Registered Massage Therapist
Member of the Massage Therapists' Association of Nova Scotia since 2000

The Halifax Professional Centre
5991 Spring Garden Road • Suite 577
Halifax, Nova Scotia • B3H 1Y6
902 • 580 • 2708


Some people like to have their massage treatments in silence and some like to talk. I've noticed over the years that when there is conversation during a massage treatment, the subject sometimes turns to food. Restaurants are critiqued, the seasonal harvests are discussed and recipes are exchanged and memorized.  Frequently after a treatment, I end up scribbling down a recipe on paper for myself or for a client. So I thought I'd post a few of my favourites. These are all recipes I've made a number of times and love.

Vegetarian. Gluten Free. Can be made vegan.
Makes 8 servings


For the Mashed Potatoes:
6 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped
1/2 cup of milk - your preference of almond, soy, coconut or cow.
3 tbsp. olive oil or butter
3/4 tsp. salt

For the Peas:
3 cups fresh or frozen green peas
1 tsp. butter,  pinch of salt & ground pepper, to taste (all optional)

For the Lentil Mixture:
1 1/4 cup uncooked, green lentils, rinsed.
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1-2 Tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium-sized cloves of garlic, minced or pressed.
1 1/2 tsp. Dried thyme
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp. Salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
3 tbsp. Tomato paste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare a 3 qt casserole dish - lightly oiled or buttered.

3. Cook the Lentils: Combine the lentils with stock or water in a medium saucepan, on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft. Alternatively, you can cook them until the water is gone.

4. Mash the potatoes: Put potatoes in a large pot, with slightly salted cold water just covering the potatoes, on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Drain, mash, add milk, oil or butter, and salt. Set aside.

5. Boil the peas: Place peas in a medium pot in cold water just covering the peas, on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Drain, return to cooking pot and stir in a bit of butter or olive oil.

6. Prepare the lentil filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan, on medium. Add the onions and sauté for about 7 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, coriander, salt and pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Stir in tomato paste. Stir in cooked lentils. Stir to combine.

7. Put it all together: Transfer the lentil mixture into the casserole dish, in an even layer. Add the peas for the next layer, then the mashed potatoes. Drizzle oil or place pats of butter on top.

8. Bake 20-25 minutes until heated through.

9. Broil the top for 5 minutes, until browned.

10. Enjoy!

The only modifications I make to this recipe are that I grate an apple in place of apple juice and I usually add coconut milk or some chopped coconut cream. I always use zucchini in place of okra because I'm not a fan of okra. I love love love this stew. Delicious winter food. I highly recommend the cookbook this recipe comes from, Jae Steele's Ripe From Around Here. Every recipe in it makes delicious food.

2tbsp non-hydrogenated coconut, sunflower, grapeseed or olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 fist-sized sweet potatoes, diced to 1 inch cubes (to make about 3 cups)
2 cups chopped cabbage (any kind)
1-2 medium garlic cloves
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (or other dried or ground chilis), or to taste
3 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
1 cup apple juice
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp to 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped okra (or zucchini or green beans if okra is unavailable)
1/2 cup organic, naturally processed peanut butter (or other nut butter)

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot on medium. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes, cabbage, garlic and cayenne and cook, covered, for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock (or water), juice, tomatoes, cilantro, ginger and salt. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the okra and cook for another 5 minutes.

2. Ladle out a bit of the warm soup broth into a small bowl, and mix in the peanut butter to create a smooth paste, then return it to the pot and stir well to incorporate. Simmer on lowest heat for a minute longer to allow flavors to meld. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

from Jae Steele's Ripe From Around Here

Here's a good, basic veggie burger. Once you get the hang of making it, you can experiment - maybe use lentils instead of kidney beans. Use parsley instead of - or in addition to - cilantro. Use rice instead of breadcrumbs. Leave out the chilli flakes if you don't want it spicy. Serve on its own or on a bun, with the works, with some melted cheese. Make a salad for the side or some garlic roasted potatoes. Have fun!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded & chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (powdered or whole & crushed. Dry toasted in a pan makes it even better)
1/4 - 1/2 dried red chilli flakes
2 x 13 1/2 oz cans black beans or red kidney beans, well drained.
4 tablespoons cilantro roughly chopped
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
canola oil or olive oil for shallow-frying.

