Monthly Archives

January 2016

Food Michelle's Favourite Recipes


rice krispie treats, Healthy rice Krispie squares, Healthier rice krispie squares, Healthier rice krispie squares recipe, vegan, vegan treats

Who says Rice Crispy Treats are just for kids?

This pumped-up version of the children’s classic is amazing no matter how old you are!  Even though it takes a little more time to prepare, I promise this recipe is FAR superior to the one on the side of your Rice Krispies cereal box.   These Rice Crispy Treats are packed with so many nutritious and healthy ingredients that you can say “bye-bye” to the guilt normally associated with eating something sweet.rice krispie treats, Healthy rice Krispie squares, Healthier rice krispie squares, Healthier rice krispie squares recipe, vegan, vegan treats

Bonus #1 No sugar

Bonus # 2 No butter

Bonus #3 No marshmallows 

“Karma Krispy Treats” is a recipe created by Marni Wasserman.  I fell in love with these scrumptious delights at a class I attended recently.  I’m SO excited that she let me share this Rice Crispy Treat recipe on my WALNUT KITCHEN blog;  it gives me an opportunity to shine the light on someone who has truly inspired me and influenced the direction I am taking in the kitchen and beyond.

a Certified Natural Chef, Culinary (Holistic) Nutritionist, Health Strategist, Author, owner Toronto’s plant-based cooking studioMarni’s life is rooted in healthy eating.  She’s a Certified Natural Chef, Culinary (Holistic) Nutritionist, Health Strategist, Author and owner of Toronto’s first plant-based cooking studio.  But that’s not all!!! She is also the co-host of “The Ultimate Health Podcast” AND recently came out with an app designed to help you start practicing and adopting healthy habits.  It’s appropriately called “Habits”.   I don’t know where she finds the time and energy to do it all!


Two weeks ago, I started a part time program at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, thanks, in part, to Marni Wasserman.  So, it seems fitting to give her a shout out.  Thank you Marni for helping me find my new passion, to learn more about the food we eat, to blog about it, and to try to transition to a more plant-based diet.


Karma Krispy Treats



1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup smooth almond nut butter

1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or coconut nectar)

1/2 cup liquid honey

1 tsp vanilla


1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup dried raisins (I used dried cherries and goji berries instead)

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/4 cup each: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds


2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal (I combined the puffed rice with puffed quinoa)

1 1/4 cups rolled oats



1.Spread the nuts and seeds on a larger baking pan and lightly toast in the oven on a low heat (200˚F) for about 10 minutes


2.In a large saucepan, heat together coconut oil, almond nut butter and rice syrup on a low heat and at the last moment add the honey and vanilla and heat until blended


3.In a separate bowl add the rice cereal and oats and mix in the almond mixture until the grains are well coated


4.Add the apricots, raisins, almonds, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds; mix well


5.Using lightly oiled hands, press mixture evenly into greased (with coconut oil) 8 inch square cake pan.  Let stand for 15 minutes or until firm.  Cut into squares and ENJOY the rice crispy treats!


For more information on Marni please visit:

rice krispie treats, Healthy rice Krispie squares, Healthier rice krispie squares, Healthier rice krispie squares recipe, vegan, vegan treats


Food Michelle's Favourite Recipes


Protein Balls, Energy Balls, No bake energy bites, energy bites, protein ball recipe, energy ball, no bake energy balls, no bake protein balls, protein balls with dates, energy balls with dates


Feeling sluggish?

Protein Balls are a perfect snack to satisfy that sugar boost needed in the middle of the afternoon

No bake energy bites, Energy balls, Protein balls, Energy bites, Protein ball recipe, Energy ball, Protein balls with datesProtein Balls are great to pop pretty well anytime because they pack so much goodness in them like nuts, dates, chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp, coconut oil and raw cacao.  That covers so many of the most amazing super foods, which means that I also eat Protein Balls for breakfast, I pack them to give me energy during a long bike ride and sometimes after dinner for something sweet.


I first learned about this recipe when preparing for a detox cleanse last spring.  The key to eating healthy, I was told, is to have lots of wholesome food at your fingertips so you avoid grabbing something junky to stop the hunger when those pangs hit.  Protein Balls were one of the snacks I wanted to have on hand to help stick with the program.  That was a great strategy and I STILL make batches almost every week.

