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tart

Berries, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Raw, Tarts, Wheat Free

Mixed Berry Tart {raw, vegan, wheat-free}

July 16, 2014

good berry

The past few days my diet has consisted of smoothies, juices and vegan lettuce wraps. It’s far too hot to turn on an oven even in the middle of the night. 

I guess it’s a good thing. Something about hot weather makes you not very hungry, and reaching less for hot meal items or heavy foods. 

Because of the heat the berries are in season much earlier this year than usual – and I’m lucky enough to have a huge amount of blackberry bushes next to our house that I can pluck a berry off on the way to the gym. I took my little bowl outside the other day to harvest a few for this dessert. I wish I also had raspberry and blueberry bushes too. Actually, we bought a blueberry tree from Costco but that little sucker has yet to develop any fruit from its leafy bosom. 

I’m actually terrible at keeping plants alive. Ironic – since my dad was a landscaper and our garden was a lush green paradise crawling with different florals and greenery. I guess I never inherited the green thumb. Bummer. But I’m happy to report my little tomato plant (also from Costco) is budding some nice green tomatoes. 

three

Baking and eating in-season is the best because everything is fresh and usually local. I like picking up berries from farm stands along the road. We live in an area with lots of agriculture and farmlands nearby so we can easily find them. 

I won’t lie – I ate one of these, and only this, for lunch after I made them. And then another after dinner. I figure since they’re basically good for you, the more the merrier. 

rawber

If you’re having a summer dinner party, or even for a Thursday night treat, these tarts are super easy to put together and require absolutely no baking – thank god. I’m pretty sure my stove has been the cleanest ever since it’s of no use in this heat. You simply pulse together the ingredients for the tart base, chill, then fill with fresh berries and top with coconut cream. You would easily pay upwards of $6 for one of these at a bakery, so save yourself the cash and make them yourself. 

Treat yo-self. 

coconut whipetatchoc

Mixed Berry Tart {raw, vegan, wheat-free}
A refreshing dessert for summer made with seasonal berries and a nut tart crust. Perfect for an after-dinner treat. Top with coconut whipped cream.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Almond Meal
  2. 1/2 cup Cashew Meal
  3. 10-12 Pitted Medjool Dates
  4. 3 tsp. Melted Coconut Oil
  5. 1/4 cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  6. 1 Tbs. Unsweetened Cocoa (optional)
  7. Mixed Berries: Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries
  8. Coconut Cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Soak your dates in water for 20-30 minutes, longer if they are very dry. You can also cover them with water and microwave 1-2 minutes to soften.
  2. Add the dates to a food processor and process until a paste forms. You might want to add in 1 Tbs. of the 'date water' as well to create a smooth paste.
  3. Add to the paste the coconut oil and pulse until incorporated.
  4. Blend in the nut meals along with the coconut. Pulse until a dough-like crumble forms. If you want, you can add in the Cocoa powder at this point as well.
  5. Press the nut mixture into three or four small 4-5" Tart Pans (with bottom release). Place in the fridge for 1or 2 hours, or overnight. Alternatively, you can freeze for a shorter amount of time to speed it up.
  6. Remove from fridge/freeze for 5 minutes before serving. When you're ready, simply push the bottom of the tart up and pop the shell out.
  7. To assemble, choose your berries. A combination of all three is delicious, but a pure-raspberry or blueberry tart is also delicious. Wash the berries well and dry with paper towel before adding to the tart.
  8. And that's it! No refined sugar, no wheat, or dairy.
  9. To really make the dessert stand out, add some non-dairy coconut whipped cream to the top and sprinkle with roasted coconut or dust with cocoa powder before serving.
Notes
  1. If you don't have almond/cashew meal, simply blend 1-2 cups of whole nuts in food processor until meal forms.
  2. Keeps well in the fridge, you can keep un-filled tarts for 3-4 days, covered and filled tarts for 2-3 days.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/

 

 

Paleo

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

November 19, 2012

Wow! November has been a super crazy month – and it’s not over yet. School has been busy, lots of prepping and work for my practicum in a grade 2 class. It’s been lots of fun too, I taught my class a dance and song for an assembly last week, and this week they are “exploring the world,” learning about different cultures in Canada, including things like what holidays they celebrate, and food they eat. Two things I am familiar with. As an Italian, my culture has a deep, and serious relationship with food.

