Rustic Plum & Apple Crumble

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It’s really starting to look and feel like fall around here. The trees are bursting with vibrant colours and the ground is crunchy with their fallen leaves. All of this is making me really excited to go apple picking and make my favourite comfort foods including this delicious apple and butternut squash soup. I love apples, but my all-time favourite is the Lobo which is actually from the Macintosh family, but grown locally in Quebec. When I go to the orchards I am sure I eat almost half a bags worth before actually filling my bag up. They are tart and crisp and a great choice for snacking and baking. For this recipe I had to go with Macintosh instead, since I am clearly not the only one who loves Lobo’s, they were sold out!

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I had an idea in the back of my mind that I wanted to bake something using  apples, but while walking through the market the other day I saw the most delicious looking plums. They were a beautiful deep purple and perfectly ripe. I thought about how yummy they would be along side the apples, so they ended up coming home with me. After a very food filled weekend in Toronto (celebrating the Jewish New Year) I decided I wanted something a little bit healthier to satisfy my sweet tooth. So here it is! My Plum & Apple crumble. Simple, delicious and on the healthier side (for a dessert). I decided to omit any refined sugars by using maple syrup and swapped out butter for coconut oil. You could even replace the flour with whole grain flour, spelt, kamut, wheat etc… if you want.

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This recipe would be delicious using any seasonal fruits you desire. Peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb… the list goes on, but apple is a true classic, and tis the season!

For the Fruit Mixture

5 Cups of Sliced Apples (I used Macintosh but any cooking apple will do)

5 cups of Pitted and Sliced Plums

2/3 cup pure maple syrup (you can reduce this if your fruits have their own sweetness)

The Zest of 1/2 an Orange

The Zest of 1/2 a Lemon

1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg (or allspice)

For the Crumble

1 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup of All Purpose Flour

2/3 cup of maple syrup

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 cup Plus 1 Tblsp Coconut Oil

The Zest of 1/2 an Orange

The Zest of 1/2 a Lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees

2. Peel, core and slice up your apples. Pit and slice up your plums and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add to this the maple syrup, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine it all together until all the fruit is well coated.

3. In a separate bowl combine the oats, flour, maple syrup, baking powder and soda, orange and lemon zest and coconut oil together until well combined. The mixture should stick together when pressed into the palm of your hand.

4. Put the fruit mixture into a large casserole dish, then with a spoon or your hands (if they are very clean) evenly distribute the crumble so that it covers the whole surface of your dish. This s a rustic looking dessert so don’t worry too much about making this part perfect.

5. Bake for about 50 min or until the top is nice and golden brown and the fruits are soft and caramelized.

6. Enjoy on its own or with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

What is your favourite fall recipe?

Salted Caramel Brownies

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Having been away for a few weeks it was really nice to come home to my parents place in the country and enjoy the peace and quiet these mountains have to offer. All I have wanted to do since I have been here is read this, practice my calligraphy and bake. I also got to enjoy a nice long walk yesterday. The sound of the birds and the rustling of the leaves was pretty therapeutic. This time of year is one of my favourites (even though I am a true summer girl at heart.) I absolutely love the changing of the leaves and the smell of fall. The air is crisp, the sun is still shining and yet you just want to layer up and get cozy! It’s the perfect balance, just like these salty sweet brownies.

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When I come across a recipe I love, I end up making it over and over and over again. I am kind of like that with everything to be honest. Yes, I am that person that will put her favourite song on repeat, what can I say, when I like something I can’t resist enjoying it, and this right here is one of those recipes. I have no shame, it’s so worth eating again and again…this one is a winner! The first time I came across this recipe I was beyond excited to try it, but when I saw that it required making homemade caramel, I thought “there is no way I can pull this off.” (I’ve had trouble with sugar at high temperatures in the past, let’s just leave it at that) But let me assure you, if you are feeling the way I felt, it’s really not as scary as it seems! I was so happy to discover that making caramel is actually one of the easiest things to do! I really want to try making other recipes with it now!

