Tweets by @PureElla


14 Best Family Cooking Recipes for Spring + Vote for Pure Ella in Saveur’s Best Family Cooking Blog Awards!

Hello my friends!

Happy April everyone!!! I hope Spring has sprung wherever you are ~ over here, not so much! In fact, there’s still snow on the ground and it’s bitter cold, close to freezing and no sunshine today… I’m dreaming of warmer days and flowers sprouting happy blooms and the earth coming to life with fresh green grass and leaves…. and lots and lots of sunshine….

For now, I’ll just bring my own sunshine where ever I go! And today it happens to be a very sunny, bright and happy day over here (regardless of the weather)!


The happiness comes through in this delicious roundup of 14 Best Family Cooking Recipes below ~ so many bright and happy tastes and sights through delicious *pure* food! I love to cook for my family and make sure everyone’s happy! I also enjoy including my 6 year old daughter Gabriella in the fun of creating delicious healthy recipes from scratch so we can all enjoy and appreciate where our food comes from and why it’s just better homemade ;) 

Also, there’s happiness today coming through some amazing news!

Yesterday I got a huge surprise when the editors of Saveur Magazine have selected Pure Ella as one of the six finalists for Best Food Blog in the “Best Family Cooking” category!!! Oh my! Thank YOU!!!! ;)



According to Saveur : 

“After sorting through over 30,000 nominations, we’re thrilled to introduce 6 finalists in each of our 13 categories, selected with a little help from previous years’ winners.” So many nominated blogs…. Wow!!! and I’m one of 6 in one category!!! I don’t know who nominated me but this is already the most amazing news!!! I’m truly humbled to be considered amongst other amazing bloggers!

But wait! I’m not just excited to be in the finalists…. the true reward still awaits and I need your help! I WOULD LOVE YOUR VOTE!!! ;)

6 bloggers are picked, but it’s up to YOU to go and vote for the best! (and I really truly hope you feel Pure Ella gets that vote!)

Please click here to check out all the other incredible finalists, and to register and cast your vote for me, Pure Ella in the Best Family Cooking Blog category! And thank you for supporting my mission to share amazing healthy, family-friendly recipes created with ‘pure’ ingredients and pure passion!!!

PLEASE NOTE: For your vote to count, you must register first. Once you register, you’ll see a big red voting button at the bottom. Select PURE ELLA, and then hit that button, and you’ll be all set. Thanks again!



Now to celebrate! Here are 14 Best Family Cooking Recipes for Spring from my blog that you and your family can enjoy!!! See all the links at the below the graphic ;)

Left to right rows from top to bottom:

1. Dark Chocolate Mint Thins | raw, no-bake, vegan, gluten-free/ grain-free, paleo

2. Coconut Lemon Bars | raw, vegan, gluten-free

3. Homemade Lemonade | pure ingredients, naturally sweetened 

4. Coconut Vanilla Doughnuts (Donuts) | gluten-free, vegan

5. Kale Pesto Baked Zucchini | gluten-free, dairy-free/ vegan

6. Sweet Seedlings with Chocolate ‘Dirt’ | gluten-free, dairy-free/ vegan

7. Flower Pizza | wheat-free, yeast-free, dairy-free and meatless

8. Pure Strawberry Pops | all natural fruit pops, dairy-free

9. 2 Ingredient Cookies | naturally gluten-free and vegan

10. Apricot + Mango Multivitamin Kids Smoothie | dairy-free, all natural

11. Raspberry Chia Jam | pure ingredient healthy jam

12. Meaty but ‘Meatless’ Spaghetti | gluten-free, meatless/ vegan

13. 3 Clean Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups | gluten-free, vegan

14. Strawberry and Wild Blueberry Galette | gluten-free, dairy & egg free/ vegan

 I hope you enjoy these recipes!!!

Now, don’t forget to go off to Saveur’s Best Food Blog contest and Vote for PURE ELLA in the Best Family Cooking Blog category!! ;) 

Thank YOU so much!!!! ♥ Ella

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
Facebook  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter  // Instagram @pure_ella

Leave a comment ...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Tart (Sweets from the Earth review, recipe and giveaway)


 Today, I have for you my friends incredibly amazing things!!! ;)

A Chocolate Tart that is amazingly delicious with pure natural ingredients and a Giveaway from one of my all-time favourite dessert brands : Sweets from the Earth!!

