Flax Flake Rye Bread

When I bake bread around here, it’s got to have heft to it. My mom and I (and now, even my formerly-wonder bread sister) are 100% on the “whole grain” train when it comes to our toast and bagels, loving their dark, rich flavours against a whole range of toppers. Hearty loaves are the perfect vessels for inclusions too, their variations in texture and flavour almost “lightening” a loaf made with a denser flour like rye or barley. When I got my gift box from Nature’s Path at the same time the need for a new loaf arose (we finally made it through holiday / birthday leftovers!) I couldn’t wait to see what I could use this time.

What evolved over several hours was a slightly sweet, dark rye-wheat dough that I packed with hearty Flax Plus® Multibran Flakes (well, those that I didn’t eat right out of the bag) and Gluten Free Fruit & Nut Granola. A touch of traditional caraway and my “cheat” four sourdough (cider vinegar) added to the “hearty rye” flavour without overshadowing the molasses and dark agave I used. This bread was, oddly enough, better tasting on the second or third day than freshly cooled, but truly any which way it was a fantastic start or supplement to the day!

Flax Flake Rye Bread

Don’t forget to enter the #OnMyPath Giveaway! You can win an awesome prize pack of Nature’s Path goodies or even ORGANIC GRANOLA FOR A YEAR!

Flax Flake Rye Bread
Makes 1 round loaf, 16 slices
1 ½ cups dark rye flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 cups Nature’s Path© Flax Plus® Multibran Flakes
1 tbsp instant yeast
½ tbsp caraway seed
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp fancy molasses
1 tsp raw agave nectar
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup Nature’s Path© Gluten Free Fruit & Nut Granola 

  1. Mix flours, flake cereal, yeast, caraway, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or a large bowl).
  2. Combine water, vinegar, molasses, honey, oil and cocoa and heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warm to touch but not boiling hot.
  3. Add water mixture to flour mixture.
  4. Knead (or mix with a *very* sturdy spoon) until mixture forms a stiff dough.
  5. If mixing by hand, turn out onto a floured board and knead 10 minutes. If using a mixer, continue kneading for 8-9 minutes, or until mostly smooth and elastic.
  6. Knead in the granola.
  7. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise 1 ½ hours.
  8. Punch down dough and shape into a ball.
  9. Place in a round 8” cake pan, cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  11. Bake 55 minutes.
  12. Remove from pan immediately and cool on a rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 156.8
Total Fat: 4.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 24.3 mg
Total Carbs: 27.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.7 g
Protein: 4.8 g


"Tablespoon" Trail Mix (and a @naturespathorganic #OnMyPath Giveaway!)

It’s horrible how long it’s taken me to get back to writing – I don’t have much of an excuse other than laziness and a sprained wrist, but rest assured I’ve been blog-hopping as I doze my evenings away after work!

I’ve never been a “great” breakfast eater, even now that I start my days at 5:30AM. I don’t really get hungry until close to noon, but will enjoy a handful of dry, cold cereal on my way to work, especially if it’s chunky, crunchy and just barely sweet. “Cereal with milk” was never a part of my growing up, and I truly can’t get my head around the texture no matter what my friends and family say. While the “standard” cold cereals remain drowned in dairy around here, I think I may have found a brand to convert the die-hards: Nature’s Path.

BreakkieThis isn’t the first time I’ve written about my love for this organic, largely gluten free cereal brand, and for good reason. Ever since Nature’s Path cereal and granola entered my shopping cart a few years ago, I was hooked on the hearty whole grains, fruit and nuts in products like Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, and Summer Berries Granola. On the more decadent side, almost the whole Love Crunch® line soon fell into rotation as a topping for applesauce and yogurt at breakfast, “fake baked” (AKA microwaved) apple halves as a mid-afternoon snack or ice cream for dessert. Recently, my oatmeal-loving self has discovered their Gluten Free, Organic Homestyle Instant Oatmeal, which comes in a handy (if somewhat hefty, at 40g vs 28g) pre-portioned pack and  (unlike many other brands) doesn’t cause my skin to flare up like a bad sunburn after eating it. Finally, the kid in my still loves the sweet, cinnamon-toast crunch of Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch® Cereal, especially when I mix it with the “grown up”, plain Whole O’s™ for my on-the-road “faux-fast”.