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add the onions, cover and fry for 5 minutes. Add the red bell pepper & garlic, stir, cover and cook for further 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cumin seeds and chilli flakes, cook for a minute or two longer, then remove from the heat.

2. Add the beans to the onion mixture and mash with a potato masher. Add the cilantro and breadcrumbs to make a soft mixture that holds together. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces (or however many you like) and form into burger shapes. Shallow fry in oil on both sides until crisp - 2-3 minutes on each side.

From Vegetarian Supercook by Rose Elliot. Parenthesis mine. An all-around excellent cookbook.

Thai curry is one of my favourite foods.  I've always made it with pre-packaged curry paste mixed with coconut milk, but in an effort to increase the amount of whole, unprocessed food in my diet, I decided to try making it from scratch and was really happy to find this great recipe.  (I was also pleased to find out how easy it is to make)

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Yield: 1 cup (enough for 1 large curry)

1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1-3 green chillies, sliced (Thai green chillies OR jalapeno)
1 shallot, sliced, or 4 Tbsp. minced purple onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves & stems
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp. coconut milk (enough to blend ingredients together)

Place all ingredients in a food processor, chopper, or blender.  Process well to form a fragrant Thai green curry paste. Taste-test it for salt and spice. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Add more chilli for more heat. Your curry paste is now ready to be used. You can bottle up any leftovers and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze thereafter. ENJOY!

To Make a Thai Green Curry with this Paste:
Heat a wok or large frying pan or pot over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add the green curry paste. Stir-fry until fragrant (1 minute), then add 1 cup stock plus your curry ingredients (tofu + vegetables). Simmer until ingredients are cooked, gradually adding 1/2 to 1 can coconut milk until you're happy with the taste/thickness/amount of sauce.  As you're cooking, you can also add 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (left whole) as well as any leftover lemongrass stalk pieces for even more flavour.

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 ½ cup water
pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
¾ cup (1/2) coconut milk
¾ cup milk (cow’s / almond / rice / soy)
¼ cup raisins
½ cup diced apples

In a medium sized pot, put in: quinoa, water, salt, cinnamon – bring to a boil.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Add coconut milk, maple syrup, milk.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.   Stir in apple and raisins, let sit for 10 minutes.

This soup is really easy to make. Delicious & energizing. You won't believe how good it tastes.  Cooking time - 1 hour, 30 minutes. 4-6 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
9 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1/2 pound kale or collard greens or any kind of greens, really...
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped mint (optional)
Salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until vegetables are wilted, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes, stock, and minced chili flakes. and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until potatoes fall apart, about 1 hour. To speed up this process, the potatoes can be mashed with a potato masher.

While the soup is cooking, roll the kale leaves and chop into fine slivers, or shred in a food processor. Set aside.

When the soup is thick and the potatoes have broken up, whisk to break up the remaining potato pieces. Stir in the shredded kale and simmer until the leaves are softened but still slightly crunchy and flavors have melded, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, mint, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

- modified from Emeril Lagasse.

1/2 cup margerine or 1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 dry sweetener (brown or white sugar)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 chopped nuts (I guess these go on top, but I haven't used them yet.)
12 cupcake paper liners

In a small saucepan on a medium heat, melt the margerine. Once liquified, stir in the peanut butter, graham crumbs and sweetner. Spoon about two tablespoons of peanut butter mixture into muffin tins lined with paper liners (important!). In a different small saucepan on medium heat, melt the chocolate and soymilk together, stirring often. Spoon over top of the peanut butter cups. Set in fridge for six hours before serving. (Ha ha ha! Like I can wait that long! An hour in the freezer does the trick.)

From 'How It All Vegan' - Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer (parenthesis - mine)

The measurements aren't really important - you can't really go wrong with any ratio of these ingredients.  Pesto is great on pasta, hot or cold. You can use it for sandwiches or just on toast or you can toss vegetables with it.  Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts and/or cashews
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated (2/3 cup) - (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop motor and add nuts, cheese (if you're using it), salt, pepper, and basil, then process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated.

