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No-bake, Raw Coconut Lemon Bars



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What better way to end the week than with some homemade dessert…

I love a good yummy something and it’s become a tradition that I bake something for the weekend, almost every weekend. It’s just a nice way to reward yourself I think, and keep the sugar-intake at a minimum. After all, dessert eating has its limits – if we all could just succumb to our cravings, we’d be sick, obese, diabetics and what not. Basically, I’ve learned that sugar cravings are not all that cute – you just can’t have it all… and the more disciplined you become with your sweet tooth cravings – the healthier you are.

But, but wait! What if this said dessert is incredibly um… Good-for-you! Like for reals! No sugar added, healthy grains, healthy ingredients, amazing taste, completely guilt-free!? Do all my rules and all my discipline for craving sugar go out the window? Ha! They kind of do!!! ;)

Because this dessert is a crazy amazing dessert that you could eat for breakfast and not feel one piece of guilt about it! ;)
Desserts don’t have to be evil and painful to look at! 
Just trust me on this… this is a sugar-free no-bake, raw recipe for a dessert so delicious that you I think you should just make a double batch and call it a day! Because people will start knocking on your door and inviting themselves over for tea as soon as news gets out of this deliciousness in your kitchen! (Welcome to my life… I already left the door open… and the tea pot is already set! ;) 



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No-Bake, Raw Coconut Lemon Bars | vegan and gluten-free

Ingredients for base :

1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup certified gluten-free oats
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats
3/4 cup dates, pitted 
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + extra for topping
2 tablespoon light agave nectar
fresh lemon zest of 1 lemon + extra for topping
pinch himalayan pink salt (optional)

Ingredients for top layer :

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoon raw coconut butter (optional, use regular coconut oil if not available)
3 tablespoon raw honey, one that becomes solid at room temperature (use agave or maple syrup if vegan)
juice of 1/2 lemon

You will need a food processor, any dish that will hold an approximately 6×6″ base (does not have to be oven proof), pan to heat oil, unbleached parchment paper

Directions : 

To make the base : In a food processor, grind all ingredients until well blended. Be sure to turn the food processor off and scrape down the ingredients from top to mix them all in. Line a dish with parchment paper; leave tops of paper sticking out so it’s easy to remove the finished dessert from the dish once it’s done. Press the ‘dough’ into the bottom of the dish, be sure to pack the bottom tight and press down evenly. (Be sure the sides are nice and firmly packed). Set aside.

To make the top layer : On the stovetop, heat the coconut oil with honey or other sweetener on low until just melted, not boiling. Remove from heat completely and make sure the temperature is lukewarm not hot before you add the fresh lemon juice. Whisk those ingredients together to incorporate well. Pour over the base and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to chill or overnight. For a quicker serving, place the pan in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set faster, then cut into squares and serve. 



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So there you have it. Guilt-free, sugar-free dessert recipe that is easy, quick and tastes amazing! 

And I totally give you the stamp of approval to even devour for breakfast! It’s all good… enjoy!



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I have to say my family is my best taste-tester for all my recipes first! And I know my husband has a biased role in saying he loves everything I make. But, when he bit into one of these bars, his eyes widened, he smiled and said : “This is the best thing you ever made!” Totally rude, right? Because I have made so much other good stuff. Plus I think he says that every time he bites into my desserts. So, I don’t even know anymore… some constructive criticism would be nice for a change….

Now there’s one more recipe taster that I know I can’t fool easily… my girl flew into the kitchen a gazillion times when I was making these asking if they’re ready! Only to be turned away with grave disappointment that she has to wait 5 minutes longer.
Kids don’t know patience anymore…. ;)
Finally, when she saw the big squares, the excitement could not be contained. She quickly grabbed one and was all smiley ear to ear. I love making little girls happy!


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Now I just want to make myself happy again and make these very soon! What’s great is that these ingredients are something that I keep regular stock of at all times – and fresh lemons are like air around here. We always have them…. so I think I need to make these again very soon…. I hope you will join me ;)



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Cauliflower Potato Lentil Soup : gluten-free and vegan



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Hey! Just checked, it’s still winter! Below seasonal! It is cold…!!!
So what to do with that piece of information…. make some comfort food of course! What else?

I like to turn to food for all kinds of things… nourishment, warmth and always love.

A bowl of this Cauliflower Potato Lentil Soup will make winter bearable a little longer and make you smile as you scoop up the simple beautiful veggies onto your spoon… and into your belly. 