With the Rise Up And Shine II Plan Canada Dance Fitness Fundraiser coming up (featuring my new role as a “Kiddie Korner” supervisor!), I’ve been playing around with various ingredients in the pantry to come up with an easy, filling, kid-friendly snack mix to serve (and have the kids take home as a “loot bag”). Since I needed to keep nuts out of the equation, and wanted to keep remaining allergens to a minimum, using Nature’s Path cereal was an easy choice – as was swapping in roasted chickpeas and soybeans for the traditional nuts. A mix of delicious dried fruit added chewy contrast and just a touch of chocolate bumped up the kid-pleasing power. Best of all, the recipe for one serving (as written here) is so simple it easily scales as you need it, and since all you need is a tablespoon there are precious few things to dirty along the way!

Make sure to stay tuned – more delicious and decadent treats with Nature’s Path cereals and granola are coming down the pipeline!

“Tablespoon” Trail Mix
Makes 1 serving
1 tbsp dry-roasted, salted chickpeas
1 tbsp dry-roasted, salted soy nuts
1 tbsp diced dried mangoes
1 tbsp diced dried apples
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp dark chocolate covered raisins (I found these vegan ones at the health food store and used them)
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) dry cereal (I used a mix of Nature’s Path Whole O’s™ Cereal and Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch®)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag or bowl.
  2. Enjoy!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 276.1
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 1.3 mg
Sodium: 161.0 mg
Total Carbs: 52.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
Protein: 7.4 g

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Now for the real treat… not one, but two, Nature’s Path #OnMyPath Giveaways!

Now that I’ve waxed poetic on the subject of these cereals, it would be totally unfair to keep it all to myself. Luckily, the super-awesome team at Nature’s Path have furnished quite the prize package for readers of this blog:

One winner will receive^:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait, there’s more!

There’s also a grand prize for one lucky person out there*+:  

  • A copy of DIY Vegan, by Nicole Axworthy & Lisa Pitman – a book I’m coveting that includes more than 100 ways to create an awesome plant-based pantry!
  • A copy of Un-Junk Your Diet by Desiree Nielsen, R.D. – how to shop, cook and eat to feel better forever (I have this and it’s a great read)
Does that sound awesome or what?

To enter the Grand Prize Draw:

Getting back on a healthy path? Running your first marathon? Trying a plant-based diet? We want to know!  

Tell us what’s on your path for 2016 by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using both hashtags: #OnMyPath and #GranolaForAYear. 

^ Prize will ship on or after March 1, 2016
+ Grand prize contest closes February 28, 2016
*This prize is open to all blogs participating and their audiences. There will be one grand prize total.

Nature’s Path provided me with free product, but did not solicit any opinions or promotion of their giveaway. They’re just good people!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip with @Truvia Brown Sugar Blend

OK, admit it. If you’re a cookie lover (or a sweet tooth in general), you love those stolen moments while you’re baking (and nobody’s watching) when you can lick the batter off the spoon, your fingers, and maybe even the bowl. Trust me, you’re not alone – when my sister and I were growing up, you could pretty much guarantee you’d need to make a batch and a half of chocolate chip cookies in order to get the 30-odd a single recipe indicated. If it was shortbread season, we’d be lucky to see 3/4 of the dough make it onto the cookie sheets before us two “master taste testers” and Mom nibbled our bway into it. Cookie dough has always had a certain flair for being better than the baked rendition, but with the waves of e. Coli, listeria and salmonella that keep cropping up in everything from lettuce and cantaloupe to flour, meat and cheese, the raw stuff is getting less and less safe to enjoy en masse.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Enter the glory of Cookie Dough Dip. Designed to be eaten raw, it can range from simply a cookie recipe made without eggs (but still packed with butter, sugar and flour) to recipes like this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip that I adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie. This style of cookie dip is not only egg free, but is made without dairy, nuts, oil or gluten as well – all while getting hefty boosts of fibre and protein from the oats, beans and WowButter and rich tasting (but lower sugar) sweetness thanks to Truvia®’s new Brown Sugar Blend. I brought a batch of it to work today, and shortly after lunch found myself accosted by several co-workers demanding to know if it was real cookie dough in the container! Luckily for all of us, licking a spoonful of this is more likely to treat your tummy well instead of tie it into knots.

