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Broccoli and Kale Garlic Noodles

Broccoli and Kale Garlic Noodles

if you’re a busy mom/person, or you have a child/adult-child who still refuses to eat their greens, I definitely suggest giving these garlic noodles a try! You can always tell them that it's a new type of green pesto. With all the garlic and parmesan in it, you could barely tell the difference! Just a friendly FYI… be aware that this isn’t an appropriate lunch when you have to give a really important meeting, or if you’re going on a date. Unless your date eats these garlic noodles, too. Garlic breath is a silent but smelly killer.

Curried Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Curried Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

This soup is creamy and smooth, and has a mild bite to it from the curry and ginger, which helps you stay warm during chilly fall nights. Its bright colours will make you smile, and it will also give you all the beta carotene and Vitamin A that you need to stay healthy and fit during flu season!

The Lazy Student's Lonely Lentil Salad

The Lazy Student's Lonely Lentil Salad

Not too long ago, I discovered this salad from the Salad Samurai cookbook, and I’ve been hooked. I make it twice a week, and it’s packed with healthy fats and protein, as well as spice and flavour. I thought I would share it with you, since you know, I’m just that nice and all. I call this the Lazy Student’s Lonely Lentil Salad.

Easy Fish Tacos with Mango Cucumber and Tomato Coriander Salsa

Easy Fish Tacos with Mango Cucumber and Tomato Coriander Salsa


I can’t believe that in two weeks, September will be here. I definitely haven’t seen the time fly by! It feels like it’s only just been a couple of days that I closed my textbooks for the final time and submitted my last paper…Now, a couple of weeks from now, so many of you will be going back to school. To be honest, I might be one of the only few people out there that actually misses being in school. I loved every aspect of being in university; the excitement of picking out new notebooks, agendas, pens, post-its, buying those oh-so expensive textbooks, getting my schedule and finding all the classrooms. And let’s not forget all those fun nights and weekends out with friends, discovering new things, and also cramming sessions the night before a big exam. Yummy, healthy, easy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

Instead of dreading that first week back, I thought I’d share with you a delicious recipe that is excellent to make for a back to school event or one of those last get-togethers before everyone moves back to campus.

This is a 3 ½ step meal that is so much fun to prepare, either on your own, or as a team with a bunch of friends: who doesn’t like a good old kitchen party?

I’m sharing with you my favourite & easy fish tacos along with two delicious salsas and stuffing ideas!

Mango Cucumber Salsa

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

  • 1 cup of frozen mango chunks, or two fresh mangoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small to half of a large cucumber, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely minced
  • ¼ of a red onion, finely minced
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything up in a nice serving dish and let sit for an hour (if you can) before serving it so that the flavours are all released.

Tomato and Coriander Salsa

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

  • 1 large tomato, chopped into bite size pieces
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of olive oil

Mix everything up in a nice serving dish and let sit for an hour (if you can) before serving it so that the flavours are all released. If you’re not a fan of coriander, you can always use parsley

Easy Fish Tacos

  • 1 to 2 fillets of white fish (Cod, Turbot, Tilapia, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun spice, or chili powder, cayenne, etc.
  • ½ tsp. to 1 tbsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. of brown sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

Mix all your spices in a small dish, and then sprinkle them over a clean plate. Pat your fish fillets in the spices, coat both sides and pat the spices in.

On a hot pan, add in your fillets and cook each side for about 4 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Once cooked, flake the pieces with a fork to let it cool down.

Now the fun part: assembling your fish tacos!

Easy, healthy, yummy fish tacos for a protein-packed weeknight dinner! Perfect if you're heading back to school this September. // The PumpUp Blog

When we made them, we filled our easy fish tacos with the salsas, as well as some yogurt dip (plain yogurt with two garlic cloves crushed in it), hummus, and braised Brussel sprouts (chop Brussel sprouts and pan fry in a tiny bit of butter and garlic) instead of cabbage.

We also served it with a side of bean, rice and corn salad, for which the recipe will be on my main blog this Sunday!

These easy fish tacos are part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Gluten Free Chicken Burger Patties

Gluten Free Chicken Burger Patties


When my Mom was over two weeks ago, she bought me staple foods and things for my freezer, which was pretty amazing. She got us a ton of rice, quinoa, oats, etc., and also four different kinds of chicken cuts, including ground chicken. Usually, I love making spaghetti sauce with ground chicken, but with 30 degree + weather, I did NOT want to be slaving over the stove for hours. That’s when I thought: why not make burgers? To be fair, I know most of my recipes are vegetarian or vegan friendly, but I’m only a part-time vegetarian, and my sous-chef is a carnivore, so I can’t always force her to eat what I like. Making chicken burgers is apparently easy when you can eat eggs and gluten, because you can either use breadcrumbs or eggs to make the patties stick. But when you can’t have either, it gets complicated. I do have a solution for you: gluten free chicken burger patties. Breton recently came out with gluten-free options for their cracker line, with four flavours to date: regular with flax, regular with garlic, black bean with garlic and onion, and white bean with salt and pepper. I’ve tried all four, and by far my favourite is the black bean type. This is great because I was starting to get tired of the rice crackers I was eating.

Why do I mention the crackers? Well breadcrumbs and crackers are similar, as in both dry, crumbly and coarse when crushed, so why not attempt to replace breadcrumbs by gluten-free crackers? It worked! These gluten free chicken burger patties were surprisingly delicious and so easy to make!

Gluten free egg free chicken burgers - Perfect for summer BBQ season! // The PumpUp Blog

Gluten Free Egg Free Chicken Burger Patties


  • 1 box of gluten-free Breton crackers (regular with flax), 2 cups crushed, divided
  • ¼ of a white onion, grated
  • ½ cup skim or 1% milk
  • Spices of your liking
  • 1 pack of ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil

Gluten free egg free chicken burgers - Perfect for summer BBQ season! // The PumpUp Blog


Start by crushing your crackers in a mixing bowl, aiming for a breadcrumb consistency. Since these are crackers, they will go to dust quickly, so don’t be too hard on them. Set 1 1/2 cup of the crushed crackers aside.

Get a clean plate out for your burger patties, as you want to have everything on hand and ready.

In your mixing bowl, mix in your onion, milk, spices, ½ cup of crushed crackers and chicken. It will be quite soupy, but deal with it!

Once everything is combined, form the mixture into patties, and coat them with the leftover cracker crumbs, then place them on your plate. You may need another plate, or a plater to place everything on it, depending on the size of your patties.

