Single Lady Cinnamon Roasted Pear w/ Honey Coconut Cream and Toasted Almonds

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All my cousins who live in the city got together for a potluck brunch this past weekend and I must say we had a grand ol’ time. We drank far too much coffee, ate plates and plates of fruit, toast, sausages, eggs and potatoes and laughed the morning away. The great thing about my family is that we all love and appreciate good food and flavours, so everything was absolutely delicious!

After many hugs, farewells and “See you soon’s”, I headed back to my place. Sunday’s are always revolved around food in my world, as I prep lunches for school and prepare a big pot of soup to get me through the beginning of the week. My roommate wasn’t home, so I made an absolute disaster of the kitchen with pots, pans, bowls and ingredients covering every counter. (Don’t worry, it was spic and span by the time my roommate got home).

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After all my food prep was finished and I had polished off a big bowl of piping hot Carrot + Sweet Potato Soup, I decided that since it was Sunday, my homework was finished and I had a single pear in my fridge just waiting to be used, I needed to make some dessert. It came together with ease and the hardest part was waiting for the pears to fully roast!

This dish comes together with sliced pear roasted in a buttery cinnamon sauce, coconut cream whipped with a drizzle of honey, toasted almonds and fine dark chocolate shavings. The flavours meld together wonderfully to give you a delightful dessert with just the right amount of richness, sweetness, warmth and spice.

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CINNAMON ROASTED PEAR W/ COCONUT CREAM AND TOASTED ALMONDS ~for one!

  • 2 TB chopped almonds
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored and cut into 8
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1/2 TB water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 TB butter
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, that has been chilled overnight in the fridge (This makes a lot of coconut cream, so you can use it either on more roasted pears, other desserts or by itself!)
  • 1/2 TB honey
  • 1 square dark chocolate for serving ~ please don’t skip this! It rounds out the whole dessert!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and while the oven is preheating you can place your almonds on a baking sheet to toast. Put pears on an oven proof baking dish and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together honey, water, lemon juice, butter, cinnamon and sea salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the sauce begins to thicken (about 1 minute).

Pour sauce over pears, and place in oven to roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping the pairs halfway through, and occasionally spooning the sauce over the pears.

While pears are roasting, open your can of chilled coconut milk and discard the water, reserving the thick coconut milk. Using an electric mixer or a whisk and some elbow grease, beat coconut milk until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes using electric mixer). Whisk in 1/2 TB honey.

For easy chocolate curls, using a vegetable peeler, peel the edge of your square of chocolate to create pretty little curls.

To serve, add pears and all their syrup to your dish with a dollop of coconut cream. Garnish with toasted almonds and chocolate curls.

Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie ~ Easily Vegan!

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I’m currently on day three of eating this Shepherd’s Pie for dinner and I’m nowhere near tired of it yet. This made enough to feed me for the entire week, and as it tastes absolutely delicious, I’m quite excited!

Year two of post-secondary started with the most stressful day of my school career, followed by a mountain of homework, projects and readings. The fact that I really enjoy what I’m doing though makes nothing seem like too much of a chore. (Except for my required accounting course…that definitely belongs in a more choreish realm).

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Now that I’m back in my school rhythm and it’s the first day of fall (woohoo!!), comforting, starchy foods are the only thing I want to eat. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love a good green salad. But after a long day of school where the walk home is rainy and cold, my stomach is hungry, my brain and eyes are sore and there is a mountain of homework waiting to be done that night, carbs on carbs on carbs is all I want. I know you guys feel the same.

This Shepherd’s Pie is perfect to make Sunday night in a big batch so you can come home to healthy, delicious leftovers every night. Unless of course you have a lovely family to feed it to, you should definitely share it and I’m sure they will love it! But I promise I won’t tell if you just happen to misplace the leftovers and then just happen find them when you’re alone for dinner the next night…

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The combination of the lentils, vegetables, thyme and rosemary give this pie a wonderful, deep earthy flavour, which is absolutely fantastic. This Shepherd’s Pie is the best kind of healthy, hearty, homemade comfort food you could ask for.

VEGETARIAN SHEPHERD’S PIE ~ serves 6

  • 3 lbs. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 TB butter ~vegan butter or coconut oil for vegan version
  • 2 TB milk ~almond milk for vegan version
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water until potatoes are just covered, and add in a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher or a fork until smooth. Stir in butter, milk and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In another large pot set over medium heat, add a tbsp of olive oil and the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add in mushrooms, thyme and rosemary and continue sauteing for 5 more minutes. Add in lentils and stock, bring to just a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are softened. Stir in tomato paste, vinegar, lemon juice and a good pinch of both salt and pepper. Let the mixture bubble away for 10 more minutes until thickened and everything is fully cooked.

Add mixture to a large oven proof baking dish and top with mashed potatoes, smoothing the top nicely. Place in the middle rack of your oven for 15 minutes to thoroughly heat everything through. To get a nice crispy top on your potatoes, turn your oven to broil and place your dish on the top rack. Cook for another 3 minutes, but watch carefully as it can turn from golden brown to burnt in a matter of seconds.

Let cool on-top of oven for 10 minutes before serving and devouring.

Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Lately, I have been really intrigued by the concept of minimalism. I’ve been reading blogs and watching videos by people who live the ultra minimalistic lifestyle (I mean the no-more than 1 plate in your cupboard kind of people) and find them fascinating. I don’t think I’ll ever be that minimalistic, but I think it’s important to have and use less for the sake of the planet and our own well-being. As we know, more stuff doesn’t equal more happiness, so downsizing the amount of ‘stuff’ you have doesn’t just de-clutter your house, but also de-clutters your mind.

Before coming back to school, I went through almost everything I owned and got rid of/donated as much as I could.

That being said, I do still own quite a lot of stuff (my Dad would say I still own far too much), but I’ve downsized by about half, so I think I’m on the right track! I still want to continue downsizing, so I’ve decided to take note of everything I constantly use and don’t use this year. Then at the end of the year I will donate all of the things that are rarely or (ever) touched.

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Using the minimalistic mindset, it lets you cut to the chase and realize what’s really important. For example, these cookies. Sure I could have added some carefully spilled oats, some freshly cut flowers and a tea-set in the background to complement the cookies, but the main purpose of these photos is to show you the cookies! So I tried my best to do just that.

In the spirit of simplicity, these cookies require only 3 ingredients to taste absolutely delicious. I don’t think it gets much better than that.


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3 INGREDIENT VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES ~ makes 10

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • a dash of both cinnamon + nutmeg if you desire

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a bowl, mash bananas until they become a pulp. Stir in quick oats, chocolate chips and spices (if using).

Shape into 10 balls and place on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Using a spatula, press down cookies ever so slightly to make a flat top for your cookie.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until tops are visibly crisp. They will look slightly underbaked when you take them out, but that is what we want! Remember, these aren’t your normal cookies. Let sit on cookie tray for 5 minutes to firm up.

Enjoy!