Wednesday 29 October 2014

Peach & Plum Galette with Maple and Brie

In baking as in life, there is a cost to everything.

Sometimes that cost is amplified ten-fold by failed attempts, poor decision making, lack of time, lack of light and oh -- lack of patience. 

Sadly my peach and plum galette suffered from all of these afflictions. I have never denied to struggle in the kitchen and the number of fails I have in creating a recipe can often outweigh the successes. Just depends on the day, I suppose!

So when I set out to create a recipe using Castello cheese products -- I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Everything was going beautifully -- so beautifully! I mapped out all the details. Created a beautiful flavour profile...bought said wonderful ingredients...

What could go wrong?

Well let's start with the cheese, which is probably the only thing that went right straight away. Creamy, soft, delicate and beautiful. Brie is my absolute favourite gourmet cheese. I always feel so fancy. And the Castello cheese did not disappoint. I really loved the SIZE of this cheese more than any other cheese. It's perfect for a little cheese tray but not so big that I'd be worried it would go to waste. So thank you Castello for allowing me the opportunity to try the cutest creamy brie cheese I have ever seen!

But then things got weird....not right away, but eventually they got MESSED UP!

Beautiful figs, plums and peaches arranged on my wonderfully healthy pie dough recipe all seemed to go well. But then the weather changed to a dark and cold ominous shade of grey and I could not capture any beautiful images. Then my camera battery died so I had to wait to charge it. While I waited I decided -- hey you know what? I should make some fancy coconut sugar caramel sauce to go on this! But then I forgot about the caramel and when I took it off the stove top it began to harden really quickly. Which caused me to pour it out very quickly which then caused me to burn my entire finger with these weird hard caramel contraption I created.

Suffice it to say between the lack of good photo opportunities and weird caramel mishap, camera disaster and overall fatigue I was disheartened.

But at the end of it all, the galette itself was not to blame. And it is in fact the only part about that fateful Saturday that is worth smiling about.

So I shall share with you the recipe in hopes that you will learn to be patient with yourself and with me. Some days you just have to roll with the punches! So I apologize for the lack of photos -- but the galette itself is what this is really all about, right?

Monday 27 October 2014

Healthy Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

The oatmeal cookie. Beloved my many, betrothed by some -- regardless of your viewpoint I think we can all agree that they are one of the all-time cookie classics.

Between the oatmeal cookie lovers there are two separate camps: soft and chewy or crunchy. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to cookies -- okay maybe a few -- but not many. These cookies fall somewhere in between the soft cookie and the chewy cookie. A nice firm crisp exterior with a warm soft middle.


Cookie hater or not you will want to get on this. I did include raisins in mine plus some other things you may choose to omit. For a 'protein' version of the cookie you could always substitute 1/2 cup of the flour with a brown rice protein powder like SunWarrior.

I actually don't like raisins at all but in this recipe I LOVE THEM! In fact I love these cookies all together. They warm the entire house and they are delicious right out of the oven and after they cool they crisp up a little which is delicious, too!

My most prevalent oatmeal cookie memories are definitely Dad's Oatmeal Cookies. Not MY dad, of course but the brand. I don't think my pops would make oatmeal cookies that were edible...sorry daddy-o! We used to get giant boxes of those cookies from Costco when I was younger and I was obsessed with them.

So cookie fans unite, and let's makeover this classic cookie!

Friday 24 October 2014

Spooky Halloween Cake Pops

I like to pride myself on my ability to roll with the punches in the kitchen. There is usually a window of opportunity where I can make something turn from a huge disaster to something delicious.

But sometimes even I miss that window. Or I didn't know there was a window -- so I just keep on trucking and at the end realize I have a huge disaster on my hands. In this case I had a huge cake sized/flavoured gummy bear. Which I am sure you are aware was not the intention!

I do not do well with mistakes, friends! I ruminate. Ohhh boy do I ruminate! So I did lots of research on what would have went wrong. The problem with making your own recipes is -- it's hard to tell! I could have went wrong almost anywhere and I had no idea what to do. Not to mention I have three huge barriers to baking a proper cake: no gluten, no refined sugar and no butter!


So like the type-A perfectionist that I am, I complained and stressed and paced and then....fell asleep. And when I woke up the cake recipe had worked itself out in my head and I finally had a CAKE! A proper CAKE! A big fluffy beautiful vanilla flavoured cake! That is, of course, coloured a gruesome green ;)

This was really important to me because I wanted a recipe I could rely on that was not my protein cakes (which you can find here!). Those are delicious, of course, but sometimes I just want a simple cake -- not everyone has or wants the protein in there and it can be tricky to work with protein. I just wanted something that everyone could make! When I took this cake out of the oven today all I could think of was ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED! DING DING DING DING DING!