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat, and add your olive oil. Fry your patties about 5 minutes per side, until they are completely cooked through. Place the cooked patties on a different plate, so you don’t transfer bacteria.

There you have it! Moist, delicious egg free and gluten free chicken burger patties! Freeze the rest for a quick lunch or dinner option.

This gluten free chicken burger recipe is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

4 healthy allergy-friendly recipes for BBQ season

4 healthy allergy-friendly recipes for BBQ season


Hey guys! If you missed me making a few healthy dips and recipes on the PumpupHQ Snapchat on Friday last week, here are the recipes that I made! They are perfect for BBQ season and super healthy, so you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in some yummy snacks! You guys already know my breakfast recipe, the Scrambled Tofu, because I’ve already blogged about it here on PumpUp, and on my own blog!

This yummy, healthy 10 minute tofu scramble recipe can be whipped up in a jiffy. You can eat it for any meal without having to worry about feeling all the feelings. Breakfast recipe from the PumpUp Blog.

As for the other recipes, I filmed myself making traditional Greek Tzaziki and a Black bean and corn dip.

Traditional Greek Tzaziki

Greek Tsatziki // Healthy allergy-friendly BBQ season recipes from the PumpUp Blog

This is my all-time favourite dip to make, because it’s so easy to make, and so delicious! It’s creamy, full of garlic, and it’s perfect for those hot summer days where you just want to cool off with a light snack.

To make it, you will need

  • 1 large tub of plain yogurt (1%, 2%, 3% MF)
  • Half of one cucumber
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • Squirt of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

To start, grab a bowl, a strainer/sieve, and a bunch of paper towels/paper coffee filters/cheese cloth (if you own one).

Line you’re your strainer/sieve with the paper towels or coffee filters, you’ll want about 4 to 5 layers so the yogurt doesn’t rip through. Place the whole yogurt container in it, and pop that into the fridge for 2 hours, or if you’ve really got time, overnight. This will strain out most of the water from your yogurt, leaving you with really creamy yogurt “cheese”. I was in a hurry this weekend so I just let it strain for 2h, but you can leave it for as long as you want.

Next, do the same with your cucumber! Cut your cucumber length-wise, scoop out all the seeds, then grate it finely with a cheese grater. Place all of the grated cucumber in a sieve lined with paper towels, or to save space, wrap your cucumber in paper towels, place it in a bowl, and put a something heavy over it to press the water out. Kind of like what you do with tofu.

Once the water has been extracted from both yogurt and cucumber, place them together in a large bowl. Chop up your garlic finely, and then stir it in with your lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix until everything is combined!

Black bean and corn dip

Black bean and corn dip // Healthy allergy-friendly BBQ season recipes from the PumpUp Blog

This is another crowd pleaser, great for nacho night too!

You will need

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, mash your black beans with a potato masher, until they are pretty creamy. You can also do this in a food processor to save time, but I find that with a potato masher, it saves you dishes.

Once the beans are smooshed, mix in your hot sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, chopped coriander and your cumin. Stir until everything is combined. Mix in your corn kernels and salt and pepper, and there you have it!


Mixed Bean Salad

Mixed bean salad // Healthy allergy-friendly BBQ season recipes from the PumpUp Blog

I also had a mixed bean salad I wanted to show you guys, but didn’t get the chance, so here it is now! It's one of my favourite salad recipes for BBQ season because it has a relatively neutral flavour and you can dress it up very easily with a few pantry staples!

For this bean salad you will need

  • 1 to 2 cans of mixed beans, or dried beans that you soak over night
  • 1 zucchini, chopped in bite size pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped in bite size pieces
  • Handful of green beans, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 tomato, cubed
  • Herbs
    • dried herbs: thyme, oregano, herbs de Provence
    • fresh: rosemary
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • splash of olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper

In a large pan on medium heat, sauté your zucchini, bell peppers and green beans until they are slightly grilled.

Transfer them into a big serving dish when done. Add in all the other ingredients.

Rinse and strain your beans and add them to the veggie mix. Drizzle the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle the herbs. Toss and it's ready to serve!

We've done another variation of this salad, but instead of using fresh rosemary, we went with parsley, which gives it a completely different but tastes just as amazing!

These healthy allergy-friendly recipes for BBQ season are part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Savour this un-'beet'able gluten free apple and beet salad

Savour this un-'beet'able gluten free apple and beet salad


I can’t believe spring is finally here, and here to stay! I’ve been waiting a long time for this, mostly because it means that my birthday is just around the corner (I'm smirking right now). Anyways! This month’s recipe is a pretty colorful one, which is bound to get you excited about everything! Not only is it flashy, but it adds a punch to your lunches or dinners! You can say it’s a pretty ‘upbeet’ recipe! Haha! Did you get that pun?! Yes, well if you did, you’ve guessed it, I’m using beets (beetroot) as a main vegetable in this recipe! Yeah, you know that gnarly thing that you’re not sure what to do with it, other than dye everything you own, accidentally of course, hot fuchsia. Other than making your obvious borscht (Ukrainian soup that is beet based), I thought of giving you a recipe that showcases this amazingly delicious and somewhat versatile root veg!

Up beet gemma correll cartoon

Sorry, now that I have this out of my system (AREN'T THEY CUTE), I can actually start the recipe!

Ingredients | Gluten Free Apple Beet Salad

  • 2 cups of diced boiled beets (traditional red ones are excellent, but feel free to gran the heirloom ones, they come in yellow!)
  • 2-3 sticks of celery, finely minced
  • green apple, finely chopped (you can take the peel off, but I like keeping it for a punch of colour)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar (regular, or white)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 green onions, finely sliced
  • crumbled feta or goat’s cheese

Beet apple gluten free salad

Before you do anything else, other than turn some music on to dance to while you’re making this, you’re going to want to prep your beets. Usually, beets are sold in bags, much like potatoes, and they need some scrubbing before you use them as well. With a vegetable brush, or a clean (unused) toothbrush that you can use for other vegetables, gently scrub the beets in water. This will dislodge any dirt or unwanted things off the beets before you boil them.

Next, place your beets in a large pot of water (enough water to cover them), and boil them until a fork goes through easily. You will possibly need to add water to the pot while they are boiling, and if the smell bothers you, you can always change up the water throughout. It took me about 1h to boil 6 medium beets.

