Easy Chai Coconut Truffles

This winter I became mildly obsessed with chai spices — cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. I love them! And the great news is they are good for you.

  • Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar.  
  • Cloves contain significant amounts of an active component called eugenol, which has made it the subject of numerous health studies, including studies on the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants, digestive tract cancers, and joint inflammation.
  • Ginger is very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and also has anti-inflammatory properties.

The name "truffles" is really misleading here because it makes them seem decadent and fattening. Well on the contrary these are both delicious and good for you too. Dates are 80% sugar but they are full of fiber and phytonutrients and don't raise your blood sugar! So when you are having a sugar craving they are a great alternative to that box of cookies or bowl of ice cream. 

And did I mention that they are easy to make? 


Makes 15 truffles

1/2 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon raw cashew butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3/4 cup medjool  or hallawi dates — seeds removed (8-9 dates) 
1 tablespoon hot water
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp vanilla

  1. Remove the seeds from the dates and pour 1 tablespoon hot water over them to soak for a few minutes.
  2. Add them to a food processor.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Blend until the mixture forms a rough paste.
  5. Form the mixture into 1" balls
  6. Roll the balls in coconut to coat thoroughly.
  7. Let chill. 
  8. Will keep in refrigerator for 2 weeks except you will have eaten them by then.



Myers and Chang Spicy-and-Garlicky Brussels Sprouts

This photo shows bacon but this recipe has chiles instead. Furman likes them both ways. :)

This photo shows bacon but this recipe has chiles instead. Furman likes them both ways. :)

I love Joanne Chang's Brussel sprouts. They are lightly boiled and then sautéd in a cast iron pan with the chiles and garlic. I think they would probably be really good roasted too.

serves 12


3 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until bright green, 2 minutes. Drain well and pat dry.

  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the garlic and half of the brussels sprouts and cook over high heat undisturbed for 1 minute.

  3. Add half of the crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the brussels sprouts are browned and tender, about 3 minutes.

  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil, garlic, brussels sprouts and crushed red pepper. Serve warm.

Asian Sesame Veggie Bowl

Making bowls like this is an easy and healthy way to eat at home, especially during the week. You can make brown rice or quinoa ahead of time. Steam some vegetables, chop and grate some raw vegetables and add a great sauce. Easy. Everyone in the family can customize their bowl too. Throw on some grilled chicken or swap the tofu for some chick peas, edamame or a hard boiled egg.

Serves 2


Cooked brown rice or quinoa
Assortment of steamed vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, zucchini, beets, turnip, kale)
Assortment of raw vegetables (carrot, daikon, radish, red cabbage, green onion)
Extra-firm organic tofu cubed
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Ingredients for Asian Sesame Sauce

2 garlic cloves — crushed
2 Tbsp tahini sesame paste
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp organic mirin (optional)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sambal thai chili sauce

  1. Steam brown rice
  2. Steam a selection of chopped vegetables and cubed tofu (broccoli, zucchini, bok choy, kale, spinach etc.) 
  3. Chop 2 scallions
  4. Grate some fresh vegetables (radish, carrot, red cabbage) 
  5. Toast 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  6. Prepare sauce.
  7.  Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Add more rice vinegar or soy sauce as needed.
  8. Assemble bowl with some brown rice, tofu and vegetables.
  9. Add grated vegetables, scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
  10. Drizzle sauce over bowl and serve

Sauce can be doubled or tripled and stored in fridge for several weeks.

Baked Crunchy Blackberry Oatmeal

Photo from Green Kitchen Stories, Vegetarian Everyday, David Frankiel and Luise Vindahl

Photo from Green Kitchen Stories, Vegetarian Everyday, David Frankiel and Luise Vindahl

I made this delicious baked oatmeal last weekend for my Ladies Holiday brunch and it was a big hit. I am not sure that they knew how good it is for you too.

Blackberries are high in anthocyanins which are capable of forcing cancer cells to commit suicide (apoptosis). Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It acts against certain cancer cells and helps reduce the creation of new blood vessels.