I don’t know where to start…. do I tell you about this tart that comes together with only 4 ingredients and can be all done in under 20 minutes???
Or do I tell you about these amazing quality ingredients in this chocolate tart that are gluten-free and vegan/ dairy-free and egg-free and all natural???

Or maybe I should just jump in to tell you how much I really truly love Sweets from the Earth products??? They have been my lifeline for quick quality gluten-free and vegan desserts for the last 5 years and I’m thrilled to be sharing these goodies with you ;)

Oh let’s start with that Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Tart! Because I know you’re now salivating and are licking your screen – and are possibly wondering how on earth 4 ingredients and 20 minutes can make THIS DELICIOUSNESS happen! ;)


Sometimes you want big results with little effort, right?
Sometimes you want to work smarter not harder, right?
And sometimes you just want to serve a stunning Chocolate Tart that takes up very little of your time but looks and tastes amazing!!! Am I right?

I love homemade desserts but sometimes I just want something quick and beautiful on the table without spending hours baking or mixing in over a dozen of ingredients. But I still have high expectations and I won’t settle for anything less than excellent! For baked goods that means, all the ingredients need to be all-natural, gluten-free and vegan and completely pure with no refined sugar, artificial flavours or colours or preservatives. This stunning Chocolate Tart is all of the above, would you believe?

The secret behind the Gluten-free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Tart is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Sweets from the Earth! The full base of the tart is one giant cookie ~ which naturally is gluten-free and vegan!
The next ingredients are a quick blend of cashews, dark chocolate and coconut oil – together making the richest mousse-like chocolate layer!!! To die for!!! ;)



Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Tart | vegan & gluten-free

Ingredients :

1 package Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Sweets from the Earth
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
3/4 cup dark vegan chocolate squares or chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup warm filtered water

+ fresh berries, mint and powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Directions :

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a tart dish with parchment paper and grease the sides. Press the Sweets from the Earth Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough into the baking dish, pushing some dough onto the sides and making sure the dough is spread out evenly. Bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.

In the meantime as your Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is baking, you can quickly make the chocolate mousse layer.

Set up a double boiler, or a bowl overtop a pot with water to melt the chocolate. Heat on medium until the chocolate melts completely. 

In another small pot, heat the coconut oil until it’s fully melted but not boiling, turn off heat once it’s melted.

Rinse and drain the pre-soaked raw cashews and mix on high in a food processor. Add in the melted chocolate, warm water and coconut oil. Continue mixing until all ingredients are fully mixed. Be sure to turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides to get all the ingredients incorporated well.

Pour over the Chocolate Chip Cookie base and place in the refrigerator to set. For a quick serving, place in the freezer for about 5 minutes or longer until it’s fully set.

Top with fresh berries and mint and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top to finish it off! That’s it!! Enjoy! ;)


If you have little ones excited to help… do let them ;) 



About 20 minutes later….. this amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Tart was ready to be eaten up! It was pure perfection ~ rich and heavenly at every bite and best of all, I felt great about what was in it ;)









The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough makes the best cookies (we already knew that!) but it also makes for a wonderful tart base! Oh my, it was decadent and amazing – the whole family raved about it! And I can’t wait to make this again!! My daughter was overjoyed with this fanciness at the table… I was overjoyed I could easily make a little one so happy ;)

What’s great is that you can have the Sweets from the Earth Cookie Dough in your freezer at all times and break out a quick and delicious tart whenever you feel like it ;)





Now here’s the next best part!!!! 

Sweets from the Earth is generously offering a Prize Package for a range of their desserts!!! Awesome, right?

About Sweets from the Earth

Sweets from the Earth is a Toronto-based bakery that is dedicated to amazing desserts that are all vegan with gluten-free, nut-free options – making their devoted customers happy since 2002. Their product selections are all natural, 100% vegan, trans fat free, non-hydrogenated, GMO-free, made without artificial flavours and colours (they use natural fruit and vegetable extracts for colouring), preservative free and free from refined sugars! And amazing + delicious at the same time!

The cookie dough made alone as cookies is so convenient – keep a bunch of flavours in your freezer, defrost for about 5 minutes and pop into the oven for some quick, gourmet cookies at a moment’s notice. The cookie dough comes in gluten-free and regular variety, all vegan/ dairy and egg free.

For more about Sweets from the Earth, visit their website, facebook, twitter to connect and get the latest scoop on promotions and latest products!


Contest open to Canadian residents only. Entries accepted until April 13th 2014. 