I cannot really describe to you what happened the first few times around -- but it was more or less a flat, gummy/play-dough textured chewy pancake gummy bear round thing. Honestly, that is the best way to describe what happened. I realized that I had to adjust my flour amount, oil amount, liquid amount, pan size....pretty much everything! When I went to make the crumbs for the cake pops I literally COULD NOT break the cake apart. It was so sad.

Anyways enough about my troubles and onto CAKE POPS! I know the instructions are long so I hope with pictures and instructions it will help. Also note that YouTube is  a GREAT resource for technique so if you type cake pops in the videos will help all this make sense.

I LOVE CAKE POPS! I just love how cute and detailed they are. Also they are delicious. Did you know the concept was invented by this wonderful lady at Bakerella? Her site and books are honestly the cutest things I have ever seen.

So well I am nowhere near her talent levels -- I wanted a gluten free cake pop that could be enjoyed on Halloween! And I used some of the usual suspects: mummies and black cats! And monsters for good measure. But you can do any design and shape you want! Or just make round ones. The world is your cake pop!

So let's get to talking about this recipe, shall we? After all... that is the culmination of all my cake fails. And speaking of CAKE...this is the best cake I have ever made. Even if you don't want to make cake pops the cake itself is DELICIOUS! And that's the most important part, after all!

Monday 20 October 2014

Lightened Up Cannoli Cups

Cannoli has been on my mind lately. Quite a lot indeed. Like a lost friend with whom I share such wonderful sweet memories that have long since faded away.

Yes, I feel that poetically about cannoli.

Mostly because there is nothing about the crispy, creamy, sweet, delicious Italian dessert that I don't like.

Cannoli comes around so rarely in my life that it is a thing to be treasured. And I have not had it very many years. Which as I am sure you can imagine, is a thing of sadness and shame.

So when I was asked to test out some TreStelle products -- the first thing that came to mind was RICOTTA!

And the second thing that came to mind was CANNOLI!

A lightened up miniature version of the Italian classic dessert. And these, to me anyway, are on POINT! The shell is crunchy and delicious and the filling is smooth, creamy, slightly sweet with a beautiful flavour from the orange zest. And put chocolate chips in anything and you have a friend in me!

I used my pie crust recipe but added coconut sugar and cinnamon to the dough. Rolled it out and cut out cute little scalloped edge circles -- ba ding ba da boom. Cannoli!

I think these would be wonderful to bring to a party, event or holiday gathering. Especially if you have a gluten free friend/family member. Or you can be sneaky and not say a thing about how this is healthier than regular cannoli. I won't spill the beans for you! Because we all know those people "Ugh this is healthy -- GROSS -- I hate it already!" even before they try it!

So it's our little secret, ok?

I could go on and on about how delicious these are. How fresh the filling tastes -- how wonderfully crunch the little cups are...but I would MUCH rather just tell you how to make it so you can find out for yourself.

I know, I am such a peach, right? CALL ME GEORGIA LET'S GET TO CRACKIN'!

Friday 17 October 2014

No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

Cheese. Cake. Separately wonderful food items that surprisingly combine to make something so luxurious, creamy and wonderful it makes the stars themselves weep.


Maybe not THAT dramatic but PRETTY CLOSE!

Combine that with a hearty no-bake RAW crust and you have what has assumed the position of #1 most delicious thing I have ever made according to my family. And me. I don't think I want to eat anything else ever again for my whole entire life.

I have always loved cheesecake. I know people who hate cheese in their desserts. And I respect all kinds of people -- cheese lovers or not. But cheesecake is so elegant and classy! Even without any topping at all it's just like "Hey I am cheesecake and I don't even need topping because I am so delicious and beautiful!"

I am sure you are wondering how on earth this could be made vegan! One simple swap of cream cheese for vegan cream cheese* product will do! Or you could Soak 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews in water overnight, drain and blend and make 'cashew cheese' in place of the cream cheese!

Either way...just make this and I promise you every problem you are dealing with in that moment will vanish and sweet creamy heaven will take over.

* I had initially recommended Daiya over other brands of vegan cream cheese until I tried it on it's own. Personally I think it is the worst tasting vegan cheese substitute in the whole world. Honestly. I was shocked because their shredded cheese product is awesome. Just my two cents!*  

This also makes for a beautiful presentation! I tossed on some frozen bloobs just for fun and grated some dark chocolate on top too! If you notice that white frozen layer that would be the coconut oil...OOPS! I let my filling sit too long and the oil separated. You can omit the coconut oil in the blueberry filling and it will work just fine. Or don't let it separate like I did. It didn't bother me at all -- but if presentation is a big deal then you may want to omit the oil just in case!