About Truvia®:

Truvia® Natural Sweetener is born from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant, and is the natural sweetener of choice when people want to reduce calories.  Since stevia leaf extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, only a small amount is needed to deliver a clean, sweet taste.

According to a recent survey, consumption of total sugars averages 21% of daily energy intake in the Canadian diet – a startling statistic for anyone watching their waistline.  Fortunately, the Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend provides the texture, moisture, and taste that we all love about brown sugar, but with 75% fewer calories.  This delicious blend of Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener and brown sugar is simple to bake with – simply use half as much Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend as you normally would brown sugar.
Here are a few other key highlights that make the Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend unique:
  • Bakes and browns just like brown sugar
  • Specially-packaged in a one-pound resealable bag to make it easy to store after use
  • Suitable for individuals with diabetes
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • One-half cup contains just 210 calories (regular brown sugar contains 830 calories)
Lookie what we have here! As if I needed an excuse to #bake #food #truvia #brownsugar #baking blend @truvia

The folks at Truvia® not only were kind enough to send me a bag to play with, but also provided some extra (to-die-for looking) recipes using the Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend for What Smells So Good? readers to enjoy! With bake sale season kicking off, I know I’ll be looking into a few of these soon myself – if I don’t keep making and eating this dip, that is!

The other key ingredient I used in this dip (in order to keep it school-friendly) is a peanut butter substitute called WowButter, made from soybeans. To me (and everyone else who’s tried it), it tastes like peanut butter – especially in foods like sandwiches, sauces and cookies – but is 100% Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Trans Fat Free, and Cholesterol Free. A serving of 32g contains 7g of complete soy protein, 1200mg of Omega-3 and 4g of fibre too – making it a great choice for kids and kids at heart!

Twitter: @WowbutterFoods and @Truvia

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip 
Makes ~2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings 
250 g pureed chickpeas or cannellini beans (I used a mix)
1 g Kosher salt  
2 tsp vanilla  
½ tsp butter flavouring, optional 
pinch nutmeg  
45 g (about 3 tbsp) WowButter (or your favourite nut butter)  
2 tbsp Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (or ¼ cup brown sugar)  
64 g honey 
2 tbsp unsweetened plain soy milk  
pinch baking soda  
57 g gluten-free instant oatmeal   
¼ cup miniature chocolate chips 

  1. Combine the chickpeas, salt, vanilla extract, butter flavouring (if using), nutmeg, WowButter, Truvia® Brown Sugar Blend and honey in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Scrape into a bowl and add the soy milk, baking soda, oatmeal and chocolate chips, stirring well until thickened.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 1 week in a tightly covered container.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 81.3
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 97.2 mg
Total Carbs: 13.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 2.1 g

Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dips from Litehouse

I was given the opportunity to try out some of the new Greek yogurt-based dips from Litehouse a while back. While our family are generally not “creamy” dip fans (we’ll take salsa over ranch), the meat-eaters do love the occasional Greek-inspired meal of marinated chicken or pork souvlaki with rice and tzatziki, or Greek salad, potatoes and pita bread with the same cool, cucumber-dill dip. With the Opadipity “Cucumber Dill” product, it made prepping for family BBQs a little less hectic (no need to grate cucumbers and mince garlic), and we even discovered a new topping for our burgers! Spread onto foccacia or pita bread, the Cucumber Dill Dip was delicious, especially with turkey and salmon burgers, and with only 50 calories per two-tablespoon serving (as opposed to mayonnaise, which has 200 calories for the same amount!) it’s a lighter, more flavourful way to jazz up summer eating. 
While I can’t speak for the other flavours (like I said, we’re not a huge fan of “ranch” dressings, nor are we huge spinach dip people), the Cucumber Dill is definitely a winner and I recommend it!
Here’s the official press release –  
Skinny Dip This Summer: Litehouse Launches New 
Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dips

Expanding the Consumer Favorite OPA Line, Litehouse Gives Consumers a New Way to Enjoy Big Flavor with Fewer Calories


Sandpoint, Idaho –  The combination of Greek Yogurt and savory flavors for a creamy, delicious and better-for-you dip seems like serendipity – but it didn’t happen by chance – it happened by Opadipity. Litehouse® Foods, the nation’s premier salad dressing, dip, herb and cheese company, is expanding last year’s sensation, OPA! Greek Yogurt Dressing, into a new category with the launch of Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dips to give consumers even more ways to enjoy the delicious flavors Litehouse is known for combined with the low calorie creaminess of Greek yogurt.