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I am heading to a big family dinner and wanted to bring something sweet for everyone to enjoy. I needed something that would be a crowd pleaser and was fairly easy to transport, since this said family dinner is in Toronto. I chose this recipe for many reasons. First of all it has an awesome balance of salty and sweet and it has these ooey, gooey salty caramel surprises in almost every bite! It also uses a one bowl brownie recipe, which is awesome. I am pretty messy in the kitchen so when it can all be done in one bowl I am pretty happy about it and so is Zack. He always complains that when I cook he has to clean up a storm, but when he cooks I get away with cleaning a few dishes and then get to put my feet up (I am working on it!) For this batch I decided I would double the original recipe since it was devoured within seconds of being put on the table at the last family dinner. I am hoping that this time there will be enough for everyone to enjoy! I also discovered that this recipe can be made without flour for a gluten-free alternative. It was a happy mistake but they turned out just fine! I think I will be making these for passover this year!

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Salted Caramel Brownies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Caramel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste)
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Brownies
3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour (you can omit the flour if you want and they turn out just fine)

To Make the Caramel:
1. Prepare a medium sized plate by putting parchment paper that has been lightly buttered over it to prevent the caramel from sticking
2. In a medium dry saucepan melt the sugar over medium-high heat until its a deep copper colour. Stir if necessary to break up any sugar chunks that may form. (This will take about 5 minutes). Remove from heat once it has reached the desired colour and add in the butter string until incorporated. It may not entirely blend together but do your best. Now you can stir in the heavy cream and the salt and return to medium-high heat. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer and melt any sugar that may have solidified. Cook the bubbling caramel for a few minutes, until it is a shade darker.
3. Pour the hot mixture out onto the parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.

To Make the Brownies
1. When your caramel is almost firm you can start by heating your oven to 350°F. Line an 8X8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (in my case I used a bigger pan because I doubled the recipe), extending it up the two sides. You will want to butter the paper to insure the brownies don’t stick.
2. In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, add chocolate and butter and stir until only a few butter bits remain. The chocolate will be beautiful and silky smooth. Take the mixture off the heat and stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. When the mixture is fully incorporated, whisk in the sugar sugar and then then eggs, one at a time. Then add the flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.

Assemble Brownies
1. When the caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into the batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool thoroughly and enjoy!

TRENDING // Paint Splattered

An homage to Jackson Pollack, paint splattering is becoming a major trend in both fashion and home decor.  Have you been noticing it everywhere too? It’s so much fun! At first I was a little on the fence about this trend. If not done properly, paint splatter can just look plain messy, but when used just the right way it looks amazing and is a great way to add colour and a “splash” of fun to any space. I even think that paint splattered wallpaper would look amazing in a small powder room or as an accent wall. Check out this powder room, isn’t it gorgeous? Whether bold and graphic or delicate and painterly, paint splatter is making a mark!

I have gathered together a few paint splattered items that I really love, check them out.

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1. Coloured paint splatter pillow from Zazzle 
2. Blue Splatter 1/2 pint mug by Emma Bridgewater
3. Blue Splatter Dinnerware from West Elm
4. Paint Splattered Chocolate (that is ridiculously expensive but beautiful) from UNELEFANTE

What a great tablescape theme as well, look how beautiful this is.  I think this is going to be a new potential DIY project!

As an accent wall it looks great as well! I think I see a trend in the blue paint splatter being my favourite.

And finally, check out how nice these curtains look. Fun and classy all in one!

How do you feel about this trend? Love it or hate it?

Not Sure What to Do for Mother’s Day? Get Inspired Here!

With less than a week to go until mother’s day, you may be scrambling for ideas. My favourite way to celebrate my mom is to host a brunch. This season I have been falling more and more in love with the botanical theme. I see it being sprinkled across the retail market and blogsphere with beautiful bouquets and foliage in both décor, pattern and paper design.

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Shades of sage green, orange-yellow and coral are prominent, with splashes of gorgeous blush pinks and peaches that soften the greens. For your mother’s day theme I suggest starting with creating or buying a gorgeous card like this one from Rifle Paper and Co. then host a brunch or luncheon revolving around this delicate theme. Honor your mother on this special day by using wild blooms and plants, single stems and delicate nature-inspired palettes! Create a menu around fresh, local foods in similar shades to keep consistent. Use delicate stemware and soft fabrics to add to the natural look.

What are your favourite mother’s day traditions?