Now, once they are ready, you want to plunge them in/rinse them in very cold water. This will stop them from cooking more (basically, blanch them). Be careful not to damage the skin. Once they are cool enough to handle, grab a paper towel, or clean dishcloth, and gently rub them. The skin will pretty much slide off on it’s own! No need for peeling.

Gluten free apple beet salad by Zoe Desborough for the PumpUp Blog

There you go, fool-proof way of boiling beets for any other of your needs. You can always bake them  (wrap them in foil and plop them in the oven), but that will alter their taste slightly.

Now chop them up in bite size pieces.

To make the salad, in a big serving dish, mix in your 2 cups of chopped beets, 1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow the package for cooking instructions, but I usually go with a 1 cup quinoa and 1 ¾ cup water ratio… same for my brown rice). Add in your chopped celery, apples, and feta/goat cheese. Follow with your green onions and vinaigrette ingredients (balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice). Season with some salt and pepper to taste and there you have it!

This vegan apple beet salad is excellent as a side, or as a main itself, and will definitely make your taste buds dance with joy.

I will be attempting to make a purple hummus (beet based of course) in the next few weeks on my personal blog, so keep an eye out!

This vegan apple beet salad recipe is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

Drop everything: Try this Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Mousse

Drop everything: Try this Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Mousse


Hey there! I hope you all enjoyed that pancake recipe from last month! It has become a weekly routine to make these on either Saturday or Sunday mornings, and enjoy them in bed with a nice coffee and a movie… Reading this over, it’s making me feel like such an old lady! I guess that I like my little routines. Speaking of routines, my girlfriend and I make a point of making weekly/bi-weekly dinners with some of our friends. It’s a great way to get together, enjoy healthy foods and not break the bank. I’m usually the one cooking the main meal (mostly because of all of my allergies), but everybody pitches in and brings ingredients or snacks/desserts. Last weekend, we had some friends over for an amazing Indian feast (see my blog about Rogan Josh), and for dessert, I thought about making an amazing, guilt-free chocolate and raspberry mousse.

Making a dessert that will please everyone AND is healthy AND relatively inexpensive is always a hard thing, especially when one of your guests, or yourself, has allergies or restrictions. I have a solution for you! If you’re looking for something sweet, but not overly sweet, that is timeless/season-less, and healthy, check this out!

How to make a Vegan Raspberry Chocolate mousse

You will need

  • 12 oz. package of silken tofu (either the boxed kind found in the Asian section of the grocery store, or the regular silken/smooth tofu in the cold section of the grocery store)
  • 1 small container of fresh raspberries (or about a cup and a half of frozen raspberries, thawed)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar (optional)
  • 1 ¼ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (or any chocolate that you and your guests can all eat), melted according to packaging

vegan chocolate raspberry mousse

To begin with, melt your chocolate chips according to the packaging, either in the microwave or on the stove-top. Once it’s melted and smooth, set it aside.

In a large blender, food processor, or anything that blends, blend together your silken tofu, raspberries, melted chocolate, confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup. If your blender is small, feel free to do this in batches.

There you have it. That wasn’t hard, was it? Pour your mix into cups, molds, bowls, parfait glasses, etc. and let it sit in the cold (freezer, fridge, or outside if cold enough), until ready to serve. I suggest letting it sit for at least an hour and a half, until it sets.

The raspberries in the recipe cut the sweetness from the chocolate, making it light, just sweet enough, and creamy smooth. It’s a healthier alternative to regular chocolate mousse, and those die-hard chocolate fans will never notice it’s made with tofu!

You can always make fudge pops with this recipe as well! We replaced the raspberries with a cup of soy milk and made fudge pops too (see my blog for the recipe!)

A neat trick with this vegan raspberry chocolate mousse is that you can also use it to make a cheese-less cheese cake! Use firm tofu instead, and it will give you a nice thick consistency. Place it over a cheese cake crust (I usually go for rolled oats, quinoa flakes, crumbled gluten-free/egg -free/nut- free cookies, and a bit of melted butter, baked for 15 mins in a shallow baking pan), let it set in the freezer, and serve it cold.

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Pancakes


Can Pancake Day be all day, everyday? (In short, yes)

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

In honor of Pancake Day, I’m sharing with you my foolproof pancake recipe so that you too can make delicious and healthy pancakes! This recipe is great, and very easy to double the batch so that you can make a ton of them then store them in the freezer for those lazy mornings, or the mornings that you’re running late!

I had someone tell me the other day that if I was eating healthy, I shouldn’t actually eat pancakes because they aren’t “clean”. Well I’ve got a secret that I’d like to share. What that person said is a big fat lie and I’ll tell you why. Eating clean doesn’t imply that you have to cut out anything and everything. It just means that you should limit or reduce your intake of processed foods and focus on healthier alternatives.

I work out for my mental health just as much as my physical health, so I can feel great about my body, no matter what shape or size it is. I eat very healthily, with my weekly treats (nachos on Thursday pub nights, and a few glasses of wine with my girlfriend). Otherwise, I eat all my veggies and fruits, and limit my intake of fish and chicken for ethical and personal reasons. Making pancakes from gluten free flour, coconut oil, soy milk and a bit of sugar doesn’t mean I don’t eat “clean” or that it’s a “cheat meal”. It only means that I love myself enough to to treat myself with foods that make me happy and that are good for me.

Your fitness journey should be a personal thing, and the goals you set yourself should be your own. Personal behaviour modification only takes place when you yourself actually want to make a change for yourself and not for someone else’s sake (sorry, I’m a Psychology major). If you love yourself enough to change your behaviours for healthier ones, make sure that the decisions you take are for your own good and not someone else’s happiness.

In honor of self-love and acceptance, I challenge you to make yourself a batch of these pancakes and caramelized apples this weekend, and tell yourself “I’m worth it”. Don’t feel guilty; feel happy and free to be eating something so delicious!

First off, really simple pancakes! You can easily double this recipe to make more pancakes and freeze them for when you want something a little sweeter throughout the week.

Ingredients: Gluten-Free Pancakes

  • 1 cup buttermilk (milk and 1 tbsp of lemon juice works perfectly well)
  • 1 cup of gluten free flour (rice flour works just as well)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of plain yogurt
  • squirt of vanilla extract (if your yogurt is flavored, you can omit it)

Whisk all your ingredients together, but not too much so your pancakes don’t get tough, but enough so that most of the lumps are gone.

In a hot pan with a dab of coconut oil, cook your pancakes like you would any pancakes. If it’s your first time, your first pancake will be a flop, so don’t worry too much. Cook it until it starts bubbling and the edges are cooked, and then flip it over for another minute or two, until the inside is cooked. Gluten free and egg free pancakes don’t rise as much as “regular” pancakes, so expect them to be more like crêpes.