Can’t find Sweets from the Earth products in a specialty retailer near you? Talk to the manager or write to your store suggesting they carry SFTE!
It’s a fantastic line of healthy convenient desserts that are great to pick up and treat yourself!
I could not be happier with this company  and everything they do ;)
All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting companies I believe in.

Pure Ella

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
Facebook  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter  // Instagram @pure_ella


Leave a comment ...

Raw, No-bake Dark Chocolate Mint Thins : vegan, paleo, gluten free, grain free, naturally sweetened


Chocolate + Mint = Pure Love!

I love lots of food combinations, but chocolate and mint to mingle together is the perfect gift from Mother Nature ;) It’s rich yet refreshing – delightful after dinner or anytime. And when the ingredients are pure and natural, it’s a joy to enjoy such goodness!

Good bye Girl Guide Cookies, goodbye After Eight – this is something way better : delicious clean ingredient, raw, no-bake, dark Chocolate Mint Thins that are naturally vegan/ dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, sweetened naturally. Oh yum!!!


RAW, NO-BAKE DARK CHOCOLATE MINT THINGS : vegan, gluten free, grain free, paleo

Makes about 12 patties. Prep time 15 minutes + 10 for chilling.

Mint Patty Ingredients :

1 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
pinch of sea salt or himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup agave nectar or other liquid sweetener such as raw honey (not vegan)
OR for zero calorie sweetener, use 3 drops of liquid Stevia + 3-4 tablespoon non-dairy milk
1/2 tablespoon natural peppermint extract

Raw Chocolate Topping Ingredients :

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons agave nectar or raw honey or maple syrup or drop of Stevia

Directions :

First, melt all the coconut oil combined for the Mint Patty and Chocolate Topping, until it’s just barely melted but not hot.

In a medium bowl, mix in almond flour, 1/2 of the coconut oil, salt, sweetener and peppermint extract. Form flat patties from the almond flour mint mixture. If it gets too soft to work with, place in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to harden slightly.

Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the chocolate topping and drizzle on top of the mint patties. (you may need two coats to cover completely, place in the refrigerator to harden then add one more layer of raw chocolate.) Return to the refrigerator to set completely once they are fully coated, or the freezer for just a few minutes to harden and enjoy even faster ;)

Serve straight from the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Store them in the refrigerator for up to 7 days in an air tight container.


These are fabulous to make on a lazy weekend and enjoy with your family and friends. I love them because they come together so quick, so we don’t have to wait too long for a treat! And they are also made with amazingly good ingredients. You can also play around with the sweetener and use what works for you. I liked the neutral taste of Agave but I will be making these again with Stevia soon. I am trying to make desserts that are even healthier and have as little carbohydrates as possible. 

I am now dealing with Gestational Diabetes, and this is very important for me to find great healthy desserts that won’t increase my carb intake. Good thing this is only for 2 more months because I really like desserts – healthy desserts but I still like them ;) 


May I suggest you go and gather up these ingredients really quick and make these yummy Chocolate Mint Thins now!! And may I also suggest to just do a double batch because you know… they just go too quick!! ;)


So right now I’m craving Chocolate + Mint!
What are you craving right now?


Pure Ella 

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
Facebook  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter  // Instagram @pure_ella

Pure Ella is hosted with :

Leave a comment ...

Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kohlrabi Salad with zesty lemon dressing


Today marks the first day of Spring! Except there’s no Spring in sight… it’s not even around the corner – I’ve looked!

W’re at 0 degrees right now, at night we get down to -5, and we’re still covered under a blanket of snow!

So Spring is not out there at all… but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little taste of Spring indoors on our table. It’s the best way to get excited about a new season – with food!

Fresh vibrant veggies make me happy – and maybe there’s nothing blooming and growing outdoors, but there’s yummy vibrant food blooming in my kitchen! 


I can’t wait to pick up fresh local produce at our farmer’s market – but for now, this will do! I am bringing Spring into my home with seasonal brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and a hint of zesty lemon! These fresh scents and flavours are very happy together.

This Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kohlrabi Salad with Zesty Lemon Dressing is a great vibrant, happy and healthy side dish served with a veggie burger or a sandwich for lunch. Enjoy! 


Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kohlrabi Salad with Zesty Lemon Dressing | gluten free and vegan

Ingredients :

2 cups brussels sprouts (about 25)
3 kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
1 medium shallot or 1/5 cup red onion
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Dressing :

1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
fresh juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon seedy mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Directions :

Wash all the vegetables well, especially the brussels sprouts. Cut off the bottoms of the brussels sprouts and run through an electric food slicer. Or you can slice thinly with a knife, but cutting in half first so you have a flat surface on the brussels sprouts, then slice them very thinly using a sharp knife. 