HOW PRETTY IS IT? I love that dark purple colour of the blueberries! So vibrant.

Luxurious, creamy, rich. And no bake! YES IT IS NO BAKE! I have never had a no bake cheesecake that tasted better (yep, better!) than the baked version. Sometimes I find cheesecake too rich -- but this wholesome crust and tart berry layer brings perfect balance to this dessert.

I adore the frosted bluberries (thanks mom!) which make the perfect little accent.

Enough with the jibber jabber -- let us see how to make this beauty!

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Healthified Peanut Butter Cookies

I think about food pretty much all day long. During work, on my lunch (of course), after my lunch (duh), driving home....all the time.

I have several notebooks lying around where I write all my recipes and make notes to myself. I have hundreds of pages bookmarked on my browser.

Yet there are moments when I am at a loss. What do I do next?! So much food to make and eat and healthify! It can be really overwhelming!

When I posed the question on my Facebook page a lovely friend suggested simple Peanut Butter cookies! An idea I had thought of earlier and forgot! Turns out I already wrote the recipe so I tweaked it a bit and went for it!

And oh they looked so lovely. But...they tasted....not. Just...not. I mean they were not terrible -- and I would guess most of my dismay can be chalked up to a bad day and overly critical personality. But they were not what I wanted.

If you know me at all I can be very meticulous. The devil is in the details, right? I could not sleep until I got an authentic peanut butter cookie.


Soft and chewy in the middle with a nice crisp outer layer. Oh gosh these are good. And filling! But so so good! And of course you can omit the chocolate chips to get an honest to goodness classic cookie.

I know most of my recipes are usually refined sugar free but in this recipe I did add in some coconut/cane sugar mixture. It really made a huge difference so if you can -- or if you have granulated stevia -- that would be good, too!

By the time I finished these cookies I was pooched. And a bit skeptical. But I was also out of chocolate and peanut butter...and flour so it was my Hail Mary to the cookie endzone.

I promise you these cookies are absolutely WONDERFUL! They are sturdy and hold up well if you want to pack them for a snack and warm and gooey right out of the oven.

It's always good to have a healthified version of a classic, right?

RIGHT! So let's get to the recipe.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Guilt Free Spooky Pumpkin Patch Brownies

I already exclaimed how excited I was for Halloween over here on my first Halloween post. I just don't know if my enthusiasm REALLY came across.

You see, Halloween for me is IT. It's my favourite event of all time. Better than my birthday and any other holiday.

When I was young Nightmare Before Christmas was my favourite film. From that point on I became obsessed with all things dark, macabre and gruesome.

Suffice it to say ...Tim Burton is my hero. I always wished I could jump into his world of googly eyed monsters, black and white stripes and shades of grey.While I can't...the next best thing is HALLOWEEN! The perfect guise for my obsession with all things creepy and scary!

I go ALL out. Last Halloween the weather was really bad and not that many kids came. Pretty sure I *still* have candy left because I bought so much. I was excited!

As proof, I took a few quick shots of my room and some Halloween decor I have had up for a while. I won't lie to you -- I keep my room pretty Halloween-y all year round. It makes me happy and I love the colour schemes that usually accompany this time of year!

This isn't even a fraction of the stuff. I have Halloween things EVERYWHERE!! And my Tim Burton collection grows every year.

So now you have some insight into how much I Halloween -- let's talk brownies.

Specifically, adorably grim -- surprisingly healthy -- amazing brownies:

Halloween ideas have been overloading my brain. But I wanted to stay true to what I like and make something healthy. Yes the candies aren't super healthy...but everything else!

These decadent fudgy brownies are gluten free, refined sugar free and absolutely delicious! And because they are pumpkin patch brownies...I snuck in some pumpkin too!

I am currently eating one so I need to just stop this train right now and holler at you for a minute. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ARE THESE EVEN REAL LIFE?! How are these healthy brownies? I don't know but they AARRRRE!

Dense, chewy -- chocolatey to the MAX! I CANNOT BELIEVE MY TASTE BUDS! I am in absolutely love with these. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

Okay I am done.

The decorating was SO easy. And super fun, too! Great project for the kiddos ...or in my

I had a great time. My brother walked into the kitchen and asked what I was doing. I honestly replied " I have no freakin' idea but if this works -- I am going to be so happy!"

And happy I am. Even happier to be sharing it with you!

If the directions confuse you, hopefully the pictures help! So let's not waste away talking and get on to the recipe!

