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Category: Dessert

local blueberry crumble

Summer has come early to Vancouver and we couldn’t be more thrilled. This warm, sunny weather has us eager to get outside, head to the beach, and fire up the grill. Summer also has us thinking about all of the amazing seasonal produce Canada has to offer, like juicy peaches, sweet corn, and delicious cherries.

Most of all, we’re excited about the arrival of blueberry season, which  is set to begin three weeks early in BC as a result of our unseasonably warm spring. Blueberries are usually in peak season during the months of July and August. We are lucky to have blueberry farms across Canada, making it easy to shop for these berries locally.

I don’t really like dessert that much.

There, I said it…

I’m weird, I know. Most of the time I would rather have more dinner than dessert.

Maybe that is why I like apple pie better with cheddar cheese on it (something I learned from my grandma)? I am just a savoury kind of girl…. unless, there is whip cream and chocolate involved. That is a totally different story.

dark chocolate tofu mousse

chia pudding, upbeet.caa

The best summer recipes involve either a BBQ or no heat at all. This is one reason I love this healthy dessert in the summer (and every other season), along with its deliciousness of course!

It’s an extremely versatile recipe. You can adapt it to suit any craving…chocolate? berry? maple?

For a chocolaty pudding mix in 2 tbsp cocoa and a little extra sweetener + some chopped dark chocolate!

This deliciously moist and nutrient dense cake has just the right amount of sweetness – with no added sugar! Sweetness is provided from the dates, almond flour and berry sauce. To top it off each piece offers 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. The texture is reminiscent of cheesecake and brownie :)

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake

It’s Christmas time!!

christmas-cookies-3

I can officially listen to Christmas carols without feeling guilty as soon as December 1st hits. This also happens to be my birthday, what a great birthday present!

Although it’s still November, I definitely listened to carols while baking these cookies (look at them, how could I not?), all while secretly hoping no one would come home to witness it.

christmas-cookies

Need I say more?….

I will, just in case the title didn’t convince you to make this!

I actually made this recipe last weekend, but have been too busy to post it, so I have been eating it all week! Which has worked out to your benefit because now I know just how AMAZING this recipe is. I go to bed at night excited to eat it in the morning. It’s definitely a dietitian-approved dessert for breakfast type of meal!

IMG_9979IMG_9981

Once it’s baked I leave a few slices out and throw the rest in the freezer for fabulous weekday breakfasts. I usually prepare it the night before, especially if I am taking a frozen piece out of the freezer. How I eat it depends on if I want something hot or cold in the morning:

Option 1. Put a slice in a glass container, top with berries. Refrigerate. In the morning top up with vanilla/chocolate silk soy milk (or other milk), heat in the microwave until warm. Top with nuts, hemp, flax, chia seeds etc.

Option 2. Put a slice in a glass container, top with berries and fresh/canned peaches (sometimes I pour the canned peach juice in too), top with yogurt, nuts etc.  Refrigerate. It’s ready to go in the am!

It’s a rock hard, brown lump in your cupboard. What is it? … brown sugar of course!

You can microwave it, you can put a slice of bread or apple in with it …. or you can just stop buying brown sugar and make your own! It’s cheaper, easy to do and you never have to worry about your brown sugar going hard. All you have to do is mix in about 1 tbsp of molasses for every 1 cup of white sugar. Sprinkle the molasses all over the sugar, mix well with a wooden spoon and then use your hands to just rub it all together if there’s spots not mixed in.

Depending on how dark you like your brown sugar you can add another tbsp of molasses. Personally, I use blackstrap molasses. It’s high in minerals (including iron) and it has a nice complex flavor. Well, I think so anyway, but it may be an acquired taste.

Molasses is what’s left over when the sugar crystals are extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane juice. The first extraction yields molasses which is still quite sweet and is called “first molasses.’’ Boiling molasses and crystallizing sugar out of it again leaves “second molasses’’ and if you do it again, it is called “third molasses,’’ or “blackstrap molasses.’’