“Opadipity is right in line with several trends: consumers are seeking Greek yogurt and products that include it as an ingredient, they are snacking at a higher rate than ever before and are looking for healthier options,” said Jake Oliver, Assistant Brand Manager, Litehouse Foods. “Opadipity delivers a better-for-you snack that is delicious, convenient and can be used in a myriad of ways.”

The exploding growth of Greek yogurt, coupled with the success of OPA sets the stage (or should we say table), for Opadipity, which uses Greek yogurt as a base, allowing for a thick, creamy consistency with fewer calories and more protein. The dips are also gluten-free with no preservatives or MSG. 
They come in four mouth-watering and crowd-pleasing flavors:

About Litehouse Foods                                                                                                                                 
Litehouse started in the Hope, Idaho restaurant of the Hawkins family over 50 years ago. Since that time, it has become the leader in refrigerated salad dressings, veggie dips, sauces, instantly fresh herbs, blue cheese, caramel dips, fruit dips, glazes and fresh pressed apple cider, manufacturing these delicious products at its three U.S. facilities based in Michigan, Utah and Idaho. Litehouse has been an employee-owned company since 2006, and each one of the employee/owners is proud to carry on the high standards of quality and innovation, living up to the slogan… Because Taste Matters.

For more information, visit www.LitehouseFoods.com.

I was given samples of the Opadipity Cucumber Dill Dip from Litehouse for purposes of testing and review. All opinions expressed above the press release are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.

Qi’a Superfood Snack Bar GIVEAWAY! @NaturesPathOrganic #OnMyPath

Need a healthy snack to tide you over until dinner after the BBQ fest of the weekend? Or perhaps, like me, you’re one of the early morning gym rats who needs an empty stomach to work out but afterwards find yourself ravenous… either way, finding a nutritious, long-lasting snack is key to avoiding the sugar crash and subsequent pantry raids or break room treats. The folks at Nature’s Path sent me a few boxes of their new gluten free, vegan Qi’a Superfood Snack Bars to try out, and not only am I hooked, but I’ve got some of the trainers and instructors at the gym falling for them too! Each bar is packed with plant-based protein, fibre & ALA Omegas – not to mention just the right amount of decadence – thanks to ingredients like chia, hemp, coconut, dark chocolate, blueberries, hazelnuts and cashews. Hop on over to my nutrition blog – A NEW-tritious Digest – to read more, then come on back to enter a killer giveaway!

There’s also a great Instagram campaign going on – Simply upload your own #OnMyPath photos and tag @NaturesPathOrganic… who knows? You might see your Qi’a moment regrammed!

Ready for the gym! #onmypath @naturespathorganic

After reading all about the fabulous benefits of Nature’s Path Qi’a Superfood Snack Bars on A NEW-tritious Digest,  you’re probably hankering for that giveaway I mentioned too. Well, your wait is over! Here’s your opportunity to score an awesome prize pack valued at $100!

Winners will receive:

4 boxes of Qi’a Superfood Snack Bars
1 copy of Desiree Nielsen’s latest book,
Unjunk Your Diet

Contest closes Monday, August 10 2015 @ 11:59PM. Open to Canadian and US residents only. US or Canadian shipping address must be provided.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Note: I was provided a prize pack for the purposes of testing and review by Nature’s Path, but did not receive any monetary compensation. Opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Mix & Match @SanJTamari Sauces for an Asian Twist This Grilling Season

Recipes are all courtesy of San J. For more information on San-J products and to find great gluten-free recipe ideas, please visit their website or Facebook page!