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Cauliflower Potato Lentil Soup | gluten-free and vegan

serves 4
prep time : 10 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients :

1 medium onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip root, peeled and chopped
1/4 celeriac root, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dried red split lentils
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 tablespoon dried garlic flakes
1 tablespoon sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
fresh parsley 
grape seed oil for frying
2 L hot water

Directions :

In a large pot, drizzle in some oil to cover the bottom, add in onions and sautée until slightly golden. Add in other vegetables  except for cauliflower and lentils, and cook for about 3 minutes mixing occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add more oil if need be if the oil gets absorbed too much. Once the veggies are slightly golden, slowly pour in hot water, about 1 cup at a time while mixing the veggies. (About 2 L in total) Add in lentils and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, stirring occasionally. Add in the seasoning and cauliflower. Cook for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with fresh parsley. Enjoy! 



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A simple healthy soup like this makes a world of a difference when the weather outside chills you to the bones. On days like this, sometimes, I even cook a big pot of soup in the evening, let it cool as I get ready for bed and then just place it in the fridge for the next day. That’s when a little planning goes a long way… who does not want to come home on a blistering cold day to some hot soup that just needs a two minute reheating. And we don’t have a microwave, so warming up a portion of soup on the stove feels like you’re making a fresh pot of soup… the aroma just lifts and fills the house again with comfort and love.

Keep to simple pure ingredients and enjoy a little soup heaven… I like to usually add a protein source to most of my meals so they are heartier – lentils are packed with protein, fibre and lots of nutrition. And they are so inexpensive and convenient to use. I always have a bag on hand. And the split lentils cook so quick! Perfect for a quick comfort-food dinner.



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So we’re still enjoying soup days and other ways to stay nice and warm…

Are you also enjoying warming meals still, or have you dived into Spring recipes already?

 

Pure Ella 

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Vegetable and Chickpea Moroccan Stew



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I love a good hearty meal that takes me away to a different land… And this Vegetable and Chickpea Moroccan Stew is perfection from the sweet and zesty aroma to the burst of flavour in each bite. This is one of my favourite stews of all time, and it’s so easy to just throw in the ingredients together in one pot and create Moroccan magic!

Aren’t we so lucky to have all these international influences from around the world? I love that my cravings can go one day from Asian Miso Soup and next day to Mexico’s Quesadillas. It’s a beautiful thing to have all these influences of a different culture and be able to experience their flavours oceans away…. I haven’t been to Morocco (yet) but I would love to experience this country’s rich fragrant cuisine. 

For now, let’s stay here locally and make a the best stew that will take you to Morocco. Enjoy! 



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Vegetable and Chickpea Moroccan Stew | vegan and gluten-free

30 minute prep time. Serves 6-8

Ingredients :

 2 medium onions, diced
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can of organic chunk tomatoes
1 large can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander in the UK)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red hot pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

grape seed oil for cooking
optional : organic vegetable sticks

Directions : 

Prepare a kettle of water to bring to a boil and set a large pot on the stove. In the large pot, drizzle in some grape seed oil to cover the bottom and sautee the onions on medium low, then one by one add in all the vegetables, except the chickpeas and canned tomatoes. Stir and allow to sautee for about 10 minutes. Add more oil if needed so the veggies don’t stick to the pan.

Add in all the spices except for fresh cilantro. (If you’re cooking for children and they’re not fans of spicy food, skip the hot spices until the very end so you can adjust to your own families’ liking. or skip them all together from the pot and servings can be seasoned with hot spices individually.

After about 10 minutes, reduce heat and slowly pour in some hot water and stir the vegetables in the pot. Allow those vegetables to absorb some of the water by cooking for about 5 more minutes and add in about 2 more cups of hot water to the pot. Stir again and add in chickpeas and chunk tomatoes. The consistency should be that of a stew and not a watery soup. About 10-12 cups  of water altogether should work well, but a bit less water makes the stew chunkier, adjust the consistency to your liking.

 To serve, top with fresh cilantro and optionally organic vegetable sticks. You don’t need the veggie sticks but they added a great fun texture and crunch to this stew. Enjoy! 



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This is a very easy healthy one-pot meal that I’ve loved for years…. especially in the colder months as all these ingredients, especially the spices are naturally warming to the body. I can’t wait to make this dish again very soon… and experience a little Morocco in our home ;)

By the way this Moroccan Stew tastes even better the next day when all the flavours get fully absorbed and it becomes even creamier. So make sure you make enough for at least two days ;) If you have a big family, double up the ingredients to make a huge pot of great healthy veggie stew. It also freezes well in an airtight container for up to 3 months.



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 Do you like to be taken away with an international dish to a different part of the world? What part of the world are you craving right now?

 

Pure Ella 

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Pure Potluck Party : healthy recipes



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It’s mid – february and it’s still the dead of winter around here.

One way I like to stay happy is to play and have fun in the kitchen…. because good food is good comfort food. And where there is good comfort food – there is Love. 

