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Coconutties Bliss Balls : healthy quick & easy treat even a kid can make


I’m please to share an exciting collaboration for this recipe on Pure Ella with a very very special gal. Her name is Gabriella and she is just an amazing young lady with lots of talents, charm and wit up her sleeve. Please give a warm welcome to my sweet darling beautiful daughter Gabriella.

She may be just 8 but she completely stole the show with this amazing recipe that she whipped up the other day. Basically this is putting mom out of business. What can I say, she’s cute and she still gets what she wants. 

So my sweet little kiddo is always looking through our kitchen drawers and finding spices and ingredients that peek her interest. I then find interesting concoctions made up in jars in her room. I can’t say I’m completely pleased with this as she is wasting good ingredients on play. Of course, it’s never a good way to use up spices and ingredients on play – because it’s a great way to use up spices and ingredients especially on play! I applaud her every creation and encourage messy play whenever the mood strikes. I must be one crazy mom, right? (I know that’s what you’re thinking!) :)

But I feel that this is how we learn… from curiosity and fun. I want my daughter to get curious about whatever she likes and be brave to try new things. This isn’t just a guide for recipe making, but a guide for life too. Curiosity, fun and courage ~ the perfect recipe for bliss. Isn’t it?


And so when her curiosity peaked to new heights and she wanted to make dessert all by herself, I let things go her own way. I was busy in the kitchen with other things, but I was around to supervise. Basically, she rolled up her sleeves and made her own healthy, quick and easy “Coconutties” Bliss Balls. A delicious treat made with coconut flakes and nuts that wowed us all.

These Bliss Balls are made with healthy ingredients that taste like a sweet decadent treat but have none of the bad stuff. We haven’t bought a store-bought dessert or a box of cookies from the grocery store in years. And we’ve always indulged in sweets. Picking up a few boxes of cookies was normal. Getting our daily sugar-fix was easy and was part of what we ate. 

Now things are different we’ve just learned to have a bit of self-control and that’s all. We eat homemade treats made with great ingredients and these desserts are not an everyday event. We eat desserts on the weekends usually or in some rare occasion we make up a reason to celebrate during the week but not very often at all. (Birthdays are a given reason to break all rules and indulge of course. But still, it’s in the good stuff.) Basically, we don’t sugar coat it – but we enjoy a little healthy sugar once a while. Sweets don’t have to feel guilty. This is our approach…. to “cut the sugar” not quit or avoid it altogether.


And the happiness, concentration and pride on that face…. I could watch her for hours and hours. She loves being creative and free in what she does. Making Bliss Balls provides all of that – it gives you the freedom to adjust the ingredients to your personal liking. And it’s hands-on fun!


So this is how to make healthy, quick and easy Bliss Balls :

Coconutties Bliss Balls

a healthy quick and easy treat even a kid can make

raw, no bake, no sugar added, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan, paleo

Ingredients :

1 cup mixed nuts (we used walnuts, pecans and almonds)
1 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened, sulphite free) + extra 1/3 cup for coating (optional)
1 cup or about 10 Medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1-2 tablespoons warm water 

Directions :

Note : if making this with a child, please make sure they are supervised and assisted by an adult at all times around the food processor or when pitting the dates. Measuring ingredients is a really great way for kids to use fractions. My daughter loves it as it’s hands on and visual and that’s really how she learned about fractions – through measuring ingredients :)

Place nuts into a food processor and mix on high until small crumbs form. Add coconut flakes, pitted dates, vanilla extract, cinnamon and mix until well combined. Turn off mixer and take a teaspoonful of the mixture and press with your hands to check if it sticks. If it’s crumbly and falls apart in your hands than add 1 tablespoon of water and mix again. Check again until you achieve a consistency that sticks together when pressed but does not stick to your fingers.

Scoop a teaspoonful of the mixture and shape into balls. Spread extra coconut flakes on a large plate and roll each ball all over. 

And enjoy! It’s that simple, that quick and that easy! 

Pure Ella Coconutties Bliss Balls6

Of course the more help you can get the better…. :)


Our little Amelia is always excited to help in the kitchen. She loves to stir salads, press the on and off buttons on small appliances and mix her own cereals and other weird food combinations… Best part of course, is tasting the goodies that she works with.

I think that’s the best way to learn about the amazing world of food and providing a natural foundation for a great relationship with food. Just enjoying the process of making and eating is so simple yet so incredible. 