The bright sunny days and ever-warmer evenings mean one thing: grilling season has arrived! San-J is inviting everyone to fire up their gas, charcoal or even electric grills and get ready to create endlessly innovative recipes with their whole line of premium, gluten-free Asian cooking sauces. Dishes will get an instant kick of flavour from the sweet, tangy and slightly spicy Asian BBQ, Mongolian and Orange cooking sauces, livening up your family barbecues or dinners-for-two on the patio in a wink.

Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa

San-J definitely has your summer recipe needs covered too – with brand new ideas for main meals and side dishes created by Chef Carol Kicinski. Try the fresh and fruity Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa (hint: this also works with tofu!), an Asian Pasta Salad with sweet Mongolian Sauce and a burst of Sriracha heat or a Fire Roasted Grilled Vegetable Salad packed with the best of Summer’s produce and tossed with a lemon and Asian BBQ Sauce dressing.

Don’t feel like grilling (or the sky rained on your parade?) stay tuned this week for a vegetarian, gluten free recipe of mine using San-J’s Orange and Teriyaki cooking sauces!

Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa
Serves 6
½ cup plus 1 tbsp San-J Orange Sauce, use divided
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 ¼ – 1 ½ tsp chipotle chili powder, use divided
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat
3 oranges, peeled and chopped (or use 5 clementines)
½ red onion, diced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ½ cup San-J Orange Sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp chipotle chili powder. 
  2. Pour into a large food storage bag, add the chicken thighs and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1 tbsp of San-J Orange Sauce, chopped oranges, red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and ¼ – ½ tsp chipotle chili powder (depending on hot spicy you want it). Reserve.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high and brush the grates with oil. 
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. 
  6. Pat the chicken dry and grill covered for 6 – 8 minutes per side. Serve with the citrus salsa.

Asian Pasta Salad
Serves 8, vegetarian
1 pound gluten free pasta (like penne or fusilli), cooked jusst to al dente and drained
¾ cup julienned carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ red cabbage, julienned
8 oz (1 small can) sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayo to make this vegan)
¼ cup San-J Mongolian Sauce
2 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp lime juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
black pepper, to taste

  1. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with all the vegetables.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, San-J Mongolian Sauce, Sriracha, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth. 
  3. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and stir to coat. Add the cilantro and stir. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

Fire Roasted Grilled Vegetable Salad
Serves 6, vegan
3 tbsp San-J Asian BBQ Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
6 ears corn, shucked but left whole
4 green onions (I added some green garlic too!)
2 poblano peppers (I used cubanelles and added a pinch of ancho chili powder because I couldn’t find poblanos)
2 red bell peppers
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cups arugula (or baby spinach)

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the San-J Asian BBQ Sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk together. Set aside.
  2. Heat grill to high. Mist the corn lightly with canola oil and place directly on the grate. 
  3. Roast, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the ears of corn. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mist the green onions with oil and roast for 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill and let cool. When cool enough to handle, chop, and add to the corn kernels.
  5. Place the peppers on the grill and roast, turning occasionally, until the skin is fully blackened, about 15 minutes. Remove from grill, place in a bowl and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, then skin, halve and seed. Chop the flesh and add to the corn along with the cucumber, tomato, and arugula.
  6. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate, covered, until serving time.

Note: San-J provided me with samples of their sauces for purposes of testing and review. I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Find San-J online here

Chinese New Year Recipes with @SanJTamari

I never used to like soy sauce on or with anything. Rice remained snow white on my plate, sushi went un-dipped, and the take-out packets began piling up in the pantry after a dinner in. In some respects, my leeriness of the ingredient remains – I’m not a fan of it “uncooked”, for example – my rice and sushi stay plain (unless it’s fried rice, of course), but I love marinated tofu (and originally, flank steak), yakitori and all kinds of saucy noodle stir fries.

For those dishes (and anything else with soy sauce as an ingredient) I love using tamari, since it has a richer, “purer” flavour unadulterated by the wheat usually present in common soy sauces. I’ve written before about San-J brand tamari and how it is my go-to variety – not only because it is delicious, but the smoothest and most versatile formula I’ve tasted (it’s also non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, kosher and made without artificial preservatives or additives). For Chinese New Year (which begins on February 19), the company is sharing three new recipes from Gluten-Free Chef Carol Kicinski.
While two of them are on the savoury side of the menu (as would be expected from the salty brewed sauce), Kicinski created a sweet cookie too!

