Fall Baking with Pumpkin

IMG_4076“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”- Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Oh Anne with an ‘E’, I so agree with you. October is such a wonderful month. The leaves, the fresh air, the cool crisp mornings, Thanksgiving, sweaters, blankets, soups, hot drinks and pumpkin everything!

For Thanksgiving my family does an annual pumpkin hunt in which my dad loads up the trailer with straw, hitches it up to the pick-up truck and drives us all around the farm so the grandkids can ‘hunt’ for pumpkins. It’s a wonderful tradition that we all look forward to every year. My mom sends us adults home with a pumpkin too which we always enjoy. Truth be told- usually my pumpkin sits on the front porch until the new year when my husband has had enough of the rotten mush and gives me some severe ultimatum or until his best friend (who has seen this mush for too many years in a row) is greeted by it when he visits and begins reminiscing on pumpkins of the past. This year I decided to save stress on my marriage (and my pride) and use the pumpkin for baking instead. I was originally just going to make pumpkin scones, but there was so much pumpkin puree that I went ahead and made muffins and cookies too- and still have some leftover to probably whip up into another batch of muffins this week.

The scones were adapted from the China Study Cookbook Biscuit recipe. My alterations:  1 cup applesauce was replaced by ¼ cup vegetable oil mixed with ¾ cup pumpkin. I also added 1 TBSP extra sugar to compensate for the sweetness lost by omitting apple sauce. I then added in 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp cloves and ⅛ tsp ginger. I also used a GF all purpose flour (Irresistables brand) in place of the wheat flour to make it gluten free. ***The first time I made this biscuit recipe I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free all purpose and the recipe turned out very muffin like, and I wound up having to add a TON of flour (like 2.5 cups by the end of it). To get an actual scone texture, I recommend using a finer GF All-purpose like Robin Hood, Irresistibles, or Bob’s GF 1 to 1 flour.

The cookies were adapted from Angela Liddon’s Spelt Molasses Cookies (recipe: Here).  I substituted pumpkin puree for the oil she calls for in the recipe and then used a GF Flour, and omitted the candied ginger. Since I didn’t use oil, I pressed the cookies down before placing them in the oven. If you use oil then follow her directions and do not flatten before baking.  I also decided not to roll the cookies in sugar because I found them to be sweet enough. I really loved these cookies! Ginger Crinkles have always been my favourite cookies and these remind me so much of them. Not to mention, with the warm flavours of ginger and clove they just taste like cold weather and hot drink coziness.

Finally, my delicious Pumpkin Spice Muffins. The muffins are my own recipe and so I will share with you. If you add the ingredients in the order listed then it means you only have one bowl to clean up (yay for less dishes!) after baking. Although you absolutely can mix the wet in one bowl and the dry in another and combine them if that’s the way you do things.

I’m the kind of person who likes easy, simple recipes without a lot of ingredients. This recipe looks daunting when I write it down because it has so many spices in it (and thus so many ingredients), but it really is so simple, easy and quick.

Gluten Free, Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins

  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 TBSP ground flax seed (or 1 egg if not Vegan)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp Dried ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups Gluten Free All purpose Flour (OR 1¼ cup all purpose flour and 1 cup oats)
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
  2. Whisk all wet ingredients in a bowl with flaxseed, spices and salt until uniform.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda in with the wet mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. (Overmixing results in dense and crumbly muffins).
  4. Grease a muffin pan and place about ¼ cup of the batter into each muffin mold.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 23 minutes. Allow to sit a few minutes after baking before removing from pan.

**If you are familiar with using flax in place of eggs you will notice I did not pre-mix my flax seeds with water. I like to put it directly into the mixture to absorb the liquid that is already used in the recipe.

Enjoy this recipe and the beauty of this wonderful season!


Muffins and Maternity Leave

Summer has finally arrived in Southern Ontario. Just so happened that it came the exact week our Vitamin D supplement ran out. It may be the Dutch in me, but I get excited about my daily dose of free vitamin D. It really has been wonderful to have the warm sun around and we’ve been spending most of our time outdoors, so it doesn’t get much better.

I’m blessed to be on Maternity leave this year (Yes, in Canada you get a full 12 months!) which is allowing me to explore the slow and simple life much more these days. I’m not one to typically enjoy slow. I’m usually irritated by slow and much prefer the hustle of working and working efficiently- whether at home or at work. But I’m learning the importance of “stop[ping] to smell the roses”, so to speak. Having a toddler and a baby is a great help in this as not much can be done quickly these days anyway. But I’m seeing real fruit in my life through it- including being a better, and happier, mom and wife- which is showing results in the whole family.

