One-Pot Poached Pear Porridge

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I know I have not been posting lately. Alright, its been over a month! I can’t believe how quickly time flies! So much has changed for the good this past summer. I am finally picking up where I left off and carrying on.

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One thing that always calms and comforts me is baking and cooking. Doing it for myself and sharing it with the people I love is almost as peaceful as meditation.

If my food tastes awful, we laugh about it. If it is delicious we eat in silence because we are too busy trying not to leave a crumb behind. Regardless, it is always known that it was made with love.

This is something I whipped up for breakfast the other day and shared with my little sister. I find oatmeal is great for this time of year. It is warm, hearty and keeps me going all day long. Perfect for a long day at school…

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This September I started school again! Which is a really big deal for me. Last time I tried my hand at university I was expelled. I was miserable there, I was dealing with many physical and phycological set backs that I felt I had no control over. It seemed to be I was getting in my own way. But what was worse, was the feeling that I was getting in other peoples way. And for those who have experienced this you know that it is a horrible feeling.

I promised myself I would never go to school again. That I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough and people would realize this and not bother teaching me. Well, this July I made the decision to prove myself wrong and get back on the saddle. I am updating my math and sciences now but who knows what next year will bring! I no longer feel in the way of anyone including myself.

In fact, the only thing I feel currently is full. You know why? Because this porridge is awesome! What more do you need in life than a big bowl of love with a dash of self-confidence?

One-Pot Pear Porridge 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Poached Pear:

2 bartlett pear, cubed (you can substitute with apple)

1/4 cup apple juice

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/8 tsp of nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

Porridge:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup almond milk (or sub for more water)

1 cup gluten-free oats

1 ripe banana, mashed

Optional Toppings:

goji berries, nut butter of choice, shredded coconut, pepitas, cacao nibs

Directions

  1. On medium heat, take a small sauce pan and put in apple juice, maple syrup, and water. Allow to begin to simmer.
  2. Once ready, add pear. You can peel the skin from the pear if you prefer it this way. Then stir in the spices. Leave on medium-low heat string occasionally. After about 7 minutes you should have a syrup and poached pear. Pour this into a bowl and allow to sit while you make the porridge.
  3. Using the same pot add water and almond milk. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium and add oats.
  4. Once liquid has been mostly absorbed, about 4-5 minutes, remove from heat. Stir in nut butter and mashed banana.
  5. Divide it into portions and top with pear and the syrup.
  6. Lastly, add all your favourite toppings. I also added extra cinnamon.

 

 

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The Best Peanut Butter Bars

The Best Peanut Butter Bars! No-bake, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

Time management is so hard! You would think that you would have a mandatory class in grade school dedicated to wrapping your head around the concept. Currently, I work four jobs. On top of that, I want to: eat three, non- processed meals a day, and keep up with my acting studies, and go to the gym, and create new recipes, etc. The list goes on and on…

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It is so important that I exercise and eat right. There are no cutting corners. The only one who suffers when I don’t balance my day, is me. A little over a year ago, I had to stop working for six months. I was constantly fainting. I had memory loss and could not remember who I was or where I was going half the time. I was dissociating. Anyone who has experienced this knows how frightening it can be.

At first, I thought six months without work was torture. And, for the first little while, it was, until I changed my mindset. I had been given this time to figure out what my body needed. Go figure, it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was. Food was the first step. Whole, plant-based foods have given me a clarity of mind I did not think possible. When I began to commit to exercise, that’s when everything fell into place. It gave me back my confidence, it gave me something obtainable to strive for and it gave me the physical energy I had lost.

The Best Peanut Butter Balls! So tasty and easy. Gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, no-bake, soy-free.

It all started making sense. I have been so blessed to have been forced to take half a year to discover my limitations, but also to find my talents and passions. Now, I juggle a hectic schedule, which I love. I do things that I enjoy, daily. I am inspired almost every single day.

Today’s inspirations were these beautiful flowers. It was a sad and dreary day today, but I was walking by a flower stand and I saw these lonely flowers for half off. I just had to take pictures of the beautiful colours that reminded me that spring is here and summer is on its way!

No-bake peanut butter granola bars! Vegan, gluten-free and soy-free

I made these to have on-the-go when I don’t have time to stop and make a meal. I also have been craving something sweet and I feel far less guilty having one of these bad boys than going to the store and buying a candy bar! I find I only need a small portion to feel satisfied and full.

Have fun making these and, if they are for your kids, let them help out! Adjust flavours to taste and don’t feel like you can’t throw other dried fruit or a different nut butter in the mix. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepita seeds (pumpkin seeds)
  • 4 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 10 large, moist Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar

Directions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Mix until the mixture has a sticky consistency.
  2. Pour out onto parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin to shape into granola bars. If making balls/truffles, simply roll a small portion of the mixture in your hand.
  3. Place in the fridge or freezer to set for about an hour.
  4. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and grab on-the-go! They should keep for over a week.