First up is a dish perfect for welcoming the Year of the Sheep – Lamb Potstickers! These delicate pastry parcels are stuffed with rich, flavourful lamb married with spicy ginger, tamari and sherry and accompanied by a flavourful tamari dipping sauce. Here’s the recipe.


Then we have the gorgeous, vibrant and exotic Prosperous New Year Stir Fry. This vegetarian medley of marinated tofu, onion and garlic is given a tangy-sweet pop with pomegranate seeds and a fresh tang from yoghurt. I veganized my dish, leaving off the yoghurt in favour of a squeeze of lime juice, and it was absolutely divine as well! You can find all the details of the recipe here.


The most unusual use of tamari from Ms. Kicinski is with her Good Fortune Cookies. If you are a fan of French almond macarons, these whipped egg white and almond clouds are crowned with a whole almond and filled with an ever so slightly savoury chocolate-tamari ganache. Like the other dessert recipe on San-J’s website (Cherry Chocolate Cake) this is a gluten free treat I can’t wait to try out in my own kitchen (once I have a few spare moments!). For now, I’ll share their recipe with my projected substitutions, and will let you know how it goes!


Good Fortune Cookies
Adapted from San-J and Carol Kicinski
Makes 24
2 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 ½ cups finely ground almonds (almond flour) or tiger nut flour
24 blanched whole almonds
2 oz bittersweet (70% +) chocolate, chopped
2.5 oz semisweet (~60%) chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp San-J Tamari

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. In a spotlessly clean bowl, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. 
  3. Slowly stream in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is almost stiff, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the vanilla and beat 30 seconds.
  5. By hand (I find a bowl scraper useful), fold in the cocoa and almonds until well combined. The mixture will be very thick.
  6. Transfer to a piping bag or large zip-top plastic bag with the corner snipped off, and pipe 48 evenly-sized mounds of batter on the sheets. 
  7. Place a whole almond in the centre of half the cookies. 
  8. Bake for 17 minutes, until set and lightly browned. 
  9. Cool on the pan for 5-8 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Meanwhile, combine the chocolates, almond milk, almond butter and tamari in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. 
  11. Spread a layer of filling on the bottom of each “plain” meringue and place an “almond-topped” meringue on top.
  12. Serve filled cookies within a day to maintain crispness – if storing, keep meringues in an airtight, room temperature container and the filling in the fridge, assemble just before serving.

Note: San-J provided me with samples of their tamari for purposes of testing and review. All opinions are my own and I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Find San-J online here

A Delicious, Party Perfect Snack – @Popcorn_Indiana

As the clock ticks down to midnight, I know there’s a flurry of parties and other gatherings about to kick off. If you’re anything like my family, food is one of the last things on your mind right now, but the fact is, whether you’re hosting (or attending) a cocktail soiree for twenty or an intimate movie night for two, you will need something to snack on.

Luckily, popcorn is a treat that is both light to eat and easy to serve (just check out these festive cones!), and not only that – it’s a naturally gluten free, vegan whole grain food kids will go crazy for! With so many variations available, it can be hard to decide which is the best balance for taste, nutrition, convenience and cost – and Popcorn, Indiana is a worthy contender! Proclaimed an “innovator of all-natural popcorn”, the company is all about healthier, convenient snacks that deliver big flavour. In their  facility, there are special kettles that are filled by hand and popcorn chefs who do nothing but dream up fantastic flavor combinations. All the company’s whole grain products are certified gluten-free by the The Gluten-Free Certification Organization  and are made from non-GMO corn. With a mission to show North Americans “What Fun Tastes Like, one kernel at a time”, I think they’re well up to the task.

Warm, unburned popcorn can be a hassle if you’re entertaining a crowd, which is one of the reasons I love the “warm up bag” idea from the folks at Popcorn, Indiana. I served their Movie Theatre popcorn this holiday, and it came out of the bag piping hot, without being soggy or burned. Taste-wise, it definitely had the “cinema” flavour, which was a hit with the movie-philes in the house and not so overwhelming that those of us preferring more “natural” popcorn couldn’t stomach it. At only 160 calories per two-cup serving, it’s a lot easier on the waistline, not to mention will save you some green – no need to splurge on a bucket of popcorn at the theatre when you can have TV on Demand and a bag of this at home!