Even though Canada has already had our Thanksgiving, this week is the American Thanksgiving, or shall I say another excuse for a crazy shopping, consumer-driven holiday. It’s become a little ridiculous, that American Thanksgiving. All I see in my inbox from Amazon is Black Friday Deals, which has now become an entire week of Black Friday deals?? I like that our Thanksgiving is so early, leaving a nice big gap between it and Christmas. However, I do like a good Pumpkin Pie.

I also like a good turkey dinner. I think I’ve convinced Adam’s mom to make a turkey dinner this Thursday to honour the American holiday. Plus, Adam and I get our house in TWO WEEKS!!!!! So it would be nice to have a big family dinner before we move.

I made this Pumpkin Pie, or tart, for our Thanksgiving and though I would share it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a Paleo Pumpkin Pie. And two, It’s super ridiculously delicious and easy. No pie dough required.

Adam was on a Paleo diet for a while, he wanted to try it out and see how he felt while eliminating beans, wheat and dairy etc. from his diet. He was having two sandwiches a day for lunch, along with cheese, crackers, cereal, milk etc. A lot of dairy and wheat made up the bulk of his diet. He was always good at eating his vegetables too, but thought he would try the Paleo way of eating after talking to a cousin of his, who is also a personal trainer, and a friend who is an avid cross-fit instructor and Paleo enthusiast.

What is Paleo?

“The Paleolithic style of eating is based on the foods that our ancestors  used to ingest before the introduction of agriculture (10,000 years ago). The idea is that humans are intended to eat certain foods, and evolution hasn’t caught up to digest or utilize the highly processed foods we see today. The Paleo diet was first suggested by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, who claimed that a carnivorous diet, high in fats and proteins and low in carbs, would improve health and prevent digestive problems. Since then, many doctors and nutritionists have jumped on the Paleo bandwagon and offer alternatives to the original plan which can include dairy and starches.” – The Fitnessista

Adam said it was pretty tough, and the first week sucked. He said he had a headache for a bit, from not eating those foods. But, he feels much better now that he tries to avoid those foods. He’s traded honey nut cheerios and milk in the morning for scrambled eggs with veggies and the occasional bacon, and he said it fills him up, and keeps him full longer. Which is a good thing when you work in a trade, and wake up at 5:30 am. I think eggs and veggies is a better alternative to processed cereals and milk for sure.

He did pretty good for a while, but he’s slipped the past month or so. I’ve been bad lately too with my wheat allergy, eating things containing wheat and then paying for it later. So does Adam. He said he can also feel it when he cheats, so we’re both trying to get back to that clean-eating lifestyle. I’ve made so many wheat-free main dishes for dinner, I’ll have to post them soon, because they were all delicious as well. We both are looking forward to the new house, getting into old routines and I’m most looking forward to my brand-spanking new giant kitchen.

I think I’ll need to maybe make this tart again for Thursday. I just baked and pureed my sugar pumpkins on the weekend, so I have lots of homemade Pumpkin Puree hanging around, even after making Butternut Squash and Pumpkin/Carrot soup last night for dinner. Also delicious.

I have always been a Pumpkin Pie lover, but I gotta say I liked the firmness of the pumpkin filing, and I prefer a nut crust over pastry!

This Paleo pumpkin pie is really easy, it’s Dairy-Free, Wheat-Free, and Gluten-Free. A perfect addition to your holiday table, to please all of your special diet-eaters.
Original recipe from here

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/2 cup nuts (pecan or walnut, or a mix of both)

2 Tbsp.  coconut oil or butter

 

I used:

1  cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts

Filling:

2 cups 100% pumpkin (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1/4 cup raw honey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, or All spice, Ginger, Nutmeg and cinnamonDirections

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C.