Part of my journey in slowing down means saying “no” to non-priorities… like blog posts. Thus, it has been a little while since my last post. But alas, I have a muffin recipe that I made this morning with my little muffin while my littler muffin napped. He loves being my helper whenever it comes to making anything in the kitchen, and I love seeing his joy and excitement in doing things with me. Another part of slowing down means getting to enjoy the little moments with my little people.

This is the exact recipe that I followed, however, you can alter if you want more of something, less of another etc. We’ve been trying to reduce our sugar intake so I only did ¼ cup but some might like it sweeter (I actually found it too sweet with ¼c). I usually try a recipe out as is and then alter it the second time to fit it to our taste buds.  I think that’s what recipes are for. They provide a template that enables you to explore and experiment with ingredients and flavours.

Til next time, happy experimenting.


***This picture is terrible because it is from my phone.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins (GF and Vegan)

  • 1 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup gluten free quick oats
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar of choice (coconut, sucanat, cane, etc)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP ground flax mixed with 4 TBSP water
  • ¾ cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
  • ¼ cup oil or applesauce (I used coconut oil)
  1. Mix wet ingredients.
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t want to over stir or the muffins will turn out crumbly).
  4. Scoop into greased muffin tin (or line with muffin cups) to fill each cup about halfway.
  5. Bake in preheated oven set at 400C degrees for 20 minutes then allow to cool on a wire rack.

Friday Night Pizza- Gluten Free Vegan Style


Last summer I was making pizza pretty much every Friday night. It was super easy and so delicious. In my opinion it is WAY better than ordering in. Nothing beats the hot crunchy crust that you get when it’s right out of the oven, without any sogginess from sitting in a box for 20 minutes. It costs a fraction of the price, while taking about the same amount of time (probably less). You can put like 10 toppings on it if you want to. PLUS you get the satisfaction of having made it yourself and knowing exactly what’s in it.

Of course, now that we are not eating animal products, I wondered how we would make this work or IF we could make it work (What is pizza without Cheese?!). We bought two frozen GF Vegan pizzas a few weeks back, which tasted fantastic, but they were still loaded with oil and a bunch of random ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with. And since we had to buy two to feed all of us, it wound up costing the equivalent of eating out at a decent restaurant- which just isn’t sustainable for us. After all that, I still wound up getting an unsettled stomach. So I just decided to make my own and see how it went.

After successfully using a cashew cream sauce a few weeks ago for my Vegan lasagna, I thought that just maybe it could work as a pizza topping. I was nervous to try because, even if I considered it an acceptable substitute, there are two other mouths in this house that may not agree and who have high expectations of what pizza should taste like. So I gave it a shot last Friday, preparing for the worst….and it turned out a slam dunk! The hubby was super happy with it (again, he’s my toughest critic), 3 year old didn’t notice anything different (which I consider a success), and on top of the flavor and texture being bang on, I did not get an upset tummy afterward, so I was super happy with it.

I’ve realized how important it is to attempt things in the kitchen. In life we are often so afraid of failure that we try to play safe and often times miss out on things that could have turned into an amazing adventure.  While it can be scary, and make you feel like you’ve wasted time or resources, failure is such an important part of learning, and the kitchen is no different. There have been countless times that I’ve made something for dinner and Justin a) took a bite and refused to eat another or b) ate most of it while telling me that he would be happy to never eat it again. In the beginning it was upsetting to me. No one likes to be told that they suck at cooking or baking. But it allowed me to work through the collection of things that worked and the things that didn’t. Now I feel so much more confident in my abilities and more brave to try new or weird things and the variety of food we eat now is greater than its ever been.

Chris Martin, my pal from Coldplay (He doesn’t know he’s my pal in case you were wondering), sings a great line “If you never try, you’ll never know”.  I love it in life and I love it in the kitchen. Be brave. Try something different. Try something that you wouldn’t normally do- In this case putting ground cashews on a pizza made with gluten free flours. Worst case scenario you fail: It tastes gross, you scrape the cashews off your pizza while you attempt to eat the remaining “crust”, maybe throw the last bit into the garbage before you throw up and you’ve learned that does not work and don’t do that again. But best case scenario? It tastes amazing and you feel amazed at what can be made from simple ingredients. The experience goes into your confidence box for the next time you want to try something different and perhaps along the way you inspire someone else to dive into their creativity without fearing the possibility that it just might fail. So try, and see where it goes!