For those of us with New Year’s resolutions to keep, the company also makes a line of “Biggest Loser” approved popcorn called Fit. Fit currently comes in four flavours (Sea Salt, Real Butter, Parmesan & Herb and Olive Oil) ranging from 37-40 calories a cup. Definitely less greasy than any standard popcorn and even fresher-tasting than the Movie Butter variety to me, this would be my go-to for kid’s parties and general snacking – though the two “gourmet” flavours beg for a recipe application (savoury popcorn balls or bars, perhaps?). When this becomes available in my local grocery store, I will definitely be looking for it!

So, whether you’re hosting tonight or simply looking for a healthier snack-time craving satisfier, it’s time to take a new look at popcorn and imagine the delicious year ahead!

Popcorn, Indiana offers an assortment of flavours, including Kettlecorn, Aged White Cheddar, Touch of Sea Salt, Cinnamon Sugar, Sweet & Tangy BBQ, Bacon Ranch, Buffalo Cheddar and Smoked Cheddar. Along with their “standard style” popcorns, the company also offers chocolate-cloaked “Drizzlecorn“, granola-style clusters and dippable chips.

Follow them on Twitter:@Popcorn_Indiana and Facebook

Disclosure: I was provided free product for the purpose of review. I was not monetarily compensated in any way. 

Have a #FeelGoodHoliday with @NaturesPath (review, recipe and #giveaway)

I’ve been a fan of Nature’s Path cereal for ages – between their chocolate-laced Love Crunch granola and puffed grain options, at least one variety is on our shelf constantly. Obviously, I pleased someone in karma-land, because the kind folks who make those organic, delicious options sent me an early Christmas gift – a #FeelGoodHoliday box packed with goodies!

So much goodness in store for my #feelgoodholiday

Of course, I dug in right away, and after sampling some of the Love Crunch® Gingerbread and Chia Plus™ Coconut Chia granolas straight-up I knew I had to try them in a baked treat. The cereal is chunky, crunchy and a perfect topping for things like the vegan banana muffins I adapted from Kitchen Treaty. The gingerbread one had the perfect hit of spice and sweetness to it, which would also pair perfectly with pumpkin or apple desserts (think crisps, crumble topped pies and coffee cake fillings). The coconut variety’s pieces were a little too “large” to fit neatly on the muffins, but nevertheless I wouldn’t hesitate to fold it into carrot cake, make pinwheel pastries or sprinkle it on a larger dessert.

Vegan Banana Muffins with Crunchy Topping
Large Pieces in the Chia Plus™ Coconut Chia Granola

The “chunky” factor in those two granolas is mirrored by most of the other Nature’s Path granolas, and even some of their cold cereals (Sunrise® Crunchy Maple being one in particular), which keeps the clusters nice and crunchy even when covered in milk or mixed into yoghurt. On the “cold cereal” front, the company offers organic (and occasionally gluten-free) versions of many mainstream cereal choices such as Whole O’s™ and Flax Plus® Flakes. The Whole O’s are delicious as either breakfast or a snack, and make an awesome trail mix addition too. For anyone who’s a fan of bran flakes, the lightly sweetened Flax Plus flakes offer the same texture with ALA Omega-3 fatty acids to boot. I was confused as to whether the Qi’a™ Superfood (Chia, Buckwheat & Hemp) Cereal was intended to be a hot or cold preparation, but after looking at the website it appears that the mixture of seeds is really more of an addition to the other cereals as well as other foods like salad.

Vegan Banana Muffins with Crunchy Topping
The Love Crunch® Gingerbread Granola is definitely Chunky!

While the cereals are perfect fodder for morning munching, they make perfect additions to a host of holiday (or anyday) recipes too! After the jump, you’ll find one of the many recipes you can make with the goodies in the #FeelGoodHoliday box!

