooden background

Desserts, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Banana Cream Chia Pudding

Gluten-Free * Dairy-Free * Vegan * Absolutely Delicious *

A few months ago, I decided to run a series of plant-based cooking classes and recipe share workshops. My goodness it has been fun. Have I ever mentioned how much I love cooking and feeding people? I really do! This is one of the recipes I served at the Vegan Energy Bars and Raw Desserts class I put on last night.

I love coming up with new and interesting ways to chia seeds, but chia pudding is still one of my favourite ways to use them. There are so many different flavours to play around with. The possibilities are endless! This recipe is lemony and tangy and wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day. Even though this isn’t really a meringue, the taste reminds me of lemon meringue pie, hence the name.

Lemon Meringue Banana Cream Chia Pudding

3 tablespoons whole chia seeds
2 bananas
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 30 minutes)
Juice from one large lemon

Zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Begin by adding the cashews to a bowl and fill with water. Let the cashews soak for at least 30 minutes. The longer you can soak the cashews, the smoother and creamier they will be when you blend them. I’ve gone as far as soaking them overnight. If soaking overnight, cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator. Drain before use.
2. Combine the cashews, coconut milk, banana, lemon juice and maple syrup together in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
3. Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.
4. When the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid and have become soft and plump, stir in the lemon zest.
5. Pour into serving bowls and enjoy!
Best served chilled.
* Garnished with banana slices and fresh mint.

Recipes, Snacks

Raw Cookie Dough Energy Balls

Grain-Free * Dairy-Free * Gluten-Free * Vegan

Another happy accident that manifested into a delicious recipe! Oh how I love when that happens.

As I was preparing for my Vegan Basics 101 workshop last night, I was in a hurry to make some healthy treats to serve up. I meant to open a can of chickpeas, but instead, I had grabbed some white kidney beans. What oh what to do…

I decided to go ahead and use the kidney beans to make a recipe similar to the chickpea energy balls I made a while back. This time, I replaced sunbutter with sesame seed butter and added a bit of pumpkin spice. Oh my goodness! I thought the chickpea energy balls were delish…but these are so much tastier! White kidney beans on their own have a very mild flavour so the pumpkin spice really stands out!

The really fun part about playing around with recipes is the opportunity to be creative and use interesting ingredients in unusual, but healthy and delicious ways! Some of my crazy concoctions don’t always turn out, but when they do, you get a winner like this one!

1 ½ cups white kidney beans, cooked, rinsed and well-drained
1/2 cup unsweetened sesame seed butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 Tbsp. pumpkin spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup coconut flour (you can also use oat flour or almond flour)
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips)


  1. Place the white kidney beans, sesame seed butter, and maple syrup in a food processor and blend for about a minute on high, or until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add in the pumpkin spice, vanilla extract, salt, and flour, and pulse until combined. At this point your dough should look similar to a cookie dough consistency. If it is too dry, add more sesame seed butter. If the dough is too wet, add more flour.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between your palms to form a ball.

* Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.


Recipes, Soups & Stews

Fully Loaded Veggie Chili

#Gluten-free, #Vegan, #madewithlove

This recipe was requested from someone who attended one of my workshops the other day. Perfect timing, because I always crave this recipe when the weather is rainy and dreary – like today!

I love using chopped cauliflower to bulk up a recipe! Even though I absolutely love cauliflower, you can’t really taste it in this chili…which is good if you’re trying to get the kiddos to eat more veggies!

Not only is this recipe loaded with fiber and anti-oxidants, cauliflower, which is a cruciferous vegetable has protective effects on the liver! This is due to the high content of isothiocyanates, specifically indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane.

These compounds dramatically improve the body’s ability to eliminate numerous carcinogens while enhancing both phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways in the liver. That’s super exiting to a nutrition nerd like me! But never mind that, it just tastes really good!


  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups cooked black beans. If you’re using canned, a good BPA-free brand to try is Eden Organic.
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 bunch of spinach, lightly chopped
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup organic salsaSpices
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt* Or on a lazy day when I don’t have time to measure out my spices I use this spice mixture by Simply Organic


  1. In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in a tiny amount (1/4 cup) of water or vegetable stock for 3 to 5 minutes on medium/high heat, until onions soften.
  2. Add the chopped cauliflower, tomatoes, and salsa and simmer for 5 minutes on low/medium heat.
  3. Add the spinach to the pot, stirring well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the vegetables have softened, add the zucchini and beans and simmer for another 5 minutes until the zucchini softens.
  5. Spoon into a bowl and serve with a dollop of cashew sour cream and enjoy!* Topped with Cashew Sour Cream and parsley.

    Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain and discard the water.
  2. Place the drained cashews in a blender. Add 3/4 cups of fresh the water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
  3.  Process until smooth. Add more water, if needed to reach desired consistancy. Pour into a glass, air-tight container and store in the fridge until needed.
    Cashew sour cream will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.
Desserts, Recipes, Snacks

Chocolate Chip Banana Hemp Muffins

#dairyfree #eggfree #glutenfree #vegan #madewithlove

I love doing workshops on plant-based nutrition, and I feel so lucky to live in an area where there is so much interest in this topic.

For the next few months I am doing a series of workshops and cooking classes focused on promoting the awareness of whole food, plant-based living.  For those of you in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, all classes will be posted on this site here.  For my first class last night, I made these amazingly delicious hemp protein muffins. Now, I’m not claiming they are beautiful (I really did try to get a good picture, I swear).  But what they lack in physical beauty, they more than make up for in flavour and nutritional density.

Chocolate Chip Banana Hemp Muffins
* Makes 12 regular sized muffins or 24 mini muffins


  • 1 1/2 oat flour (1 ¾ cup whole oats make 1 ½ cups ground)
  • 1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 50
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. ground flax meal, 3 Tbsp. water)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life)

Start by making the flax egg. Combine the flax seeds with water, stir and set aside.
If you are making your own oat flour, prepare this next by adding the oats to a food processor until they are ground.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease with coconut oil.
  2. Add the oat flour, Hemp 50 Protein Powder, salt, coconut sugar, and baking soda to a large bowl, stirring well to combine.
  3. Add 3 ripe bananas to a separate bowl, and mashwith a fork. Or if you’re lazy like me, save yourself the trouble and add these to your food processor! Mashed banana in 20 seconds or less!
  4. Combine the banana, applesauce, almond milk , flax egg, vanilla extract, and mix well.
  5. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the banana mixture.
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined (try not over mix). Stir in the chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  7. Add the batter to the prepared cupcake pan.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.



Recipes, Snacks

No Bake Key Lime Energy Balls

Gluten Free – Dairy Free – Vegan – No Refined Sugar

Warmer weather is finally upon us (here in Ontario Canada at least). I get so excited this time of the year because I can finally start making some of my favourite warmer weather recipes. I don’t know about you, but when the weather is -10, all I want is warming soups and stews, herbal tea and warm pie if I’m having dessert.

It’s kinda funny, I was just having a conversation with my partner the other day about how both our parents used to pack away their seasonal clothing. We’re always running out of space in our closets and it finally dawned on us that it might be a good idea to start packing away any clothing we wouldn’t be wearing for the season. Is it an adult thing? Geez, why did it take me until the age of 42 to realize this was a good idea! #kidatheart is my excuse 🙂

Figuratively, I suppose I do this with my recipes as well. We have such dramatic weather changes here in Canada that my food choices really do change quite a bit with each change of season. Each day as we get closer to summer, I’m getting more and more excited about all my favourite recipes I can start making again!

This past weekend, we celebrated my sister’s birthday. Her favourite pie is key lime and I’ve literally been waiting almost a year to make these for her, since I first came up with the recipe last July!

No Bake Key Lime Energy Balls

Gluten Free – Dairy Free – Vegan – No Refined Sugar


  • 2 cups raw unsalted almonds
  • 2 cups raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 ½ cups pitted Medjool dates
  • Juice of 3 key limes
  • Zest of 3 key limes
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    1. Place almonds and cashews into a food processor and process until finely chopped.

    2. Add the dates, salt, lime zest and juice and continue blending until the mixture starts to form a ball.
    3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the coconut flakes, mixing well.
    4. Roll mixture into balls.
    5. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

    * Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Recipes, Snacks

3 Ingredient Banana Brownies

Naturally gluten-free
No added sugar
No flour

I’ve been searching for a while now for a recipe that satisfies both a craving for chocolate and something sweet, but without adding any flour or extra sugar. This recipe does the trick!

