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Pure Happiness is… Easter baking, family and fun







Hello my friends!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter (or Passover weekend) and you’ve been enjoying a little time off and great weather!

Here is my Happiness list ~ something I haven’t done in a while…. but if you follow me on Instagram, you know that quite frequently I post #PureHappiness posts…. in most cases those photos don’t make it to the blog, but you’re welcome to peek at my IG account @pure_ella and follow me along ;)


Pure Happiness is…

~ finally finally a little warmth coming our way
~ seeing lots of family over the weekend
~ baking and cooking marathons….
~ a lovely Easter dinner at my father-in-law’s (because he lives on his own and invited over ten people for dinner, we felt he needed help in the cooking department…. so we brought 6 dishes, two of which were desserts to his house on Sunday – it ended up a great dinner – but I definitely felt the business of the weekend, hence no more photos of the dinner party also. Too busy prepping, eating and chatting with family to run around with the camera. Oh well….. sometimes the good times are only in our heads ;)
~ amazing desserts that my husband’s family raved over – so nice to see gluten-free and vegan dishes so welcomed at our table (it used to be this ‘other’ food I ate… they now know it’s better and they couldn’t get enough! ;)
~ yummy carrot cake brownies won everyone over and a chocolate banana bread was so good too
~ so our Easter was really lovely…
~ Gabriella was madly in love with Sammy, her cousin’s doggy they brought over so of course there’s talk of getting a puppy ;)
~ on Monday, we enjoyed a dreamy warm day – it was like summer without any greenery because really there’s nothing blooming yet!
~ but the warm breeze and bright sunshine reminded us that the heat sure enough is coming really soon
~ of course the rest of the week will cool down quite a bit – but just one day was enough to catch some Vitamin D and enjoy the outdoors…
~ also, another highlight is that my daughter had her first manicure done for Easter… ;)
~ yes, she is 6 1/2 and it’s her first official little (at home) spa day she had
(something you may not know about me is that I don’t like to glamourize my daughter nor do I like it when little girls get glamourized (sure I like it when my daughter has nice clothes on and looks pulled together, although that is usually stuff I find at thrift stores anyway (like this gold polka dot dress she had on at Easter) but overall, I don’t fuss with too much glamour on her. She does not have her ears pierced and this was the first time she had her nails painted at 6 1/2! ;) And of course it was a non-toxic nail polish…. oh my, she was so excited ;)
~ yes, so finding that gorgeous dress at a thrift store for $6 also makes it to this Happiness list ;)
~ and yes, my huge belly is #PureHappiness too….
~ I am loving the baby kicks and all the reminders that there will be a little one with us soon…. #cantwait!


Please do share, what is making you Happy right now?


Pure Ella 

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18 Healthy Gluten-free and Vegan Easter and Spring Recipes



Hello and Happy Easter my friends!!!

I have a quick post for you all with 18 Healthy Gluten-free and Vegan Easter & Spring Recipes! I hope you enjoy this delicious variety of healthy recipes – perfect for any Spring family feast!

All these healthy recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. Many are raw and no-bake! These are our personal family favourite recipes that we enjoy whether there are special diet concerns or people who just want to eat healthier. 

From top to bottom, left to right:

  1. 1. Coconut Lemon Cake
  2. 2. Zucchini Wrapped Mini Vegan Quiches
  3. 3. Raw Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Parfaits
  4. 4. Raw Classic Vanilla Cheesecake
  5. 5. Cucumber Rolls with Creamy Avocado
  6. 6. Kale Pesto Baked Zucchini
  7. 7. Lemon Poppyseed Loaf Cake
  8. 8. Herbed Tofu Stuffed Peppers
  9. 9. Savoury Spelt Soda Bread with Vegan Cream Cheese and Avocado Salad (Sorry, this is Wheat-free only, not Gluten-free)
  10. 10. Almond Raisin Scones
  11. 11. Wild Rice No-Meat Loaf
  12. 12. Raw, No-bake, Dark Chocolate Mint Thins
  13. 13. Tomato and Black Bean Tart
  14. 14. Raw, No-Bake Coconut Lemon Bars
  15. 15. Minted Beets and Carrots with Zesty Hemp Oil Drizzle
  16. 16. Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kohlrabi Salad
  17. 17. Quinoa & Chickpea Burgers
  18. 18. Walnut Banana Bread



I hope you will enjoy making some of these delicious healthy gluten-free and vegan recipes for Easter or any Spring-time dinner. They all have a spring fresh flavour, are completely made of pure all-natural ingredients and are super healthy! Enjoy!!

What is a must-have dish on your table for Easter or Passover or a Spring-time family feast?

Pure Ella 

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Minted Beets and Carrots with Zesty Hemp Oil Drizzle


Sometimes it’s the side dish that really makes a meal. Right?