Coconut Cranberry Macaroons

Makes 16 cookies
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
3/4 cup Nature’s Path Whole O’s™ Cereal
1/4 cup dried cherries, apricots or cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine shredded coconut, coconut milk, honey, coconut flour, coconut oil, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
  4. Bring to boil and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and a spatula pulled through leaves a trail.
  5. Cool slightly.
  6. Fold in cereal and dried cherries.
  7. Spoon tablespoons of mixture onto prepared pan, spacing 2-inches apart.
  8. Bake in middle of the oven; cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. Store in airtight containers for up to 3 days.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 62
Fat 3.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 28mg
Carbohydrates 7.5g
Fibre 1g
Sugar 5.5g
Protein 0.5g

Here are some more delicious #FeelGoodHoliday ideas!

Crunchy Apple Pie Parfaits: Layered with spiced Greek yogurt and Pumpkin Flax Granola, not-too-sweet apple pie parfaits are a gorgeous dessert on weeknights or for special occasions!


Chocolate Gingerbread Crunch Cookies-Mason Jar Cookie Mix: Give someone the gift of a beautiful, ready to mix cookie recipe, all in a mason jar. Try with a variety of Love Crunch flavours to mix up the cookie mix and create handy gifts for your friends and family.
Gingerbread Crunch Brittle (V): The most heart-felt gifts are homemade. In just 20 minutes, this brittle recipe can be made and put aside for either snacking or giving to loved-ones. Add a little ribbon to a mason jar and give out to your party guests.

What’s your #FeelGoodHoliday tradition or secret? Leave a comment below and have a chance to WIN your very own #FeelGoodHoliday Box box worth $50!
@NaturesPath #FeelGoodHoliday Prize Pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dinner and Dessert with @GayLeaFoodsCoop Coconut Whipped Cream #giveaway

Whenever the holidays rolled around at home, you could count on my mom, grandma or I baking up grandpa’s favourite pumpkin pie, to be served with lashings of just sweetened whipped cream. Now, I was not a pumpkin lover by any stretch of the imagination, so the more cream I could pile on the better (sorry mom).

As the years went by, I made my peace with the squash, but developed an allergy to dairy products – leaving me “whip-less” when all I really wanted was a tiny dollop on my coffee or hot cocoa. Thankfully, those sad days are long behind me, and dairy substitutes are getting better than ever – even our go-to “butter and sour cream guys” Gay Lea have come out with a fabulous brand new topping option for vegan, cholesterol-free, lactose-intolerant or otherwise milk-avoiding folk – Coconut Whipped Cream.

Gay Lea’s Coconut Whipped Cream is made from pure coconut cream, which makes it a delectably flavourful topping for fresh fruit, shortcake, bread pudding, pancakes, drinks and (of course) pumpkin pie! Not only is it a fantastic (and easy to use aerosol) topping for your sweet treats, but it’s even great in savoury recipes too – just check out the Island Coconut Sweet Potato Mash featured below! Dollops frozen on a baking sheet make to-die-for “sneak treats” that melt in your mouth better than any ice cream (tip: freeze “topper” sized dollops and add them to a mug of cocoa or coffee – it’s a heavenly burst of creaminess that cools the drink to the perfect temperature!). With all that creamy texture and decadent flavour, you would never believe that is healthier than regular whipped cream, being cholesterol free, low in sugar and only 13% fat.

Think you’d like to try this twist on conventional whip yourself? Well all my Canadian readers (sorry US), can enter TODAY through Friday, December 5th for a chance to win a Gay Lea dessert prize pack! You’ll get 4 gorgeous dessert plates, 4 dessert forks, 4 napkins, 4 napkin rings, a pie lifter, and two vouchers for Gay Lea Coconut Whipped Cream! The RaffleCopter widget is below the recipe – enjoy, and good luck!

Island Coconut Sweet Potato Mash
(adapted from Gay Lea)
Makes 4 (1/2 cup) servings
2 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp jalapeno powder (or chili powder)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 green onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 cups Gay Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream

  1. Pierce sweet potatoes several times and microwave on HI for 10 to 12 minutes – until very soft. Cool just until easy to handle.
  2. Scrape potato flesh into a bowl, discarding skins, and mash with spices, salt, green onion, garlic and lime. 
  3. Fold in Gay Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream until combined. Serve immediately.