Now, for that extra bit of love, you’re going to want to top these bad boys with caramelized apples.

Ingredients :  Caramelized Apples 

  • 2 apples, thinly sliced (you can remove the peel if you want)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

You can use the same pan as the pancakes to make the apples once the pancakes are done. Melt your brown sugar and butter together for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in your apples and caramelize them over high heat for about 5 minutes. Just watch out that you don’t get butter splatter on you, since that stuff burns.

There you have it! Serve your loved one pancakes topped with caramelized apples, a sprinkle of shredded unsweetened coconut, some fresh fruits and maple syrup, along with a nice coffee or latte!


Eat the rainbow with this quinoa salad

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

Hi guys! I hope you all had wonderful holidays, filled with good food and fun times! I had a wonderful time back home with my family, and even with all the amazing food I got to eat during the holidays, the scale barely budged!

I was brainstorming the other day, trying to come up with a good back to school/back to work recipe that would help out for lunch or dinner ideas. I got my inspiration from a dish I had made over the summer, and that I re-created for a dinner party I was invited to.

This summery salad was inspired by a little restaurant in Vancouver, called Rebar. My dad got me their cookbook last year when he was there, and I am so glad to have it. It has the best ideas for fresh salads and meals!

The salad I made is a twist on their Corn and Quinoa salad; I had to omit a few ingredients, since I forgot I didn’t have the required ones in my fridge. Either way, this salad is amazing, since it makes a big batch and keeps very well for a few days in the fridge. Also feel free to add other ingredients, such as feta or goat cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes, cooked chicken breasts, tofu cubes, etc. It’s really up to you!

For the salad, you will need

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked (red, white, black, mixed, doesn’t really matter)
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour), chopped finely
  • 2 green onions or a small handful of chives, chopped finely
  • Half a small red onion, chopped finely
  • Small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped finely
  • Juice of a lemon, or a lime, or half and half
  • Tiny splash (1 tsp and a bit) of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sriracha or 1 jalapeno, chopped finely

Cook your quinoa according to the packaging, it’s fairly foolproof. Once it’s had a chance to cool off, squeeze in half of your lemon juice and a tiny splash of olive oil.

While your quinoa is cooking and cooling, prep your main veggies, and your extras. Once all is ready, dump it all in a big mixing bowl and stir everything together. You’re going to want to do a taste test at this point, and add more lemon/lime juice or spice to the mix, according to your tastes. You don’t want to start off with too much!

If you really want to make it according to the original recipe, you’re going to want to add 2 cups of thawed out frozen corn kernels. It makes the dish a lot more substantial and filling!

Let me know what you think!

Zoe achieved all of her progress without the help of a gym! Here's how- PumpUp Spotlight Series


Zoe (@zoetigran) has a luminescent smile and the warmest heart. She joined PumpUp in October 2013 to keep her heart healthy in light of her family’s history of cardiovascular disease. “I realized how important it was to live a healthy lifestyle and I didn’t want any problems as I got older, particularly with my heart,” she elaborated. “A lot of people in my family don’t lead a healthy lifestyle and are now afflicted with heart problems. I didn’t want the same thing to happen to me. I know I’m young but you can never start too early!”

Being proactive about her holistic wellbeing, rather than being reactive towards problems that arise from unhealthy decision-making, was the solution that Zoe sought when she became a member of the PumpUp community. “Before PumpUp I wasn’t that healthy. I ate a lot of junk food and I’d go to McDonalds every Saturday with my sister,” she lamented. “The only exercise I performed was one hour of hip hop…and that was once a week.” Though she was never overweight, Zoe went on to explain that her changes in her body began to reflect her sedentary lifestyle. “I didn’t drink enough water, and my body had no shape at all,” she elaborated. “In 2012 I realized that I wasn’t healthy but I didn’t know what to do. I started my journey by eating more wholesome food in the summer of 2013. Then I began to think about fitness—although I was hesitant because I had the impression that you could only exercise at the gym.”



Believe it or not, Zoe has achieved all of her progress without the help of a gym. She prefers calisthenics and at-home workouts. “I’ve NEVER been to the gym and I don’t use anything when I work out. I first and foremost want to prove to myself and to others that you can reach your goals without pouring tons of money into a gym membership, machines, and weights,” she affirmed. “You can do it with just you, your body, and your own bedroom.” After she joined PumpUp, Zoe began to realize the benefits of training every part of her body, rather than one single area. She particularly enjoys the Ultimate Lower Body Gainer and the Ultimate Body K-O workouts on the app. “At the beginning of my journey I only performed core exercises,” she admitted. “The rest of my body wasn’t in shape at all. I now make sure that I do full-body workouts as well.”

Zoe more regularly incorporates exercise into her busy schedule as a student and she has a greater flare for culinary creativity. “I like to go through the popular page on PumpUp to look for motivation or healthy food,” she explains. “Healthy food sounds boring, but there are so many ways to make your food healthy AND delicious. After joining PumpUp, I try to perform a 30-minute workout at least five times a week.” Though she does treat herself to McDonalds from time to time, she hardly eats fast food as frequently as she used to. “I also make sure to get enough sleep and drink more water,” she added.


She encourages other PumpUp members to be resilient. “Never give up!” Zoe exclaimed. “It sounds cliché and I’m sure everyone says this, but once you start something, you have to finish it. I promise: You won’t regret any minute of your workout!” She also advises that members shouldn’t let lactic acid buildup discourage them from continuing their workout. It’s all about mentality: “When I felt my muscles burn during a workout at the beginning of my journey, I’d stop completely,” she continued. “That wasn’t the best decision. Now, when my muscles burn, I get excited because I know that I’m really working my body. I exercise ‘through’ the temporary pain.”

In the future, Zoe aspires to become a personal fitness trainer. She explained that she uses PumpUp not only to focus on her own progress, but to help others achieve their goals as well. “Now that I’ve accomplished my goal of living a healthier life, I make smaller goals for my self like gaining more muscle mass and slimming out my thighs a little bit,” she explains.


While Zoe’s best friend Jente helps to keep her accountable in her daily life, she derives inspiration not only from PumpUp’s popular feed, but when other people leave motivational comments on her account. “It feels good when you know that others believe in you,” Zoe said happily.