  • ½ cup Passata (or 1 can of tomato paste)
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup/honey
  • ¼ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Dried Basil
  • ½ TBSP garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt***Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. Taste it before putting it on your pizza. Add in anything you think is lacking to that it suits your taste (ie. More garlic, more basil etc).


  • I chose Peppers, red onions, chopped spinach, chopped cauliflower, pineapple and diced eggplant because that’s what I had in my fridge, but add whatever toppings you enjoy!
  • Sprinkling of Nutritional Yeast

Non-Cheese Topping:

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 30mins- 2hours and drained
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
  • ½ cup vegetable broth**Simply combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Then sprinkle onto the very top of the pizza.


  • 2 ½ Cup Flour (I used 1 cup Robin Hood GF All Purpose and the remaining Bob’s Red Mill GF All purpose)
  • 1 TBSP Cane Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBSP Bread Machine Yeast
  • 1 cup Hot Water
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil


  1. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in water and oil and mix with a fork until it starts to come together. Knead by hand until fully combined and smooth- about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Allow dough to rest about 10 minutes.
  3. Roll dough out into circle shape on a piece of parchment paper until desired size/thickness is reached. (I roll mine until it fits inside my pizza pan, so it ends up being about ¾ cm-1 cm thick).
  4. Take Pizza pan and place it upside down over the rolled dough. Place left hand under the parchment paper and one hand on the pizza pan and flip over so that parchment paper is on top, sandwiching the pizza dough between the parchment and pizza pan. Slowly peel parchment paper off the top of the dough to reveal your beautifully shaped pizza dough. (Note: due to the lack of gluten, the dough will seem more gritty and crumbly while still holding together quite well, but it will fall apart if you try to pick it up- so no tossing up and down in the air with this dough, unfortunately.)
  5. Proceed to “decorate” pizza with sauce and toppings, placing the non-cheese topping on the top. (I love spreading my sauce all the way to the edge of the dough. The moisture evaporates out of it in the oven and you get a punch of flavor in that last bite of crust).
  6. Bake in preheated oven set to 475F for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before digging in so that you don’t burn your tongue or the roof of your mouth.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (GF, DF, Vegan)

IMG_0508The other day I went grocery shopping and picked up a bag of Robin Hood’s Gluten Free all purpose flour. I was pretty excited to use it and since Justin’s mom and Aunt were over entertaining the kids, it was a great chance to try out a new recipe.

So I made some double chocolate chip cookies, which turned out to be brownie-like on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. They were SO good. Justin ate probably half the batch on his own. We made sure that there were some left to share with his Aunt and Mom (neither are Vegan or GF) because we were certain even they would like them. While they seemed slightly hesitant to try them at first, both of them were quite surprised and said how good they were. Justin’s mom even asked to take one home with her when she left – it happened to be her birthday that day – so I gave her a little container with a bunch of them in there.

I always say to Justin “Everything is better shared”, and this recipe is no exception. It makes about 2 dozen, so there will be plenty to go around. 🙂


Wet Ingredients:
– 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
– 1/3 cup maple syrup/honey
– ½ cup granulated sugar (coconut, sucanat, cane, whatever you use)
– ¼ cup water
– 2 TBSP ground flax seed

Dry Ingredients:
– 1 cup all purpose, gluten free flour (I used Robin Hood GF all purpose, which has xanthan gum in it)
– ¼ cup cocoa
– 1 tsp baking powder
– Dash of salt

Other Ingredients:
– 1 TBSP Water
– 2/3 cup chocolate chips
– drizzle of maple syrup
– olive/grapeseed oil for greasing the cookie sheets


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium-large size mixing bowl combine coconut oil, maple syrup, sugar, water and flax seed in a bowl. Mix with a whisk until unified and smooth.
  3. In the same bowl, add in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt then mix. Add in water and mix again until water is absorbed into dough.
  4. Add in chocolate chips and drizzle dough with a little bit of maple syrup/honey. Mix again until chocolate chips and maple syrup/honey are well incorporated into the dough. (Adding a bit more of the maple syrup at the end is what will help to create the crispy outside).
  5. Grease two cookie sheets with Olive oil or Grape-seed oil. This will help to caramelize the maple syrup/honey in the dough and create the crispiness on the outside of the cookie.
  6. Drop dough onto cookie sheet using a small spoon – ( This is not technical- I don’t use measuring spoons, just the small spoons from my cutlery drawer)- they end up being about 1-inch balls that I just pat down ever so slightly.  Bake in 350F oven for 9 minutes and place on cooling rack to cool slightly before eating.