Oh, all this fun includes a bit of a mess. But it’s all in good fun. I’m very easy going with messes (I make more!) so it’s just part of the process of experimenting and learning (let’s leave it at that shall we :))


And here she is…. so proud and happy with her own masterpiece. I could not be more happy to see this girl create with so much passion and excitement…. especially these yummy treats.


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Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie : vegan & gluten-free


Season of comfort-food – welcome back.

When it comes to food, this is the best time of the year to indulge in delicious comforting dishes. I let my cravings go wild this season and turn to foods and flavours that I naturally crave. With the great reviews of my Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, I was inspired to take this already delicious recipe and make another version!

This Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is truly the perfect dish that makes your tummy happy. There’s so much goodness in there… from flavours to healthy ingredients. This is a must make dish that you and your family will LOVE.



  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas (frozen are fine)
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn
  • 1 large can of lentils (or 1 cup dried lentils, cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten-free soy sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried paprika
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • grapeseed oil for cooking
  • 2-3 sprigs of green onions for serving



Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters (so they cook faster). Heat water in a large pot, and cook the potatoes in 1 teaspoon salted water. 

In a large pan, saute the chopped onions and carrots and cook until golden. Add the frozen peas and corn and cooked lentils and cover to cook for a few minutes. Add a bit of water if these veggies start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add in the soy sauce, and season with cumin and turmeric, salt and pepper. Keep covered, turn down the heat to low.

Your potatoes should be boiled by now, drain and mash them with a potato masher. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

NO BAKE option : 20 minutes total time 

To make this dish really quick, I like to scoop the hot lentil veggie mixture at the bottom of a ramekin or serving dish, then top with the hot sweet potato puree. Top with green onions and pepper and serve.

BAKING OPTION : 50 minutes total time

Scoop the lentil veggies mixture on the bottom of an oven-safe dish or ramekins (for individual sizes) and top with the mashed potatoes. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

NOTES : both baked and no-baked options are great it all depends on the timing and how quickly you would like this dish to turn around. If you’re making this as a casual dinner on a busy evening forgo the baking and enjoy a quick delicious comforting meal. If you’re making it as a large family dinner or say Thanksgiving dish and waiting for company. Then I would do the baking version just because you can keep it in the oven until it’s ready to be served and keeps it out of the way until you’re ready. 

+ The lentil veggie mixture is great to make in advance AND it’s also great to eat as a stand alone dish! Yum!! 

Say hello to your new favourite meal!! :)


As a final note…. did you know that sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes? That’s because they are lower on the glycemic chart and do not raise your blood sugar the same way white potatoes do. BUT they actually taste sweeter. This is a really great ingredient and this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is the best way to eat them quite possibly :)


Actually there’s a few other amazing recipes that use Sweet Potatoes ~ especially my Guilt-free Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies. Just cook extra potatoes and make these for dessert :)


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Cut the Sugar Cookbook Recipe Teaser


Hello again my friends…

As you can imagine, I can’t wait until my cookbook comes out in January! I have been putting so much work into it for months and now it’s that waiting game which is really making me anxious… it’s like watching paint dry. Ok, way better, but still… I can’t wait to share all my hard work with the world! So in all this excitement, I created this little teaser that shares a few recipes from the book. Hope you enjoy…. :)


Cut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough is a practical, real-life approach to reducing sugar the healthy way so you don’t feel deprived. This is not a sugar-detox book but an inspiring cookbook and guide to change your relationship with the foods you love and address your cravings properly.

As you know, if you follow my blog, food has changed my life when I decided to try and heal from a devastating illness after my first daughter was born 7 years ago. I changed my whole relationship with food and haven’t looked back. It’s amazing how delicious and exciting eating healthy could be – and that also means ditching sugar goodbye (but not entirely!) :)

Cut the Sugar includes over 100 delicious and easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and yes, even dessert! The recipes are all gluten-free but suggest spelt flour where applicable. The recipes are also plant-based and vegan with the exception of honey used in a few recipes. (I regard honey as a healthy sweetener). The cookbook also offers lots of grain-free and paleo recipes. 

When I created the recipes for this book, everything had to be delicious and made with the best ingredients. I wanted to keep a great variation of flavours to suit any palette and craving. And I wanted some quick basic recipes that are my go-to’s but also some amazing indulgent recipes – all this while placing nutrition and nourishment on top. Yes, it’s all possible to create healthy and indulgent delicious recipes!  

And Cut the Sugar, focuses of course, on low-sugar and reduced sugar recipes that are completely free of refined sugar. However, my approach is to cut the sugar, not quit sugar entirely! I put great emphasis on quality and quantity of healthier sugars and combine sweeteners with zero calorie natural sugar substitutes! 