Zoe’s Favourite Meals 

“When I don’t have a lot of time in the morning I like to put a banana, an orange and a couple (or a LOT) spoons of muesli in the blender. Delicious breakfast!”

Motivational Mantra

"If you work hard, you’ll reach your goals before you even realize"


More About Zoe

“I’m 16 years old and I live in a small city in the Netherlands. When I’m older I want to become a personal fitness trainer in Florida. I have big dreams, but I know I can do it!”

Keep Zoe motivated as she tracks her progress on the app @ZoeTigran!

Vietnamese-Style Rice Paper Spring Rolls with Pretend-Peanut Dip

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp ( @zoedesborough) and on her blog

I hope you guys enjoyed last month’s recipe (Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper Pasta and Spicy Tofu) as much as I did!

I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, trying new types of dishes, straying away from the basics and going more into Asian style recipes. For those interested in trying new things out, go check out my two new favourite recipes, my Asian style Tofu Tacos and/or my Tofu Katsu Curry. Both are insanely delicious and adventurous to say the least!

For many of you, we’re nearing the end of the semester, therefore a lot of our time is spent studying, writing essays, getting ready for exams. Right now, I’m in the middle of writing 3 papers and 2 seminar presentations, so I know how stressful and hard it can be to find the time to eat right and exercise.

For this recipe, I wanted to give you guys a quick, easy and versatile recipe that can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes (I timed myself today and it took a total of 7 minutes). I remembered my mom making these Vietnamese-style spring rolls a few Christmas’ ago as appetizers, and it dawned on me that it would be a perfect lunch/snack/appetizer/dinner! You can really have fun with the ingredients you put in; I love to make mine full of crunchy veggies, it’s so satisfying! As an extra, I’m also giving you the recipe for an amazing dip to go with it. Most of the time, you’ll find peanut sauces as a side dip for these rolls, but since I’m allergic to nuts/peanuts, I found this recipe for an amazing chickpea based dip that really does the trick! I found this recipe in Bonnie Stern’s Heart Smart cookbook… which I keep referring to because, let’s be honest, it’s the best!

Get your ingredients out, set the timer, and off you go!

For the rolls you will need

  • Rice papers (round ones, found in any grocery store) … Follow instructions on packaging to prepare them
  • Cucumber
  • Mango
  • Radishes
  • Bell pepper
  • Fresh mint, finely chopped

Super simple! Julienne your ingredients (julienne is the French term to cut your vegetables into long strips…like matchsticks) into even sizes but you don’t want them too long.

Soak your rice wrappers, according to the packaging, and then place them on a clean, dry and smooth surface. Fill with a bit of everything, then fold them like you would a burrito (bottom, side, top, and then roll).

That’s it. You can make as many as you want, as chubby as you want. And be creative with your ingredients! You can add avocado, carrots, bean sprouts, pois mange-tout, vermicelli noodles, rice, lettuce, etc. This recipe is vegan, but you can always add smoked salmon, canned tuna, crab meat, etc. You name it, you got it! You can really personalize these and that’s the beauty of this recipe.

For the pretend peanut dip, you will need

  • ½ cup of drained and rinsed chickpeas (I like using PC’s Blue Menu canned chickpeas since they have less sodium)
  • 1 tbsp. of smooth Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter… super delicious and great alternative for those that can’t have nutbutters or peanut butter)
  • 2 tbsp. of rice wine or rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Dash of Sriracha… or Wasabi paste

Blend it all in a food processor/blender until you get a nice consistent paste. You can always add a little water if you find it’s too thick.

There you have it lovely people! Super easy, quick and delicious recipe! These rolls are so convenient when you’re super busy and need a quick but healthy lunch on the go, or when you’re sitting at home in your favourite sweatshirt and lucky boxers studying for your exams.

Read Zoe’s blog for more healthy, allergy-conscious recipes and keep clicking through the PumpUp Daily for Zoe’s other recipes!

Roasted Cauliflower and Bell Pepper Pasta with Sriracha Tofu Cubes


This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Hey guys! Oh my goodness, I was so excited to get asked to blog for PumpUp again! I have been on the hunt for new recipes to try out and share with you guys! 

Funnily enough, the recipe I’m sharing with you today was the first “new” recipe I tried after being featured as “Friday Foodie” in September! I fell in love with it, and so have those who have tried it.

I always make a point of sharing with you the sources of my recipes since most of the time, they aren’t originally mine. Also, the cookbooks I reference are great (in my opinion); therefore I think everyone should be able to go check them out themselves.

So this recipe is from Bonnie Stern’s Heart Smart cookbook. She’s in association with the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, and has published many books and newspaper columns and articles. She is definitely a must read, as well as a must try. My mom used her cookbooks when I grew up, so I learned to love the recipes and then to make them myself.

This recipe has a Mediterranean flavour to it, and is super versatile when it comes to adding “extras”! My personal favourite is adding crumbled feta, while it’s still warm so the cheese melts a little, and tossing in some spicy tofu cubes. It would be amazing with blackened chicken or lemon and oregano chicken. I don’t eat seafood, but I do admit that octopus or squid would be delicious with it.

This is a two part recipe, both super simple, but you’ll want to make sure you’re not rushing things.

You will need

  • Whole cauliflower head, washed, florets chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 to 2 bell peppers, washed, seeded and halved
  • 1 or 2 green onions, washed and finely sliced
  • Black olives, pitted and chopped
  • Fresh basil, washed and torn
  • Pasta (I use Gluten Free )


For the dressing

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 

For the extras

  • Crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese, blue cheese
  • Tofu
  • Cooked chicken
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sun-dried tomatoes


Preheat your oven at 400 degrees

First off, wash and cut your cauliflower. In a mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower in the oil and a pinch of salt. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread your cauliflower evenly.


Slice and seed your bell peppers. Line a smaller baking tray with aluminum foil and place your peppers sliced side down.  Place them in the oven on a rack over the cauliflower.

*** To save time, you can always buy a jar of roasted red peppers and use a few slices… Just make sure you sponge out the oil before serving them***


The cauliflower needs to roast for about 40 minutes, until it turns golden brown. You can take it out and shake it a bit half way. When the 40 minutes are done, turn on the broiler and broil the bell peppers until their skin is charred (black and bubbly).

Meanwhile, boil the water for your pasta and prep your green onions, dressing, and sides.

Once your peppers are nice and charred, turn the oven off and pull both the cauliflower and peppers out of the oven. You’re going to want to peel the skin off the peppers and chop them in bite size pieces. You can leave the skin on, but it’s tough and has a burnt taste…I wouldn’t recommend it. BTW, THEY WILL BE HOT. So be careful.