Vegetable Lasagna (GF, Vegan)


A few months back, we got together with my husbands family for a lasagna dinner. We didn’t know we were having lasagna, but we were thrilled considering it is one of our favourite things to eat. One interesting thing about Justin’s family is that more than half of us are either vegetarian or vegan now- so finding food to eat is never a problem. However, this time the lasagna was only vegetarian- it still had cheese. If it was just me I would have gone ahead and eaten it, but baby girl cannot have milk, and so since I am nursing- I cannot have milk. Thankfully I did bring a dish with me knowing that there was a possibility that would be the case, so all was good. But it really made me miss lasagna and so I decided to make one that is officially dairy free.

My inspiration was a mixture of Angela Liddon from “Oh she Glows” and a Vegan lasagna my girlfriend had at her wedding rehearsal dinner, which I believe her sister made. I’m not crazy about the vegan cheeses out there so I wanted to try something that wouldn’t require any. I should clarify- the vegan cheeses taste amazing (Daiya!), but they are not the healthiest choice for regular use (mostly oil). We like to save up our vegan cheese use for when we grab nachos at our new favourite place: Democracy (on Locke Street). SUCH a treat.

Anyway, I went for it and made lasagna for dinner tonight. Let me tell you- it was GOOD! For starters, you would never know it was gluten free, and second of all- if you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t even notice that it was vegan. My hubby ate 3 large pieces, and my 3 year old actually ate his whole plate (which rarely happens- especially with lasagna!), so it is safe to say that this is a keeper in our house. 🙂

I should add, I used my homemade tomato sauce recipe but if you were in a pinch or if you just had it around you could use any canned tomato sauce. Or if you have your own tomato sauce recipe, use that!

**I should also add that I had like 1/4 cup of cooked lentils leftover in my fridge from dinner the other night so I threw that into my sauce just for some extra protein**


  • Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles (I used an oven ready brown rice noodle but if not using oven ready then you will want to cook the noodles prior- I have a small casserole dish and it used up 9 noodles, if yours is on the larger size maybe do a bit more)
  • Nutritional Yeast

White Wine Tomato Sauce:

  • Drizzle of grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1c. water
  • 1 bottle Passata (Strained Tomato Puree)
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2-3 TBSP Maple Syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder (or 2 cloves fresh garlic if you have it)
  • ¼ cup White wine (plus a little extra in a glass so you can drink some while you cook)

Cashew Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ veggie broth
  • Handful spinach
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Vegetable Filling

  • Drizzle of grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ crown broccoli, diced
  • ¼ head of cauliflower, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ¼ of an eggplant, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper


White Wine Tomato Sauce:

  1. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add in onions and heat until just tender.
  2. Add water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the onion bits into the water. It will steam and evaporate a lot of the water- that is okay and enhances the flavors even more.
  3. Add in passata and remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil for 1 minute and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for atleast 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the spies to release their flavours and to fully integrate into the sauce.

Cashew Cream Sauce:

  1. After cashews have soaked at least 2 hours, drain water and place cashews in blender with the broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add spinach into the blender mixture and continue to blend, again, until smooth.
  3. Set aside.

Vegetable Filling:

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Once heated, add in broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, eggplant and garlic powder. Allow to sit for 30 seconds and then add in water to create more moisture to steam the vegetables in the pan.
  2. Cook until just tender. If the vegetables are starting to stick to the pan or are turning brown then add in a touch more water and cook until water is evaporated.
  3. Set aside.

Putting it all together:

  1. Remove sauce from heat and then preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Take one scoop of tomato sauce and spread it along the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. Layer lasagna noodles on top of the tomato sauce.
  4. Next, take half the vegetables and layer them on top of the noodles.
  5. Ladle 2-3 scoops of the tomato sauce over the vegetable layer so that they are fully covered. (You want to make sure that you have a generous amount of sauce leftover to place on the top- so if you are not good with eyeballing that kind of stuff then you may want to take that out first and set it aside in a separate bowl and then mentally divide the remaining sauce into two parts).
  6. Sprinkle a thin layer of nutritional yeast over sauce.
  7. Drizzle half of the cashew cream over the last layer. Spread evenly over the whole dish using a spatula or spoon and then lay lasagna noodles on top again.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7.
  9. After placing the last lasagna noodles atop the dish, ladle in the remaining tomato sauce. You want this layer to be fairly thick so that the edges of the noodles don’t get hard or crunchy.
  10. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast over the whole top of the casserole in whichever thickness you like.
  11. Cover in tinfoil and cook in oven, at 350F, for 1 hour, removing the tinfoil for the final 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before garnishing with spinach and sprouts and taking a picture diving in. 🙂

Morning Prayer

Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Thy care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to thy ways. Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay. May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Thy praise. Let those around see me living by Thy Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clad in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands. May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In needful transactions let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things….. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth. Order this day all my communications according to Thy wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day.