Monday 6 October 2014

Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones with Chocolate Drizzle

I adore pumpkin.

But of course, you knew that already!

Because I made these no-bake pumpkin cheesecake squares and these maple pumpkin cookies!

And there is no better time for pumpkin ALL THINGS than the fall, correct?

Pumpkin always reminds me of my grandfather. He used to buy pumpkin pie exclusively for him and I in the fall and we would both sit down with our pumpkin pie and joke around. Luckily I think we were the only two who liked pumpkin pie -- so there was always lots for us!

Now that I am older I can put pumpkin in whatever I want. That's probably the only perk to being an adult, really.

Beautiful pumpkin scones! These are of course guilt free like my Lemon & Blueberry Scones and absolutely delicious. So warm and sweet and inviting. A beautiful fall treat for breakfast or a snack! And even though there is no butter -- they are every bit as crumbly and wonderful as a 'normal' scone!

The mini dark chocolate chips really seal the deal making this scones IRRESISTABLE. I think I ate three right off the tray...

Okay okay..I KNOW I did :(

These would be a wonderful quick breakfast to throw in your lunch bag, too! Scones are so versatile. And they always sound so fancy.

Look at me. I'm a scone.

So for all the pumpkin fans in your life -- Pumpkin Scones. I promise you it is worth the time and effort!

World's Healthiest Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie.

Okay that's all I had to say -- bye!!!

Just kidding ;) But I do love me some pumpkin pie. I have already said how much I love pumpkin pie because of my grandfather. And it really brings back such wonderful memories for me.

In fact, growing up pumpkin pie was my only real pie exposure. My family is Middle Eastern so baking pie was never really a 'thing'. And this was my first attempt at pumpkin pie as well (I have made this recipe a few times already!) so my baseline is pretty much that store bought pie I ate with my grandpa.

Because of health issues that have recently intensified by grandfather's diet is growing more restrictive. This means no refined sugars at all -- heavy on the vegetables and low on the protein.

This pumpkin pie is gluten and sugar free (which if you haven't checked out my World's Healthiest Apple Pie it now!) and made with a gluten free flour blend (that I also talk about in that apple pie post).

The filling is absolutely WONDERFUL! Smooth, light, refreshing yet sweet and decadent like the original. A real treat and the filling itself is quite easy to prepare! So if you want to cheat and buy a pre-made crust I won't tell anyone. But the crust is worth the extra prep work!

I let my brown in the oven probably longer than I should....Oops? I really like my crust crispy  -- what can I say?!

The pumpkin cut-outs are optional. And I talk about it in the notes but it is worth addressing here: The cut-outs can only happen with a sturdy filling! I baked the pie again with a new brand of organic pumpkin that I had not tried before and my filling was very runny. It cooked just fine but I could not decorate the top! Knowing this I rolled my crust out thicket and made a design with the edges of the crust. For this reason I suggest making the filling while your pie dough is chilling in the fridge. That way you know ahead of time.

Anyone know why this brand of filling was so runny? The E.D Smith brand I buy is not runny at all. However it is a huge container -- so that's why I bought the small organic brand instead. Either way the recipe will work but the decorations are wear you'd run into problems.

Moral of the story: Pie is yum. Pumpkin pie is yummiest. E.D Smith pumpkin works great. And also PIE IS GREAT!

Let`s talk about the recipe, shall we?

Friday 3 October 2014

Orange Cream 'Candy Corn' Squares

This is my first Halloween type post. The excitement for Halloween literally has me running around like a toddler high on pop rocks and pixie sticks.

I discovered candy corn in High School.

Yes, that late.

Can you help clear the candy corn air for me, please?! It seems to me like everyone hates this stuff!!!!! What gives?

I came across an article waxing poetic about the author's (and everyone's) detestation of the adorable little candies. WHY DO YOU HATE THE CANDY, INTERNET? WHY!?

The first time I had it my pupils dilated (okay maybe that was just all the sugar...) and I fell in love. Every year I buy a big bag of the sugary stuff. But then again, I adore all things Fall and Halloween since as long as I can remember.

These sweet treats have little to do with the candy so many find repugnant ... other than that classic colour scheme!



These little squares were a big hit in my house. Topped with little candy corns they were just too cute not to love. Sweet with a big orange creamy punch and soft chewy texture!

Better yet, aside from the colouring, they are pretty darn healthy too!

You can of course, omit the colours and flavours but they...are......soo...ADORABLE!

So if you love orange creamsicle/ orange citrus flavoured things or just love moist and sweet delicious little will love this!

Plus they are no bake! Which is always nice, right? Especially if you live in Canada right now where the weather is either -10 or +25. 

So let's make SQUARES!