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Carrot Cake Brownies with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting : healthy, gluten-free, grain-free and vegan



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Hello my friends!

I think the Easter Holiday always brings in a little craving for something with carrots! Does it not? I guess we have to thank all the bunnies for this inspiration…. and I don’t mind at all, neither does my family ;)

This year I knew I had to make something with carrots for our Easter dessert table – but everyone wanted brownies in my family…. so a new idea was born that I could make everything with the flavour of a Carrot Cake but with the richness and moistness of Brownies! So this is the result of what I ended up making – Carrot Cake Brownies – the biggest highlight of our dinner! I had no idea they would be so popular with my family but everyone cleaned off the serving dish in no time. (No leftovers even! You know it’s good stuff when there’s not a crumb left in sight…. maybe it was the Easter bunny?? ;)


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Carrot Cake Brownies : healthy, gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cups organic sweet potato puree
1 1/2 cups medjool dates (about 15 dates)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup grated organic carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped fine
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions :

First clean and peel about 2 large sweet potatoes, dice them into chunks and boil until fully cooked. Strain and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking pan, about 8″x 8″ with parchment paper.

Meanwhile, peel and grate about 2 medium carrots and set aside. 

In a food processor, process the pitted dates until a smooth paste forms. If your food processor does better with a little liquid, process them with the maple syrup until completely incorporated and smooth. 

You can continue mixing in all the ingredients (except the last 4) in the food processor or you can move the date paste into a mixing bowl and continue mixing all the ingredients with a wooden spoon in the bowl. (I only processed the dates and then had my daughter combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl – this was so much fun!)

Combine all the ingredients and mix throughly. Scoop into the baking pan and even out the top with the back of the spoon.

Bake at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. Once baked, move onto a cooking rack and allow to fully cool  before topping with the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. (great to bake it one day beforehand)

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting : dairy and egg free/ vegan and gluten-free

Ingredients :

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup organic coconut margarine
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered stevia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions :

First, soak the raw cashews for at least two hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator if overnight. Rinse and strain them well before working with them.

In a food processor, process the raw cashews until fine crumbs form, about 5 minutes. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing until a very smooth paste forms, another 5 more minutes. Be sure to turn off the machine and scrape down the sides to incorporate all the ingredients into the smooth paste.

Scoop the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting on the already cooled Carrot Cake Brownies. Serve and enjoy! 

This cake stays fresh for up to 3 days (if it lasts this long). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



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Carrots are such a gem when you think about it! Ok, I know that carrots aren’t up there in the superfood category – but why not? They are loaded with so much goodness – Vitamin A and C and beta carotene – a real ‘beauty’ food too as all these nutrients are great for the skin! And there are the Sweet Potatoes – which are also loaded with beta carotene, are low glycemic and are very healthy.

Seriously, can these ingredients not get any better? I think not! The this really tastes amazing! You would have to try it to believe it ;) My family who are not on any special diets or restrictions enjoyed this cake so much! They could not believe these delicious Carrot Cake Brownies were so healthy, gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free and dairy-free!



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I hope you enjoy these Carrot Cake Brownies very soon! It was so great to see non-vegan and non-gluten-free folks enjoy these so much! 
That’s what I love about vegan and gluten-free baking, everyone enjoys the goodies and they all feel good about what they eat! Everyone’s happy at the end ;)

 

Pure Ella 

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Pure Parenting : teaching kids to respect the earth



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Happy Earth Day my friends!!!

I love this photo of my daughter from a few years ago when we planted a tree together. Throughout the years I try to teach my daughter that we only have one planet that we live on and we have to respect it at all times…. that means being good to plants, animals, creatures that we meet on our paths and people, including ourselves too.

What I’ve noticed is that over the last few years of her young life (she is 6 1/2 now) she has made amazing choices and said some wise things which made me smile… and showed understanding about how our relationship with mother nature has a big influence over us and most importantly how our actions affect this beautiful planet.

For example, when we go on walks or ride our bikes on a path, she keeps a lookout for snails that could be too close to ‘danger’ of the moving bikes and people’s footsteps. Whenever she would spot a snail, she would stop or get off her bike and picks up the little snail and moves him into the grass – away from the path. She’s been doing this ever since she was 2 years old I think…. kind of a cute thing to watch and appreciate. I love it that she knows these are little living creatures too and even though they are helpless in where they go, we humans can always reach out and help our little living creatures, after all we do share this planet with them.

Recently, we were picking up some sushi for dinner and the woman was packing some chopsticks, soy sauce dishes etc. and I told her that we don’t need them as we’re going home and have chopsticks and sauce dishes at home…. the woman was pleased with that that we are being eco friendly and offered us a free bottle of water as a thank you for saving them money, I suppose. But then, my daughter spoke out that we don’t drink from plastic bottles! Ha! She was so cool, and I was so proud. She of course got a little shy after she said it too so I filled in the reasons why we also don’t want the free bottle of water. I explained that we use reusable bottles that are stainless steel or glass and fill them up at home with filtered water. I lightly threw in the fact that there are toxins in plastic too that leach into the water and then we drink these toxins and how plastic is so bad for the environment…. The lady was a little weirded out at all this ‘information’ coming at her! My daughter was so on board with me! My girl!! ;)

 

So of course I’m proud of my girl and enjoy teaching her more about our planet and the changes we make that should only affect it in a positive way.

We actively recycle, reuse bags and packaging for food and snacks, and try to make natural eco crafts from paper or other natural fibres to create something fun. (there are so many kids crafts that just reuse items but end up still being unfriendly to the earth.) I often say no to certain crafts because I don’t want her incorporating plastic or other crap just to make something that kids enjoy for 20 minutes. By now she understands that not all materials are created the same. And she’s used to choosing materials that don’t end up being garbage in the end. We still have fun and get creative – without harming the earth in the process.

Maybe these are small things…. but they do add up and they do shape the way a child thinks and makes decisions for themselves later on in life. As a parent, I do my best to set a good example also so she learns from actions not just words.

 

Here are a few posts from around the blog about Earth Day!

Sweet Seedlings with Chocolate ‘Dirt’ (a dessert recipe)

How do you make our planet more green?

Green Spring Cleaning tips!

Why I’m totally against bottled water!

Earth Day Quotes

Be Kind to Our Earth (ads and posters)

 

I hope you enjoy a beautiful day and do practice a few good ways to be good to our beautiful planet.
Do Tell : How do you live an earth-friendly life and how do you teach kids to respect the earth?

 

Pure Ella 

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Pure Happiness is… Easter baking, family and fun


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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 

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
 
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18 Healthy Gluten-free and Vegan Easter and Spring Recipes



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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
  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 

If you’re new to Pure Ella, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: 
 
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Minted Beets and Carrots with Zesty Hemp Oil Drizzle



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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.



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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 

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



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