With emphasis on real, nutrient-dense whole foods—all presented deliciously and beautifully (all photographed by me :)), and written in an encouraging, upbeat, grounded voice—Cut the Sugar is an inspirational and accessible guide to the sweet life… because you’re sweet enough already!

Recipes include both fan favorites as well as many all-new offerings, including:

  • Millet-Apple Breakfast Cake
  • Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Rolls
  • Chocolate-Dipped Almond & Cacao Nib Biscotti
  • Raw Berry Swirl Raw Cheesecake
  • Healthy Three-Ingredient Chocolate Pudding


Here are a few teaser recipe photos from Cut the Sugar :

Gluten-free Chia Waffles
(the famous cover shot! :))


Parsley and Sweet Pea Savoury Pancakes
(the best husband-approved savoury pancakes)


Watermelon Radish Watercress Salad
(aka the eye-candy salad!)


Cashew Cheese Ball with Flax Crackers
(your soon-to-be-favourite snack combo)


Creamy Brussels Sprouts, Peas and Dill Soup
(simply the best soup ever!)


Lentil Burgers with Tamarind Ketchup
(no words to describe how delicious these veggie burgers are)


Pure Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies
(simply the best secret-ingredient chocolate chip cookies AND my baby girl’s tiny hand when she just learned to stand up at 9 months, ahhh… )


No-Bake Chocolate Mocha Layer Cake
(ok, WOW this cake is crazy amazing on so many levels!)


Raw Mixed Berry Swirl Cheesecake
(your mouth will say WOW with this one too!)


Pineapple Ginger Energy Smoothie
(a delicious burst of flavours and energy!)

Cut the Sugar is now available for preorder on Amazon or all other major book retailers:


(for Canada)

You can also see the “See Inside” the book on Amazon so a little more is revealed. Let me know what you think so far! And show me some love by preordering and sharing about it :)

Thank you all so much for your support!
I can’t wait till you see this book for yourself. It’s a work of all my talents and passions for a healthy and happy life! Much love, Ella.

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Quinoa, Kale & Seaweed Fusion Salad


I LOVE salads! It’s a well known fact!

If you follow me on Instagram, I pretty much have a salad feed going on. (If you don’t, you definitely should @pure_ella) :)

I have a salad almost daily and when I don’t I really wish I had a salad near the end of the day. Basically I know my body well by now and I know that my body thrives best on daily salads! 

Something delicious with endless possibilities and good for you. It’s crazy to think that people don’t love salads so much and I feel like it’s something that needs to still inspire people to go and make one. I know these people. One of them happens to be my husband). He will eat one if I make him one and set it right in front of him. But even if I say; “hey, would you like a salad?” I have yet to hear a “yes” on that one! And the guy wouldn’t even have to go and make one – I mean I would do all the work he just has to eat it – but no, he will probably never want to eat a salad. Like never ever.

So that makes me the official salad maker in the family and that’s great because salads are easy!
Most of my salads are made from random ingredients I already have in the fridge. And a lot of my ingredients are usually leftovers from the day before. Like the quinoa or possibly the edamame beans. 

So salads are a very easy dish for me. And yes, it’s a dish as in a meal! I don’t like just garden salads – those are great as a side dish with dinner but I like my salads to be filling. This would include a grain and a protein source. The quinoa and edamame here works so well together with the kale and avocado and seaweed with our Asian fusion. Yum!!


Seaweed, Quinoa & Kale Fusion Salad

Ingredients :

2 handfuls of stemmed kale, torn up into smaller pieces
1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (great to use leftover)
roughly 1 cup organic edamame beans
1 medium carrot, julienned or cut into matchsticks
1/2 tomato or red pepper, diced or sliced into thin strips
1 avocado
2 (17 g) packages of roasted seaweed

Simple Asian Dressing

Ingredients :

1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce (look for gluten-free if that’s important)

Directions :

Rinse and prep the kale and veggies. Cook quinoa and edamame (use leftovers if possible).

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl or layer onto two salad plates. In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined and thickened. Drizzle over the salad.

Top with crumbled or chopped seaweed and serve.

Note : I like to reserve the seaweed until serving time to keep it nice and crisp. Otherwise once the seaweed mixes with the dressing or other wet ingredients, it starts to soften. This also works but it’s just a preference issue.