Healthy Dinner: Baby Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushroom Stir Fry

I have been struggling with stomach problems my whole life, so what I eat is very important to me. We cook more than we go out/order, and when we cook we try to use all natural ingredients. This recipe is inspired by a recipe on one of my favourite blogs My New Roots. It is fresh, simple and delicious! P.S Have you ever tried uncooked Bok Choy in a salad? It’s so crisp and fresh, you will love it. If you are making this recipe and have too much Bok Choy left over, use some to make a salad for your lunch, it will rock your world!

If you can find fresh Shiitake mushrooms go for that, but dried works as well. Just make sure NOT to wash your mushroom. If they are dirty, wipe them down gently first. If you are using dried, let them soak for 30 minutes before cutting them up.

What you will need:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
600g of baby bok choy
300g of fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried which would be 1/3 of the amount)
1 small chili, minced (optional)
2 Tbsp. tamari
1 Tbsp of sesame oil
1Tbsp. maple syrup
large handful Thai basil or regular basil
Soba Noodles
sesame seeds to garnish

Directions:
First you want to brush the dirt off the mushrooms and slice them up. Then, rinse the bok choy and shake off any excess water and slice into strips. Set aside.

Mince the garlic and chili.

Get a large pot of water boiling for your noodles.

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add minced garlic and chili; cook for about 2 minutes until just until fragrant and beginning to brown then add the mushrooms, maple syrup, sesame oil and half of the tamari. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and most of the liquids have been absorbed. Add the rest of the tamari and all the bok choy. Stir together and remove from heat and continue mixing for about 5 minutes until the greens have wilted down. Now fold in the basil and let wilt.

Serve immediately over soba noodles, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve!

Hearty Roasted Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Dinners for us are often elaborate and fairly heavy, but sometimes I crave something light, fresh and delicious that can still be considered comfort food. While a can of tomato soup can do the trick in a pinch, I like to avoid all things processed, so spending the extra time making it from scratch always trumps any other way! Accompany it with a grilled cheese made with a hearty grainy bread and some aged cheddar cheese and I am in heaven! Even my tomato hating boyfriend helped himself to seconds!

The trick to any recipe is to make sure that your ingredients are extremely fresh. In this case the tomatoes should be especially ripe because they will be the star of this meal. You want to make sure they are perfection, so look for  the tomatoes that are a beautiful vibrant red, with a smooth and slightly shiny skin, avoiding any that have dark spots or bruises. The tomatoes should also be heavy and dense and slightly firm when you lightly squeeze them. The tomato should smell sweet and earthy at the stem. A strong sweet smell indicates that the tomato will be more flavourful.

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen (Serves 4)
What you will need:
For the Soup:
About 8 Large Ripe Tomatoes quartered and most of the seeds removed.
1 Medium onion
10 Garlic Cloves
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Tbsp. Chopped fresh Parsley
3 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken stock
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
Fresh Oregano + Basil to garnish with.
For the grilled Cheese
8 slices of hearty grainy bread
8 slices of aged sharp cheddar (or another one of your favourite cheeses)
Butter

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First you want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. smash up your garlic and remove the skin, cut the tomatoes and the onion into quarter wedges. Then with your fingers, push out some of the seeds and hide the garlic cloves inside them. On a parchment covered baking sheet, spread the tomatoes and onions out and drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper on them, add the chopped parsley and toss gently with your hands.  Roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced to about half their size. Remove and let them cool down a bit. 

Once the tomatoes are cooled, warm the stock adding the tomato paste and stirring until dissolved. Then add all of the  roasted ingredients into the stock and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and oregano

Spread butter on the outside of the slices of bread, add two cheese slices to each and fry in a non stick pan on both sides until the bread golden brown and the cheese is nice and melted.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Weekend French Toast Recipe

Yay it saturday! I am so happy it is the weekend. It has been so cold out this week which has been making me feel pretty tired, so a nice easy morning is exactly what I need! This morning I woke up with a craving for french toast. This recipe is really easy and super delicious, the perfect weekend morning treat.

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What you need:
– 8 slices of country bread, challah or brioche bread. You want something thick that can stand up to the soaking.
– 1 cup of half and half
– 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 eggs

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What you need to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a pan with butter warming up on medium heat. Simply beat the eggs with the cream and spices. Soak the bread in the mixture and place them gently in the hot pan. Cook for a couple minutes on each side, until they are cooked through, then place them in the oven. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and some maple syrup and enjoy!

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Happy weekend!