– C. H. Spurgeon

Creamy Vegan Alfredo (GF, DF)

IMG_0307This is my current favourite Dinner Recipe. A perfect comfort food. We probably eat it twice a week these days- it is easy and delicious and nutritious. Plus, my son is going through a picky eating phase, and this is one the foods that he likes and will eat a lot of (after he picks out the peas- he loves them fresh but apparently not cooked). As with most of our dinner recipes, this is a super flexible meal. If you have mushrooms, add mushrooms. If you don’t have peppers, then don’t add peppers. Work with what you have.


  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • Handful of mushrooms, diced
  • ½ pepper, diced
  • 1-2 cups of peas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced OR 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ can of canned coconut milk (or 1 small can of coconut cream)
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Brown rice Noodles or noodle of choice (I usually use about 3/4 of a 454g bag of pasta, but if I make the whole package then I will just add a bit more of the pasta water into the sauce when combining it all at the end).

Place water into large pot with generous amount of salt and bring to a boil while working on remaining steps. But do not add pasta into the water yet.
On a large frying pan over med-high heat, cook onions, celery and garlic until fragrant and slightly tender (just 1-2 minutes).
– Add coconut milk and vegetable broth to pan and stir until mixed. Bring to a boil. – Add in mushrooms, pepper, peas, salt and pepper and continue to boil for 1-2 minutes, then reduce to a simmer.
– While sauce is simmering, add pasta noodles to boiling water and set timer for 2 minutes less than what the package directs you.
– Once timer goes off, bring sauce to a boil again and add noodles directly into the pan using a pasta ladle, including bits of the pasta water (don’t shake the ladle to get rid of the water, just scoop it out as fast as you can so that the water comes with the noodles). Once all noodles are covered in sauce, reduce to medium-low heat and stir continuously for 1 minute.
– Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and stir until melted into pasta. Turn heat off and allow to sit 1-2 minutes before serving.


Banana Bread (Vegan and Gluten Free)

IMG_0380I had a stash of bananas on my counter that were the perfect “banana bread” brown. I was originally going to make muffins, and would have gotten a much larger batch to last a longer time, but it has been a while since we’ve had banana bread in this house and it was just time to bring it back. So I made this  Vegan recipe that I dug up from our BC Days when I was off dairy and turned it gluten free. It is safe to say that the boys liked it, as it only survived a few short hours. The bread doesn’t rise as high as it does when made with regular flour, but don’t be fooled by the short loaf- it is still crazy good, and very moist!


  • 4 bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey/maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 TBSP water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour** (or regular wheat flour if you prefer it)
  • ½ cup of finely ground walnuts
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda **I was low on all purpose so I mixed ¼ of Bob’s Red Mill GFAP with 1 cup oat flour, ¼ cup coconut flour, ¼ cup buckwheat flour, ¼ cup quinoa flour.


  1. Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl. Add in dry ingredients and mix until just wet. (Too much mixing will make the bread really crumbly so you don’t want to overdo it).
  2. Place in a greased loaf pan and place in preheated oven set to 350F for 50-60 minutes, until top is well browned.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

Minty Nanaimo Bars (Gluten Free, Vegan)

IMG_0211Nanaimo Bars are one of my all-time favourite treats. It may have something to do with the fact that I grew up just a ferry ride off the shores of Nanaimo- or perhaps it has nothing to do with that and just has to do with the fact that they are straight up delicious. Either way, one day I was lying in bed, dreaming of Nanaimo bars (which I hadn’t been able to eat because my nursing baby doll cannot have dairy, plus we went vegan) and concocted this recipe in my mind. They say that necessity is the mother of invention—-well it’s true. I had made a boxed version of them back at Christmas and realized how the ingredients really are quite simple and that it’d actually be quite easy to veganize them. So I gave it a try a few weeks ago to see if the recipe was as good in real life as they were in my head, and they did not disappoint!