I know there’s folks in my family like my mom and father-in-law who only focus on two food selections on the table : meat & potatoes. 
That my dear ones is not what a meal is all about! I personally couldn’t care less about the meat or the potatoes. What I do like are some amazing side dishes that add a burst of flavour and excitement to my palette ;)

And hey, if you do care for meat and potatoes – I’m sure you can still spice up your life with a great side dish or two! 

I like simple side dishes that are quick and easy to make – it’s even great if they can be prepped the day before so there’s less work the day of a big family feast.
What I also like is when that dish has instant pizzaz and looks beautiful!! 

I find these Minted Beets and Carrots are exactly that! They are quick, easy, have a Wow factor on the table and it’s also super healthy!! With an added Zesty Hemp Oil Drizzle you’re also boosting the Omega 3 oils – making this a great antioxidant rich side dish burst with enlivening vitamins and minerals.

Minted Beets and Carrots with Zesty Hemp oil Drizzle

(gluten-free and vegan)

Ingredients :

4 medium beets, peeled
2 large carrots
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped (leave some leaves whole)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hemp oil
juice of freshly squeezed 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions :

Clean the beets and carrots well. Set a large pot of water to boil, add in whole beets and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add in the carrots and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Strain and let the vegetables cool. Peel the skins off once they are ready to be handled.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing : oil, lemon and seasoning. Whisk well to combine the flavours and add in the mint leaves.

Just before serving, slice the beets and carrots and layer them on a serving dish and drizzle with the fresh mint hemp oil dressing. Top with some whole mint leaves.

Enjoy as a side dish with any Spring-time meal. The minty freshness makes the beets and carrots come alive and burst with a beautiful flavour.


Beets don’t only look bright and beautiful on your plate but are also packed with loads of vitamins and minerals. They are a natural tonic for the liver, improve mental health, lower blood pressure, improve blood health and are apparently found to be an aphrodisiac…. hmmm ;)

Do you need more reasons to enjoy this beautiful side dish? It also is a feast for the eyes and tastes amazing with the oil drizzle and fresh mint. Enjoy!

Do you love beets? What’s your favourite way to enjoy them? 

Pure Ella 

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Guilt-free Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies : gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, refined sugar free


Desserts…. everyone’s favourite part of the meal. A delicious sweet treat that we just can’t get enough of! ;)

But why does it have to be so guilt-filled? 
I myself remember the days I used to say “Oh I wish I didn’t eat that!” and I remember the sick feeling of bloating and sugary overkill that I was left with me very soon after I devoured into something way too sweet and in the end just-not-that-good!

Perhaps that evil dessert took care of my sweet-tooth craving but left me traumatized with the aftermath. But I had my “fix” and I was happy! For a sugar-addict once-upon-a-time, I knew no difference and just really needed my sugary high!!

Since those early 20’s I’ve learned my lesson. And I’ve paid for my cravings with my health struggles enough to really understand the difference between desserts : “To die for!” and desserts : “To LIVE for!” 


Now, I still devour in amazing desserts… the difference is that I choose the better options! Pure ingredients that are fully natural and organic are key in enjoying the sweet side of life (and not feeling sick after!)
Omitting the ‘bad’ stuff like artificial flavours, toxic colours (think Easter cupcakes and cookies now!), added preservatives, added artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers and let’s not forget GMO ingredients – have no place in the delicious desserts I make for myself and my family.

Let’s also remove the heaviness of dairy and eggs, and the bloating effects of gluten, and refined sugar – and what do you get?
You still get a stunning dessert that’s pure and decadent…. like these Chocolate Brownies – that are completely Guilt-Free and actually good for you! ;)

Can this be possible? Trust me!!! These Chocolate Brownies are amazing – a real treat to Live for!!! Rich, chocolatey, moist, decadent with one crazy amazing secret ingredient ~ Sweet Potatoes! (Trust me!)


Ingredients :

2 1/2 cups sweet potato puree (1-2 large potatoes)
2 cups medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup cocoa 
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or natural rum extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cups chopped dark chocolate squares (72% or higher) or dark vegan chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (omit for a nut-free version)

Directions : 

First, wash, peel, chop and boil a large sweet potato (or two or four – might as well make dinner ;)) until fully cooked. Strain and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F and line a square 8 x 8″ baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.

In the meantime, in a food processor, process the dates and add in the sweetener of choice, milk, cocoa, buckwheat flour, potato starch, vanilla or rum extract, salt and process for form a smooth paste. Add in the sweet potato puree (cold from the fridge or freshly baked warm are fine, the temperature doesn’t matter). You may need to turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides of the mixer to get all the ingredients combined well. Turn off machine and transfer the batter onto a large bowl so it’s easier to work from. Stir in chopped chocolate and walnuts by hand.

Pour mixture into the pan and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes. 
Once it’s baked, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving, if warm brownies are preferred.
These brownies are best when chilled so it’s great to make them one day ahead and served them from the refrigerator. 
They also cut better and are less crumbly if they have a chance to set for a longer time.