The best Protein Balls recipe I found comes from the ‘Deliciously Ella’ blog which is massively successful with 2.5 million hits a month.  Ella Woodward is a huge success story. On social media she has followers up the yin-yang as well as a cookbook and an app.  She’s being hailed as the new Nigella (Lawson)! No bake energy bites, Energy balls, Protein balls, Energy bites, Protein ball recipe, Energy ball, Protein balls with dates


The first thing that struck me was how GORGEOUS she is.  I said to myself, “I want to eat whatever she’s eating!”  These Protein Balls are so easy to make. The best thing about them is that they taste amazing. In other words, they don’t taste like one of those ‘healthy’ snacks that you eat just because they’re good for you.  These Protein Balls are truly a wonderful sweet and healthy treat. I highly recommend you try them out.  As usual, when I make a batch I double the recipe.


Makes 15 – 20 balls, depending on size

IngredientsNo bake energy bites, Energy balls, Protein balls, Energy bites, Protein ball recipe, Energy ball, Protein balls with dates

1 cup of Medjool dates (pitted)

¾ cup almonds

¾ cup walnuts or any other nut (I like pecans best)

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of ground flax seed

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of hemp protein powder

1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder


Place the almonds, walnuts (or pecans), ground flax seed and chia seeds in your food processor. Blend for 1 minute, until a flour forms and the nuts have crumbled.

Then, add the remaining ingredients.  Blend for another minute until a sticky dough forms.  If it isn’t sticky, just add a few more dates because Medjool dates vary in their dryness.

Use your hands to roll the mixture into little balls, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes until they are set and then store in the fridge.  They keep for about 3 weeks.



Food Michelle's Favourite Recipes


Easy Leek and Potato Soup, Leek and potato soup vegan, leek and potato soup without cream, potato and leek soup, leek and potato soup, potato leek soup


Why is this THE BEST time of year to make Leek and Potato Soup? Because Leek and Potato soup is a delicious comforting winter warm-up classic.


Vegetable pickings at the farmers’ market are getting slimmer and slimmer.  If cooking with fresh and local ingredients is important to you, then Leek and Potato soup is a no brainer because leeks, potatoes, and carrots are in abundance at this time of year.

For as long as I can remember, this recipe was a crowd pleaser at my mom’s house.  Not only was it yummy for the adults, but it was also a kid-friendly soup because you couldn’t see the vegetables.  This easy Leek and Potato soup is pureed in the same pot you cook it in.  Bonus! Easy clean up.


creamy leek and potato soup, leek and potato soup without cream, easy leek and potato soup, The one-pot wonder has a creamy velvety consistency with the ADDED bonus of NO cream.  In fact, I’ve adapted my mom’s recipe so that it’s completely plant-based as well.

I used to love garnishing this soup with a spoonful of crumbled Stilton Cheese which added a wonderful salty tangy kick.  But, since I’m trying to eat less dairy, I’ve found a great alternative.  A dollop of pesto (I love the ‘Sunflower Kitchen’ brand which has no cheese) and a sprinkling of fresh organic mung beans (I use ‘Kind Organics’ brand).  The combination of the sweet crunchy beans with the tangy basil is AMAZING!  Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.

As usual, I doubled the recipe.  Also, I experimented with a new blue potato variety.  According to the market vendor who sold the potatoes to me, the flavonoids and carotenoids found in them help promote good health! What the heck, couldn’t hurt.  The flavour of the soup was just as delicious as ever.

Leek and Potato Soup


3 medium to large sliced leeks (wash carefully and use white part only)

2 medium sized carrots sliced

3 medium sized potatoes cut in chunks

6 cups of vegetable broth

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of turmeric

salt and pepper

IMG_4904 IMG_4910 IMG_4949In a large soup pot add olive oil and sweat the leeks until soft, then add carrots and potatoes, sprinkle with turmeric and saute for 5 minutes.


Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for a half hour or until the potatoes and carrots are soft.

