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Butterscotch, Sticky Pear Puddings with Calvados Cream

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 27th, 2017





8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)

½ cup honey

½ cup heavy cream

2 medium ripe pears

1 (125g) packet of Walkers Butterscotch Shortbread (or use the shortbread recipe from The Elegant Tea Menu and omit the lavender)



1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon Calvados

4 ramekins



  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.


  1. In a large saucepan add the butter, honey and cream and place over high heat. Stir until it comes to a boil. Whisk for 3 minutes on high and pour about 1 tablespoon of the syrup into the bottom of each ramekin.


  1. Peel, quarter and core the pears and slice into bite size pieces and arrange half of the pears into the ramekins. Roughly chop the shortbread into ¼ inch pieces and divide half of the mix between the ramekins over the pears and press firmly down.


  1. Top the shortbread with the remaining pears and then another layer of shortbread and finish with a tablespoon each of the butter/honey/cream syrup poured on the four ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.


  1. While the puddings are baking, whip the 1 cup of heavy cream and fold in the sugar and brandy.


  1. When the puddings come out of the oven, allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before unmolding onto a plate. Top with the remaining butter, honey and cream syrup and serve with the Calvados cream.
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Lavender Shortbread

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 27th, 2017




1 ½ cups flour

¾ cup cornstarch

Zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons lavender flowers, fresh or dried

1 cup powdered sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon lavender flowers fresh or dried

1 shortbread pan (If you don’t have a shortbread pan you can roll out the dough ½-inch thick and use cookie cutters)



  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.


  1. 2 Sift the flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, lavender flowers and sugar into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub the butter and flour mixture between your fingers until it starts to form a shaggy ball of dough.


  1. Lightly dust a shortbread pan with flour and press the paste into the pan. Trim off any excess and prick the top of the shortbread all over with a fork. This will help with cooking the shortbread evenly.


  1. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cut the shortbread into wedges, but only going of the way through. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and lavender flowers and place on a cooling wire to cool completely.
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Pumpkin Spice Granola

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Granola (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)



3 cups old-fashioned oats*

1 cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios or a combination)

1 cup large-flake unsweetened coconut

½ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup whole flaxseeds

½ cup pure maple syrup

½ cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

¼ cup coconut oil or butter

3 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp sea salt

¾ cup dried cranberries



* Old-fashioned oats are sometimes called large-flake oats.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. (Or use two smaller pans.)

In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds (do not add cranberries). Mix well.

In a medium pot, combine maple syrup, pumpkin, coconut oil, sugar, spices, vanilla and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until coconut oil is melted and sugar is dissolved. Pour maple-pumpkin mixture over oat mixture. Mix well, until no dry oats remain. This may take a minute or two of stirring.

Transfer wet granola mixture to prepared pan and spread as thinly and evenly as possible. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, carefully removing pan from oven and stirring granola every 10 minutes. This will ensure even baking. Cook until granola looks “toasty” and golden, but not brown.

Remove pan from oven and let granola cool completely. Add cranberries and store in an airtight container for 1 week. (I keep my granola in the fridge to prolong its freshness.)


Makes about 7 cups granola

Per serving (1/3 cup): 194 calories, 10 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 4 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate (3.3 g fibre, 10 g sugar), 6 mg cholesterol, 16 mg sodium


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Coconut & Banana Pancakes

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

Coconut & Banana Pancakes

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free



2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend*

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp each ground cinnamon and sea salt

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) coconut milk (light or regular)

1½ cups mashed super-ripe bananas

2 eggs

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla



* You can use 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2/3 cup whole wheat flour instead of the gluten-free flour blend.

Preheat electric griddle to medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, combine flour blend, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, bananas (super-ripe, right?), eggs, maple syrup and vanilla until well blended. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Lightly oil griddle or spray with cooking spray.  For each pancake, spoon about 1/3 cup batter onto griddle and spread to make a 4-inch circle. Cook until undersides are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes over and continue to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Top warm pancakes with additional maple syrup, if desired.


Makes 10 large pancakes

Per pancake: 227 calories, 7.2 g total fat (5.6 g saturated fat), 4 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate (3.1 g fibre, 7.8 g sugars), 37 mg cholesterol, 195 mg sodium


YUM: If dairy isn’t a problem and you don’t care for coconut milk, use buttermilk. Add ½ tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients.

YUMMER: Top with sliced bananas and toasted coconut (pictured) for a splurge-worthy treat.

