Holiday Gift Guide and Japanese Dumpling Soup Recipe

This is one of my favourite times of year; even though it’s cold outside there’s something special about the holiday season…putting up decorations, giving gifts, gathering with family, enjoying delicious food, celebrating traditions and making memories.

In this post I want to share with you a few gift ideas and some of my holiday traditions to get you into the spirit.

Home-Made Gift Ideas

Instead of going out and buying unhealthy treats or booze (we all know there will be plenty of that anyways!) why not make something healthy & delicious for your friends and neighbours? A few of my go-to gifts are: a big jar of my Healthy Whole-Wheat Granola, a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge or Oh She Glows famous Magical Blueberry Vanilla Chia Seed Jam with a batch of Maple-Sweetened Pumpkin Muffins – with flavour of nutmeg and cinnamon, these muffins taste like Christmas. It’s nice to receive something healthy, home-made and delicious during the holidays, plus putting in the effort to make something personalizes the gift, and shows you care.


Store-Bought Gifts

If you don’t have time to make something, a few of my favourite store-bought gift ideas include: anything from David’s Tea Holiday Gift Guide – all of the teas are delicious and seasonal with flavours like gingerbread cookie and sleigh ride. The holidays can be busy trying to fit in shopping, parties and travelling, and you don’t want the stress of the holidays to show on your face. A perfect gift is my new favourite product: Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum; an all-natural blend that boosts collagen & elastin and helps to reduce puffiness and diminish dark circles.



One of my favourite holiday traditions is when we all (used to be 5 and now it’s 11, soon to be 13!) gather together on Christmas Eve, go to church at 5pm with the kids, come home and open presents while eating delicious food. For the last few years, my parents make a big pot of Japanese dumpling soup (in the Asian culture, dumplings are traditionally served on New Years day to bring you good luck for the year). It’s easy, feeds a big group, has great flavour and warms you up (recipe below). We also make a batch of roast chestnuts and Christmas morning is my dad’s famous Belgian waffles and my mom’s easy version of eggs benedict (I’m not sure what recipe she follows, but it’s similar to this Canadian Bacon Cup Benedict recipe).



Despite the business of the holiday season, make a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy your traditions with family & friends. Happy Holidays!

Japanese Dumpling Soup
Adapted from Chatelaine
Serves 4-6


2, 2-in pieces of fresh ginger, minced
1 250g pkg of sliced cremini mushrooms
3 stocks of celery, diced
2, 900-ml cartons of organic chicken broth
2 tbsp. organic tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1/2 package of baby bok choy junior
2 green onions, diced
15 – 20 Asian dumplings (I used Bibigo Organic Chicken & Vegetable Dumplings from Costco)
1 cup frozen organic peas



Peel and mince ginger, and chop the celery. In a large pot, combine broth, tamari, sesame oil, ginger, mushrooms and celery. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down and simmer for 8-12 minutes.*

*Add dumplings at any stage according to package directions.

Meanwhile, thinly slice bok choy and onions. Bring soup back up to a boil, stir in bok choy, onions, peas and dumplings for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Take soup off the heat, and keep it on low until ready to serve.

About Lauren

Welcome! I’m Lauren Follett. A couple years ago, while working in the corporate world of downtown Toronto, I decided to pursue my passion for healthy living and enrolled in the Distance Education program with The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I studied on my lunch breaks, after work, on the weekends, and while travelling through South America. The world of health & nutrition can be confusing. There are a lot of mixed messages out there when it comes to health: low fat, low calories, sugar-free, low-carb, gluten-free…leaving you confused, frustrated, and wondering where to start. That’s where I come in. As a Registered Nutritionist, my goal is to help you accomplish your health & wellness goals. I don’t believe in diets or quick fixes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle, which requires you to get educated, and learn how to make healthy choices. I’m dedicated to working closely with my clients to teach & motivate them to make healthy choices, discuss healthy living strategies and create customized nutrition programs that fit with their life.

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