Heat a pan with a little water to just cover the bottom, and heat the brussels sprouts just a little to soften them for about 2-3 minutes on low medium heat. Transfer into a salad bowl.

To prep the kohlrabi, simply wash and peel off the tough outer skin and cut the inside white part into matchsticks. And cut the onion into thin long slices also.

To make the dressing; in a small bowl, add in all the ingredients except the EVOO and whisk the mustard with lemon. Now, slowly drizzle in the EVOO while whisking vigorously the ingredients in the bowl.

To serve, toss all the ingredients with the dressing. Top with the slivered almonds and serve! Enjoy!


I loved this salad for so many reasons! It’s bright and beautiful on the plate, it boasts with nutrition, has a great crunch to it, it’s fresh tasting and has an exciting zestiness from the lemon and mustard. Overall, very simple and easy to make. 

It’s also very versatile ~ we paired ours with veggie burgers and baked potato wedges. But go ahead and enjoy this salad as a side dish to your BBQ – the season is coming or with a nice sandwich for lunch to freshen up your taste buds for Spring. Enjoy! 



Brussels Sprouts Nutrition Facts : 

High in Vitamin C
High in Vitamin K which helps keep your brain healthy and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Potassium is great for controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts :

High in Vitamin C
Improves circulation
Promotes healthy digestive system
Contains good amounts of many B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid that improve natural enzymes in the body.


So happy 1st day of Spring!!! I hope you are getting some real Spring sights and sounds! 
What are you most excited about for this new season?

I just wish all that snow would melt! And I can’t wait for for farmer’s markets, spring picnics by the lake and freshly picked flowers picked by my daughter from our garden… ;)

Pure Ella 

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
Facebook  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter  // Instagram @pure_ella

Pure Ella is hosted with :

Leave a comment ...

Gluten-free Zucchini Pasta Spaghetti with No-Meat Balls made with Naosap Wild Rice


I hope you’re hungry! 

I have a great recipe to share with you that me any my family have been raving over!

I love a delicious comfort-food meal that is also healthy and easy to make. And so of course I really wanted some good-old Spaghetti and Meatballs. Except it’s no-meat Balls in this case because it’s just way better this way! Trust me ;)



These No-Meat Balls are not only fully vegetarian and vegan, they are also gluten-free and very nutritious. And yes, they have lots of protein. The star ingredient in them is my favourite ingredient of all… Naosap Wild Rice!

I like serving them on a bed of gluten-free spaghetti pasta mixed with zucchini noodles. Together this combination is still very hearty and delicious yet has a nice little crunch and freshness from the zucchini – perfect for a Spring version of your favourite meal. Zucchini noodles are a big deal lately – but pasta lovers can rest easy that they still get their comfort-food on a plate… but healthier, with a portion of veggies, and no gluten! 




Gluten-free Zucchini Pasta Spaghetti with No-Meat Balls made with Naosap Wild Rice | gluten-free and vegan

serves 4, prep time : about 45 minutes

Ingredients for the Wild Rice No-Meat Balls :

as always, choose organic as much as possible

1/3 cup Naosap Wild Rice (1 cup cooked)
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
3/4 cups chopped mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon  dried thyme
1-2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper 
grape seed oil for cooking
about 1/3 cup chickpea flour for coating

additional ingredients :

1/2 package gluten-free rice pasta 
3 medium sized zucchinis
4 tomatoes + Italian seasoning such as basil, oregano, salt and pepper
OR your favourite dairy free Margherita sauce
fresh herbs for topping such as basil or fresh thyme (I used thyme)

You will also need : food processor, 1 large pot for boiling pasta, 1 large cast iron pan for cooking the balls, julienned peeler or spiralizer for the zucchini, additional small pot for tomato sauce (if making your own).

Directions :

1. First, set the Naosap Wild Rice to a boil as per directions. Wild Rice triples in volume, so to get 1 cup of cooked rice, set 1/3 cup of rice to a boil is lightly salted water. (This is great to do the night before as the wild rice takes about 45 minutes to cook).

2. Set a large pot to boil the gluten-free spaghetti pasta as per directions. Once cooked, strain on a colander and drizzle with EVOO and mix well. cover in the pot to keep warm.