I first had my husband try them, because he is a very picky dessert eater and my toughest critic (in the good way). He smiled and laughed as he ate them (which is a good sign) and said that they were the best recipe I have made to date. His response was thrilling and I decided to bring them to my family to see if it wasn’t just his hunger talking. They all loved them as well! My sister-in-law made me laugh- Immediately after she took a bite she told me that, knowing it was gluten free and vegan, she had taken the smallest piece there because she didn’t expect good things. She was visibly surprised and told me they tasted like an After Eight. I’ll take it!

After taking a photo and posting it to instagram, a bunch of people asked for the recipe. I mostly eyeballed it the first time so coming up with a transferrable recipe was a great excuse to make them again and now it is finally in writing.

Disclaimer: These definitely do not fit into the “healthy” category. They may be healthier than store bought, but definitely should not be considered health food.


Base Layer:

– 2/3 cup ground walnuts (I take about 1 cup of walnuts, place them on a cookie tray and toast them for 8-10 minutes at 425F, let them cool, then throw them in the food processor.
– 1 cup graham crumbs (Gluten Free)
– 2/3 cup Shredded unsweetened coconut
– 1 cup Oats
– 2/3 cup Coconut Oil
– 1/3 honey (or maple syrup for Vegan)
– 6TBSP Cocoa Powder
– 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
– dash of salt
– 2 TBSP Almond Milk

Middle Layer:
– 1/3 cup coconut oil- do NOT melt
– 4 ½ TBSP Almond Milk
– 1 ¼ tsp Mint Extract
– 3 ½ cups icing (confectioners) sugar
– ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Top Layer:
– 1 bag GF, DF Chocolate Chips (250-300g)
– 2 TBSP Coconut Oil (Could also use Vegan butter or margarine)


Base Layer:
1- In a bowl, combine walnuts, graham crumbs, coconut and oats. Set aside.
2- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil. Once melted, add in honey and cocoa and mix until smooth. Once smooth, add in salt and vanilla and stir again. Finally, add in almond milk. (The almond milk tends to make the coconut oil separate from the mixture so add it last).
3- Immediately after adding the almond milk to the chocolate mixture, quickly combine the chocolate mixture with the dried ingredients that were set aside until everything is well mixed.
4- Transfer base mixture into a lined 9×13 pan and pat down until the whole pan is covered and evenly dispersed. 5- Place pan in freezer to set while working on second layer.

Middle Layer:
1- Scoop coconut oil right out of container into a bowl. You need approximately 1/3 cup- do NOT melt the oil to measure it out. You want it to be fluffy the way that it is when it is scooped. Place bowl into the freezer for a minute or while you tidy up the ingredients from making the base layer.
2- Pull bowl out of freezer and beat the chilled coconut oil with a mixer (the way you would butter) until it is smooth and the clumps are out. It should only take 30seconds-1 minute- any longer and the oil will start to melt, so just do it long enough to break up the chunks.
3- Add in 1 cup of the icing sugar, 1 ½ TBSP of Almond Milk, ¼  tsp Mint extract and ½ tsp vanilla extract then Mix on high until well combined.
4- Repeat step 3 two more times.
5- Add in remaining icing sugar ( ½ cup) and Mint extract ( ½  tsp) and mix- again on High until well combined and smooth- should make peaks and look like cake icing.
6- Scoop out onto base layer, distributing it evenly over the whole surface. Place back in the freezer to chill while working on the top layer.
***Optional: You can either leave the middle layer white or you could add in a touch of green food dye, or even add a drop of chlorophyll to turn it green so it looks minty***

Top Layer:
1- Place large glass or metal bowl over a medium sized saucepan filled with water and place on high heat to create a double boiler. Once the water is boiling and the bowl is hot, add chocolate chips into the bowl, stirring gently until melted. Take bowl off heat and stir until smooth.
2- Stir 2 TBSP coconut oil (or substitute of choice) into melted chocolate until amalgamated.
3- Pour chocolate sauce over top of middle layer. Smooth into corners and then jiggle pan side to side to level it all out.
4- Place pan back in the freezer for 15 minutes. If chocolate topping is still not fully set, place back in the freezer for another 5 minutes. Pull dessert out of the pan by holding the parchment and lower onto a cutting board. Cut through the bars to create the desired sizes you want. The goal is to get the chocolate so that it isn’t so soft that it oozes everywhere, but not so hard that it cracks when you cut it.
5- Place back in the freezer until fully set then store in airtight container in the fridge or freeze them for later.

Last step, but definitely not least- ENJOY! If you try the recipe out, I’d love to know what you think!