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5-Minute Cinnamon Bun Oatmeal

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

5-Minute Cinnamon Bun Oatmeal (Gluten-Free)




1 cup milk of choice (dairy, almond, etc.)

½ cup quick-cooking oats (not instant)

½ small RIPE banana, mashed

1 tbsp chia, hemp or flax seeds

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch sea salt



2 tsp maple syrup

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt

3 pecans, chopped


* For gluten-free, make sure you use certified gluten-free oats.

In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium-high heat until just barely simmering. Reduce heat to low. Add oats, banana, chia, cinnamon and salt. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until oats reach desired consistency. Remove from heat and spoon into a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, combine maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix well. Drizzle maple-cinnamon mixture and yogurt over oatmeal. Top with chopped pecans. Serve hot.


Makes 1 serving

Per serving (made with unsweetened almond milk): 396 calories, 13 g total fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 12 g protein, 62 g carbohydrate (13 g fibre, 19 g sugars), 0 mg cholesterol, 471 mg sodium


YUM: Try coconut sugar or dark brown sugar instead of maple syrup.

YUMMER: Omit the pecans and drizzle warmed almond butter or peanut butter over the oatmeal. Delish!

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Nicaragua Bowl

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Nov 23rd, 2017

Nicaragua Bowl (gluten free)

with Brown Rice, Beans, Eggs & Avocado



3 tsp butter, divided

½ cup diced onions

1½ cups cooked brown rice

½ cup cooked black beans (canned or frozen)

¾ tsp each ground cumin and chili powder

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro

2 eggs

½ medium avocado, sliced

½ cup salsa (I like it hot!)

¼ cup shredded part-skim old (sharp) cheddar cheese (1 oz/28 g)



In a small, non-stick skillet, heat 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Add onions. Cook and stir until onions are tender, about 3 minutes.

Add rice, beans, cumin and chili powder to onions in skillet. Mix well, until rice and beans are coated with seasonings. Stir in lime juice and 2 tbsp water. Cook and stir for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Transfer mixture to serving bowls, cover and keep warm.

Wipe skillet clean and cook the eggs. Heat remaining 2 tsp butter in skillet over medium heat until it’s foamy. Crack the eggs and gently add them to the skillet. Cook until the whites are set and start to brown a bit around the edges. Slide a spatula under eggs and gently flip. Cook for 30 more seconds.

Remove eggs from skillet and place over rice and bean mixture in each bowl. Arrange sliced avocados beside the eggs, then add a dollop of salsa and a sprinkle of cheese. Serve immediately.


Makes 2 servings

Per serving: 486 calories, 21 g total fat (8 g saturated fat), 19 g protein, 55 g carbohydrate (10.4 g fibre, 5 g sugars), 211 mg cholesterol, 496 mg sodium


YUM: Any egg will do! Scrambled, over easy, sunny-side up or hard-boiled.

YUMMER: Tastes particularly scrumptious when made with guacamole instead of sliced avocado.

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Brussels Sprouts Sliders

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Nov 21st, 2017


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large sweet or yellow onions, sliced thin
  • Salt to taste
  • 20 large brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • a dash of liquid smoke (if desired)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces tempeh, cut into thin slices
  • 5 teaspoons grainy mustard


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, heat for a minute, then add the onions and a sprinkling of salt. Stir frequently, making sure to stir from the bottom of the pan up, to dislodge any sticking onions. They will begin to yellow and shrink in volume, as they darken from yellow to more of a caramel color, lower the heat. Keep cooking until they are at the desired state. This usually takes between 25 and 35 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Cut the brussels sprouts in half from top to bottom, keeping the two halves close together. If you don’t , you will have to search for a pair that fits well together after they have roasted. Mix together two tablespoons olive oil, tamari, pressed garlic, cumin, cayenne and liquid smoke in a bowl to make the marinade. Taking one complete brussels sprouts pair at a time, dip both halves in the marinade. Remove and let sit cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, then turn the sprouts and bake 7 more minutes.
  4. Prepare a second parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the marinade into a baking pan and let the tempeh sit in it for 20 minutes, then turn all the pieces and let them marinade another 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh and set them up without touching on the baking sheet. If there is any reserved marinade, brush over the remaining pieces.
  5. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes, gently turn, and bake for 5 minutes more. Cool onions, brussels sprouts and tempeh for assembly.
  6. Take one half of a brussels sprout, smear with mustard, add a piece of tempeh cut to fit the size of the sprout, add some onions (I used a melon baller for this). Take the other half of the brussels sprout and position it so the two spouts are like the buns on a burger, with the cut sides facing each other, and secure with a toothpick.
  7. Warm on a baking pan in a 325 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Courtesy of The New York Times


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Tricks to boost your immune system during flu season

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Oct 30th, 2017

Old Wives’ Tales or Solid Science?  

