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Butternut Squash Apple Purée with Savory Granola


It’s such a beautiful time of the year… and time to make amazing comforting meals. This Butternut Squash Puree is especially one of our favourite soups we make every year for Thanksgiving. It’s become a tradition. I hope you will add it to your autumnal table this season for the holiday table or a family dinner any day of the week. It’s a delight on your plate!


This is a special recipe adapted from my husband’s Butternut Squash Puree that he makes every Thanksgiving. Even before I got into food blogging and took over the kitchen – this guy flaunted his talents here and there making our mouths and bellies happy.

Today is his birthday and I cannot believe I met this boy when I was only 16! It’s been a crazy ride over the last 19 years (10 years of marriage) full of ups and downs with incredible highs in our careers and downs with an illness and a true test to our marriage. Our relationship has been a test for patience, support and love day in and day out. It’s been a wild ride but lately every day when I wake up I realize how lucky I am. Mornings are especially crazy and fun, as you can imagine, with an eager tiny toddler in the house you can’t help but smile and go with the silliness and laughter. The two of us often glance at each other and smile. These smiles are everything. These smiles mean we’ve made it through the bumpy ride and we’re ok. I’m glad you’re here by my side to see all this good stuff we’ve made together.


Butternut Squash & Apple Puree

gluten-free, vegan and paleo recipe

Ingredients :

1 large butternut squash
2-3 medium apples, peeled and cored
2 l of vegetable stock (purchased or make your own)
bunch of leeks
2-4 tbsp olive oil for cooking
salt and pepper to taste

Optional : Savory Granola for topping : this recipe is from my cookbook Cut the Sugar


Preparing Squash: Clean and dry your squash, cut it in half and bake on a baking tray (drizzled with olive oil) in the oven at 350 F for about 1hr or until tender. Let it cool so it’s ready to be handled. Cut or scoop out the meat and discard the skin (or add to your compost ;).

Preparing stock: (once your squash is in the oven, you can make your stock). In a large pot filled with 2 l of water, boil these cleaned and peeled vegetables for stock: carrots, parsnips, celery, celery root (optional). Strain or remove the soft vegetables and leave the stock in the pot. (you can eat the cooked vegetables and give some to kids :). Pressed for time, you can use store-bought organic vegetable stock.

Preparing Leeks: (while the butternut squash and the stock is set to cook, you can make the leeks) Discard the white and dark green parts, and clean the mid section well. Cut into small pieces and fry on a large skillet with the olive oil until soft but not burned. (if the leeks stick to the pan too much, add a bit of water, stir and cover to cook).

Combining the Purée: To the large pot that now has your stock, add the scooped out squash and the leeks. Add apples and cover and bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 30 more minutes. Let cool slightly, and puree with an immersion blender until no chunks are left behind. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with Savory Granola (sorry to tease) or with fresh chopped green onion with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top.

You can also cool completely and refrigerate overnight. And just reheat 20 minutes before serving. 


October brings us the best of the seasonal foods. I am loving these last seasonal harvests for two reasons. One is that the harvest is absolutely delicious ~ squashes and pumpkins are a delight to cook with. The second reason is that I know all too well it’s the last of the growing season here in Canada. Local foods are not a year-round thing here. Unfortunately. So I really do appreciate every little food we get right about now. 

Having Thanksgiving at the beginning of October is especially wonderful. We get to truly celebrate this amazing season with autumnal meals. I could not be be more thankful for the food and people in my life right now.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian friends who are celebrating this weekend. 

Do tell, what are you thankful for right now?

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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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