 2 cups dry kamut kernels
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup whole walnuts
2 medium carrots, julienne fine
1/2 English cucumber, julienne fine

Cook kamut kernels until tender.
Toss ingredients together.                                                                                  

Oh, how I love this cake.  Sometimes I think I should make another cake for birthdays, but I always come back to this one.  One time I doubled the recipe and in between the two layers I put raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and a splash of maple syrup.  With the ganache on top?  Oh, my.

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water or brewed coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar
Often I add a splash or some kind of liqueur to the batter - almond or vanilla flavoured, or Grand Marnier.

1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate (Use GOOD dark chocolate for best results!)
3/4 cup hot water, milk, soy or almond milk or half & half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Mix oil, water (or coffee) and vanilla.
Add wet ingr. To dry ingr. When batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and vinegar are reacting. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Reset the oven to 300 degrees. For the glaze, melt the chocolate in an ovenproof bowl or skillet in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir the hot liquid and vanilla into the chocolate until smooth. (I have also discovered that if you pour the cold liquid into the pot with the cold chocolate & heat them up together, it works well.)  Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

For cupcakes, follow the same recipe, pour batter into cupcake pan lined with paper baking cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

- From the cookbook "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home"

Muffin Madness
I haven't made this recipe since I stopped eating eggs - I will have to try it with replacements! I recommend experimenting with different flours - spelt, corn, kamut, etc. It's a great, light recipe for frequent use because it doesn't call for butter.

2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4-1 cup brown sugar
1/2 pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

The basic wet & dry ingredients are not intended to be a recipe for plain muffins. Always choose one of the variations.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix eggs, oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in fruit or vegetable of your choice and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt (and any spices your variation calls for.). Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter. Fold in the additional ingredients called for in your variation. Spoon the batter into oiled muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown


APPLE: Add 2 cups of grated tart apples and 1 teaspoon of freshly grated lemon peel to the wet ingredients. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients. If you like, fold 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter.

BANANA: Add 1 1/2 cups of mashed ripe bananas to the wet ingredients. If you like, fold 1 cup of chopped nuts and/or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the batter.

BLUBERRY - LEMON: Add 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries and I tablespoon of freshly grated lemon peel to the wet ingredients.

ZUCCHINI: Add 2 cups of grated zucchini to the wet ingredients, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom to the dry ingredients. Fold 1/2 cup raisins or currents, and 3/4 cup of chopped nuts in you like, into the batter.

- From the cookbook "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home"

I try to make this make granola every week.  I usually double the recipe and make it in an enormous iron frying pan.  I have a rule with myself about this - when the granola goes in the oven, I stay in the kitchen until it's done, because I will forget about it.  And a double batch of burned granola is a sad thing.

3 cups of oats
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

OPTIONAL - any or all of the following:
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup raisins (and/or dried cranberries - yum!)
1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

Pour the oil in a large iron frying pan or deep baking dish. Stir in the honey or maple syrup. Add the rest of the ingredients except the raisins. Stir. Bake in the frying pan at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Let the granola cool, add raisins and store in an airtight container.

Jae Steele writes:  I was pretty skeptical about the idea of a dairy-free version of this childhood favourite, but at first taste it became a staple in the first couple years I was vegan. Having not had it in a good long while, and it being a rare occassion that I had some fresh wheat-free bread in the house yesterday, I whipped up a batch. Not only is it delicious, but if you're using Red Star yeast flakes, it's a great way to get some vitamin B12 in yer bod.

(This posting for Sara!)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, crushed or grated
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
a few twists of ground pepper
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tbsp. olive oil
non-dairy, non-GMO margarine, for spreading
8 slices whole grain bread

1. In a bowl, combine nutritional yeast, flour, salt, pepper, garlic and water. Stir mixture constantly in a skillet over low heat (like making gravy). Once it gets pasty, add the oil (and a touch more water if necessary). Once the oil is incorporated, turn off the heat.

2. Margarine one side of each slice of bread. Take four of the slices and slather the other half with the "cheese". Slap the other four pieces of bread on top of the "cheesy" ones, marg side out.

3. Fry up the sandwiches until golden brown on each side. Slice sandwiches in half and serve with ketchup and pickles. Mmmmmm! (Makes 4 sandwiches.)

From the amazing Jae Steele !