Top with a little sprinkle of organic powdered sugar…. and Enjoy ~ guilt-free!!! ;)



These Guilt-free Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies are exceptionally amazing! I made these at our recent family get together and everyone went nuts for them!
What was fun is that they could not guess the main ingredient of these which is the sweet potato puree – and when I told them….. wow! No one believed me ;)

When you try this recipe – no one will believe you there’s Sweet Potatoes in these Chocolate Brownies! But trust me ;)


I love playing with unexpected ingredients and making delicious recipes that are actually good for you!!!

And you know that saying….. “Life is short, eat dessert first!” Well, life will be even shorter if you eat crappy food!

So might as well, give your body something that you know is good for you and is also delicious!!

As for eating dessert first, heck, these are so ‘healthy’ that yes, I think they can be devoured for breakfast ;) I know I had one… or two, oh who’s counting ;)




I hope you enjoy this recipe very soon!

I can’t wait to make these Guilt-free Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies again very soon – I’m thinking it will definitely be one of my desserts at our Easter dinner table ;) I might need to make a double batch – these things will go quick, I know it ;)



Pure Ella 

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Walnut Banana Bread : gluten-free and vegan + easy!


I love making a delicious treat for my family that’s healthier than what’s out there, I know what’s in it, and I can choose top quality ingredients! For ‘specialty’ desserts like this in bake shops you’d be spending a fortune, but baking at home is a lot less expensive, plus you really get a quality piece of cake or two! ;) If allergies are a concern – this is one way to avoid them and still enjoy life to the fullest! (nuts are in this recipe – but those could be entirely omitted for a nut-free cake, of course! ;))



If you’re excited to start the journey of gluten-free and vegan baking – do not fear! 
Whether you need to go with gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free ingredients due to Celiac, allergies or lifestyle decisions – baking should still be fun and not complicated – and best of all Delicious!!! ;)

Making Banana Bread is quite possibly the easiest gluten-free and vegan baked dessert you can imagine! (that and my Sweet Potato Brownies that will be coming to the site soon! ;))

Now here’s how to make an easy Gluten-free and Vegan Walnut Banana Bread :


Walnut Banana Bread : gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free/ vegan

Ingredients :

2 tablespoons ground flax
6 tablespoons warm water

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda, aluminum free
pinch of fine sea salt 
3/4 raw cane sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot
2 small very ripe bananas (total of 1 cup smashed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups chopped walnuts

Directions :

Preheat oven to 350F. And line a 6×9″ baking dish with parchment paper. Grease the top with extra coconut oil.

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 and measure out 1 cup.
Add in all the liquid ingredients, including the ground flax ‘egg’ and sugar to the bananas and mix well.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. 
Add in the chopped walnuts and smooth the top.
Top with extra walnut pieces if preferred.

Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out dry and clean.
Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before cutting into it – I know – – the hardest part!! Enjoy!




We love making Banana Bread around here! It is so good, moist and tasty! And it’s really fool-proof! 
The ingredients are clean and natural and the end result comes out to be a lovely classic-tasting Banana Bread that you know and love – only better! ;)

If you’ve got little hands around as excited to make a Banana Bread as you are ~ don’t forget to involve them in the process! My daughter loves smashing bananas – I think that’s why our Banana Bread tastes so amazing, like no other!! ;)

This is a great dessert to make the night before and serve the next day. Or make in advance long enough so that you allow time to let it cool. My daughter could not resist the amazing smell in our kitchen and waiting 20 minutes was too long…. ;)



 Whether you’re on a specific diet or not, it’s great to make healthier food choices. And choosing better ingredients that are naturally gluten-free and dairy and egg free, is fantastic for your health. By now, we don’t have a single grain of wheat flour or white sugar in our home, and the ingredients we do stock up are at about 90% organic and 100% natural (unprocessed, foods with no preservatives, artificial flavours or colours etc. )


Cooking and baking from scratch is pure joy that brings warmth and smiles to the table…. and sitting down to a beautiful moist Walnut Banana Bread with your favourite people is just the best way to spend an evening… I think ;)

We enjoyed the last of this Walnut Banana Bread and another version when my sister and her boyfriend came over a little while ago (see it on Instagram)…. we ate over 1/2 of this one so quick that I needed to make another one immediately or else it wouldn’t be enough to feed a crowd! Yes, this cake is so good that you might as well double up on your ingredients and make two! ;)


PS. If you haven’t heard yet, Pure Ella is in the running for Best Food Blog Awards by Saveur Magazine! And today is the LAST DAY TO VOTE!!! This is huge my friends!!! ;) And if you like what you see here… I would love your support with a VOTE in the category of Best Family Cooking Blog!!! Every vote is much appreciated! You have until April 9th to cast your vote. Click HERE to go to the voting page, register first and cast your vote on the big red button under PURE ELLA!!! Love you all!!! 

Pure Ella 

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
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