Puree with an immersion blender.  Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with basil pesto and mung beans just before serving.  Delicious!

leek and potato soup recipe, easy leek and potato soup, potato and leek soup, potato leek soup, vegan potato and leek soup, leek and potato soup without cream





Food Michelle's Favourite Recipes




I’m not yet prepared to give up meat and dairy to become vegetarian or vegan.  In fact, I’ve been stockpiling some of my favourite chicken and beef recipes to share with you in the months to come.  But, based on all the information I’ve taken in lately on the dangers of eating animal products and the merits of eating exclusively plants and whole foods, I can see transitioning to a vegan diet one day soon.  My aunt Milli and mother-in-law Nassa would be proud!  As a foodie, I am determined to find and share recipes that won’t compromise on taste and the joy of eating delicious food.

Mushroom Risotto is one of my all-time favourites.  IMG_4867The creamy ‘al dente’ rice combined with the earthiness of wild mushrooms makes it THE ultimate winter comfort food.  I’m SO excited to share a recipe I’ve been making for years that eliminates the chore of standing over the pot stirring constantly.

IMG_4750Delia Smith’s “Oven Baked Wild Mushroom Risotto” is heavenly and so easy to make.  I first learned about Delia Smith while living in London in my 20’s.  She is one of Britain’s most popular cooks, TV presenters, columnists, and cookbook authors.  The most popular of the 21 million books she has sold and the winner of the 1996 British Book of the Year award is “Delia Smith’s Winter Collection”.  That’s where this recipe comes from.

Two things to mention:  Instead of butter, I used coconut oil, and although this recipe uses a small amount of Parmigiano Reggiano, you can easily leave it out or replace it with a vegan Parmesan ‘style’ cheese.  Give this a try – you won’t regret it!

Delia Smith’s Oven-Baked Wild Mushroom Risotto

Serves 6 as a starter (I like to double the recipe and eat it as a main course)


1 x ½ oz (10g) dried porcini mushrooms

8 oz (225g) fresh dark-gilled mushrooms

2 ½ oz  (60g) butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

6 oz (175g) Italian Arborio rice

5 fl oz (150ml) dry Madeira

2 Tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, plus 2 oz (50g) extra, shaved into flakes with a potato peeler

salt and freshly milled black pepper 

Pre-heat the oven to 300 F or 150°C


Soak dried porcini mushrooms by putting them in a bowl and pouring 1 pint (570 ml) of boiling water over them. Leave them to soak and soften for half an hour.

Meanwhile, chop the fresh mushrooms into ½ inch (1 cm) chunks – not too small, as they shrink down quite a bit in the cooking.

Now melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the onion and let it cook over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the fresh mushrooms, stir well and leave on one side while you deal with the porcini.

When the porcini mushrooms have had their half-hour soak, place a sieve over a bowl, line the sieve with a sheet of paper towel and strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Squeeze any excess liquid out of them, then chop them finely and transfer to the pan to join the other mushrooms and the onion. Keep the heat low and let the onions and mushrooms sweat gently and release their juices – which will take about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the dish in the oven to warm.

Now add the rice and stir it around to get a good coating of butter. Then add the Madeira, followed by the strained mushroom soaking liquid.

Add a level teaspoon of salt and some freshly milled black pepper, stir and bring up to simmering point, then transfer from the pan to the warmed dish.

IMG_4797Stir once then place it on the centre shelf of the oven without covering.

Set a timer and give it 20 minutes exactly.

After that, gently stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, turning the rice grains over.

Now put the timer on again and give it a further 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and put a clean tea towel over it while you invite everyone to be seated.

Like soufflés, risottos won’t wait, so serve presto, pronto on warmed plates and sprinkle with the shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.IMG_4831





Just as a funny footnote.  I tried to make a healthier version of this recipe by replacing the Arborio rice with short grain brown rice and replacing the Parmigiano Regianno with Nutritional Yeast Seasoning.  Unfortunately, it was a failed experiment.  Stay tuned for the healthier recipe in the future once I figure it out!

I wanted to acknowledge my awesome husband Andrew Burnstein who singlehandedly cleans up boatloads of pots, pans, and dishes and always does so with a smile. (not forgetting to ALSO mention his help with the computer AND this blog)  Lucky Me!!! Thanks Andrew xxx

My one and only, Andrew Burnstein

My one and only, Andrew Burnstein