3. If making your own tomato sauce, which I did. Simply, cut the washed tomatoes into large chunks, drizzle some grape seed oil onto a small pot, and cook the tomatoes with the seasoning on medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. If they stick to the pot, add a little bit of water to prevent sticking and burning. Total cooking time should be about 5-10 minutes. Cover and turn off heat. Set aside.

4. Wash all the vegetables and cut as directed above.

5. In a large saucepan, sautee the onion and carrots until they start to soften, add in mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.


6. In a food processor, combine all the other ingredients, including the cooled cooked wild rice, vegetables and seasoning. Process to make a crumbly mixture. Be sure to turn off the mixer half way through and scrape down the sides to get all the ingredients evenly processed. All the ingredients are safe to eat, so it’s best to try a little of the mixture and adjust the seasoning to your liking at this point. Remove from the food processor onto a bowl so it’s easier to scoop from, or just remove the blade and get ready to make some balls!

7. On a large plate, spread out some chickpea flour. Scoop some of the dough, about a golf ball size, onto the palm of your hand and roll to make a ball. Then roll in the chickpea flour and dust off some of the extra flour that may stick on.

8. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium heat with grape seed oil. Cook the no-meat balls rolling them around every minute or so. Don’t roll too soon as the balls might stick to the pan if they’re not cooked on that side yet. You’re looking for a little golden colour before you roll them to another side.

9. Meanwhile, as your balls are cooking, you can use the spiralizer or julienned peeler to cut the zucchini into noodles.

10. Just before serving, toss the zucchini noodles with the gluten-free pasta and plate as a base on serving plates. Add homemade tomato sauce or Margharita sauce then top with the Wild Rice No-Meat Balls. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs such as thyme or basil. Serve and enjoy!


This is a great gluten-free and vegan meatball recipe that has fresh flavours and a clean lightness to it. Omitting or eating less meat and wheat is really fantastic for your body and wellbeing. You don’t need a special diet necessarily to change things up – besides, it’s just fun to freshen up the menu for Spring… especially when it’s turning your old favourite Spaghetti and Meatballs into a fantastic Gluten-free Zucchini Pasta Spaghetti with No-Meat Balls! Hello awesome dinner!!! ;) 



I stopped eating meat about 6 years ago and love it. But my husband is a meat-eater and there’s a lot of mixed dishes happening at our house. But it’s always great when I make a vegetarian/ vegan meal that kind of ‘fools’ him ;)

I don’t lie as he knows there’s no meat in those no-meat balls, because I eat them – but it’s great to see him enjoying a dish that is familiar to him. I don’t aim to convert anyone, not even him – but I do like it when he’s eating healthier and adding in those good-for-you foods whenever possible. This was a win win dinner, even for him! ;) 


Of course, the ingredient that makes these No-Meat Balls possible is the Naosap Wild Rice! It must be my top favourite ingredient in the kitchen. I actually cook double the batch of the wild rice as is in this recipe and then throw it into a salad the next day or serve to my kiddo. She is a 6 year old that asks for wild rice! Here is a pic of her enjoying another dish with Naosap Wild Rice.

I’m happy to once again share with you the great nutrition of Naosap Harvest Wild Rice! 

I love great fabulous REAL food that is loaded with nutrition and completely *pure* and natural. And Naosap Wild Rice is Canadian grown, organic and NON-GMO. And it is harvested from the organic and non-gmo farms of Naosap Harvest, a family owned and operated operation in Manitoba, Canada.

I love the versatility, heartiness, great nutrition and great taste of it. It’s probably my favourite pantry staple and I enjoy it plain as a side dish or getting creative with it – like I did with the No-Meat Loaf last time.

This rice is also a great buy because only 1/2 cup uncooked rice – triples in size and makes 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice! It pops when cooked, kind of like popcorn would and you get great rustic texture in each grain. I like that, I like when food has a little imperfection to it and has a hearty rustic ‘real’ look and feel… and did I mention it’s naturally loaded with protein…? Here’s the full nutrition info for Naosap Wild Rice:


7g of protein in a 1/4 cup
3 grams of fibre
6% of your daily iron
rich in B vitamins
certified Non-GMO
and certified organic

So much nutrition in little grains of organic wild rice! I love when food is REAL and naturally grown as Mother Nature intended. Compeltely organic and NON-GMO. It feels good to know you are serving the best to you and your family ;) This is a sponsored post. Thank you for supporting *pure* companies I believe in! ;)


Pure Ella 

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
Facebook  //  Pinterest  //  Twitter  // Instagram @pure_ella

Pure Ella is hosted with :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a comment ...