Now the best part of this recipe is the broiled icing. It’s much easier than making traditional icing and you don’t have to let the loaf cool to ice it. This icing keeps the loaf so moist and adds a nice crunch. My cooking lab professor in university told be about this icing recipe in the Joy of Cooking two years ago and I have been wanting to make it every since. I’m so sad I waited so long! This icing is AMAZING. I’m going to try the coconut version of it on carrot cake next!

Feel free to play around with the spices in this loaf. I just guesstimated the spices I used the best I could. I brought the loaf  — if I call it loaf and not cake that makes it better for me right? — into work the next day and all the dietitians were raving about it, demanding the recipe and left me none to take back home!  How rude.

apple sauce loaf

Applesauce Spice Loaf with Broiled Icing

Ingredients:

adapted from all-recipies

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp (or up to 2, if you love it like me) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4  tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Optional: chopped nuts, raisins (I usually leave these out)

Broiled Icing

recipe from The Joy of Cooking

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream (I just used milk since I had it)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts  (pecans, almonds or walnuts) and/or shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

Applesauce Spice Loaf

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; stir into the applesauce mixture until well blended. Add some chopped nuts or raisins if you like! Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a tooth pick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Broiled Icing

  1. Place your oven rack 5-8 inches or so below the element and turn the broiler on.
  2. Combine all icing ingredients and stir until smooth.
  3. Spread all of the icing on the loaf while still warm (make sure it doesn’t all go out to the sides)
  4. Broil until the icing is starting to brown and bubbling all over, the longer you broil it the crunchier the topping gets but be very careful not to burn it (watch it closely- it only takes a few minutes!) – you may have to shift the pan a few times to make it even

Completely cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack (I let it sit out overnight).  This loaf is the best a day or so after baking… it just keeps getting moister!

Enjoy! :)

Lent started this week on Ash Wednesday, February 13. According to Wikipedia, lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry. During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence. Mardi Gras is actually french for fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season starts.

banana icecream

Two of my best friends and my sister have decided to give up added sugar and ultra processed foods for lent. So, I decided to make this post just for them! I love banana ice cream. The texture and creaminess is perfectly delicious. This is a great healthy treat, without any added sugar if you skip the chocolate chips.

Banana ice cream is a perfect excuse to use up all those bananas in the freezer. I was getting a little tired of plan ol’ banana bread (besides my delicious coconut banana bread of course).

If you already have bananas in the freezer (avoid totally black ones — save those for the coconut banana bread), thaw them just enough so you can remove the peel and chop them up and throw them back in the freezer until solid again.

Enjoy!

banana ice-cream

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana “Ice Cream”

serves 1

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 very ripe (but not black) banana, peeled & chopped into ~1/2 inch wide chunks
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1.5 tbsp peanut butter (use the real stuff)
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Milk (or milk alternative), just a splash
  • Chocolate chips (optional)
  • Walnuts (optional) 

DIRECTIONS

Place chopped banana into container and freeze until solid. (I just keep bananas stock piled like this in the freezer for when those banana ice cream cravings hit.)

Once frozen, place the banana in a food processor. (Make sure the chucks aren’t frozen together. Chilling the blade and bowl of the processor in the freezer for ~10 minutes helps the ice cream form better too).

Add cocoa, PB, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pulse several times, scrapping down the sides as needed,  the mixture will start to look like gravel. Pulse a few more times and add a small splash of cold milk and pulse/blend until you reach ice cream like consistency. Top with chocolate chips and/or chopped walnuts or your favorite ice cream toppings. For an extra sweet treat add honey or maple syrup along with the other ingredients in the beginning.

If you over blend it and it gets too soft, just freeze it again and then pulse it a few times in the processor.

Serve immediately.



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- Formerly known as Apron Strings and Healthy Things -

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