To achieve the perfect level of sweetness, this recipe works best with VERY ripe bananas. The more freckled your bananas, the sweeter the brownies will be. My first attempt at making these didn’t turn out very well because I didn’t allow the bananas to ripen enough. The image shown below is how the bananas looked to achieve the perfect amount of sweetness!


  • 6 medium, overripe bananas
  • 1 cup smooth almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons cocoa powder. If you’re looking for a richer flavour, use at least 4 Tbsp.)


  1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a small cake or loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
  3. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the almond butter.
  4. When warm, mix in the cocoa powder and stir until well combined.
  5. Add the bananas to a food processor and blend until smooth. If you do not have a food processor you can use a blender, or mash well with a fork.
  6. Add all ingredients together in the food processor and blend until well combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the greased baking pan and bake for around 30 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.

*Makes approximately 16 brownies depending on how large you cut them.

Nutritional Information: 1/16
(Using 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder)
Calories 139
Carbs 13.5g
Fat 8.7g
Protein 4.1g
Fiber 3.5g
Sugar 4.5g
Potassium 290mg

breakfast, Recipes

3 Ingredient Chia Seed Jam

Only 3 ingredients and less than 20 minutes to prepare!

I’ve made several different versions of chia seed jam, but my all time favourite has to be the blueberry!

Due to the high level of anthocyanins found in blueberries (the flavonoid pigment found in red/purplish fruits and vegetables), studies have found these decadent little berries to improve memory and increase neural signaling in the brain!


  • 3 cups fresh berries (berries of your choice)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons chia seeds (whole)

1. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, bring the berries and maple syrup to a light boil, stirring frequently.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Mash the berries with a fork or potato masher.
4. Add the chia seeds and simmer until the jam thickens, approximately 15 minutes.
Stir frequently to avoid the ingredients from sticking to the bottom on your pot.
5.Once the jam has thickened, remove from heat. Store in an air-tight glass jar in the refrigerator.
Will keep fresh for up to one week.

Chia Seeds: High in omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, calcium, protein and fiber! Did you know that those with severe essential fatty acid deficiency are more prone to dehydration, even if their fluid intake is normal?


Living with MS, Recipes, Soups & Stews

This Soup Can Help Get Rid of Inflammation Fast

Last week I did another talk for the Multiple Sclerosis Society and I mentioned this delicious anti-inflammatory soup that I use to help reduce inflammation in my body whenever I start to feel an MS flare-up coming on. * Knock on wood* no major relapse in 9 years now! You can read that story here.

Even when I suffer a minor hiccup (that’s what I call little random symptoms I might experience when I stray a little too far away from my healthy diet or experience a lot of stress), I’ve been able to avoid a relapse all these years by eating, living and thinking in a certain way.

Of course, there are often several factors that contribute to imbalances and inflammation in the body such as food intolerances, an inflammatory diet, overconsumption of sugar and refined grains, lack of good gut bacteria, poor sleep quality and chronic stress. Even though it’s always best to address the root cause of inflammation, adding anti-inflammatory foods and spices to your diet can help dampen some of the flames of inflammation.

This recipe uses many anti-inflammatory spices, including turmeric, which helps reduce pain and inflammation throughout the entire body. The beta-carotene in the butternut squash is also extremely healing and loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. I’ve even used this soup to help get over colds faster, due to the antibacterial properties in the purple onions and garlic.

Anti-inflammatory Butternut Squash Soup

  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 purple onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. curry power
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • Dash of ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Wash the butternut squash thoroughly and poke several holes in it using a sharp knife, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Roast squash for 45 to 60 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and set a side until cool. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and cut squash into cubes.
  4. While squash is cooling, dice the onions and garlic and sauté in half a cup of vegetable stock.
  5. Add the squash, remaining vegetable stock and spices to a pot with the onions and garlic.
  6. Gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Puree until smooth. Add the coconut milk, stirring well and gently simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.

* Anti-inflammatory Cooking Tip: Vegetable stock can used as a substitution for cooking with oil. Refined oils not only adds empty calories to a meal but when heated, oxidizes and can contribute to inflammation.