February is the toughest month to pull through, thank goodness it’s the shortest month. (I think they totally planned that for a reason). And probably why Valentine’s Day got thrown in there too… just to add some excitement to the never-ending season of winter. I find I crave all kinds of dishes at this time of the year, one day it’s the freshness for Spring and I go all out with fresh greens and crispy radishes, but then I have days where I crave good hot meals that nourish my body and soul and bring the family together for comfort and love around our round kitchen flavour. I also pay attention to the cold and flu season – it’s still easy to catch something, because even +1 celsius temperatures can confuse your head and you think you can forgo the hot wooly hat. (A huge mistake on my part, which is probably why I’m still recuperating after a cold with a nasty cough started two days ago).  So healing foods such as onions and garlic and ginger have been upped in all the foods we prepare around here, to keep the cold bug away.

Please join in the fun and share your favourite recipe you are craving right now! Is is wintery soul food or is it a jump into Spring? Anything goes ;)   Just a reminder we’re focusing on plant-based, egg-free, dairy-free and meat-free recipes as well as gluten or wheat free dishes. Some exceptions apply such as using honey or ancient grains that have gluten like spelt and kamut which are very healthy. Recipes should be all natural, with no refined sugar and with no processed ingredients, no preservatives or artificial colours of flavours and organic as much as possible. Also, I don’t think recipes ever get dated, so please feel free to dust off some old goodies from the archives and share them again ;)

Linking up? Thank you! By doing so, you allow Pure Ella permission to share your recipe and photo on other social media such as Pinterest. Please be sure to add a link to your post that you shared this recipe here on the Pure Ella’s Pure Potluck Party. Thank you!   


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Citrus Fruit Winter Salad



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It’s mid winter here…. the mid of a very cold snowy winter that does not seem to end… and I don’t know how to really pull through.

Winter can be fun, but by the middle of February I have enjoyed enough. Now, I can find myself daydreaming of warmer days… or just moving to California! I fantasize I can just walk outside into my backyard and pick a fresh clementine right off a tree…. oh my – I sometimes completely forget people live like this in warm climates and don’t have to plan an extra 20 minutes to clear the car off snow (again today) or require double socks or an extra pair of warm mitts because kids apparently loose a mitt per week (wish I knew and stocked up with 5 pairs at the beginning of winter). 

This winter especially has been a bit on the evil side, it’s bitter cold and so snowy and icy, I often get yelled at for trying to leave the house to go for a walk because it’s too slippery and it’s not safe for me or the baby. I do enjoy living in Southern Ontario but right about now, I’m just done with winter. And since we’re not planning a vacation anytime soon, and I need to rely on our photos from our recent trip to the Bahamas to try and remember the heat of the sun and flirt of the wind on my hair… I know we’re done with vacationing for a very long time. 

So I will just get right back to my daydreams… where I go and pick fresh clementines right from my clementine tree in my backyard… and try to forget the bitter pinch of frost bite on my fingers and toes. I’ll just pretend away and really truly appreciate that I can pick up fresh citrus fruit from my grocery store. Peel the skin and allow the fresh aroma to intoxicate you with tropical zesty wildly flavourful bite of that clementine.

I know eating local is ideal – but once the country wraps itself in a white blanket for 6 months… what do you do? I’m in complete appreciation that we can have these beautiful foods in the dead of winter. It’s pure happiness… and nutrition!



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Clean Eating : Citrus Fruit Winter Salad

Serving for 2.

Ingredients :

1 pink grapefruit
2-3 clementines
1/2 pomegranate, deseeded
a few leaves of fresh mint

Directions :

Wash and peel off the skins of the fruit. Cut the grapefruit into chunks and slice the clementines into slices so it looks pretty in a wide bowl.

To deseed the pomegranate, my favourite way is to submerge into a bowl of cool water and cut and pull apart the pieces while the fruit is submerged in the water. I have tried many methods (including the ‘spanking’ method) this is the only way I find keeps the juices away from your clothes and surrounding area – that’s because the water prevents the juice bursts to fly through the water and they stay in the bowl. Then, drain  the arils on a calendar and enjoy!

Sprinkle the pomegranate arils on top of the grapefruit and clementine slices, Top with fresh mint leaves and serve.



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The citrusy and minty freshness of this is just incredible and it really wakes you up! Not to mention it’s so healthy full of Vitamin C, beta carotene – great for skin, fibre and antioxidants and lots more.

I made this salad when a friend called the other day that she’s in the area and wants to drop by for a visit in 15 minutes! I like to make something nice for my friends but I’m not always good with last minute things…. I really had nothing to serve at the house, no dessert or cookies except for this beautiful bowl of fresh fruit. 

So, within minutes I had the salad waiting on the table and the kettle boiling for some tea. When my friend saw the pretty salad she looked so happy and thrilled, she said I made her day! ;) It ended up the perfect ‘dessert’ after all.

 



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Are you craving citrus fruit right now?

How do you make winter days bearable right now?

Pure Ella 

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