  • 3 1/4 cups fresh or frozen organic blackberries (you can also use frozen organic wild blueberries)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk (or cashew or coconut)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger ( I also used 1 tablespoon of chopped candied ginger for a treat)
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, almonds or cashews
  • ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
  2. Grease the bottom of a medium size  (8X10) casserole dish with the coconut oil.
  3. Place the blackberries at the bottom of the casserole dish. You don't need to thaw the berries if using frozen.
  4. Spread the rolled oats evenly overtop of berries.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, ginger, baking powder, almond milk, salt, and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour the mixture over the berries and oats. Everything should be evenly soaked in the liquid mixture.
  7. Mix together the maple syrup, nuts, seeds and coconut oil with your hands and spread on top, making sure that it covers the whole dish.
  8. Bake 35-40 minutes until it is set and the nuts and seeds are lightly browned.
  9. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

This can sit in the fridge overnight if you prefer so you can pop it in the oven in the morning. 

This recipe is from David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl’s cookbook The Green Kitchen: Delicious and Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Every Day . Check out their blog. It's one of my favorites.

Super Green Smoothie

This has become my go-to smoothie and I am not a smoothie person if you can believe it. For the most part I would rather have a salad or some fruit. On the other hand smoothies are great food-on-the-go and they are also filling and energizing. This recipe is the most pleasing to me even when I try other variations. I like it in the morning for breakfast or for lunch.

2 cups arugula (packed tightly) or substitute 1 handful of salad greens and 5 large kale leaves (stems removed and leaves torn up.)

Arugula is surprisingly good in smoothies. It is very bright in flavor and mild enough that the other flavors shine through. It is my favorite over kale and spinach.

1 ripe pear
1/2 banana (peeled and frozen)
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 tablespoon chia seeds
juice of half a lemon or orange
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons cashew butter
1 cup coconut or almond milk
purified water to desired consistency
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1 tsp hemp powder (optional)

  1. Blend together until smooth. Add more water or liquid as
  2. necessary to make a good consistency. Don’t make it too thick.

The Buttery’s Kale and Brussel Sprout salad

This is my version of a kale salad that they make at The Buttery, an over-priced cafe near my house. The secret is the grapefruit dressing. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is a miracle dressing. It can almost standalone because it has the perfect level of acidity — tangier than orange juice and not as tart as lemon. I experimented with adding olive oil to the dressing but it is better without it. I served this at our Canadian Jamaican Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. You can use any kind of kale but I prefer the Lacinto or dinasour kale.


1 bunch of Lacinto kale, stems removed, finely chopped
6 Brussel sprouts finely shredded ( you can also use 1 cup of finely shredded green or savoy cabbage)
¼ cup dried currants
¼ toasted almonds, chopped
¼ cup grated parmesan

Grapefruit vinaigrette
4 tablespoons fresh pink grapefruit juice (or juice from ½ grapefruit)
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp brown rice vinegar
½ tsp honey
3 splashes ume plum vinegar or balsamic vinegar
ground black pepper
salt to taste

  1. Whisk ingredients together.
  2. Chop kale and place in large salad bowl. Add vinaigrette to kale. Gently massage dressing into kale with your fingers.
  3. Let sit for 20 minutes and add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and toss well.
  4. Salad will last several days in the refrigerator.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Squash soup_92321215_SM.jpg

Serves 4


1/2 cup dried red lentils soaked for 2 hours
2 bay leaves
1 large butternut squash
1 large jewel or garnet yam
1/2 lemon squeezed
2 tablsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 white turnip chopped
olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 – 32 oz boxes organic chicken stock or vegetable stock
13oz can organic coconut milk (optional)
sea salt to taste

  1. Cook the lentils and the bay leaves in a saucepan, covered with water, until soft.
  2. Add 1/2 tsp salt to lentils and let sit.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Scrub squash and sweet potato. Slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds from squash. Squeeze lemon juice on the cut side of each piece and rub olive oil on all sides of the squash and sweet potato. Place in a glass baking dish, cut side down and roast in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until very soft. Let cool to handle. Peel off skin.
  5. While squash and lentils are cooking, saute turnip, onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Stir in curry powder, cumin and cayenne.
  6. Add one box of organic chicken stock.
  7. Add in cooked lentils and bring to a simmer.
  8. Add cooked squash and sweet potato to the pot. 
  9. Puree in blender and return to the pot to warm.
  10. Reheat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Add a squeeze of lemon if necessary bright the flavor.
  12. The lentils and the squash and sweet potato can be made ahead and refrigerated.