Jesse Lane Wellness is a go-to resource for tantalizing recipe inspiration and reclaiming your health through food. But it wasn't always smooth sailing in the health department for the site's creator. Jesse struggled with IBS and food allergies on and off for most of her life, finally prompting her to change tracks from engineering to Holistic Nutritionist. Now, she is armed with an arsenal of great ideas on how to create amazing meals made with only whole foods. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Jesse believes that food can have incredible healing power and that eating this way can not only be easy and fun, but also delicious. Be sure to pick up a copy of her eBook Healthy Dairy Free Desserts. There is something for every dietary need: vegan, gluten-free or paleo. You’ll wish you started eating healthier years ago.
If you could describe your blog in three words what would they be?
Delicious, healthy and vibrant.
What inspired your blog name?
My blog used to be called Out To Lunch Creations, but when I decided to quit my engineering job to do holistic nutrition full time, I knew I had to rebrand. I thought about just using my name, but I was about to get married and change my last name so it felt weird to change it prematurely. I decide to go with my first name (Jesse Lane) and add “wellness” so that people knew what industry I’m in. That is how Jesse Lane Wellness was born!
If you could describe your cooking style in one word what would it be?
May I use two words? I always say my cooking style and recipes are holistically delicious. I cook with healthy whole food ingredients, but I always make sure my food tastes delicious.
Why are you so passionate about healthy eating?
I was diagnosed with IBS when I was in university and decided to take a holistic approach to my health when the doctors were no longer able to help me. I worked with a holistic practitioner who gave me the guidance I needed to heal my leaky gut. A big part of my healing journey was cleaning up my diet and avoiding foods I was allergic to so I could give my digestive system time to heal. I have experienced firsthand the incredible healing power of food.
What is your favorite meal of the day?
Does dessert count as a meal? I am a sugar-a-holic and adore dessert! I love to enjoy healthy desserts made with alternative sweeteners, packed with fiber and full of whole-food ingredients that nourish my body.
What’s an ingredient that you just can’t live without?
Ooooh, that is a tough one! I think I have to say coconut oil because it is so versatile. I love using it as a binder in raw desserts and as a butter substitute in baking. It makes fantastic frying oil for anything I’m cooking on high heats as well. It also makes an awesome moisturiser!
This year I’ve been eating more...?
Desserts, if that is even possible! I have been busy recipe testing and photographing all of the dairy-free dessert recipes for my cookbook. It got a little out of hand so I started giving the desserts away to friends and family whenever they came over.
Most overused ingredient of 2015?
I would have to say kale or quinoa. It used to be reserved for “healthy foodies” but now I’m seeing both on menus all over the place. But I think it is awesome that people are getting more interested in healthy eating!
I think everything tastes better with...?
Nutritional Yeast, aka nooch. I sprinkle nooch on pretty much anything savoury and add it to all of my sauces to add a tangy deliciousness. I even include it as the secret ingredient in some of my desserts.
If you had to live off of one protein, one vegetable and one fruit what would they be and why?
Eggs, potatoes and blueberries. Eggs because they are so versatile, you can do just about anything with eggs so it would take a long time to get tired of them. Potatoes because I LOVE POTATOES. I could eat potatoes every day for a year and not get sick of them. From a nutrition perspective, I would probably choose a dark leafy green over potatoes though. Blueberries because they are delicious, high in antioxidants, and bursting with vitamins and minerals.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My Vitamix, of course! I use it to make smoothies, nut/seed butter, nut/seed milk, flour, soup, raw desserts; the list goes on and on.
Cookbook you can’t live without?
I do a lot of my cooking on the fly so there isn’t one cookbook that I turn to time after time, but I do really like the Oh She Glows Cookbook. The recipes turn out every time and are so yummy.
Are there any food blogs that YOU follow?
Who would you consider a culinary icon?
I love Gordon Ramsey. I’m a big fan of Master Chef, and I would LOVE to eat at one of his restaurants one day.
Favorite late-night snack?
Popcorn! I don’t like eating sugar or chocolate late at night, but I love air-popped organic popcorn topped with coconut oil, salt and nooch.
Sweet or Salty?
SWEET! As I mentioned I love my dessert.
What are the biggest challenges and greatest rewards of being a food blogger?
The biggest challenge is continuously coming up with delicious recipes and not getting upset when a recipe totally flops. The biggest reward is hearing from someone who likes your recipes! I get so excited when readers leave comments letting me know that my recipes have become a family favorite. I also love it when readers make my recipes and share pictures of them.
One piece of cooking advice you’d like to share with our readers?
Before you decide to make something, make sure you have all of the ingredients. There are so many times when I don’t do this, and halfway through baking realize that the ingredient I assumed I had is nowhere to be found. Sometimes I’m able to make substitutes, sometimes I run to the store to pick up what I’m missing, and other times it ends up in the trash.
Do you have any recipes that stand out for being epic fails?
SO MANY! I think the funniest was a batch of kombucha I forgot about on the counter. It had fermented so much that it totally exploded when I opened it. I got completely drenched in kombucha and it permanently stained my ceiling!
What’s next in your career?
I just published a digital cookbook Jesse Lane Wellness Healthy Dairy Free Desserts which is really exciting! It contains over 30 healthy dessert recipes along with healthy baking substitute tips and tricks. I have five more cookbooks planned for the next few years, and I’m so excited to start working on the next one.
Finally, can you share one of your favorite recipes?
I would love to share my Pear Apple Pie Crumble Recipe from Jesse Lane Wellness Healthy Dairy Free Desserts. It contains apples and pears nestled in a flaky spelt crust topped with a sweet crumble. I like to use spelt flour in this recipe because it adds a delicious nutty flavor to the crust.
Pear Apple Pie Crumble
- 1 ¼ cups spelt flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp organic butter or coconut oil, chilled and cut into cubes
- 3 to 4 Tbsp cold water
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 large apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 large pear, peeled and sliced
- Crumble Topping Ingredients
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup spelt flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup oats
- Mix 2 ½ cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or by hand. Cut 3/4 cup of chilled butter/coconut oil into chunks and add it to the food processor and process until the butter/coconut oil is the size of peas. If you are mixing by hand, use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the coconut oil into the flour, do not stir.
- Slowly add 3 to 4 Tbsp of cold water until the mixture holds together.
- Form the pastry into a disk and place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
- While the crust is chilling, mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add the apples and pear; toss to coat.
- Mix all the topping ingredients together a separate bowl and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and place on a large sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin until it is 1/8 inch thick and roughly 12-inches in diameter (for a 9-inch pie plate). While you are rolling out the dough, the parchment paper may slide around; however, the parchment paper makes for a very easy transfer into the pie plate. If you do not wish to roll out the dough on parchment paper, use a floured surface.
- Place the rolled out dough on the pie plate and trim the edges leaving an extra half inch. Tuck the extra dough underneath itself to form a thick edge and flute with your first two fingers and thumb.
- Add the pear and apple mixture, top with the crumble topping and bake at 350F for 50 minutes. Check the pie after 20 minutes and if the crust edges are getting dark cover them with foil. Cover the rest of the pie for the last 10 minutes of cooking if the topping is golden brown.
Check out Alexis Nilsen’s blog Cow Crumbs where she is proving one recipe at a time that gluten-free can be so much more than rice flour and tapioca starch.