So this is just one of my many favourite salads! I usually make up something quick and do my best to snap a pic with my iPhone (that’s if I’m not too hungry to just eat it!). But the other day I realized how unbalance my sharing is with regards to my blog and my Instagram (@pure_ella). IG – so many salads Blog – hardly any salads. So this time I took out my professional camera and decided to make it fancier and actually post it here! Aren’t you glad I did? :)


There’s a lot of goodness going in this salad but mainly it’s an excuse to eat more Seaweed! Do you eat seaweed often? Well, it doesn’t look like much, but seaweed is a crazy amazing superfood that you should learn to LOVE! Here’s why :

Seaweed Health Benefits :

  • purifies blood
  • high in iodine which is important in thyroid function and brain health
  • loaded in calcium (more than broccoli and milk)
  • has some protein (1 snack size package has only 1 gram, but it’s always something)
  • contains Vitamins B12 which are very hard to find in a plant-based diet
  • high in fibre – soluble fibre that is which helps to slow down digestion – this is great for the absorption of sugars and cholesterol.


What Seaweed to look for :

Organically grown seaweed is pretty much non-existent because its farming source is the wild ocean. So don’t worry about organic brands per se. What you should look for is the additives, preservatives or sometimes food colouring added to it. So just check the ingredient list to keep it clean. And eat up!

What are your favourite ways to eat seaweed?


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Gluten Free & Vegan Banana Bread with Figs and Walnuts (sugar-free)


Well hello you!


And hello September! I still loose track of the days (summer’s still in my head) but things are definitely different these days. The days are perfectly warm, not too hot and humid that it makes it impossible to sit outside. But really truly perfect with mid 20’s C, bright happy sunshine and freshness in the air with a slight whisper of fall in the trees above, and no rustling leaves outside at my feet, just yet.

This is also the time of the year I start to turn back to soups, comfort-food dinners and baking. Not all in one go, just yet. But slowly our menu will switch over… or more like mingle over with the late summer’s bounty with fall flavours.


So this sudden craving for Banana Bread makes perfect sense. It’s perfect too, for the season and for the flavours.

I used fresh figs in this one which makes it a true beauty. (But you could use dried figs too, if you happen to read this post in a few months when fresh figs are no longer in season). But you’ll be glad to get fresh figs because they are delicious just whole like that eaten straight up and also in this Gluten Free & Vegan Banana Bread with Figs and Walnuts. A beautiful rich loaf cake that is light and moist and made healthier by being gluten-free and sugar-free.


Gluten Free & Vegan Banana Bread with Figs and Walnuts


2 tablespoons ground flax
6 tablespoons warm water

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder, aluminum free
pinch of fine sea salt 
1/2 coconut palm sugar or date sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or coconut oil, melted
2 very ripe bananas (total of 1 cup smashed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 fresh figs, divided (2 figs chopped, 2 sliced) + extra for serving if preferred 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350F. And line a 6×9″ baking dish with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix ground flax seeds with warm water and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and mix to combine.
In another bowl, smash the bananas. Add in all the liquid ingredients, including the ground flax mixture and sugar to the bananas and mix well.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. 

Fold in 2 chopped figs (stems discarded) and chopped walnuts. Pour into the baking dish and smooth the top.
Top with the slices of fresh figs on top. 

Notes : If using dried figs : chop all 4 figs and add to the batter, do not slice for the top of the cake as they will burn.

Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until it darkens and looks set on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out dry. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before cutting into it – I know – – the hardest part!! Enjoy!


Sometimes a home baked dessert makes everything better. I love how the aroma from it baking in the oven already draws in a crowd. It’s like magic. Delicious magic.



So now that the days are cooler and shorter I see myself baking more delicious cakes like this. They are easy and so much healthier than store bought. You control the ingredients and sweetness.

You don’t need much sugar in this because the bananas and figs contain sweetness so a little goes a long way in this recipe. And I chose Coconut Palm Sugar because it’s just the best sugar in my book to use. But Date Sugar or Raw Cane Sugar or Damara will also work well. 1/2 cup for a whole loaf is not much. I drink unsweetened coffee or chai tea with my cake and that makes a difference too. It’s easy to cut down on sugar – you bet I have more tips up my sleeve (or actually in my book; Cut the Sugar) :) (Oh do forgive me for these mentions – I still can’t believe I will have a book out soon!) :)



Oh my, can you believe this moment I captured of my girls holding hands while enjoying their banana bread? I tell you: magic happens!


By the way, my book Cut the Sugar is now available for preorders and it’s a sweet thing! 

Reserve a copy today on Amazon or any major book retailers. I think you will love it! 


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