Note: If you don’t find the mixture binding together well, simply add more dates! Make sure they’re gooey and sticky dates. If they’re not, soak them for about an hour.

The Best Peanut Butter Balls! So tasty and easy. Gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, no-bake, soy-free.

Scrumptious Stuffed Squash with Lemon Risotto

Stuffed Squash w/ Lemon Risotto

In the great words of one of my favourite authors, this was “scrumdiddilyumtious”! Roald Dahl is one of my heroes. I thought one day I would grow out of loving his writing, but I never did. He has taught me such amazing lessons with his lovely, made-up words and his preposterous ideas that might only make sense to a child.

Why am I talking about a book instead of a recipe? Well, I was packing my apartment today and donating things I have no use for, when I stumbled on my beloved collection of Roald Dahl books. I sat there reading and laughing (instead of packing) for hours until I realized how unproductive I was being! My favourite novels of his are: Matilda, The Twits and The BFG. So, I decide to keep those three and part with the rest. I like to think that some other child (or wonderful adult) will find the joy I did while reading these books.

Packing is dreadful, though. It has to be one of my least favourite things and I have done it at least once a year for the past four years. I keep telling myself, “Okay, this will be where I will stay for a while”. However, I inevitably find somewhere else and the journey continues.

Anywhoozels, enough rambling and on to the recipe!

Scrumptious Stuffed Butternut Squash

This recipe was a brain child of mine. I thought about what to make for Easter dinner for days. I wanted to make something that would satisfy everyone’s pallet. I woke up Easter morning and this idea was born. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For people who eat cheese, try adding parmesan or mozzarella. For people with nut allergies, don’t add the crushed walnuts. I promise it won’t ruin the dish.

Stuffed Squash with Lemon and Asparagus Risotto

Scrumptious Stuffed Squash with Lemon Risotto

Serves 4-6
Ingredients
2 butternut squash
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups arborio rice
5 cups vegetable broth, boiled
1 1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
1 tbsp of lemon zest
1 small yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp of olive oil or earth balance butter (I used olive oil)
Salt to taste
“Daiya” shredded cheese (optional)
1/4 cup ground walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Once the oven has preheated, put squash on the bottom rack face down for about 25 minutes or until squash is tender.
  2. While squash is cooking, put broth in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  3. In a large sauce pan heat oil or butter on medium high heat. Add garlic, onions, and mushrooms and sauté until onions are translucent.
  4. Add rice and mix. The rice will become translucent as well. This should only take a couple of minutes.
  5. Begin to add broth with a ladle, but only add one scoop at a time. Wait until broth has evaporated before adding more liquid. This will take about 20 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add in asparagus and lemon zest while rice is still al dente and allow to cook for another few minutes longer. If you don’t need all the broth, that is okay. You don’t want your rice to get mushy. It will throw off the consistency of the dish.
  7. Take squash out of the oven and scoop out the centre leaving about an inch and a half around the edges. Don’t throw out the centre because you can use it in another recipe! Pour risotto into the squash, topping with cheese and/or ground walnuts. Turn on broiler on low and place stuffed squash on the middle rack. Keep a close eye on it and remove when cheese has melted and walnuts have toasted.
  8. You have created a masterpiece! Dig in!

 

Quick and Easy Coconut Oatmeal

 

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When I was a kid I never ate oatmeal. I always thought of it as the instant stuff in those little, brown, paper packets which always tasted like cardboard and sugar. I would add even more sugar to mask the unpleasant taste. It also looked like paste which was not appealing and, frankly, still isn’t.

Now I eat rolled or steel cut oats! I no longer think of oatmeal in the same terms. I don’t solely have it as a sweet, breakfast food either. It’s great as a savoury dish too, which I often eat for lunch or dinner! Of course, I also use it to make all sorts of desserts. It is one of Mother Nature’s lovely, versatile grains.

Oatmeal is a gluten free grain, however, you do need to be careful when buying oats if you have an intolerance to gluten. Oats are often cross-contaminated with other glutinous grains during the time they are processed. So, I always buy “gluten free” oats. They cost a little more, but it is better to be safe than sorry. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill. You can find it in the natural/organic section in most grocery stores for a reasonable price.

 

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Quick and Easy Coconut Oatmeal

Prep Time: 3 mins        Cook Time: 5 mins          Yield: 2 servings (or one for a very hungry Clara!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium-large banana, chopped
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional Toppings: mixed berries, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), hemp seeds, maple syrup

Directions

  1. On high heat, bring water and coconut milk to a boil.
  2. Add oatmeal and reduce heat to medium.
  3. When most of the liquid has evaporated, remove from heat. Add the banana, cinnamon and ginger.
  4. Serve with your desired toppings.

Tip: It is better to have a little extra liquid. If you find the liquid is evaporating quickly, add a bit more coconut milk or water while cooking.