In a big mixing bowl, or serving dish, combine all the cooked ingredients (cauliflower, chopped roasted red peppers, green onions, basil, extras, etc.). Toss to coat them with the dressing. Et voilà! Delicious, Mediterranean inspired supper that will remind you of the summer during these cold days!


As a little plus, I’ll give you my “secret recipe” for my spicy tofu. It’s so simple, and I never measure anything. All you need is a little bit of canola oil, Sriracha (or any other spicy sauce), chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and dried coriander flakes.

Chop up your tofu in bite size piece and place them in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the canola oil, Sriracha, spices, garlic powder and coriander flakes. Toss well to make sure everything is coated. Plop in a pan and sauté away until the tofu turns golden.


You can’t go wrong with this. You can adjust the heat by omitting the chili powder and reducing the amount of Sriracha, so play around with the combination you like! 

I use these spicy tofu cubes in my salads, soups, etc.! They are amazing with pretty much everything!


Read Zoe’s blog for more healthy, allergy-conscious recipes and keep clicking through the PumpUp Daily for Zoe’s September Recipe Round-Up!

This Banana Coconut Date and Cranberry Loaf is Gluten-Free and Delicious


This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe Roundup

This banana coconut date and cranberry loaf is packed with fibre! Better yet, it’s gluten-free. Too good to be true? Nope! Make it for yourself, and maybe only for yourself. Right. Now.

Recipe and more links below

  • 2 cups of oat flour (blend about 3 cups of regular oats/gluten free oats in a blender/magic bullet/food processor, until you get a flour texture)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (YES, you can use olive oil for this recipe, or any other of the aforementioned oils)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar + 1 tbsp. for dusting
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of whatever mix of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, etc. you want
  • 3 tbsp. of oats for dusting

Now, once you have all your ingredients out in front of you, preheat your oven to 350F.

Once your oven is preheating (and you made sure that there was nothing inside the oven), line a bread loaf tin/pan with parchment paper.  I use parchment paper since you don’t need to grease the tins (easier cleaning).

In a big mixing bowl, mash your bananas (for an extra workout, mash them by hand… if you’ve already had your arm workout for the day, go ahead, use an electric beater). Add your sugar, vanilla and oil and beat until creamy (I swear it’s not a good idea to do this right after a hard core biceps/triceps workout).

In a smaller bowl, combine your oat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix to combine.

Add in your oat flour mix gradually, and keep stirring so you can avoid lumps and air pockets. I find it easier adding dry ingredient to the wet ones, than the other way around.

Once everything is combined, fold in your 2/3 cup of whatever (in my case, I mixed unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped dates and chopped cranberries)

Once everything is combined, pour it into the loaf tin. Sprinkle the extra oats and brown sugar over it.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. As I said, it is quite dense so don’t be too worried.

Let me know what you think!

Cheap and Tasty Vegan Pho Soup


This post is part of Zoë’s September Recipe Round-Up. Check out her PumpUp recipes here, follow her blog, and follow her on PumpUp @zoedesborough. 

For this recipe, you will need

  • Thumb of ginger, grated or minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, preferably minced
  • 3 green onions (spring onions), finely chopped
  • Mushrooms (the more the merrier!), roughly chopped (Mix it up! Cremini, Portobello, Enoki, King, Oyster, etc.)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 cups of low sodium gluten-free veggie/chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • Vermicelli rice noodles, follow instructions on packaging
  • Bok Choy (I use spinach because my grocery store rarely carries Bok Choy) leafy parts, shredded

To garnish

  • Bean sprouts (known to carry E.coli and other gross things, wash them carefully, and since I’m super paranoid, I steam mine in the microwave for 2 minutes before serving them)
  • Coriander
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha
  • Gluten Free Soya Sauce

Chop/grate and prep all your ingredients first, it will make your life much easier. Add a glug of vegetable oil to a large pot on medium heat and add your ginger, garlic, onions, and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.

Chop/grate and prep all your ingredients first, it will make your life much easier. Add a glug of vegetable oil to a large pot on medium heat and add your ginger, garlic, onions, and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.

Once things have sautéed, water evaporated and mushrooms browned, add your broth and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add vermicelli noodles…depending on the brand, they take between 2 to 5 minutes to cook. Add your green stuff (Bok Choy or spinach) about 1 minute after you added your noodles

To serve

If you have pho bowls, great! If not, you’ll want a deep bowl and serve with the garnishes on the side so everyone can customise their own soup to their own taste!

This is a vegan (unless you use chicken broth) soup, you can totally add pre-cooked chicken, pork, beef, and tofu.

My mom likes adding carrots and other things in hers, but I stick to this recipe… It’s a great substitute to Chicken Noodle Soup.

Freezer-Friendly Vindaloo


This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe RoundUp. Follow her on PumpUp (@zoedesborough), check out her blog, and the rest of her recipes

I love making this recipe (and a few other Indian recipes) since it makes such a big batch, super flavorful, and easy and quick options for those days you just don’t have time to cook. It is one of the hottest dishes you can order in a traditional Indian restaurant, so beware! This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook. I highly recommend investing in his cookbooks! And if you don’t want to purchase them, go check out his website!

It’s definitely not a recipe you can whip up in 30 minutes, but it is an absolute crowd pleaser!

First step is to make your curry paste (SO MUCH BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT)

Ingredients for the paste


-        2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

-        Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

-        2-3 dashes of dried chili flakes (you can use Sriracha, hot sauce, or 4 dried chili peppers)

-        1 tbsp. turmeric

-        1/3 tsp. sea salt

-        3 tbsp. canola oil (peanut oil is an ok substitute)

-        2 tbsp. tomato paste

-        2 fresh chilies, roughly chopped (I omitted them…. You’ll understand why when we get to step 2)

-        Small bunch of cilantro, washed

-        1 tsp. coriander seeds

-        2 tsp. fennel seeds

-        1.tsp fenugreek seeds

-        4 whole cloves

-        1 tsp. black pepper corns

Ok, so this is actually the most complicated part of the recipe. You will need to pull out a food processor/blender and stick all the ingredients in EXCEPT the coriander, fennel and fenugreek seeds, cloves and black peppercorns… You’re going to want to toast these in a pan for a few minutes on medium heat until they start to brown and smell good…. Add them to the food processor once they have been toasted. Blend everything and set aside in a glass bowl.