Your mother probably nagged you as a child than you care to remember: “dress warmly, you don’t want to catch a cold!” and the all too often “if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll get sick!”.  These may sound like old wives’ tales, but it turns out they are now supported by science!  The common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside your nose than at core body temperature. (2)  Sleep is imperative to a healthy immune system, and it’s not just about the hours you clock on the pillow; it’s essential to have uninterrupted, quality sleep.  Research demonstrates that immune cells known as T-cells get depressed and inflammatory hormones go up if we are sleep deprived. This combination leads to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.


A Health Hack for a Hacking Cough

If you’re looking for a home health hack for a nagging cough that works, try this DIY recipe. All you’ll need are some onions, honey, and ginger!


3 onions thinly sliced

1/2 cup honey (preferably Manuka)

2 thumb sized pieces of ginger root



Place sliced onion on a plate. Grate ginger over-top of the onion. Drizzle 1/2 cup honey evenly over the onion and ginger. Place in fridge for 4 hours – enough to allow the honey to extract the active ingredients from the onion and ginger. Pour the syrup into a glass jar with a tight lid in a dark cabinet, or refrigerator, for up to a few weeks.


Adult dose: 1 tablespoon every 4 hours for anyone over the age of 10.


Child dose:  1 teaspoon every 4 hours. Honey is not recommended for children under 1 year old.
Do this before getting shot in the arm… 

You’ve heard it from your doctor, your mother, and anyone who’s had the flu: get the flu shot!  But if you do, make sure to opt for the mercury free form and make certain that you aren’t experiencing an illness at the time.  Recent research thing is that you can enhance the flu shot by pairing it with certain natural remedies.  5.4 million Canadians are taking over the counter alternative remedies to treat cold and flu but are unsure where the evidence lies.


Along with the flu shot or on their own, there is excellent research in natural over the counter health products where some are proven to enhance your natural killer cells (whose job it is to fight viruses and bacteria) and seem to work to ‘alert’ the immune system into better uptake of the flu vaccine.


Good bugs for bad bugs!?

I normally explain to my patients that the hallmark of a true flu is a high fever for several days, major body aches, extreme fatigue, and weakness. It will put even the healthiest of us horizontal for up to a week and can often complicate with a superimposed bacterial infection. The latter is the reason a doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics even as ‘prophylaxis’ when they think what you have is viral. If you do take antibiotics this season, it is very important to follow up after you have completed the prescription with a few weeks of supplemental probiotics.  But besides this scenario, probiotics are known to boost your immune system by improving your gift health – where 80% of your immune system lives!  Take them daily this season. My recommendation is look for the DDS-1 and HN019 strains and a product that contains 50 billion colony forming units (CFU’s) which also has shelf stability to the end of expiration.


Do D

Living north of 40° latitude – where we all hunker down for a long winter without sun – we get quickly vitamin D deficient.  Check this with your family doctor by asking for a blood test for 25OHD.  You want the result to be between 100-200 ng/ml but most show up far too low leaving them immune compromised. The average person needs about 3,000 IU vit-D daily which should be taken with supplemental a fish oil or fatty meal for best absorption.


Exercise Weakens Immunity!

Exercise and healthy eating are great for your health and general well-being, but did you know that performing vigorous exercise means your immune system takes a dive 30 minutes post-workout!?  To prevent contracting a cold or flu virus during this window while your immune system is temporarily compromised, make sure to wash your hands following your workout – especially if you’re at a public gym (its a cesspool in there!).  I prefer classic soap and water, but if you can’t find soap, hand sanitizer is a good option. And, by the way, wash your hands wherever you are – not just at the gym. Oh ya, and sneeze in your sleeve please! Lastly, to all you pickers – you “nose” who you are – stop it! That is the single best way to introduce a virus or bacteria into your system not to mention spread them around.



  • Valsalva Maneuver
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate 200mg twice daily + B6 100mg once daily
  • Adrenal support (for example: Rhodiola)




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