Melt the coconut oil or butter and mix into the chopped pecans.  Press this mixture into a pie dish/tart dish for the crust.

Place dish on top of cookie sheet, and partially bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool

Place pumpkin puree, coconut milk, honey and eggs into food processor. Pulse until combined, and then puree until filling is silky and smooth. Pour into partially baked tart crust, and bake for one hour, or until firm. Middle should be slightly wiggly if you tap it. Set aside to cool, can store at room temperature or in fridge.

Serve with Paleo Whipped Cream

To make dairy-free whipped cream, place a full fat can of Coconut Milk in the fridge 24 hours, overnight. Open can carefully, and scoop out top half of solid coconut milk. Discard the coconut water, or keep for later use. Using a beater, whip hardened coconut milk until fluffy, you can add some vanilla in if you like. Serve with Paleo Pumpkin Tart! Store extra in fridge.

 

Apples

Apple Month

February 6, 2012

Apparently February is Apple Month. BC Tree Fruits created this event as a way to encourage us to support local growers, orginiating in the Okanagan. The event began back in 1960 and has been celebrated every February since. It is also BC Tree Fruits 75th Anniversary of the Okganagan orginization. I’m lucky to be able to visit the Okanagan every year and vacation in Osoyoos, and have written about my love for local produce and fruit grown in the interior here

Apples are not only delicious, they are healthy. I like to pretend desserts such as Apple Pie are a ‘healthier’ choice, because it contains fruit. Of course eating an apple on it’s own is healthier, and can be just as satisfying.

My personal favourites are Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Royal Gala. I love a crunchy apple, and prefer them straight from the fridge. Of course most often you will find Granny Smith in baking due to their tart taste and hard texture, which become softer and sweet once baked. Perfect in pies and other desserts.

You can celebrate Apple Month by buying local BC Apples from your grocer or local food market.

Also, some tips when it comes to Apples:

  • If you can, buy local, and/or organic
  • Always wash apples thoroughly before enjoying as many apples are sprayed with pesticides, or peel the skin for baking.
  • Store in refrigerator crisper at a low temperature and high humidity. ( From the BC Tree Website)
  • As apples emit ethylene, a naturally occuring gas that encourages ripening, keep them in a plastic bag to prevent them from speeding up ripening of other produce items. ( From the BC Tree Website)
  • Apples are easier to peel when they’re cold (but keep in mind, most of the fruit’s remarkable nutritional value is found in the skin). ( From the BC Tree Website)
  • Wait before washing. Don’t wash your fruit until you’re about to eat it. Washing strips away some of the skin’s natural protection. Soap is not recommended for washing your fruit, just clean running water. Scrub it with your hands or a soft brush ( From the BC Tree Website)

Here are some of my favourite recipes including Apples that I’ve made in the past:

This Rustic Spiced Apple cake is perfect for an afternoon tea. It is dense without being overly sweet and rich. The apple are dusted with cinnamon and placed on top of the dough like a dimply cake. Perfect on its own and is one of my favourites // Recipe Here

This Skillet Apple cake is rich in flavour with a crumb crust. Studded with chopped Apples and topped with Apple slices // Recipe Here

An Italian dessert an Apple Crostata differs from an Apple pie in that it is baked free form, not in a pie dish. There is also the addition of egg as well as lots of sugar in the dough, which makes it denser and richer than pie crust. But just as tender. You can also make smalled individual Crostata’s // Recipe Here

You can’t talk about Apple Desserts without mentioning the most famous one. Traditional Apple Pie. A lightly sweetened cinnamon sugar Apple filling tucked between no-fail flakey buttery crust. Perfect on its own, or à la mode // Recipe for Pie Dough and Filling Here