Why glass bowl? Unless you want your plastic containers/utensils to be stained with turmeric (you should see the amount of yellow items I now own), you’re going to want to be quick about it! Yeah, you don’t want to reheat this in plastic containers because the color will leech into the plastic…hello orange or yellow tinted Tupperwares…



Ok! So hard part is done! You now have a delicious and spicy paste. Now for the main part…

Ingredients for the main dish

-        2 medium onions, finely chopped/sliced (1 ½ is ok)

-        4 cloves of garlic, minced

-        Thumb size piece of ginger, minced

-        1-2 fresh chilies, minced (REMOVE THE SEEDS IF YOU WANT TO TAKE SOME OF THE HEAT OUT)

-        Fresh cilantro STALKS… yes stalks…. Keep the leaves for garnishes

-        4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

-        Choice of the following

  • chicken thighs, whole or chopped
  • pork shoulder, diced
  • lamb, leg part
  • beef, any cheap cut… stewing beef would be good
  • Tofu, dice it!

-        1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

-        1 tbsp. honey

-        Vindaloo paste

-        Glug of olive oil

-        Pat of butter… think of it as the size of a marble


In a large pot (you’ll want the biggest one you have) on medium heat, add the butter and oil, then the onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro stalks, chilies and sauté for 10 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Turn the heat down if it starts sticking at the bottom… You really just want this to be super fragrant and almost watery. If you’re wondering why oil and butter, it’s because the oil will prevent the butter from burning.

Once that has been sautéed for 10 minutes, add your meat/meat alternative and cook until there is no visible pink, then add your balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add Vindaloo paste, honey and tomatoes and stir to combine. Before putting a lid on it, add 1 1/3 cup of water to the pot.

Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer for 45 to an hour. Stir it from time to time so nothing sticks and burns to the bottom, and add a bit of water if it’s starting to look dry.

In the meantime, you’re going to want to clean and wash your dishes, set the table, and put a pot of rice on to boil. You’re going to want to serve this dish with something that can easily absorb the heat, so I definitely suggest basmati rice, quinoa if you want to change things up. Since we’re doing this gluten free, I won’t suggest that you serve this with the traditional Naan bread, unless you can find some gluten free Naan bread! I tend to avoid any baked goods because of my other allergies (eggs, nuts)… If you can’t find Naan, Greek style pita or just plain old pita bread is fine.

Oh. Your dish should be done by now! Serve your Vindaloo over rice/quinoa or next to your Naan/bread. I highly recommend having a tiny bowl of plain yogurt nearby, a little dollop will help reduce the spiciness. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves!


About Zoë: 

I’m 23, Canadian and bilingual (those who want the recipes in French can always comment on my profile for me to translate the recipes). I started my fitness journey in January 2012 when I challenged myself to get back into shape by setting myself a goal, accomplishing a triathlon that August…which I completed! Since then, I have been determined to become a better me. I have completed a duathlon and four 5km races since then, and dropped around 30lbs. I’ve always had a great passion for food and fitness, and my dream is to one day have my own real cookbook. Living with life threatening allergies isn’t always easy, especially when you’re trying to get healthy and all you see in books and magazines are things that can potentially kill you.

These Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins Will Give You Life


This post is part of Zoë Desborough’s September Recipe Roundup. Follow Zoë’s blog, her PumpUp account (@zoedesborough), and check out the rest of her recipes here

So around this time last year, I was looking for some form of gluten free fall dessert I could make for myself that wasn’t so horrible.

Having a gluten intolerance by itself, it’s manageable honestly. It’s not that hard to avoid nowadays. But add in life-threatening egg and nut allergies. It’s like a pyramid, either you remove two and you’re still stuck with one, or you try to make up for one, and you have two you can’t handle. It’s a pain in the ass, especially when it comes to baking. You can easily remove gluten from your baking recipes, but you’re going to have to double up on binding agents (enter eggs), or use a different type of flour (enter almond flour). You see what I mean? There are plenty of substitutes for each of these allergens, but all of them combined in a recipe usually calls for disaster… I just have a memory of trying to make chocolate brownies once with rice flour and using a potato flour egg substitute… it looked like a pan of soil. Seriously.

Ok, so that was a depressing intro, but don’t fear! All that sadness had to be put out there so I could cheer you up! I have for you a gluten free, nut free and egg free donut/muffin recipe! Now, the original recipe intended for you to make donut holes, but depending on the type of flour you use, your batter may or may not have enough consistency to be shaped into a ball. So we’re going to go with muffins!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice mix (you probably have all these ingredients on hand so don’t go out and buy a pre-made mix)

-        3 tbsp. ground cinnamon

-        2 tsp. ground ginger

-        2 tsp. nutmeg

-        1 ½ tsp. ground allspice (also called Jamaican spices)

-        1 ½ tsp. ground cloves

Mix all together and store in container!

Pumpkin Spice Muffin/donut holes

For the muffin/donut holes

-        1 ¾ cups of rice flour (any other gluten free flour is fine EXCEPT FOR QUINOA)

-        2 tsp baking powder

-        ½ tsp. salt

-        2 tsp. pumpkin spice

-        ½ tsp. xanthan gum… most GF flour mixes have it already as an ingredient, so omit it… my grandfather is coeliac and my grandmother NEVER uses xanthan gum in her baking so its quite optional according to me.. but may explain why I couldn’t roll my dough in balls… to be determined

-        1/3 cup vegetable oil (walnut oil is a good substitute)

-        2 heaping tbsp. (1/4 cup) plain yogurt (vanilla is ok but NOTHING FRUITY)

-        1 tsp. vanilla extract

-        ¾ cup pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)

-        ½ cup milk

Preheat your oven at 350 and line a mini-muffin tin (mine holds 24) with those paper cups, or grease it. In a large mixing bowl, combine all your wet ingredients and combine. In a smaller bowl, combine all your dry ingredients and combine.

Slowly combine the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and stir to make sure there are no air pockets or dry bits. Spoon your batter into the muffin molds. If your batter holds, you can roll them into balls and plop them in the paper cups.

Now they go in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on a rack… Take time to inhale the amazingness they produce… My apartment smelled like a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte for a few hours after I made these babies the other day.

If you made balls, you can dip them in melted butter then roll them in a mix of cinnamon and white sugar and let them sit. I am debating on making these for a Halloween party, but dipping them in chocolate to make like Pumpkin Cake pops kind of things. Yes?

Those who are used to baking gluten free, you’ll get used to the texture fast enough. If it’s your first time subbing eggs, well you’ll notice that these will be a little denser than what you are used to.

Secret. The recipe actually called for 1 egg. But I cheated ;)

I wanted to take the time to thank the PumpUp management for this opportunity, and also take the time to thank all of you lovely people, my PumpUp family, for encouraging me and pushing me to get up and get out on the days I really don’t want to do it!

Oh and if you happen to try any of my recipes, tag them with #healthyhungrystudent I want your feedback!

Follow Zoë’s blog and check her out on PumpUp @zoedesborough!!!

5 Ingredient substitution tips every allergy-conscious cook needs

This post is part of a monthly series by Zoë Desborough. Follow Zoë on PumpUp (@zoedesborough) and on her blog

Zoë’s blog features recipes that are all egg, nut and gluten free.

Before I get into my recipes, I wanted to take this chance to give you guys a few of my food tips when it comes to substituting ingredients in recipes and what you can do to make your life easier.

Gluten Free Flours: A comparison


If you need to find gluten free flour, check the ingredients out. I have been surprised too many times by additives and sweeteners that aren’t necessary

  • Personally, I avoid Robin Hood’s gluten free flour… It’s sweetened with beet sugar, and I swear I can taste the beets., regardless of what I add to the mix
  • Quinoa flour is great if you’ll be baking breads, or want something with a whole-wheat taste… Otherwise, I don’t suggest baking with it, since it is quite bitter and overpowering.  I do have a recipe for quinoa muffins on my blog (Pumpkin Chai Muffins) where it works well.
  • Rice flour is good, but you need to make sure that you have ingredients that will keep it from crumbling (especially if you’re not using eggs)… I only use it if I’m making carrot cake/muffins, zucchini chocolate cake, or my surprise recipe below…
  • Mixed flours are great. My two favourite are Bob’s Red Mill (THEY EVEN HAVE A PIZZA CRUST MIX…and it’s awesome) and Metro’s (brand of Canadian superstore) in-house brand, Irresistible, GF flour mix. Price wise, I go with the Irresistible since its 1kg for about 8$ instead of the pricy BRM for a small amount (I do treat myself from time to time when I can get my hands on it)  
  • Oat flour… make your own! Buy bulk old fashion oats (less processed) and blend them in your food processor or blender until you get a flour texture.

Storing Gluten-Free Flours

Make sure you store them in hermetic, preferably glass, containers (label them properly as well… you don’t want to go through the pain of mistaking chipotle chili power for paprika like I did last time I was in my mom’s unlabelled spice cupboard).

Making the most of your bananas


When you’ve got bananas you know you won’t use, just pop them in the freezer! They make super good post-workout treats cut up with a dollop of nutbutter/sunbutter (sunflower seed butter), super good “ice cream”, and great to add to any baked goods or smoothies!

  • Leave them in their peels, so when you take them out of the freezer, let them thaw out a bit and then just squeeze them out!
  • Chop them up and divide them in portions in little baggies so you don’t need to fuss around with frozen bananas (It won’t require an electric chainsaw to cut a piece off either)

Baking with oils


In general, it is not suggested to use olive oil when baking baked goods since olive oil has a distinctive and overpowering taste that can mask more subtle flavours in your recipe

  • Use Canola/vegetable oil, coconut oil, and even sometime nut oils (walnut preferably)

Butter vs. Margarine: The Great Debate

  • I never, ever, ever, use margarine (WE ARE NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, GETTING BACK TOGETHER….sorry….doesn’t that ever happen to you? You start a sentence and it reminds you of a really popular, or in this case annoying, song?)
  • There is a lot of debate about the two; I usually opt for unsalted organic butter. It is more expensive, but I rarely use it, other for cooking or for when I make popcorn.

Eggcellent substitutes for eggs

If you need to substitute eggs (1 to 2 eggs) you can

  • Use apple sauce
  • Greek yogurt / plain yogurt
  • Chia seed “egg” (1 tbsp. chia seeds + 3 tbsp. water)
  • Flax seed “egg” (1 tbsp. flax seeds + 3 tbsp. water)
  • Milk (if it’s a runny recipe)

My Story


I have the great honor to be featured for this Foodie Friday! I first starting blogging about the recipes I made because my best friend was tired of eating frozen pizzas and take out sushi and needed some inspiration. I’ve always had a great passion for food and fitness, and even more so since I moved out and had to really start looking out for myself.

When I was a few months old, my parents discovered I had a life-threatening allergy to eggs. When I was 20, I discovered I was allergic to many different nuts/tree nuts, as well as certain fruits that have a similar protein buildup, such as cherries and stone fruit (plums, peaches, and nectarines). Last fall, I suspected I had a gluten intolerance, so I cut out gluten from my diet while being followed by a dietician. It is important to note that being intolerant to gluten and coeliac are two different things, and it is suggested to not stop consuming gluten if not necessary. Many studies have been written about this, and I am no expert, but it’s important that we all do our homework when it comes to our health!

If you’ve ever stumbled onto my blog page, you’ll know that I post recipes that are all egg, nut and gluten free. However, not all of these are originally free of these allergens, and I usually indicate it so everyone can make these yummy recipes!

This week, I will be giving you recipes that are all gluten free, but if you’re one of the lucky ones that don’t need to avoid gluten, I have included options for you!

  • First up, a healthy alternative for breakfast, or as quick snack in the middle of the day, this Oat Flour Banana Coconut Date and Cranberry loaf will become your best friend.
  • Second, tired of that old Chicken Noodle Soup? Well I’ve got a spin on a traditional Pho soup, which is just as comforting as it is delicious.
  • Third, you’ll know (if you’ve read my blog, or peeked in my freezer) that I have probably around 3 to 4 different frozen meals in my freezer for the sake of practicality and laziness. As I am writing this, I realized that both my lunch (frozen portion of Chickpea and Spinach Masala) and my supper (Sicilian Chickpea and Squash Stew) will have been out of my freezer. So, I am offering you a version of my all-time favourite Jamie Oliver recipe, his Vindaloo (you can make it vegan or full o’ meat), which is an excellent recipe to freeze off some portions for quick lunches and dinners.
  • Finally, I have a fall treat for y’all with a sweet tooth but that can never find a recipe that caters to your allergies… You’ll have to scroll down to see what it is!

Read Zoe’s blog for more healthy, allergy-conscious recipes and keep clicking through the PumpUp Daily for Zoe’s September Recipe Round-Up!